Pharyngula

Another crazy Catholic doctrine

Would you believe that indulgences are back? Do a little dance, say a little mumbo-jumbo, and the Catholic church will declare that you will get time off from your sentence in purgatory after death.

How do they know?

And what if they’re wrong?

I’d be very annoyed if I juggled beads for hours and hours and then found out that the High Supreme Cosmic Jailer only gave time off for life minutes spent smelling flowers or something.

Oh, well, at least they aren’t selling get-out-of-purgatory-free cards just yet. When that happens, we’ll have to go through another 30 Years War, and once was enough.

Comments

  1. #1 Paladiea
    February 9, 2009

    Buy your way into heaven eh? I guess with people leaving in droves you gotta make the cash somehow!

  2. #2 Glen Davidson
    February 9, 2009

    How much does it cost for sticking a nail in a cracker?

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  3. #3 Steve_C
    February 9, 2009

    Penance is just so silly. Say a prayer and you’re absolved???

    It’s as goofy as fundies telling you to “REPENT and avoid eternal damnation!”

  4. #4 CalGeorge
    February 9, 2009

    So, are the people who bought indulgences before 1857 still hanging out in purgatory?

    It’s all so confusing!

    Aren’t these Vatican folks supposed to be in direct contact with the Almighty? And they can’t get the procedures for getting into heaven straight? And we are supposed to trust them? What gives!?

  5. #5 Felicia Gilljam
    February 9, 2009

    I’m sure someone’s already mentioned this somewhere on Pharyngula, but just to be sure: Eluana Englaro died.

  6. #6 Rieux
    February 9, 2009

    Bertrand Russell once wrote an article about the differences between ex-Christian atheists who had formerly been Catholics and ex-Christian atheists who had formerly been Protestants. (I think it might have been called “Catholic and Protestant Atheists” or something similarly unrelated to its content. I know it was published, and probably still is, in the compendium with the title essay “Why I Am Not a Christian.”)

    Reading that article ~15 years ago in college, I remember thinking it was a bizarre idea; why should Protestant/Catholic differences persist after apostasy? I grew up in the same liberal-ish Lutheran denomination P.Z. did; would I be a different kind of atheist if I’d been brought up Catholic?

    But then stories like this come up (and, well, I’m also married to a nominal Catholic), and I feel pretty darn Protestant. Martin Luther was a sonofabitch about several things (anti-Semitism prominent among them), but when it came to indulgences he had those papists dead to rights. This stuff is nuts.

    So I have to admit that in the intramural squabbles, I root for the Protestants fairly consistently.

  7. #7 hje
    February 9, 2009

    ?As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, a soul from Purgatory springs.?

    One of the memorable lines I remember from the course I took on church history.

  8. #8 SEF
    February 9, 2009

    indulgences are back

    Did they really fully go away everywhere? I thought that was one of the splits between the cults. It certainly seems as though they’ve carried on going in substantial parts of the corrupt culture (with people variously buying their stairways to heaven …).

  9. #9 Loc
    February 9, 2009

    They’re not asking for much. Just a little donation, some good works, verbalizing your darkest secretes and looking the other direction when the priests sexually abuse members of the church.

  10. #10 CalGeorge
    February 9, 2009

    And let’s all give Mr. Vitello a big round of applause for reporting this story with a straight face.

    Way to go, Paul!

  11. #11 Wowbagger
    February 9, 2009

    They may not be charging, but no doubt a generous addition to the collection plate would see a concerned parishioner get a little extra consideration from the man who has lies about having God’s ear.

    Hey, they’ve got all those court cases going against them for approving of child-rape. They’ve got to get the money from somewhere.

  12. #12 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    It seems someone has managed to forget what happened the last time they sold these things.

  13. #13 Dutchdoc
    February 9, 2009

    There is a limit of one plenary indulgence per sinner per day

    Drats! I’ll NEVER get out of debt!

  14. #14 386sx
    February 9, 2009

    I thought they got rid of purgatory. I’m confused. That’s a lot of stuff to keep up on. Do they still have a ban on eating fish?

  15. #15 Owlmirror
    February 9, 2009

    Now, all we need to do is get some outcast angels plenary indulgences, and cause the universe to go ka-blooey.

  16. #16 hailmerry386sx
    February 9, 2009

    Still waiting for this pope to convene the third Vatican. (Or whatever the hell they call it.)

  17. #17 AJ Milne
    February 9, 2009

    So I seem to recall there was this line going around after Ratzinger was ‘selected by the deity’ as pope that he was just the guy to take the Catholic church forward to the 15th century…

    So where do I do my secular penance for passing that one on? Insofar as I now have to wonder if that’s what gave them the idea to bring back indulgences…

    (/Does six Hail Ingersolls, genuflects to image of Sagan…)

  18. #18 Dutchdoc
    February 9, 2009

    You cannot buy one ? the church outlawed the sale of indulgences in 1857 ? but charitable contributions, combined with other acts, can help you earn one.

    I just conceived of a briljant plan!

    As of immediately, I’m ALSO offering indulgences!

    But contrary to the Catholic Church’s indulgences, mine ARE for sale!
    Call NOW and receive DOUBLE indulgences! Our operators are standing by.

    But WAIT, there is more!

    For a short time we will lift the limit of one indulgence per sinner per day, but hurry, supply is running out fast.
    Act NOW!

  19. #19 Helvetica
    February 9, 2009

    I’m with 386sx: I thought purgatory got dumped about a year ago. Leaving canceled sitcoms with nowhere to dump their unaired episodes.

  20. #20 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    Why do you even care what the Catholic Church teaches. You guys are a bunch of knobs.

  21. #21 Funnyguts
    February 9, 2009

    Any chance God will accept IOUs? I’m only a poor college student in a town where no one knows how to drive…

  22. #22 'Tis Himself
    February 9, 2009

    Fr. Johann Tetzel, we have a job for you.

    As soon as a coin in the coffer rings
    The soul from purgatory springs.

  23. #23 Funnyguts
    February 9, 2009

    @ZR #20: I’m more bony than knobby. But maybe other people here are more knobby, I don’t know.

  24. #24 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    Can you think of any organization that is so fraught with insanities as that of religion? And all this is believed and accepted without a wisp of protest or question. It just boggles the mind with abject incredulity. Besides being concerned with earning enough indulgences, there is that overwhelming fear of being excommunicated for some infraction of high portent, such as believing in evolution, desecrating a sacred cracker, or some such myriad of demented dogma. Excommunication? Banishment from fantasyland! And to think that years ago I was insanely mesmerized by all that increible nonsnese and never gave it a thought to think otherwise. I am a proud atheist, and as such, free from insane nonsense and appalled at the continual espousal of such crap by the majority of our population. Religion just staggers credulity, and in turn staggers those strickened minds into dementia.

  25. #25 Dutchdoc
    February 9, 2009

    #20 “Why do you even care what the Catholic Church teaches.

    Because it’s SO mind-numbingly stupid, that it’s funny!
    And fun is good.

  26. #26 michel
    February 9, 2009

    You cannot buy one ? the church outlawed the sale of indulgences in 1857 ? but charitable contributions, combined with other acts, can help you earn one. There is a limit of one plenary indulgence per sinner per day.

    they’ll find something in their holy book to change these rules and have people pay. the church needs money for bus campaigns, after all.

    reading the whole piece is good for laughs though.

  27. #27 Wowbagger
    February 9, 2009

    ZR wrote:

    Why do you even care what the Catholic Church teaches. You guys are a bunch of knobs.

    We like to laugh at them for their love of archaic superstitious nonsense, that’s why. What, we’re not allowed to laugh at profound stupidity?

  28. #28 Owlmirror
    February 9, 2009

    I thought they got rid of purgatory.

    I think you’re thinking of limbo. And they didn’t get rid of it, exactly. I think the more appropriate phrase might be that they deprecated the concept.

    I know, keeping up with the standards (Vatican 2.5bis anyone?) for imaginary places and things is hard. Oh, well.

  29. #29 papa386sx
    February 9, 2009

    They actually had a pretty good run of fairly cool popes there for a while. What the hell happened?

  30. #30 Dahan
    February 9, 2009

    Felicia @ 5,

    Thanks for the update. I hadn’t heard yet. Of course in my mind she died 17 years ago.

    I’m glad her family can start to move on.

  31. #31 David Margolies
    February 9, 2009

    I agree with SEF: they never entirely went away.

    For anyone visiting Vegas, I highly recommend the Liberace Museum (seriously). Relevant to this, among the exhibits, is an indulgence given to Liberace signed by Pius XII (I think, anyway dated in the mid fifties). All sins are forgiven, if I recall correctly….

  32. #32 RAM
    February 9, 2009

    Ain’t it funny how all it takes is cash to keep you in the good graces of the church.

  33. #33 Pyrrhonic
    February 9, 2009

    Yes!!!

    Now I can make up for all of that masturbation!

  34. #34 Paul
    February 9, 2009

    @Owlmirror

    Lacking our own Bartleby/Loki analogues, I tried to think of a better real life example of “reversing God’s decree and thus negating all existence”. I thought back to Luke and the statement that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is an unforgivable sin, but alas it appears the Catholics are one step ahead of me and have a work-around. Blast the Pope and his ability to change metaphysical reality on-the-fly.

  35. #35 Vronvron
    February 9, 2009

    Christopher Hitchens said it best ?Chaucerian fraud.?

  36. #36 woodstein312
    February 9, 2009

    Didn’t the last pope get rid of purgatory…? That was confusing enough (did it never exist to begin with and all the previous popes were wrong even though they were supposed to be infallible? or did he waive his hand and just dissolve it with magic? and if so, what happened to everyone who was supposed to be there?).
    Now indulgences are back: so you can basically get out of a place that isn’t supposed to exist anymore (?). How does this work? Also, if you can buy your way into heaven, does God take AmEx?

  37. #37 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    It seems to me that most of you have to define yourselves by what you are not instead of by what you are. That’s a pathetic existence and if that is what it means to be an atheist then it’s no wonder you’re kind is still insignificant in number.

    If it wasn’t for religion how would you be able to be who you are not?

    Yeah, you’re the smart ones.

  38. #38 WRMartin
    February 9, 2009

    I wonder if Bill Gates and Warren Buffet could pool their money and buy all the outstanding indulgences? Then double the price and retire as triillionaires! ;)

    Auction them off on eBay?
    There are scenes in my head now of an estate auction clearing out all the belongings of the Catholic church. I can daydream, can’t I?!
    Lot #15 – Twenty five dozen collection plates, used, good condition.
    Lot #16 – Indulgences, 10 year, 12 year, and 15 year. Never opened.

    There are many, many stupid things in this world that make people rich. This is very, very stupid so it must be one of those amazing money making things that get passed over.

    ZR (The Drive-by Troll) @20:
    Because comedy like this pretty much writes itself. We really don’t need any reason other than laughter. Do we?
    We may be a bunch of knobs (whatever the fuck those are) but those of us who do wear dresses aren’t lying to people about speaking to imaginary critters.
    e.g.: Hello, everyone I’m [insert name of village idiot] and I spoke to god and he told me to tell you [insert prognostication of village idiot quality].
    If that doesn’t sound familiar then you don’t know much about religion now do you?

  39. #39 Qwerty
    February 9, 2009

    David Margolies @ 31

    I agree as I’ve seen enough Catholic literature at my mother’s home over the years that mention indulgences. My mother, a convert, gets most of the major publications.

  40. #40 sparkomatic
    February 9, 2009

    Practically speaking, this is great concept that deserves further consideration. In stead of spending all of that tme fretting about eternal damnation and suffering through the endlessly mind numbing sermons you can go out and pretty much do what you want. Then, a quick grovel, a few Our Fathers or hail mary’s or whatever the fuck it is that catholics say plus a little cash in the coffer and ba-da-bing ba-da-boom, you’re good to go. In today’s hectic world it makes a lot of sense. They should franchise this thing.

    BTW I’ve been called a lot of things but “a knob”? WTF does that mean. Sounds terribly English. Is that like being called a tool?

  41. #41 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    You don’t understand a damn thing, ZR. I define myself by what I am.

    I’m me. I also happen to be an atheist. Being something != being defined by something. And if religion didn’t exist, I’d still be an atheist, as would everyone else. And you know what? I’d be a happier person for it.

  42. #42 Funnyguts
    February 9, 2009

    ZR: I have plenty of descriptions for myself that don’t require anything involving the religious. It just so happens that the descriptions that do involve religion tend to include the phrase “likes to make fun of.”

  43. #43 Steve_C
    February 9, 2009

    That’s funny. There’s more atheists that catholics in the US. Sucker.

  44. #44 WRMartin
    February 9, 2009

    ZR again @ 37:

    If it wasn’t for religion how would you be able to be who you are not?

    Very prophetic. Are you a philosophy major (not that there?s anything wrong with that)?

    But, wait. What about invisible pink unicorns? How can we be not for invisible pink unicorns if there aren?t any invisible pink unicorns? And those damn Flying Spaghetti Monsters. Curse them and their non existence. Curse them for not being there for something for me to not believe in. Ow. Philosophy hurts.
    Back to you, ZR.

  45. #45 Randomfactor
    February 9, 2009

    Wasn’t that what was going to end the universe in “Dogma”?

  46. #46 Zeno
    February 9, 2009

    Indulgences never went away. Price lists for various indulgences have long been officially banned, but Catholic parishes never stopped publishing weekly bulletins in which the mass ceremonies were identified as “For the respose of the soul of John Doe, by his family” or whatever. These “mass intentions” are usually accompanied by a special donation to the church, although it’s typically waived in the case of indigent families. So indulgences aren’t quite what they used to be, but they’ve always been around. There are also various “plenary indulgences” (which wipe away all of your supposed purgatory liabilities); these are associated with special holidays or by papal fiat (e.g., gaining a plenary indulgence for visiting Rome during a designated pilgrimage year).

    Here’s the funniest thing: Apart from plenary indulgences, which are specifically defined to be total (for the moment, anyway, until you rack up more sins [you naughty person, you!]), indulgences are impossible to rate in any meaningful way (even by Catholic standards). Our prayer books used to have little notations to let us know that a certain prayer was worth an indulgence of 1 week, or a certain devotional practice was worth 30 days. But if no one knows what the purgatorial penalties are, what the hell are indulgences worth? I mean, if the typical Catholic has a purgatory debt of one million years at the time of his death, then the piddly indulgences in the prayer books and the weekend masses (“for the respose of his soul”) are practically worthless (unless some masses are rated at 10,000 years). The only sure-fire technique to escape purgatory is to die right after getting a plenary indulgence whammy. (Yet killing yourself at that moment would be accounted a mortal sin!)

    I tell you, it’s as exciting as Dungeons & Dragons.

  47. #47 AdamK
    February 9, 2009

    They didn’t get rid of purgatory, they got rid of limbo. That’s COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!! How could anyone ever confuse such a vastly important and crystal clear distiction??!!

    (I’m happy to say I don’t need the catlick choich, because I’m self-indulgent.)

  48. #48 David Lintner
    February 9, 2009

    Richard Dawkins suggested atheists call themselves “Brights.” I like that. Religionists may now be called “Not-so-Brights.”

  49. #49 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 9, 2009

    When that happens, we’ll have to go through another 30 Years War

    When that happens, there will be war, and nobody will come.

    I thought they got rid of purgatory.

    Nope. They said “there are reasons for prayerful hope” that limbo doesn’t exist, and that’s (supposed to be) something else.

    Do they still have a ban on eating fish?

    Never had. Instead, there was a ban on eating meat on Fridays and during Lent, and fish didn’t count as meat. Was lifted by the 2nd Vatican Council.

  50. #50 Paul
    February 9, 2009

    Practically speaking, this is great concept that deserves further consideration. In stead of spending all of that tme fretting about eternal damnation and suffering through the endlessly mind numbing sermons you can go out and pretty much do what you want. Then, a quick grovel, a few Our Fathers or hail mary’s or whatever the fuck it is that catholics say plus a little cash in the coffer and ba-da-bing ba-da-boom, you’re good to go. In today’s hectic world it makes a lot of sense. They should franchise this thing.

    I think you would make a very happy Protestant, sparkomatic. Let Jesus into your heart and all is forgiven (which is why Dahmer and his ilk go evangelical instead of Catholic).

  51. #51 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    I see hostility is a tenet of the Atheist FAITH.

    If talking “tuff” on an internet site makes you feel more secure about yourself, then “indulge.”

    The person who wrote the OP is obviously very ignorant of Catholic doctrine and I just don’t understand why such an evolved and educated man of “science” would even waste his limited precious moments of existence speaking on such trivial matters that he are beneath him.

    I am not a philosophy major I am merely a person with common sense.

  52. #52 Helvetica
    February 9, 2009

    @ZR: Sadly, it’s mostly society that has us defined as we are, since Christianity is the hegemonic and ‘default’ setting for western society. Consider this: if you lived in early Roman times, you might be considered an atheist as well, for having the gall to believe in only a single god and not the standard pantheon.

  53. #53 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    I let Jesus into my heart all the time.

    (My cardiologist is named Jesus Hernandez)

  54. #54 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    ZR @ 37

    Yes, we define ourselves as not being insane, and you and your religious ilk as being insanity personified. Pathetic existence? While your on your knees babbling to an imaginary god and destroying your limited brain cells, we are enriching our lives and minds with the wonders of science and knowledge and helping others who still have a semblance of reason to slough off that insane crap and live a life of reason and worth. Insignificant in numbers? Of course, just as Einstein, Darwin and Mozart were of such small numbers, but oh, how significant! And you think because you have the numbers in irrational rabble you can apply an analogy that if there are one hundred people in a room and twenty of them don’t smoke, then the smoking majority are in the right.
    If it wasn’t for religion we would still be who we are, atheists at birth, and atheists in spite of religion.
    Yeah, we are the smart ones and don’t we know it, and you are the insane one and we know it as you do not. Where is your imaginary god to come down and kick the crap out of me for reducing you to your molecular nonentitiy? Let’s see your god, moron.

  55. #55 Steve_C
    February 9, 2009

    You’re merely a person who is boring.

    ZR. Go beat your chest at the Catholic League.

  56. #56 Wowbagger
    February 9, 2009

    ZR wrote:

    I am not a philosophy major I am merely a person with common sense.

    You need not tell us you aren’t the former; it is quite obvious. However, let me inform you that, by coming here and posting the drivel you have posted in the style you have posted it, you have provided suitable compelling evidence that – despite your claim – you aren’t the latter either.

  57. #57 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    ZR, I’m failing to understand why such an evolved and educated man as yourself is wasting time here. I mean, if hostility is a tenant, all you’re doing is giving us a target! Us internet tuff guys looooove our punching bags, you know!

    Seriously, atheism is a faith the same way bald is a hair color. Your common sense clearly doesn’t extend to knowing a damn thing you’re talking about.

  58. #58 beep
    February 9, 2009

    1. Indulgences never went anywhere, as per the last line of the article.

    “?It faded away with a lot of things in the church,? said Bishop DiMarzio of Brooklyn. ?But it was never given up. It was always there. We just want to people to return to the ideas they used to know.?

    2. One more reason it is great fun to be Catholic.

    Suck it, haters!

  59. #59 Marc Abian
    February 9, 2009

    there is that overwhelming fear of being excommunicated for some infraction of high portent, such as believing in evolution

    You don’t get excommunicated for that.

    Do they still have a ban on eating fish?

    They never did. On Fridays (the day Jesus died) and some holy days you can’t eat meat, but fish is fine. So you see, it’s not crazy…

  60. #60 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    Holbach,

    I perform brain surgery among other things. I am sure your job is just as helpful to humanity though, keep up the good work.

  61. #61 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 9, 2009

    There are scenes in my head now of an estate auction clearing out all the belongings of the Catholic church. I can daydream, can’t I?!
    Lot #15 – Twenty five dozen collection plates, used, good condition.
    Lot #16 – Indulgences, 10 year, 12 year, and 15 year. Never opened.

    Nope. Read the article. Only plenary indulgences are back, not partial ones; and they are not sold, they’re given away for “going to confession, receiving holy communion, saying a prayer for the pope [bizarre even for theology standards!] and achieving “complete detachment from any inclination to sin'” — tttttttthough we’ll see how the “charitable contributions, combined with other acts, can help you earn one” part will work out. :-S

  62. #62 DaveG
    February 9, 2009

    ZR, I await your pedantic rejoinder:

    Go take some ExLax.

  63. #63 WRMartin
    February 9, 2009

    ZR @51:

    I am merely a person with common sense.

    Heh. Yeah, right.
    Dunning-Kruger Effect cleanup, aisle 51.

    ZR, why don’t you explain Catholic doctrine and how it and the subject of this post aren’t hilariously funny?
    Start with hucksters talking to imaginary critters and bilking the gullible then run with it from there.

  64. #64 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    @ZR
    Stay the hell away from my brain until you get yours fixed.

  65. #65 Joe
    February 9, 2009

    ?Confessions have been down for years and the church is very worried about it […] the church wants the idea of ?personal sin? back in the equation. Indulgences are a way of reminding people of the importance of penance.”

    Let people fire off knuckle-children in peace! ><

  66. #66 mayhempix
    February 9, 2009

    And here I thought it was the priests who indulged…
    aaahhhhhh… that’s why they brought them back.
    Indulgences for those who indulged.

    Of course the irony is completely lost on ZR that he is defining himself by trolling on Pharyngula.

  67. #67 Ken Cope
    February 9, 2009

    If it wasn’t for religion how would you be able to be who you are not?

    I can’t pretend to be
    Someone who pretends to be
    Someone else
    Or so my pretend friends tell me.

    –The Rutles

  68. #68 Owlmirror
    February 9, 2009

    I see hostility is a tenet of the Atheist FAITH.

    “Hostile”. You mean like the bible proudly demands that God wants people to kill those who are not of the same religion? That always seemed hostile to me.

    If talking “tuff” on an internet site makes you feel more secure about yourself, then “indulge.”

    The bible is full of “tuff” talk.

    I am merely a person with common sense.

    Then why are you here?

  69. #69 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 9, 2009

    “[…] and achieving complete detachment from any inclination to sin'”

    Fixed.

    I see hostility is a tenet of the Atheist FAITH.

    Translation: Everything I write in all-caps is true.

    Seriously, ZR, you don’t seem to have understood that we come here to laugh. Most of us are just too lazy to write 500 comments to the effect of “LOL!” “Also LOL!” “Me too!” “Me three!” “Me four!!!1!”.

  70. #70 Wowbagger
    February 9, 2009

    One more reason it is great fun to be Catholic.

    Yeah, go to a church where your priest might just rape your kids and then, once they’ve done it, the church will a) protect them from prosecution, and b) move them where they can do it to even more kids.

    What fun!

  71. #71 Helvetica
    February 9, 2009

    I’m amused by the number of logical fallacies ZR’s been exhibiting. Ad hominem, ad populum, strawmen, appeal to authority (that I can only imagine is his reason for mentioning he’s a brain surgeon), and even the lovely Courtier’s Reply.

  72. #72 AJ Milne
    February 9, 2009

    Well, he’s no rocket scientist, that’s fersure…

    (/ZR: Actually…)

  73. #73 Eva
    February 9, 2009

    They say it’s not for money?

    But if you can earn indulgences for other people, as the article suggests, someone could earn indulgences for other people (by prayer and volunteering, for the sake of argument) and be paid for doing so by the person who wants the indulgence.

    In this economy, you can imagine someone making a living earning indulgences for others…. (You could also call them “priests”.)

  74. #74 sparkomatic
    February 9, 2009

    Paul @50
    Yeah, my NE Methodist upbringing seems pretty benign compared to the fundies and woo out here in the west. Still, while no one was yelling fire and brimstone you still were required to put your hour in every Sunday and those damn church suppers Wed night.

    I’m looking for a religion that offers some tangible monetary rewards without all the doubt about whether I’ve selected the right one for my salvation needs. How about double your money back guaranteed if your soul is not saved when you die. I guess I’m just a pragmatist.

  75. #75 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    Wallbagger,

    Was your post an exercise in empty rhetoric? Is that what they are teaching you in your classes of “higher learning.” Useless post.

    Coyote,

    While I may be wasting my time, I do not believe that my existence will end within the next 50 years.

    OTOH, the author of the OP believes his time is extremely limited, that is if he actually believes in time. Why would atheists believe an an abstract concept like time if it can’t be proven mathematically?

    What about eternity? How about one of you smart asses explain how we can exist if there hasn’t always been something else in existence and then when you give someone else’s pre-scripted answer then try finding a “natural” explanation for eternity.

    Good luck and I have already heard the “just because we don’t know the answers now doesn’t mean there is a God and that we won’t discover the answers later” response. The only problem is that you will never be able to give a “natural” explanation of eternity and eternity is absolutely necessary for our very existence.

    OK, gotta eat some taco bell!

  76. #76 AJ Milne
    February 9, 2009

    OK, gotta eat some taco bell!

    Y’know, that stuff’ll kill you promote you to glory.

  77. #77 mayhempix
    February 9, 2009

    “…. I am merely a person with common sense.”

    Ah yes… “common sense”.

    Here’s just a few things those who claim they live by common sense gave us:

    George W Bush
    Sarah Palin
    The Iraq War
    Ask Don’t Tell
    Proposition 8
    Tax cuts for the rich
    The resurrection of Terry Schaivo
    Market deregulation

    Of course the funniest part is that ZR believes a man in funny pajamas who serves up Jebus flesh appetizers is the sky god’s PR guy here on earth .

    Yep. Thats common sense for you.

  78. #78 Stever
    February 9, 2009

    I like George Carlin’s comment about god being all powerful, loves us, etc., but he just can’t handle money. Seems he always needs money.

  79. #79 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2009

    Yawn, ZR is just another stupid godbot. By the way, if you want us not to make fun of the RCC, have the RCC keep out of politics and out of the face of people not of their religion. That would make them a bad target for mocking. Until then, we mock away.

  80. #80 CalGeorge
    February 9, 2009

    “A plenary indulgence can be acquired once only in the course of a day.

    But one can obtain the plenary indulgence for the moment of death, even if another plenary indulgence had already been acquired on the same day.

    A partial indulgence can be acquired more than once a day, unless otherwise expressly indicated.

    […]

    Indulgences attached to a visit to a church do not cease if the church is totally destroyed, provided the church is rebuilt within fifty years in the same or almost the same place and under the same title.

    […]

    An indulgence attached to a prayer can be acquired by reciting the prayer in any language, provided the fidelity of the translation is vouched for by a declaration either of the Sacred Penitentiary or of any Ordinary or Hierarch of those places, where the language of the translation is the one commonly spoken.”

    http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/indulge/norms.htm#norm%2034

    Truly insane people.

  81. #81 Farb
    February 9, 2009

    It’s still the same-old-same-old. Holy Mother Church dresses its clerics like 5th Century politicians; the old-line Protestants dress like 17th Century politicians; the newfangled holier-than-thous dress like 21st Century politicians; the key is that they all dress like politicians.

    Holy Mother Church pontificates from its ornate Gothic and Romanesque cathedrals; the old-line Protestants propound from structures reminiscent of Renaissance city halls; the newfangled holier-than-thous cut loose from theme parks and auditoriums.

    And all of it takes cash. Holy Mother Church offers time off in Purgatory for acts of contrition, the only catch these days is that you’re not contrite enough if you dare to ask about the price. Old-line Protestants rely on their massive endowments (in the pre-Madoff days–now, we wonder . . . ), while the new-fangled earn their scratch by hawking their ‘Prosperity Gospel,’ which trades off avoiding punishment in Purgatory for winning paradise-on-Earth.

    But its all the same stuff. Pony up the cash in exchange for assurance from the recipients that your contribution will whip up enough supernatural mojo to get you better digs.

  82. #82 khan
    February 9, 2009

    I live near the University of Dayton ( a Catholic Marianist college).

    There is a pillar with a statue of Mary, and a place where one can stand and receive a year’s absolution after saying the magic words (which I do not recall).

  83. #83 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    I see it’s acceptable for the illuminati to refer to people as “stupid.”

    That’s a real sign of superior intelligence.

  84. #84 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    Great, now he’s throwing out the meaningless canards about atheism being unable to justify abstract concepts. Here’s a hint: Atheism doesn’t care about that shit. All atheism is is a lack of belief in gods. Nothing more. Anything else is just personal, there is no group consensus.

  85. #85 recovering catholic
    February 9, 2009

    I still feel waves of embarrassment that I bought into all this purgatory-limbo-indulgences-mortal and venial sins stuff for so many years. I am so glad that my eight younger brothers and sisters began questioning, even when they were still very young.

    I do remember thinking how totally unfair it was that unbaptized babies would be sent to limbo forever, which we were taught was a place of no pain but of no needs. How could that possibly be the baby’s fault?? Maybe that was the seed that grew into my abandonment of religious doctrine and my atheism.

    The “get out of purgatory free” card was, as others have mentioned, obtained by going to confession and saying your penance. I remember sort of dreaming when I was very small that maybe it would be a good thing to get hit by a car and killed on Irving Park Road while walking from Saint Pascal’s back to our flat, right after confession. Can you imagine what that does to the brain of a seven year old child???

    It’s still sinking in, 50 years later, how thoroughly I was brainwashed by the catholic church and how vestiges of that brainwashing will, sadly, probably always remain in my psyche.

  86. #86 Brownian
    February 9, 2009

    I perform brain surgery among other things.

    I suppose those other things would include ‘rocket science’? You must be teh smartest, then!

    There’s nothing richer than a Catholic complaining that they should be ‘left alone’ to their own devices.

    Try paying back all the fucking stolen gold the Vatican is gilt with and then maybe you’ll have a case, you defender of parasitising assholes.

    In Jesus’ name Amen,

    Former Catholic Brownian.

  87. #87 Paul
    February 9, 2009

    @sparkomatic, #74

    I’m sure you could get a Discordian Pope to offer you what you are looking for.

  88. #88 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 9, 2009

    Must of scarf down those taco bells really quick.

  89. #89 Ken Cope
    February 9, 2009

    The only problem is that you will never be able to give a “natural” explanation of eternity and eternity is absolutely necessary for our very existence.

    Show me some eternity, and while you’re at it, show me what its absence would be like. I got time. 13.8 billion years, so far, but if you try and look at big time prior to 13.8BYA (which would be peanuts to eternity), it would be silly to talk about time at all.

  90. #90 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    @83
    Whereas refering to people as “smartasses” is nothing but a sign of the utmost and perfect respect.

  91. #91 Wowbagger
    February 9, 2009

    ZR wrote:

    Was your post an exercise in empty rhetoric? Is that what they are teaching you in your classes of “higher learning.” Useless post.

    I’m not a student, asshat. And why is my post any more ‘empty rhetoric’ than your ill-thought-out, uninformed blather? This isn’t Sunday School, dumbass. If you make a claim you need to back it up.

    The only problem is that you will never be able to give a “natural” explanation of eternity and eternity is absolutely necessary for our very existence.

    This implies you know for a fact that something eternal exists – and the only way you could know this for sure is for you, yourself to also be eternal. Are you eternal?

    If ZR is a brain surgeon (I have my doubts) then it’s ample evidence of how the human brain has evolved in such a way that the ability to perform specialised tasks is not necessarily linked to any other indicators of intelligence.

    And it’s Wowbagger, not Wallbanger, dickhead.

  92. #92 mayhempix
    February 9, 2009

    “OK, gotta eat some taco bell!”
    “Y’know, that stuff’ll kill you promote you to glory.”

    Del Taco kicks ass on Taco Bell.

  93. #93 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 9, 2009

    Posted by: ZR | February 9, 2009

    I perform brain surgery among other things.

    Micheal Engor, is that you?

  94. #94 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    Coyote,

    Eternity is not abstract, unless you don’t really believe you exist.

    Atheism would care about it, if it didn’t ruin it’s claim of superiority over the religious.

  95. #95 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    ZR @ 60

    I have a high regard for the medical field and science in general, because if anything should be connected with these fields, it is a strong sense into what is real and what is not. When this reality is subverted by a belief in the non-existent, then that person who harbors such a dichotomy in views is not only placing his position in question, but also jeopardizes the situation at hand. You may perform brain surgery, but it is with the aid of science and education that you perform the necessary operation. I am sure you will not dispense with your knowledge and medical apparatus and just pray over your patient and rely on your religious dogma to heal them. There is just too much of a chance when your religious sentiments might overrule your required and necessary neutrality in these matters. There is no inference that you may act unprofessionally in your duties, but I for one would be very uneasy under your hand, especially if you knew I was an atheist. You are supposed to be a man of science, not a representative of an imaginary god who claims dominion over life and death.
    If I were to meet you and know your religious convictions, I would not respect you personally, irrespective of your respected profession. Science and religion should not go hand in hand, especially in critical fields.

  96. #96 Helvetica
    February 9, 2009

    What about sickness? How about one of you smart asses explain how we can get sick if there hasn’t always been some demons to make us sick and then when you give someone else’s pre-scripted answer then try finding a “natural” explanation for sickness.

    Good luck and I have already heard the “just because we don’t know the answers now doesn’t mean there aren’t demons infesting us and that we won’t discover the answers later” response. The only problem is that you will never be able to give a “natural” explanation of sickness and sickness is absolutely necessary part of our very existence.

    OK, gotta eat some mutton!

  97. #97 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    @ZR
    I can believe I exist without eternity. The universe has a finite beginning, and barring any further evidence to the contrary, probably will have a finite end. My life has a finite beginning, and eventually will have an end. All things end. And there is nothing inherently terrible or wrong about that, that I need some sort of false promise to salve.

  98. #98 Wowbagger
    February 9, 2009

    Atheism would care about it, if it didn’t ruin it’s claim of superiority over the religious.

    No, atheism’s claim of superiority over the religious comes from the fact that we require evidence to believe in things, while you believe in things that not only lack evidence but also things for which there is evidence against.

    Tell me, why aren’t you a Hindu? What has Yahweh and Jesus offered you that Vishnu and Ganesh* haven’t?

    *Please don’t point out Ganesh is not an analog of Jesus. I’m aware of this; I just needed a second name and I like elephants. If there is a giraffe god let me know and I’ll use that from now on.

  99. #99 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    I see that without the ability to feel superior a form of de-evolution materializes.

    “Dickhead” “Stupid” “parasiting assholes”

    Not that far from flinging your poop I’d say.

    now THAT’S funny!!!! ROTFLOL!

  100. #100 sparkomatic
    February 9, 2009

    perfect. I’ve already canonized myself. And its free!

    BTW I was serious, can anyone explain what is the significance of being called a “knob”? I have no clue…I guess I’m not just a knob, but an ignorant knob…gadzooks

  101. #101 beep
    February 9, 2009

    Posted by: Wowbagger | February 9, 2009 7:01 PM
    One more reason it is great fun to be Catholic.
    Yeah, go to a church where your priest might just rape your kids and then, once they’ve done it, the church will a) protect them from prosecution, and b) move them where they can do it to even more kids.
    What fun!

    I wonder if you keep your kids out of public school. There seems to be an awful lot of rapin’ going on there presently.

  102. #102 mayhempix
    February 9, 2009

    Off topic I know but
    Wowbagger,
    Do you know anyone affected by the fires?

  103. #103 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    Two things: Vitriol is natural when dealing with those who won’t listen, and there’s no such thing as “de-evolution” anyway…

    You mindless, small-dicked poopyhead.

  104. #104 Sophist FCD
    February 9, 2009

    At this rate, I’m sure Simony will be back in no time. Which will be cool, cause we can pass the hat and get PZ made a bishop or something.

  105. #105 SEF
    February 9, 2009

    … But if no one knows what the purgatorial penalties are, what the hell are indulgences worth? …

    It sounds like one of those dodgy investment mortgages where they tell you near/at the end that there’s been a shortfall (probably because they mis-sold it and were sneakily charging huge fees all along), so they’re going to take away your home/soul anyway.

  106. #106 Helvetica
    February 9, 2009

    Is there a term for when someone gives up on refuting actual arguments and starts arguing against the way in which it’s presented? Because I’ve seen that happen a lot with the trolls here. As soon as someone lets loose with a naughty word, they’ll play the “oh no, someone called me a bad name on the internet card” then threaten to take their ball home.

  107. #107 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    Wowbagger @ 92

    For your sake, I hope ZR is not practising in a major hospital in Adelaide.

  108. #108 Dahan
    February 9, 2009

    If it wasn’t for religion how would you be able to be who you are not?

    Damn! Just one day after finding the stupidest thing I’ve ever posted here, it’s overtaken.

    Others have already commented on this, but HOLY SHIT! You can’t really be that stupid.

    If it weren’t for seven legged kittens with three arses and no mouths, how could I be who I am? I’m defined by what I don’t believe in, right?

    Kinda fun to think of all the things that don’t exist that I owe who I am too. On the other hand, maybe it’s just a really stupid point.

    I see it’s acceptable for the illuminati to refer to people as “stupid.”

    Well, not sure about that, but it’s OK in my book to point out that someone is talking nonsense when they do and wonder if they have full cognitive ablities. Your comments here certainly fall into that catagory.

  109. #109 windy
    February 9, 2009

    It seems to me that most of you have to define yourselves by what you are not instead of by what you are. That’s a pathetic existence

    Why don’t you go pester negative theologians then.

  110. #110 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    Universe “finite”….. really, is matter finite too?

    Stopping before ontology must be presented is denying more than just the facts but denying the truth.

    I don’t see the superior reasoning.

  111. #111 Dahan
    February 9, 2009

    Shoulda been “…stupidest thing I’ve ever SEEN posted here…”

    Lol!

  112. #112 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 9, 2009

    Posted by: Coyote | February 9, 2009

    …there’s no such thing as “de-evolution” anyway…

    Oh, Dad! We’re all devo!

  113. #113 Ryogam
    February 9, 2009

    I was born, baptized and confirmed Catholic, spent 10 years in Catholic schools, surrounded almost exclusively by other Catholics, was an alter boy, attended mass every Sunday until I was 17, and not once did I ever get a satisfactory answer to the question of how it was just for god to condemn to hell, FOR ETERNITY (and that’s a mighty long time) people whose only “defect” was to be born to the wrong parents or in the wrong country. Because, let’s face it, that was the only reason I was Catholic, lo those many years ago.

    Think Darwin that I came into contact with so many people of so many religious faiths, all convinced with the absolutely same conviction as displayed by some posters above THAT THEIR RELIGION and ONLY THEIR RELIGION was 100% TRUE and all others FALSE.

    So, as for me, let the theists hash out the particulars and come back when they all have come to a consensus on what the TRUE RELIGION and nature of god is.

  114. #114 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    LOL!

  115. #115 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    @ZR

    In fact, the amount of matter in the universe is in fact finite and, in the end, predictable, as you would know if you’d talked to any actual astrophysicists. In fact, the attempts to figure out the amount of actual matter, both regular and “dark,” is a major thread of modern study of the universe, since that will determine the eventual fate of the universe.

  116. #116 mayhempix
    February 9, 2009

    “Eternity is not abstract, unless you don’t really believe you exist.”

    ZR. Please explain how our existence somehow proves eternity.

    I mean seriously, RZ’s statement is the most idiotic pronouncement I’ve read here in quite a while. The sheer arrogance of it is only superseded by its circular inanity.

  117. #117 Vronvron
    February 9, 2009

    Sparkomatic @#40 & 100

    knob “6 vulgar slang – a man?s penis.”

    Yes, it is like being called a tool.

    http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/knob?view=uk

  118. #118 pdferguson
    February 9, 2009

    ZR:

    I am not a philosophy major I am merely a person with common sense.

    Sorry, sweetie, if you are reduced to defending yourself by claiming you have common sense, the chances are you don’t…

    Now, as to your attack on the good people here, let me just add my perspective. Most of us are dedicated to changing the conversation about religion because we believe religion is a dangerous, destructive force, the cause of untold death and misery through the ages (faith may not move mountains, but you should see what it does to skyscrapers!)

    We believe it is possible to mitigate the more destructive forces of religion by shining the bright light of reason on the dark ignorance of religious superstition, the very foundation of religion’s power and influence. Religious zealotry presents one of the biggest dangers to our survival on this planet, and while we may not succeed in preventing a nuclear holy war, we choose to try.

    Even if you aren’t a philosophy major, surely you can understand the positive contribution to humanity of this effort.

  119. #119 beep
    February 9, 2009

    “I was born, baptized and confirmed Catholic, spent 10 years in Catholic schools, surrounded almost exclusively by other Catholics, was an alter boy, attended mass every Sunday until I was 17, and not once did I ever get a satisfactory answer to the question of how it was just for god to condemn to hell, FOR ETERNITY (and that’s a mighty long time) people whose only “defect” was to be born to the wrong parents or in the wrong country. Because, let’s face it, that was the only reason I was Catholic, lo those many years ago.”

    Blah blah blah. I like you silly atheists, but you might as well get your facts straight. There is no dogmatic insistence that people of faiths other than Catholic go to hell.

    Seek, and ye shall find, none.

    Now that you are set free from that bit of misinformation, you can use your whole spiel right up to “satisfactory answer to the question of how” and insert some other piece of misinformation in there. And then you can continue your faith devolution progressively!

    Pax robota.
    -Beep

  120. #120 BlackBart
    February 9, 2009

    News Flash:

    Biologist gets mad at Techie for getting Biology wrong, Yawn at 11pm.

  121. #121 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    Coyote,

    Then how did matter come into existence?

    That’s just abstract right?

  122. #122 Owlmirror
    February 9, 2009

    At this rate, I’m sure Simony will be back in no time.

    I was just recently re-reading bits of Inferno, and noting that there was a special circle of Hell for that.

      Eighth Circle, Bolgia 3: Those who committed simony are placed head-first in holes in the rock, with flames burning on the soles of their feet.

    Eternal hotfoot!

  123. #123 Charlie Foxtrot
    February 9, 2009

    What about the Flat Earth? How about one of you smart asses explain how we can exist on a “ball” if there isn’t always people falling off the bottom and then when you give someone else’s pre-scripted answer then try finding a “natural” explanation for people staying on their feet.

    Good luck and I have already heard the “just because we don’t know the answers now doesn’t mean there is a God and that we won’t discover the answers later” response. The only problem is that you will never be able to give a “natural” explanation of our Flat Earth and a Flat Earth is absolutely necessary for our very existence.

    OK, gotta persecute some astronomers!

  124. #124 Jim Harrison
    February 9, 2009

    The Church is missing a major commercial opportunity here. They should be selling anti-indulgences that lengthen the time your enemies will suffer in purgatory. Granted human nature, that’s more appealing than merely getting Uncle Ernie off the hook in the next world.

  125. #125 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    @ZR
    Thank you for once again proving you don’t understand a damn thing about astrophysics. The Big Bang is not an abstract concept, nor is it some sort of enigma.

  126. #126 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    PD,

    Let me explain something to you honey.

    The illogical faith of Atheism is far more destructive to our social order and just a part of fundamentalism as Al Qaeda.

    You, my dear, are lucky enough to live in a world where the vast majority of people believe in a God and that try to live their lives accordingly. You will also be lucky enough to never have to live in a world void of theism, because I guarantee that you eggheads would be the first to end up in a tight leather suit with a zipper on your mouth and a chain around your neck.

    Would you prefer that I call you “Gimp?”

  127. #127 mayhempix
    February 9, 2009

    ZR is an acronym for “Zygotes Rejoice!”

  128. #128 Ken Cope
    February 9, 2009

    I just don’t understand what compels people to show up here and yack at complete strangers, only to open up a trapdoor beneath us that leads to a greased chute, where all of us commenters find ourselves slipping away from consensus reality, slapped into a cheesy ride vehicle and strapped in for yet another turbulent thrill-type attraction, keeping our hands and limbs inside the cheap plastic and fiberglass coach that barely grips the tracks throughout the slippery simulation these theists run to try to make sense of the world-as-they-imagine-it, full of angels and demons and cheesy black-light oil-on-velvet icons–and then they wonder why we point and laugh when we’re spilled out into merchandise that we have no intention of buying, even if it is only cheap, mass-produced souvenirs.

    Every day here, is like the nightmare experienced by the characters in Philip K. Dick’s Eye in the Sky, where an accident in a bevatron forces the participants take turns waking up in the world that works the way that one of the other parties imagines it to be.

  129. #129 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    @ZR

    Live their lives according to god? I haven’t seen any witch burnings, or stonings. Where’re those?

    Also note that atheists have lower crime and divorce rates than theists. Your religious morality is weak and flimsy.

  130. #130 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    Coyote,

    That’s what I thought. Go read some string theory and then tell me the naturally “observable” is all that’s acceptable in astrophysics.

  131. #131 Charlie Foxtrot
    February 9, 2009

    @ZR

    Atheism is a faith???

    Yah – and my favourite TV channel is “OFF”.

    “Coming up next for you on Channel OFF – none of the other crap that the other channels are trying to shove down your throat! Stay tuned!”

  132. #132 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    CF,

    Can you prove atheism?

  133. #133 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    String theory is falsifiable, if only at high energy levels. However, due to the extremes of power needed, it is not yet possible to falsify string theory and that is why it is still controversial. You still don’t understand astrophysics. Next!

  134. #134 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    @ZR
    There’s no need to prove atheism: Atheism is the default, “no answer” position. In the absence of evidence, assume absence of existence until evidence is provided. There is no evidence for god. Thus, atheism.

  135. #135 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    Coyote,

    “Next!”

    You got that right at least. Can I get someone that at least understands the questions?

  136. #136 mothra
    February 9, 2009

    First ZR, then Beep- We’ve got woodlice here at pharyngula!

    @ZR- Why do you think the Super-collider was built- to TEST various theories on the origin of matter and ultimately, the universe by looking for particles (specifically the Higgs bozon). Rather than bullshitting ’bout god, science is constructively trying to answer the question of how the universe came to be which will also lend insight into the ‘why.’ FYI, Dr. Zeus was also a brain surgeon. :)

    @Beep- perhaps you missed one of Ratzi’s first papal speeches where-in he stated that Catholicism was the only true religion? I will let you look it up, you may learn something. I hope you did not take your pseudonym from James Blish’s short story, Beep. Mr Blish was soooo much sharper than you appear to be.

  137. #137 mayhempix
    February 9, 2009

    “… a part of fundamentalism as Al Qaeda”
    “…lucky enough to live in a world where the vast majority of people believe in a God and that try to live their lives accordingly.”

    So ZR… I’m confused here. A good part of that “vast majority” are Muslims. Without them, you don’t have a majority. They believe in “God” and live their lives accordingly too don’t they? My guess is that you think the “Christian God” is the real god. Are you saying that all beliefs in God are of equal value, except for Muslim extremists? How about Jewish extremists? Christian extremists? Mormons?

    BTW you never did explain why our existence proves eternity. That’s because you can’t.

  138. #138 AJ Milne
    February 9, 2009

    Yeah – and my favourite TV channel is “OFF”.

    Hey… Speaking as someone whose hobby is not collecting stamps, I have to say I’m starting to find the insinuations of this thread vaguely insulting.

  139. #139 pdferguson
    February 9, 2009

    You, my dear, are lucky enough to live in a world where the vast majority of people believe in a God and that try to live their lives accordingly.

    Tell that to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11. Tell THEM how “lucky” the are.

    Frackin’ Christard…

  140. #140 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    @ZR

    I doubt I’m misunderstanding the questions. You need to stop ignoring the answers.

  141. #141 Toe
    February 9, 2009

    For those who haven’t already seen it, Get Out of Hell Free cards can be purchased at this site, which I seriously doubt supports any church:

    http://www.goohf.com/

    I carry two in my wallet at all times. One for me, and one to hand out in case I run across a deserving individual who might need one, such as an overworked, frazzled clerk at a very busy retail establishment.

  142. #142 Stephen Wells
    February 9, 2009

    Oh look: ZR has done the common sense bit, the false logic bit, the demeaning endearments bit, the false claim of authority bit, and the false moral superiority bit, and the bizarrely revealing gimp suit fantasy bit. Anything left? The only thing it hasn’t done is actually provide evidence for any religious claim.

    It’s silly to pay real money to have your non-existent immortal soul freed from a non-existent post-death non-location.

  143. #143 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    ZR @ 121

    We don’t known how matter came into existence and freely admit it, but you don’t know either, but yet say your imaginary god did it. And yet you cannot prove it and never will because there never was a god, but just that conceived in the brains of humans, who would never have thought of it if they never existed. So simple, and yet you cannot comprehend the obvious human principle behind the whole miasma of religion. You may operate on brains, and yet you have not been able to find your god in there either because it is imaginary. Why am I able to comprehend this and yet you are not able to do so? Where does the fault lie.I know it is not with me for I have resolved that conundrum years ago. Keep searching. Ask your god; see what it says. If you get an answer, then you are in the wrong profession and should go on television and bamboozle the demented rabble sheep and accumulate millions of indulgences which will assure your stay in purgatory of at least an hour.

  144. #144 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    Coyote,

    Now you admit to not even knowing what “evidence” is.

    NEXT!

  145. #145 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    Evidence is, and I quote, “everything that is used to determine or demonstrate the truth of an assertion.”

    Care to show me any that proves god?

  146. #146 Rob
    February 9, 2009

    There is no dogmatic insistence that people of faiths other than Catholic go to hell.

    John 14:6: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”

    That may not limit to Catholic, but it sure as hell (pun intended) limits it to Christian

  147. #147 Ken Cope
    February 9, 2009

    Can you prove atheism?

    Proof is for math and whisky. Can you provide any evidence for the existence of god[s]? That’s the extraordinary claim. Burden of proof is not on those of us who see no reason to give even provisional assent for any proposition for which there is no evidence–burden of proof is for those making the extraordinary claim. First order of business, provide a coherent, consistent definition of WTF you mean by god[s]. That would be novel, at least.

  148. #148 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    Ho,

    Could you please reference the post that I stated anything about “god” doing anything?

    That’s called a straw-man.

  149. #149 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    mayhempix @ 127

    ZR is an acronym for “Zero Redundacy”

  150. #150 Ryogam
    February 9, 2009

    Beep, don’t tell me that the Catholic Church doesn’t teach that it’s the only way to get to heaven, tell the sister/teachers at Corpus Christi Grade School(in the 1980s)(Go Blue Devils!)

    I knows what I was taught and whether they’ve “walked back” their teachings or not, it makes no never mind to me, not anymore.

    But, thanks for responding to me in as polite a manner is possible, given the medium.

  151. #151 sparkomatic
    February 9, 2009

    @117
    I figured.

    Guys..why are you feeding this ZR troll?

  152. #152 mayhempix
    February 9, 2009

    “Can I get someone that at least understands the questions?”

    Oh the irony!

  153. #153 Owlmirror
    February 9, 2009

    There is no dogmatic insistence that people of faiths other than Catholic go to hell.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia on Hell:

    Hell (infernus) in theological usage is a place of punishment after death. Theologians distinguish four meanings of the term hell:

    • hell in the strict sense, or the place of punishment for the damned, be they demons or men;
    • the limbo of infants (limbus parvulorum), where those who die in original sin alone, and without personal mortal sin, are confined and undergo some kind of punishment;
    • the limbo of the Fathers (limbus patrum), in which the souls of the just who died before Christ awaited their admission to heaven; for in the meantime heaven was closed against them in punishment for the sin of Adam;
    • purgatory, where the just, who die in venial sin or who still owe a debt of temporal punishment for sin, are cleansed by suffering before their admission to heaven.

    I think the Church has made it a heresy to affirm that Hell can be avoided by those who are not Catholics.

  154. #154 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    @151

    Because it’s hilarious and I get to vent some of the anger I built up as everyone insulted my political beliefs. Win-win!

  155. #155 Ken Cope
    February 9, 2009

    why are you feeding this ZR troll?

    I figure ZR is the Pro from Dover who pushed facilis away from the keyboard to show the little wankstain how it’s done.

  156. #156 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    I see everyone wants to resort to the atheist trump card…. Prove that there is a God.

    I merely pointed to the reality of eternity and that eternity is not natural and therefore is supernatural.

    In simpler terms (for coyote)…… well actually that’s as simple as it gets.

  157. #157 AdamK
    February 9, 2009

    I believe ZR performed brain surgery!
    Once.
    On himself.
    The icepick-in-the-orbit kind.

  158. #158 Charlie Foxtrot
    February 9, 2009

    @ZR

    I’ll send 50 newborn babies – all athiests – around to your place for you to see, and you send this god of yours around to knock on my door, eh?

    No proxies. The dude – in person. We are talking ‘proof’ here, right?

  159. #159 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    Beep, beep, where is my god?

  160. #160 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    In simpler terms, you ignored the fact that eternity does not, actually, exist, as I pointed out several times.

    Not to mention it isn’t supernatural.

  161. #161 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    Coyote,

    Your venting is obviously not working.

  162. #162 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2009

    ZR, time to put up or shut up. Show us your physical evidence for your imaginary deity. Something that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine origin. Until then, you sir, are a liar and bullshitter.

  163. #163 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    I don’t know about that, I feel much better.

  164. #164 PZ Myers
    February 9, 2009

    ZR, you’re another drive-by slaggin’ airhead. You’ve got nothing to say. Either shape up and say something interesting, or you will be banned.

  165. #165 beep
    February 9, 2009

    @Beep- perhaps you missed one of Ratzi’s first papal speeches where-in he stated that Catholicism was the only true religion? I will let you look it up, you may learn something. I hope you did not take your pseudonym from James Blish’s short story, Beep. Mr Blish was soooo much sharper than you appear to be.”

    Blazzee blazeee blah.

    I’ll ignore the fact that you are taking Mr. Pope’s “papal speech” out of context and dive right into the meat of your mistake.

    The pope declaring Catholicism to be the “only true religion” doesn’t presuppose that those of different (i.e., for the sake of argument, “un-true religions” go to hell.

    You have a fundamental misunderstanding of Catholic dogma. I imagine this troubles you little, and it troubles me less, except that you are spreading misinformation.

    Yes, Galileo, Crusades, Inquisition, Pedophiles. Now back to the topic at hand:

    The Catholic Church does not defacto condemn those of other faiths (or unfaiths) to hell. As a matter of fact, the Catholic Church doesn’t condemn anyone to hell. There’s no “hell button.” No red pen. They make clear (by the precepts they believe to be true) certain paths that they believe lead to redemption and eternal life, and others that don’t. That’s it.

    And you shall not find contemporary Catholic doctrine to show otherwise.

  166. #166 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    Coyote,

    So matter came into existence out of no-thing?

    Can eternity (since it’s obviously a fact) be scientifically observed? Can anything in the natural world explain eternity?

  167. #167 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    No, yes, and yes.
    Any further questions?

  168. #168 Patricia, OM
    February 9, 2009

    You can always count on the trolls to tell their fetish.

  169. #169 Travis
    February 9, 2009

    @ZR,
    You have not pointed about the reality of eternity and that eternity is not natural at all. Yes, you asserted it, you made fun of a few people who gave you rather reasonable replies about the state of physics. You also showed your ignorance of what is currently thought about string theory and how accepted it is, though this has been pointed out.

    I know you are a brain surgeon but speaking as a particle physicists (well, former particle physicist but I was working in the field within the year) you have shown nothing but ignorance of the topic. As for everything else, the logical fallacies etc, that has already been addressed.

  170. #170 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2009

    ZR, where is your physical evidence? We are all waiting.

  171. #171 Owlmirror
    February 9, 2009
    You, my dear, are lucky enough to live in a world where the vast majority of people believe in a God and that try to live their lives accordingly.

    Tell that to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11. Tell THEM how “lucky” the are.

    Heck, tell it to the Jews who survived the Holocaust.

    (Yes, that is the Godwin card. This thread can end anytime, thanks.)

  172. #172 Ken Cope
    February 9, 2009

    I merely pointed to the reality of eternity and that eternity is not natural and therefore is supernatural.

    The reality of eternity is either natural or supernatural
    Eternity is not natural
    Therefore, the reality of eternity is supernatural

    Well, that’s closer to the form of an argument than facilis ever got.

    Mere assertion is only a claim, for which you have offered nothing in support. Show us you can do better than a tacit modus tollens with undefined terms in the premises, and offer us actual reasons to consider that any of your claims correspond in any way to reality.

  173. #173 Joe
    February 9, 2009

    As a Catholic, I am impressed with you folk. You spend more time thinking about Catholic Doctrine, than most Catholics do, in fact, apparently hours and hours spent endlessly mulling over theology, Popes, Church history, saints, and so on. In contrast, one tires of these Catholics who show up half an hour late for Mass, and are ashamed to talk about their faith, or even hold a conversation with an atheist. Terrific job, Atheist folk. The fact that you talk endlessly about the Church is one proof to me, that God exists. Glad to see that you are interested in God, and what He is about. Keep thinking, talking up God, and thanks for you good work in promoting His existence.

  174. #174 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    LOL!

    At last the final resort for atheists, CENSORSHIP!

    Ban me, do you think I give a shit? I can make people with your views look stupid all over the internet.

    I dare you to ban me, I triple dog dare you.

    Psst, whatever.

  175. #175 mayhempix
    February 9, 2009

    “I see everyone wants to resort to the atheist trump card…. Prove that there is a God.”

    That’s why it is a trump card… it always wins.

    “I merely pointed to the reality of eternity and that eternity is not natural and therefore is supernatural.”

    You never proved the the reality of eternity. You never proved that our existence proves eternity. You’ve only proved what we’ve all known since your first post: you are a brainwashed foolish godbot troll.

  176. #176 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    The fact that thinking more about religion is linked to atheism only goes to show the absurdity of faith. The more you think, the less you get. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

  177. #177 Owlmirror
    February 9, 2009

    The Catholic Church does not defacto condemn those of other faiths (or unfaiths) to hell. As a matter of fact, the Catholic Church doesn’t condemn anyone to hell.

    See @#153. They damn well condemn damn well everyone non-Catholic to eternal damnation.

  178. #178 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    Annnnnd there’s the cries of censorship. Never fails.

    Hint: It’s not censorship. It’s really something closer to walking away from an argument with someone who clearly isn’t listening.

  179. #179 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2009

    ZR, we don’t ban you, your boring repetitive posts ban you. Just like every godbotter who fails to even try to show evidence for their imaginary GAWD. Show us your evidence, or go home.

  180. #180 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    Then walk away and don’t ban me.

  181. #181 beep
    February 9, 2009

    Rob said:

    “John 14:6: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”
    That may not limit to Catholic, but it sure as hell (pun intended) limits it to Christian”

    For an atheist, you sound a lot like a fundamentalist!

    The easy answer here is that “through me” is quite an ambiguous statement.

    As a quick rebuttal, there is a group of Saints known as the Holy Innocents: the children slaughtered in the attempt to KO JC.

    They neither consciously knew Christ, nor could they have been Christians, (since there was no Christianity yet) and they definitely weren’t Roman Catholics. But they are still Catholic Saints.

    In other words, John’s quoting of Christ simply states that Christ is the floodgate, in some sense, to salvation. How he works is mysterious outside of Catholicism, but it doesn’t mean (and is certainly not a Catholic dogma) that only professing Christians are saved.

  182. #182 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    Can’t. You’re doing the equivalent of following us around and blathering into our ears. So shortly you will be shown the door.

  183. #183 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2009

    ZR, no you show some evidence or shut up. One way or the other. Something tells me you know you have no physical evidence for your imaginary deity, so you just keep running away from presenting your lack of evidence. BAWK, BAWK, BAWK.

  184. #184 ChrisKG
    February 9, 2009

    Do you think this covers “goat-fisting”?

    I’m asking for a friend…

    :)

  185. #185 mothra
    February 9, 2009

    “I merely pointed to the reality of eternity and that eternity is not natural and therefore is supernatural.”

    Scientific question: how is time unnatural?

    Philosophical question: How do you know, how many different types of existence have you accumulated experimental evidence about?

    (and as already pointed out, even if your assertion were correct, your conclusion does not follow.)

    ZR, I am sure you misrepresented yourself earlier when you stated you were a brain surgeon, I am sure you meant Brain sturgeon.

  186. #186 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    ZR @ 166

    “Can eternity be scientifically be observed?” Are you serious? Can the mind be scientifically observed? You have as much chance in seeing the mind as you have in seeing your imaginary god.

    Next

  187. #187 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    Nerd,

    I never said anything about proving God, that is the typical strawman from atheists who find it harder than they thought to actually answer to their FAITH in the positive instead of just attacking the faith of believers.

    Now keep your mouth shut, grown folks are talking.

  188. #188 Owlmirror
    February 9, 2009

    The fact that you talk endlessly about the Church is one proof to me, that God exists.

    I guess you also believe that Doctor Who, The Lord of the Rings, Babylon 5, Star Trek, and Star Wars are all real. Because, hey, they each have huge fandoms that talk about them.

    Really, that must be one of the most inane arguments ever.

    Frodo Lives!

  189. #189 Ken Cope
    February 9, 2009

    I take it this means, PZ, that facilis has been shown the instruments? This wackjob ZR has shown way more variation in his standard spew than facilis has for weeks, and yet facilis has droned on with so little novelty that no author would ever take credit for such a boring and predictable bot.

  190. #190 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    Indeed, you never said anything about god. But you don’t have to. Your actions make it obvious what you are, and what you’re shilling for. So please stop trying to hide behind half-truths and lies of omission, and answer the damn question.

  191. #191 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2009

    ZR, LIAR and BULLSHITTER. I have no faith. What part of that statement don’t your comprehend. Now, either put up or shut up. Anything else is dishonorable. But that describes you to a T.

  192. #192 Azkyroth
    February 9, 2009

    I see ZR is proud of his membership in Worldwide Association of Anthropoids of All Areas Against Angry Arrogant Atheists, Agnostics And Heathens (WAAAAAAAAAAAAAH)

  193. #193 Dwayne L
    February 9, 2009

    @ZR #37:

    It seems to me that most of you have to define yourselves by what you are not instead of by what you are . . .

    No, your perception is just skewed by the fact that most of the people here stay on topic. I am plenty of things: I’m a massive free software, electronics, and cryptography geek, and I enjoy playing with old computers in my spare time. But that’s all off-topic here, so I talk about those things elsewhere. What do you expect?

  194. #194 mayhempix
    February 9, 2009

    Bye-bye ZR!

    I’ve decided PZ must be God. He’s got is own hell reserved for the worst of the worst and he enters a thread like the voice of God with prophetic pronouncements fueled by the wrath of reason. The next trick is to see how he impregnates a virgin.

  195. #195 Patricia, OM
    February 9, 2009

    Well Nerd, I guess the adult brain surgeon told you. So there! :)

  196. #196 Travis
    February 9, 2009

    mayhempix,
    Will there be a video of that trick?

  197. #197 beep
    February 9, 2009

    Owlmirror x2:

    Again, you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the Catholic faith.

    Mortal Sin:
    You can’t be in a state of mortal sin unless you are already a Catholic. The only way to be in that state (separation from God) is to consciously commit an act that you know is intrinsically evil. And only one who is Catholic can commit such an act.

    “I think the Church has made it a heresy to affirm that Hell can be avoided by those who are not Catholics.”

    You can think that there is a flying spaghetti monster who delivers tiny meatballs to your eyes at night. Show proof. Or else admit that you are incorrect.

    I already know that you are incorrect (because I recently converted to Catholicism, and had to go to classes, and learned all this here junk.)

    I repeat: the Catholic faith, while not putting other faiths (and un-faiths) on the same level, does not necessarily condemn those of other faiths (and un-faiths) to Hell. You are quite simply mistaken.

  198. #198 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    Coyote,

    Basic logic and every single fathomable science experiment does and would conclude that some-thing cannot come from no-thing.

    AND since we exist, this is undeniable proof (unless your Nerd) that some-thing has always existed, therefore, proving the reality of eternity AND the supernatural since eternity cannot belong to the natural world (at least not the way the so called “scientists” you worship have defined it)

  199. #199 jay
    February 9, 2009

    So where do I do my secular penance for passing that one on? …
    (Does six Hail Ingersolls, genuflects to image of Sagan…)

    Secularists do ‘carbon credits’.

  200. #200 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2009

    Yeah, I’ve been accused of a lot in the last month. But it all sounds fishy to me. I just keep posting for the halibut. (time to quit before SC and Emmet show up.)

  201. #201 Owlmirror
    February 9, 2009

    As a quick rebuttal, there is a group of Saints known as the Holy Innocents: the children slaughtered in the attempt to KO JC.

    They neither consciously knew Christ, nor could they have been Christians, (since there was no Christianity yet) and they definitely weren’t Roman Catholics. But they are still Catholic Saints.

    An interesting inconsistency in the Catholic doctrine. All other unbaptized infants have to rely on mere “prayerful hope” that they won’t be eternally damned, and these wee ones get in free to Heaven with the wings and halo and all.

  202. #202 dean
    February 9, 2009

    “thought they got rid of purgatory. I’m confused. That’s a lot of stuff to keep up on. Do they still have a ban on eating fish?”
    Nope – you can’t eat nun.

  203. #203 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    Your logic is both unsound and based on false premises, and you’ve come back to the same stupid argument again. Clearly there’s no point in answering, as you’ll only ignore the answer again, so all further answers are officially “mu.”

  204. #204 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2009

    ZR, Eternity is reading you never getting to a point. YAWN.

  205. #205 jimmiraybob
    February 9, 2009

    In the 16th century, Pope Paul III established a system of tribunals, ruled by the “Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Universal Inquisition”, and staffed by cardinals and other Church officials. This system would later become known as the Roman Inquisition. In 1908 Saint Pope Pius X renamed the organisation: it became the “Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office”. This in its turn became the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith[5] in 1965, which name continues to this day[update].

    Out with the new, in with the old. It appears that the Church is going the Full Monty.

  206. #206 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    That’s what I thought.

  207. #207 Tony
    February 9, 2009

    Hmmm…I wonder how many of these “plenary indulgences” have been reserved for priests who molested little children–and for those who helped cover it up?

    That might explain the rationing out of indulgences at the rate of one per day.

  208. #208 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    Mu.

  209. #209 mayhempix
    February 9, 2009

    “Will there be a video of that trick?”

    Let’s hope so.

  210. #210 Travis
    February 9, 2009

    beep,
    While you might have taken classes having recently converted to Catholicism I am curious if what you are saying is actually in some way official or possibly a mistake. I was under the impression that while mortal sins must be performed with the knowledge they are being committed and apparently you indicate only Catholics can do this, however the church also seems to indicate that no one is ignorant of moral law, that it is intrinsically part of us, so it seems hard to escape the conclusion that it is possible to be non-catholic and still commit a mortal sin.

    Maybe some others with more experience with Catholicism can help me with this.

  211. #211 beep
    February 9, 2009

    Ryogam | February 9, 2009 8:15 PM
    Beep, don’t tell me that the Catholic Church doesn’t teach that it’s the only way to get to heaven, tell the sister/teachers at Corpus Christi Grade School(in the 1980s)(Go Blue Devils!)
    I knows what I was taught and whether they’ve “walked back” their teachings or not, it makes no never mind to me, not anymore.
    But, thanks for responding to me in as polite a manner is possible, given the medium.

    ////

    Well sir, I had some pretty crummy science, math, english and gym teachers, but I still believe in mitochondria, quadratic equations, Joyce and situps.

    Sometimes you need to kill your teachers.

    Best of luck to you,
    Beep

  212. #212 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    ZR @ 174

    “I can make people with your views look stupid all over the internet.”
    Love it! You are the one who looks like the stupid goat without your stupid imaginary god. Let’s see your stupid god come down and wipe Pharyngula off the internet. Hell, we are going to wipe you off this site before your god can make a move to do anything. Good grief, can you not see and understand how religion looks to sane people? We are not just laughing at you and your demented ilk, but ridiculing you to the utmost, and your god can’t do a freaking thing to stop us. Where is your stupid god? Doing more lobotomies on the insane religious rabble to render them babbling idiots calling for their god to heal them?
    You are going to make us look stupid? Doesn’t it just piss you off that your imaginary god can’t do a damn thing to us?

  213. #213 Zeno
    February 9, 2009

    Owlmirror: I think the Church has made it a heresy to affirm that Hell can be avoided by those who are not Catholics.

    Not so. The Catholic Church affirms that non-Catholics can go to heaven, although the Church also holds that salvation comes the Church itself (since it views itself as the earthly agency established by Christ himself). This is made explicit in paragraphs 846-848 and thereafter, in particular where it says, “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.”

    Therefore anyone who tells you that “outside the Church there is no salvation” means that all non-Catholics are condemned to hell is wrong. Non-Catholics can go to heaven (and the Church will try to take credit for it).

    Of course, it’s a lot of fuss over nothing if heaven isn’t there, right?

  214. #214 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2009

    ZR, LIAR and BULLSHITTER without honor. Your god doesn’t exist. Your bible is work of fiction. Eternity is for cosmologists. Your existence is meaningless.

  215. #215 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    HO,

    OK, that was intelligent.

    I already triple dog dared you to ban me, what are you waiting for? My extremely hot wife would be grateful.

  216. #216 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    Mu.

  217. #217 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 9, 2009

    proving the reality of eternity AND the supernatural since eternity cannot belong to the natural world

    Says who?

  218. #218 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    Still waiting??

  219. #219 beep
    February 9, 2009

    Owlmirror:

    “An interesting inconsistency in the Catholic doctrine. All other unbaptized infants have to rely on mere “prayerful hope” that they won’t be eternally damned, and these wee ones get in free to Heaven with the wings and halo and all.”

    Since it is not known whether or not all good babies (or dogs (or stick bugs) go to heaven, we rely on the good graces of God, and figure that a few prayers can’t hurt.

  220. #220 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2009

    We don’t ban you, you ban yourself. YAWN. What a bore. You are really working on it.

  221. #221 Stephen Wells
    February 9, 2009

    As a professional physicist, I’d like to point out that all ZR’s claim in post 198 are wrong.

  222. #222 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    On a side note, ZR’s odd sexual fantasies show up again: He wants to be banned. Oh, how he wants to be banned! It hurts so good!

  223. #223 Brownian
    February 9, 2009

    So matter came into existence out of no-thing?

    I take it back; ZR probably is a brain surgeon, ’cause he sure as hell ain’t no rocket scientist (or any other sort of astrophysicist, for that matter).

  224. #224 mayhempix
    February 9, 2009

    ZR #198

    That’s it? That’s his “proof”? And these idiots wonder why the vast majority of mathematicians, physicists, astronomers, geologists, anthropologists and biologists are atheists or at the very least agnostic.

    ZR is now proven to be the acronym for “Zero Reasoning”.

  225. #225 Charlie Foxtrot
    February 9, 2009

    @Joe #173

    Our discussing the absurdity of religion, any religion, is only evidence that absurd religions exist.
    Anything else you seem to get from it is only your personal delusional getting in the way.

  226. #226 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    Now that the president, who was elected because of white guilt, is off my $3,000 wall mounted flat screen, I really must go watch 24.

    I love seeing Genine Gerafalo play a role see despises simply because she had no work otherwise.

    Too bad Air America was fazed out by the right winged American consumer.

  227. #227 Owlmirror
    February 9, 2009

    You can’t be in a state of mortal sin unless you are already a Catholic. The only way to be in that state (separation from God) is to consciously commit an act that you know is intrinsically evil. And only one who is Catholic can commit such an act.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia article on sin mentions no such restriction.

    “I think the Church has made it a heresy to affirm that Hell can be avoided by those who are not Catholics.”

    You can think that there is a flying spaghetti monster who delivers tiny meatballs to your eyes at night. Show proof. Or else admit that you are incorrect.

    Actually, I was looking at the Catholic Encyclopedia article on baptism:

    The negative document we call the canons on baptism decreed by the Council of Trent (Sess. VII, De Baptismo), in which the following doctrines are anathematized (declared heretical):
    […]
    Baptism is free, that is, not necessary for salvation.

    The language is a bit convoluted, but it’s saying that it’s a heresy to say that baptism is not necessary for salvation.

    And what is there if you don’t have salvation? Damnation, right?

  228. #228 Brownian
    February 9, 2009

    ZR, you’re another drive-by slaggin’ airhead. You’ve got nothing to say. Either shape up and say something interesting, or you will be banned.

    Banned? How terribly atheist of you, PZ.

    A Catholic won’t understand banning. What we need is a good ol’ fashioned God-fearing Inquisitor to get this fellow to see the error of his ways.

  229. #229 Wowbagger
    February 9, 2009

    Hmm, I go elsewhere for a little while only to come back and find that things have heated up somewhat thanks to some fresh new trolls armed only with dull, lame, God-of-the-gaps arguments.

    Mayhemix #102:

    Not to my knowledge – I’ve got friends who weren’t far, and I’m still waiting to hear back from my mother regarding my stepfather’s family who I know live in country Victoria (the state most affected) as well.

    Holbach #107 wrote:

    For your sake, I hope ZR is not practising in a major hospital in Adelaide.

    Well, I’d prefer it if you hoped that I never needed brain surgery – but since I’m not religious the chances are my brain is okay for now at least. I do dread the sort of head trauma that would lead me to start believing in sky-fairies and wish-granting magic zombies.

    beep admitted upthread that he’s a recent convert; maybe we can put him in touch with brain surgeon ZR just to check that it’s not a tumour*.

    *Though if it turns out to be a tumour that looks like the Virgin Mary it would be kind of ironic.

  230. #230 Charlie Foxtrot
    February 9, 2009

    Hey – one for the astrophysics crowd…
    am I correct in remembering that proof that the universe is not infinite is that we have a dark sky at night – because otherwise all objects emitting light would have had enough time to reach us and so we would be seeing them all at the same time?

    or something to that effect…

  231. #231 ZR
    February 9, 2009

    Well Steven my good sir, you being a physicist is really cool. How much do you earn yearly?

    1, 2 million a year?

    (raspberry) Should I name a few physicists that are theists?

    Pointless.

  232. #232 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2009

    Yawn, bigger bore than before.

  233. #233 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    And now the incoherency and irrelevancy. Man, this troll’s hitting all the stages.

  234. #234 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    NEWS REPORT

    An hour ago the news reported that the Italian woman who was in a coma for 17 years has died. The pope, Berlusconi, and the religious vigilists are heartbroken.
    Where the hell was their god to bring her back to consciousness and life? Oh wait, god called her home after being in purgatory for 17 years. With all those idiots praying and acquiring indulgences by the zillions, her stay in purgatory is over and she can finally go home. and ZR thinks we look stupid!

  235. #235 Ichthyic
    February 9, 2009

    A Catholic won’t understand banning. What we need is a good ol’ fashioned God-fearing Inquisitor to get this fellow to see the error of his ways.

    Get…

    THE COMFY CHAIR!

  236. #236 Owlmirror
    February 9, 2009

    “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.”

    Hm. That looks like a gloss rather than something actually part of the Catechism itself.

  237. #237 Brownian
    February 9, 2009

    Looks like ZR’s not much of a theologian, either.

    Jesus ZR, do you possess any knowledge of any subject? It’s small wonder that you dislike scientists, but if you’re that pissed off at others for not being as stupid as you, you must have a hate-on for everyone from taxi drivers to taxidermists.

    Poor, poor dumb sumbitch. I’m not sure who the patron saint of morons is, but Mary’ll intercede for you.

    Unless of course you try to convince her you’re a brain surgeon.

  238. #238 Ichthyic
    February 9, 2009

    …I figure ZR is still in his teens. around 14 or 15 I’d guess.

    It’s just too damn boring arguing with kids.

    Beep at least is a bit more entertaining. Just look at the rampant use of denial.

  239. #239 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 9, 2009

    Now that the president, who was elected because of white guilt, is off my $3,000 wall mounted flat screen, I really must go watch 24.

    Do you think you’re impressing anyone?

    You sound like a bragging child.

  240. #240 mayhempix
    February 9, 2009

    “Now that the president, who was elected because of white guilt, is off my $3,000 wall mounted flat screen…”

    Yes, God is truly on the side of the Jebus loving racist wingnuts. God sure loves him some $3000 flat screen TVs. That’s why he gives them to the religious sheep like ZR while the poor black children in parts of Africa die of dehydration.

    It’s all part of God’s eternal plan.
    At least he’s got plenty of time to try and get it right.

  241. #241 Ichthyic
    February 9, 2009

    At least he’s got plenty of time to try and get it right.

    an eternity, even.

    :p

  242. #242 beep
    February 9, 2009

    “Owlmirror:

    The language is a bit convoluted, but it’s saying that it’s a heresy to say that baptism is not necessary for salvation.
    And what is there if you don’t have salvation? Damnation, right?”

    You’ll make a wonderful, if lazy, Inquisitor.

    Here’s a non-Catholic site that explains the whole thing quite well and in meticulous detail.

    Read it, remain ignorant, whatever.

    Cheers
    Beep

  243. #243 Dan J
    February 9, 2009

    Yeah, it seemed at first that ZR might be interesting, but quickly proved that he’s just a high-school god-twat. So boring now. Enough with the bleeding troll.

  244. #244 Ichthyic
    February 9, 2009

    Here’s a non-Catholic site

    you’re missing something, and I don’t just mean the link to the site you mention.

  245. #245 Brownian
    February 9, 2009

    So, which of you is the expert on Catholic doctrine Beep, you or ZR?

    Funny how every Catholic troll here is an expert on Catholic doctrine (and all fucking indignant that everyone else isn’t completely up on every nuance of their mythology), but given enough time we’ll see you fall all over each others’ theology.

  246. #246 Wowbagger
    February 9, 2009

    What’s that? Brave Sir Christian ran away? He bravely turned his tail and fled when reason reared its handsome head?

    Colour me unsurprised.

    That’s why he gives them to the religious sheep like ZR while the poor black children in parts of Africa die of dehydration.

    Well, duh – they’re not Christians* are they? So they obviously deserve to die like the heathen scum they are. No doubt if god wanted them to live in comfort he’d have made them white, middle-class Americans.

    *Or if they are they probably aren’t real Christians.

  247. #247 Blue Fielder
    February 9, 2009

    ZR is just another god-bot trope machine. I’m going to go over to TVTropes and ask them for their code, if they’ll give it out. I think we need a trope site of our own. /r/ b& ZR.

    Also:

    (Yes, that is the Godwin card. This thread can end anytime, thanks.)

    EPIC FAIL

    Intentional invocation of Godwin doesn’t work.

  248. #248 clinteas
    February 9, 2009

    Late to the party….

    The most fascinating bit about godbots is their predictability,the fact that they will reliably show certain traits,over and over again.

    The pompous arrogance,the logical fallacies,the absence of reasoning skills,the delusions of grandeur and overestimation of their own knowledge,and of course the total lack of any evidence to prove their extraordinary claims.

  249. #249 mayhempix
    February 9, 2009

    Nerd “I just keep posting for the halibut”.

    Why must you continue to appeal our most bass instincts?

  250. #250 jimmiraybob
    February 9, 2009

    “I think the Church has made it a heresy to affirm that Hell can be avoided by those who are not Catholics.”

    RE: Hell

    See here, here and here and get back regarding this hell concept.

    Thanks in advance,

  251. #251 Beep
    February 9, 2009

    Oops. Here’s da link.

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/rcc_salv.htm

    Brownian:

    When did I say I was an expert? What’s your problem? Why so nasty? This stuff isn’t expert level Catholic. This stuff is what they teach you in kindygarden.

    We save the human sacrifice and world-domination plots for expert level.

  252. #252 Ichthyic
    February 9, 2009

    Funny how every Catholic troll here is an expert on Catholic doctrine

    just like all other Abrahamic adherents, they tend to pick and choose what to ignore or pronounce about their chosen version of the insanity.

    I rather think Beep would like to conveniently ignore how Catholicism has co-opted the concept of Hell. Yes, they didn’t invent it, but they sure as hell (pun intended) did a great job of refining it and using it as a large stick.

    since there seems an interest in the CE, if it hasn’t already been linked to…

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07207a.htm

    Without the concept of hell as a stick, and heaven as a carrot, the abrahamic religions would probably become a philosophical form of atheist Judaism, IMO.

    In fact, I have met quite a few atheist Jews over the last couple of decades.

  253. #253 Feynmaniac
    February 9, 2009

    Somehow I doubt ZR is a brain surgeon with a hot wife. He probably has just performed unnecessary surgery on barn animals and bought a really expensive blow up doll.

    As for the “I dare you to ban me, I triple dog dare you.”, ZF go get your persecution complex somewhere else.

  254. #254 Anne
    February 9, 2009

    I’ve just finished scanning this discussion and I think this will be a regular exercise for me, to toughen my sensitive constitution. Meanness usually gets to me, you know … but the Pharyngula followers are SO outrageously disrespectful of others’ views that I think it’s possible to read it and somehow be unaffected by it … which is great! Maybe I’ve needed a site like this for my personal development for some time. But I’m curious. Why did you guys let Joe off so easy, comment #173? He’s a believer, and he made a succinct point.

    Besides personal growth, I like this site because it’s an example of a well-read blog that I can learn from. I’ve just started my own (at anneminard.com). It’s a general science blog, and friendly to believers as well as nonbelievers, but maybe some of you will like it anyway. Stop on by!

  255. #255 Wowbagger
    February 9, 2009

    To be fair, beep and ZR shouldn’t be lumped in the same category; the former doesn’t realise that there are people here – including ex-Catholics – who’ve heard (and refuted) all his arguments before while the latter is just a moron who’s swallowed a couple dozen talking points from someone like Ray Comfort or Vox Day.

    Also, beep said he’s a recent convert; I guess he’s still got the enthusiasm to go out and fight for the cause. Give him some time and he’ll be just like the other 99.9% of Catholics out there to whom the only difference it makes to their actual lives is to determine which box they tick on the forms they fill out.

  256. #256 beep
    February 9, 2009

    ickystick:

    …I figure ZR is still in his teens. around 14 or 15 I’d guess.
    It’s just too damn boring arguing with kids.
    Beep at least is a bit more entertaining. Just look at the rampant use of denial.

    What’s your problem as well? I’ve been quite nice, I haven’t tried to convert anybody, I haven’t come up with any dipshit proofs for God(s.) And I’ve very gently corrected an error here that seems to have been reinforced by one of your own (Zeno.)

    So what reason do you have to attack me?

    Beep

  257. #257 pdferguson
    February 9, 2009

    At last the final resort for atheists, CENSORSHIP!

    No, child, what he said was to clean up your act. We are adults here, and we don’t appreciate the puerile drivel you’ve been posting. If you want to participate in the discussion, and can bring interesting perspectives to the table, you are more than welcome. But if you continue to be disruptive merely because you crave attention, then you’re an Internet troll, and you aren’t welcome. It’s that simple, and it’s entirely up to you.

    Ban me, do you think I give a shit? I can make people with your views look stupid all over the internet.
    I dare you to ban me, I triple dog dare you.
    Psst, whatever.

    Hush, child…

  258. #258 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    ZR @ 231

    I make fifty million a year as an exorcist, and I am busy from dawn to dusk, casting out those imaginary gods from the insane rabble! A steady and profitable job till I croak! And all without brain surgery! The exorcised rabble ask me what I do with the gods, and I tell them that I er, recycle them for the vatican’s indulgence program. Heck, I’ll take the fifty million over indulgences any day! Man, what a racket, er, I mean beneficial service for the emotionally challenged with a god!

  259. #259 Rey Fox
    February 9, 2009

    I seem to remember someone saying that the crazier the religious belief, the better for building a church out of it. It seems to be a pattern that whenever PZ singles out the most self-evidently crazy or destructive religious doings, we get the most dedicated trolls defending them. Or at least attacking us. “Yeah, the church may give out indulgences to reduce time in Purgatory, but at least WE don’t believe that like, something came outta nothing, so NYEAH!” I may not be able to understand a lot of cutting-edge cosmology and physics, but at least they don’t sound like a load of bickering fanfic writers with gussied-up vocabularies like theologians do.

    This kind of polemic needs way more press and visibility. Like Bill Maher said, “WE’RE not the crazy ones.”

    “The fact that you talk endlessly about the Church is one proof to me, that God exists.”

    It never ceases to amaze me what low standards for proof some people have.

  260. #260 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2009

    I read Joe as a hit and run troll. Not worth any effort. He did eventually get lambasted.

  261. #261 'Tis Himself
    February 9, 2009

    Basic logic and every single fathomable science experiment does and would conclude that some-thing cannot come from no-thing.

    This boy has never heard of virtual particles.

  262. #262 Blue Fielder
    February 9, 2009

    Anne: Get out. Take your spamming and your self-righteousness and leave. You are unwelcome and unproductive.

  263. #263 Charlie Foxtrot
    February 9, 2009

    Yeah… ZR’s obviously just another angry, god-whacked, teenager. Probably full of that Catholic Guilt thing from the whole I’m-Catholic-but-also-jerking-off-every-day cognitive dissonance thing.

    No sport at all.

  264. #264 clinteas
    February 9, 2009

    blogwhore @ 254,

    thanks I’ll pass.

    @ 173,

    The fact that you talk endlessly about the Church is one proof to me, that God exists. Glad to see that you are interested in God, and what He is about. Keep thinking, talking up God, and thanks for you good work in promoting His existence.

    We talk a lot about religion here because it has invaded every aspect of life,is proxy to a lot of killing and suffering,is means to brainwashing children,and supports a 2000 year old bronze age mythology that is holding mankind back.

    Thats why we talk about it.

    Enough with SIWOTI,I have a cricket match to watch…

  265. #265 Rey Fox
    February 9, 2009

    “Why did you guys let Joe off so easy, comment #173? He’s a believer, and he made a succinct point.”

    He did? I thought he was just making a sad attempt at zinging us.

  266. #266 Ichthyic
    February 9, 2009

    Beep:

    did you notice the over-generalization in your link regarding the exclusivity issue?

    the “church” is hardly in agreement on it.

    kindergarten level education indeed.

    methinks you might like to graduate from kindergarten soon, and learn a bit about the actual state of Catholicism around the globe.

    Moreover, if you graduate from Catholic School, you might take a gander at the state of the larger protestant sects, which also have had recent schisms regarding the issue of exclusivity.

    See, e.g., the Lutheran Church.

    It’s nice to play smorgasbord with your religion, justify all those little rationalizations in your head, eh?

    It’s the American Way!

    seriously, you should try atheism, it’s so much simpler.

  267. #267 Stephen Wells
    February 9, 2009

    @230: Yes, I’ve heard Martin Rees give a lecture in which he said that there are two and a half facts in cosmology, and one of them is “the night sky is dark”. This means that the universe is finite in time or space or both; otherwise all sight lines end on a star.

  268. #268 melior
    February 9, 2009

    Anne said:

    Meanness usually gets to me, you know … but the Pharyngula followers are SO outrageously disrespectful of others’ views

    After you’ve been here a bit longer you’ll notice the disrespect is carefully titrated to be proportional to the vapidity of the views. Refreshing, I agree!

  269. #269 Ichthyic
    February 9, 2009

    What’s your problem as well?

    you ‘correcting’ what in essence is quite a legitimate position of various branches/sects within the larger CC.

    I’ve been quite nice

    irrelevant,

    I haven’t tried to convert anybody

    laughable.

    I haven’t come up with any dipshit proofs for God(s.)

    nobody asked you too.

    And I’ve very gently corrected an error here that seems to have been reinforced by one of your own (Zeno.)

    oops, now there lies the rub; you have only created a new error of your own.

    Moreover, that you perceive this as an attack should concern YOU, not us.

  270. #270 'Tis Himself
    February 9, 2009

    there are two and a half facts in cosmology, and one of them is “the night sky is dark”

    I’ve always been rather fond of Olbers’ Paradox because the same question came to me one night.

  271. #271 Wowbagger
    February 9, 2009

    The fact that you talk endlessly about the Church is one proof to me, that God exists. Glad to see that you are interested in God, and what He is about. Keep thinking, talking up God, and thanks for you good work in promoting His existence.

    Hmm, I wonder if this is on the list of 600 (or whatever it’s at now) proofs for God’s existence – atheists talk about God; ergo, God exists.

  272. #272 Dan J
    February 9, 2009

    Hmm, I wonder if this is on the list of 600 (or whatever it’s at now) proofs for God’s existence – atheists talk about God; ergo, God exists.

    Dang, they got us again. All this time we’ve been spending talking about the lack of evidence for their sky-fairy, we’ve actually been lending credence to its existence. Quick, let’s start talking about our resurging economy!

  273. #273 Beep
    February 9, 2009

    Ichythic:

    *Boing*

    The Katolik church has a thing called dogma. Either you believe it hook, line, and sinker, and are a Katolik, or you don’t.

    Protestants, of all varieties, have zero pertinence as to whether or not the Catholic Church by default condemns non Catholics to hell.

    As for the rationalizations, if the Church said “all good Hindus go to hell,” it would depress me, but I’d believe it anyway. And I’d be a big pain in the ass street preacher.

    As for hell being co-opted (or souls, Christmas Trees, easter, Holy Communion, etc) this has nothing to do with the question of whether or not the Catholic Church teaches that non-Catholics by default go to hell.

    And yes, I have a little new convert juice in me. Perhaps it will get squeezed, but not by disinformation or petty insults.

    Cheers
    Beep

  274. #274 Blue Fielder
    February 9, 2009

    The fact that you talk endlessly about the Church is one proof to me, that God exists. Glad to see that you are interested in God, and what He is about.

    You really are nothing more than a series of outdated tropes, aren’t you?

    Okay, genius: Since I play the Pokemon games for hours at a time and discuss it with the like-mided, therefore Pokemon are real. Ickso fatso.

  275. #275 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2009

    Yawn, Beep, show your physical evidence for god. YAWN, you godbot trolls are such bores, but think you are clever. We know better.

  276. #276 Stephen Wells
    February 9, 2009

    @beep: seriously, you believe whatever the Church tells you?

    Wow. Just wow. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?

  277. #277 Dan J
    February 9, 2009

    And yes, I have a little new convert juice in me. Perhaps it will get squeezed, but not by disinformation or petty insults.

    But in our opinion (speaking generally here) disinformation is what got you converted in the first place.

    (I’m a recovering mackerel-snapper… ’til I can get an excommunication)

  278. #278 AnthonyK
    February 9, 2009

    But surely we’ve known that god doesn’t really exist for at least 200 years!
    And you guys are still arguing over it?
    Sheesh!

  279. #279 Ichthyic
    February 9, 2009

    Either you believe it hook, line, and sinker, and are a Katolik, or you don’t.

    tell it to the Vatican, which is currently having a huge problem keep American Catlicks “in line”.

    funny, they aren’t talking about excommunication for the more progressive catlick sects in america…

    wonder why that is?

    you mean… you don’t know?

    shocker.

    I feel very justified in insulting you for your ignorance of your own self-proclaimed religion. Or perhaps I feel justified insulting you for your arrogance in thinking that the little you do know of Catholicism was sufficient to correct “disinformation”, and linking to a sponsored site that presents the issue in such an overgeneralized and simplistic fashion as could be regarded “disinformation” in its own right.

    be that as it may, you at least should be aware that there are VERY large sects within Catholicism that are non-inclusive, as there are within many of the larger protestant sects as well.

  280. #280 mayhempix
    February 9, 2009

    Ann wrote in her blog:

    ” ‘I believe in God, and I believe in evolution,’ puts me in a group of people that doesn?t get much air time in the mainstream media or the blogosphere. The atheists might say I?m no better than a fundamentalist Christian; a small step away from witchcraft in the world of woo-woo. The hardest-core Christians tell me I?m actually more like an atheist as far as they?re concerned, a non-believer. Too often, the middle doesn?t seem to be good enough for either camp.
    Am I actually part of a silent majority? If so, I think it?s high time we speak out, because I think our society needs us.”

    Ann, please explain why being a scientist who prays to some form of god is something our society needs. I request this with no snark or sarcasm. But as far as I can tell it all comes down to the unproven perception that a foot in both camps will somehow bring the world together. As you can tell most of us who comment on Pharyngula believe the world would be much better off without belief in the supernatural. I would think as a scientist you too would be skeptical of anything you can’t document with physical or mathematical evidence and not project spiritual feelings and emotions onto an invisible exterior entity.

  281. #281 beep
    February 9, 2009

    Posted by: Ichthyic | February 9, 2009 9:50 PM
    What’s your problem as well?
    you ‘correcting’ what in essence is quite a legitimate position of various branches/sects within the larger CC.

    There aren’t any branches or sects within the CC. Again, fundamental misunderstanding of the CC. Either you believe fully in the dogma of the CC, or you don’t. If you don’t, you ain’t Catholic.

    “oops, now there lies the rub; you have only created a new error of your own.
    Moreover, that you perceive this as an attack should concern YOU, not us.”

    As the first part is simply another revolution of your own circular (and ill-informed) logic, I’ll comment on the second.

    As for the the first part of the second part, I created no error. See above.

    As for the second part of the second part, I think it should concern you that you consider yourself an us.

    Cheers
    Beep

  282. #282 Zarquon
    February 9, 2009

    Catholics only wish they could be this crazy.

  283. #283 Wowbagger
    February 9, 2009

    The Katolik church has a thing called dogma. Either you believe it hook, line, and sinker, and are a Katolik, or you don’t.

    So you’re saying that Catholics are like fish – unfortunate creatures sucked in by a tempting bait and then hooked; dragged out of the water to be gutted, filleted and devoured by other creatures preying on their weakness and gullibility.

    I can’t argue with that – it’s spot-on. But you should specify that the fisherpeople in this case are using lures or flies and not actual bait. Because actual bait would imply there was at least something worth trying for.

    Maybe you should hope for catch-and-release.

  284. #284 mayhempix
    February 9, 2009

    Holbach
    “I make fifty million a year as an exorcist…”

    That won’t go very far in eternity.

  285. #285 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2009

    Still no evidence, just blather. What a bore.

  286. #286 Dan J
    February 9, 2009

    Either you believe fully in the dogma of the CC, or you don’t. If you don’t, you ain’t Catholic.

    Well, if that’s the case, then the RCC has been waaaaaaaaayyyyy over-stating their numbers in this country for years.

    Face it: They’ve failed, and they’re fading. People move on. Culture moves on. I’d no sooner attend a Catholic Mass than a Mithraic invocation. Let’s all hope the former is soon to be as easily found as the latter.

  287. #287 Feynmaniac
    February 9, 2009

    Anne,

    I’m curious. Why did you guys let Joe off so easy, comment #173? He’s a believer, and he made a succinct point.

    It’s probably because people were distracted by ZR and beep. Also, if we were to read and respond to every comment we’d have to leave school and/or quit our jobs. Some comments are just not worthy of a response.

    Joe did make a point, albeit unintentionally:

    You spend more time thinking about Catholic Doctrine, than most Catholics do

    The more time you actually spend thinking about Catholicism, or religion in general, the more likely you are to become an atheist. I was raised in a religious home and have been here for over a year. This crowd seems to know their bible better than the average Christian does. Maybe many believers realize subconsciously that if they actually read their “Holy Book” (if you believe it’s the word of the creator of the universe, why would you not read all of it, but finish garbage like the Da Vinci Code ?) they’ll find uncomfortable truths.

    He also added:

    The fact that you talk endlessly about the Church is one proof to me, that God exists.

    People talk about Stars Wars endlessly, but that doesn’t make it a documentary.

    Quite frankly, people were probably right to not to respond to him.

  288. #288 SC, OM
    February 9, 2009

    From catholic.com:

    Salvation outside the Church

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church, following historic Christian theology since the time of the early Church Fathers, refers to the Catholic Church as “the universal sacrament of salvation” (CCC 774?776), and states: “The Church in this world is the sacrament of salvation, the sign and the instrument of the communion of God and men” (CCC 780).

    Many people misunderstand the nature of this teaching.

    Indifferentists, going to one extreme, claim that it makes no difference what church one belongs to. Certain radical traditionalists, going to the other extreme, claim that unless one is a full-fledged, baptized member of the Catholic Church, one will be damned.

    The following quotations from the Church Fathers give the straight story. They show that the early Church held the same position on this as the contemporary Church does [of course it did]?that is, while it is normatively necessary to be a Catholic to be saved (see CCC 846; Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 14), there are exceptions, and it is possible in some circumstances for people to be saved who have not been fully initiated into the Catholic Church (CCC 847).

    Notice that the same Fathers who declare the normative necessity of being Catholic also declare the possibility of salvation for some who are not Catholics.

    These can be saved by what later came to be known as “baptism of blood” or ” baptism of desire” (for more on this subject, see the Fathers Know Best tract, The Necessity of Baptism).

    The Fathers likewise affirm the possibility of salvation for those who lived before Christ and who were not part of Israel, the Old Testament People of God.

    However, for those who knowingly and deliberately (that is, not out of innocent ignorance) commit the sins of heresy (rejecting divinely revealed doctrine) or schism (separating from the Catholic Church and/or joining a schismatic church), no salvation would be possible until they repented and returned to live in Catholic unity…

  289. #289 Wowbagger
    February 9, 2009

    I’m wondering why Piltdown hasn’t shown up yet. His papist-sense should be tingling by now.

    Zarquon, #282 – what a fucking scumbag. This once again shows there are no depths to which a religious person will not stoop to lie for Jesus. If I were near this guy and he was spouting this nonsense to the survivors I wouldn’t take a swing at him myself – but I wouldn’t struggle too hard to stop anyone else who did.

  290. #290 AnthonyK
    February 9, 2009

    Hmmm, Ann you seem to be getting a hard time here. I don’t see it as wrong for Christians to come and post here, but a lot of folks here are very hostile to religion, often for very good reason.
    And I think it’s a stinking pile of shit myself.
    Here’s a tip. Come here and be interesting. You obviously are a nature nut – an expert, even. So why not talk about that? There’s plenty about the wonder of the world that we atheists adore – plenty of awe and wonder.
    But if you want to get torn apart, share your religious views. If you do, you’ll leave with the impression that people here are vicious anti-religiots. And you would be right, partly.

  291. #291 Ichthyic
    February 9, 2009

    There aren’t any branches or sects within the CC.

    you’re living in a dreamworld, kid.

    If you think the entire CC moves in lockstep, you best tell it to the Pope, like I said earlier, ’cause he’s been handing down edicts left and right trying to get those wacky American progressives under control.

    you have MUCH to learn.

    As for the the first part of the second part, I created no error.

    yes, you did. There are indeed a great number of Catholics who still think that inclusivity is a bastardization of Catholicism. Moreover, you continue to make errors, mostly due to ignorance of how Catholicism actually functions in the real world. Did you even read the article you linked to? do you understand WHY more recent popes have pushed for inclusivity?

    I’m guessing not.

    If you care, you should look more at the history and current status of the practice of Catholicism in Europe vs. the US for a start. You might discover why the similar schisms in Protestantism are entirely relevant.

    or not.

    what was it you projected earlier?

    “remain ignorant, whatever.”

    just so.

  292. #292 'Tis Himself
    February 9, 2009

    Quite frankly, people were probably right to not to respond to him.

    Especially since he’s a drive-by troll.

  293. #293 Kagato
    February 9, 2009

    If good people who have never heard God’s testimony don’t go to hell, then boy, how horrible are missionaries? They go out and actively send condemn people to hell!

    Their victims would have been automatically saved, if only they hadn’t gone out and actively given them the opportunity to reject scripture…

  294. #294 Beep
    February 9, 2009

    Ugh.

    Nerd of Redhead:
    So you think it’s fine to spread untruths about something that you don’t believe in… Interesting. And terrifying.

    Dan J:
    Thanks for adding nothing to the conversation.

    Stephan Wells:
    See above. With a caveat: I start from belief, and try to move toward understanding. I don’t find that shameful at all. If at some point I find some dogma that is irreconcilable with (x) I will deal with it accordingly. As of yet, I haven’t. Sorry that disturbs you.

    Icythic:
    The site did a relatively good job of laying out the Catholic dogma from a non-Catholic perspective. I was trying to be inclusive. If that doesn’t do it for ya, that’s ok.

    As for Catholic’s getting out of line, or into line, or cutting in line through indulgences, or doing lines, or lining up, or being lined up, or anything else, you’ve ignored my fundamental point, and the fundamental dogma of the Church. You can do that as you see fit, but it doesn’t change the dogma. The Church has never handed out wholesale excommunications on a Nation level. (And please don’t spout off about the Inquisition.) And: the Church is plenty wealthy to cut Her losses in the US if She felt like it.

    Where you see greed, I see compassion. Where you see hypocrisy, I see hope. Where you see strife, I see a chance for unity.

    Best wishes to you all,
    Beep

  295. #295 Charlie Foxtrot
    February 9, 2009

    Catholics only wish they could be this crazy.

    Speechless. Enraged. Amused. Disbelief.

    I can only hope the Australian media hangs this clown out to dry! The language used in coverage by the SMH is a promising start:

    The Catch the Fire Ministries has tried to blame the bushfires disaster on laws decriminalising abortion in Victoria.

    Asked by the Herald if he did not believe most Australians would regard his remarks as being in appallingly bad taste, he said today: “I must tell people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.”

    Asked if he believed in a God who would take vengeance by killing so many people indiscriminately – even those who opposed abortion, Mr Nalliah referred to 2 Chronicles 7:14 to vouch for his assertion that God could withdraw his protection from a nation.

    “tried to blame”
    “appallingly bad taste”
    “killing so many people indiscriminately”

    At least the journo in this case seems to have a grip on reality.

  296. #296 Richard Simons
    February 9, 2009

    I wish I had been a fly on the wall when they were discussing the re-introduction of indulgences. Did they justify it to themselves in terms of theology? How did they come to a suitable exchange rate for actions and time off (or has it been left to individual priests to establish)? I find the idea of grown men having a discussion on this matter to be so bizarre.

  297. #297 'Tis Himself
    February 9, 2009

    There aren’t any branches or sects within the CC.

    The Society of St. Pius X is a branch that was tittering on excommunication until just recently. The American progressives are in danger of being pushed out. While Opus Dei is a cult.

  298. #298 Ichthyic
    February 9, 2009

    If at some point I find some dogma that is irreconcilable with (x) I will deal with it accordingly.

    and you call yourself a catlick?

    oh wait, the denial, the ignorance, the hypocrisy, the ability to pick and choose dogma at will…

    I take it back, you’re a catlick alrighty.

    LOL

  299. #299 Ichthyic
    February 9, 2009

    the Church is plenty wealthy to cut Her losses in the US if She felt like it.

    ROFLMAO.

    reread:

    do you know why latter popes have pushed the inclusivity position?

    You really, really don’t, do you?

  300. #300 Wowbagger
    February 9, 2009

    Where you see greed, I see compassion. Where you see hypocrisy, I see hope. Where you see strife, I see a chance for unity.

    This is why I never underestimate the power of denial.

  301. #301 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2009

    Anne, AnthonyK made a good point. There are quite a few believers here who post regularly. But they don’t usually make any big deal of their religion in their posts. We even have Scott Hatfield, a believer, who got one of the first Mollies. So you can be a believer and be respected. There is a difference between saying “I believe in god, but it’s personal”, and saying “I believe in god, therefore you must believe too”. The former is fine.

  302. #302 Dan J
    February 9, 2009

    Dan J:
    Thanks for adding nothing to the conversation.

    Oh, you’re quite welcome. You’re still deluded, misinformed, and dangerously unaware. Oh, and yes, that’s an ad hominem attack.

    I start from belief, and try to move toward understanding.

    Yes, and that’s where you’ve got the cart before the horse. Belief. Faith. How about something along the lines of evidence, as has been requested several times? Otherwise, you’re just exemplifying willful ignorance.

  303. #303 SC, OM
    February 9, 2009

    I haven’t come up with any dipshit proofs for God(s.)

    Now that you mention it, though, what is your evidence for your god’s existence? Seems to me that in order to go through the whole process of converting to Catholicism, one would have to believe (s)he has strong evidence for at least that deity’s existence. It will necessarily be a dipshit proof we’ve all heard before – that goes without saying – but now I’m curious.

  304. #304 FrodoSaves
    February 9, 2009

    When that happens, we’ll have to go through another 30 Years War, and once was enough.

    I’m still smarting over the last Treaty of Westphalia.

  305. #305 Dahan
    February 9, 2009

    ZR really was boring.

    Just a little more creativity would be nice. Since he didn’t have that and seemed to be going for the ultimate cliche instead, I wish he’d brought up Pascal’s wager and pygmies and Dwarves…

  306. #306 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 9, 2009

    Jebus fucking christ.

    Who left the door open? Someone has been shitting all over the floor.

    It’s a mess in here.

  307. #307 'Tis Himself
    February 9, 2009

    Where you see greed, I see compassion. Where you see hypocrisy, I see hope. Where you see strife, I see a chance for unity.

    What’s the good side to covering up priestly pedophilia?

  308. #308 Dan J
    February 9, 2009

    Who left the door open? Someone has been shitting all over the floor.

    Yeah, but it was fun watching the poop fly!

  309. #309 Dust
    February 9, 2009

    When Dust was a wee child in Catholic grade school, her child’s mind understood the concept that to get to heaven, one must “be good.” However, this humble concept was shattered forever one afternoon in class durning our religious training when the class teacher, a nun, dropped the bombshell that Protestants could not go to heaven, ever, no matter how good they may have been in life. They aren’t Catholics and that was that.

    Even now, I would not care to argue that point with the mean as snake Sister Leontina (a true battle axe for Jebus.)

    I will however, have her to thank for sowing the first tiny seeds of bewilderment and doubt that blossomed into atheism.

  310. #310 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2009

    Boy what boring trolls. Beep, your god doesn’t exist until you prove its existence, which you have avoided to date. Almost like you know there is no physical evidence for your alleged deity. Meanwhile, without a god your bible is fiction, which makes your dogma even worse fiction. But that goes without saying. Time to put up or shut up.

  311. #311 Sparkomatic
    February 9, 2009

    Zarquon

    Is it really so shocking? Fred Phelps claimed New Orleans was wiped out because of tolerance for homosexuals…Their god seems like kind of a vindictive prick if you ask me.

  312. #312 beep
    February 9, 2009

    Ichthyic:

    Last time around.

    I’m not claiming that there aren’t divisions over dogma. I’m stating, simply and factually, that those who disagree with the written, set-in-stone dogma of the Church are out of line, Furthermore, this dogma is unchanged and unchanging, outside of periodic codifications.

    I’m not interested in Traditionalists any more than I am in women priests. I am no more concerned with calls for the pope to resign than I am for calls for him to reveal the final fatima secret. You presume that a breadth of knowledge arms you with more truth than I have. Mine is very simple. Just as a dog is not a cat, a Catholic is not a Catholic if they deny essential dogma. Whether or not the Church exercises tolerance of incompatible views is not-quite-irrelevant (as the Church itself can and has made mistakes) but the essential nature of being Catholic, by very definition, is one of unity. There are of course differences in tradition. Those are good. But if one fully, in full understanding, deny fundamental dogma, then you’ve stopped being a Catholic (by definition of heresy.) Schism, apostasy, heresy are outside of my concern presently. They seem to be high on yours. Perhaps in them you see chinks in what I see as an ineffable and eternal structure. I’m not disagreeing with you. It’s fundamentally simple: the very nature of the code, the genetic makeup, the algorithm of the Church disagrees as fundamentally as 2+2=4.

    IMHO

  313. #313 Ryogam
    February 9, 2009

    Beep,

    What is the current church’s position regarding Confession?

    When I was a kid, we were taught that you could never go to heaven if you had any sins unforgiven. You had to go to the priest, confess your sins and do your penance/acts of contrition. Usually a couple dozen Hail Mary’s cured most of our sins, being mostly using the Lord’s name in vain and disrespecting the parents. “Go and sin no more” the priest would say. And we’d be right back the next week or month or whatever, with brand new sins to confess. And, of course, at the end of your life it was of vital importance to to call the priest to do the Last Rites, in order to clear those sins that you accumulated between the time of your last confession and the Last Rites.

    It wasn’t totally as bad as it sounds, as we figured a quick “Forgive me Father, for I have sinned,” spoken in our minds right before we died would do the trick, if a priest wasn’t available. We had a joke about how many seconds you needed to have right before you snuffed it in order to save your soul. We figured 3 seconds, which was not enough if you took a header off a nearby cliff onto a rock instead of the water. We had actual discussions about it in our church youth group. Good times.

    Anyway, as I said, you had to take part in these sacraments in order to ensure that you got to heaven. But we were taught that no other religion offers these Sacraments in the proper manner, so the way to heaven was closed to them. What are the teaching nowadays?

  314. #314 Wowbagger
    February 9, 2009

    Seems to me that in order to go through the whole process of converting to Catholicism, one would have to believe (s)he has strong evidence for at least that deity’s existence.

    Did beep specify if he converted to Catholicism from atheism? Or was he some other sort of Christian first and is engaging in a bit of sect-shifting? That latter would make a bit more sense, especially if he’d been woo-addled right from the start.

    That anyone would choose Catholicism straight off the bat is just disturbing.

  315. #315 Dan J
    February 9, 2009

    Just as a dog is not a cat, a Catholic is not a Catholic if they deny essential dogma.

    So why won’t they give me an excommunication? Can it be that tough? I want off the membership rolls!

  316. #316 Twin-Skies
    February 9, 2009

    I recall my priest-proffs had serious issues with the Catholic Churches’ past use of indulgences, or more specifically how they percieved it as a form of bribery.

    I agree with them wholeheartedly in saying I see indulgences as nothing more than institutionalized bribery – it’s horrid, exploitive, and the dumbasses who pushed for its reinstatement deserve to be ridiculed and scorned.

  317. #317 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    mayhempix @284

    Ha! Where to go?

  318. #318 Dahan
    February 9, 2009

    “So why won’t they give me an excommunication? Can it be that tough? I want off the membership rolls!”

    I had to call up my old Seveth-Day Adventist church of 15 years ago to request to be taken off their books. Then they had to take it to the elders to consider, then have a church vote on it. Amazing. Like what they vote changes whether I’m part of their silliness.

  319. #319 xebecs
    February 9, 2009

    I think we can use a bit of Bayesian logic on little old ZR.

    How many brain surgeons are there in the world? Maybe 100,000? Certainly less than one million. And yet someone who claims to be one shows up on our doorstep.

    Another angle: what are the two most common stereotypical “smart” jobs? Rocket scientist and brain surgeon. So someone who wants to prove intelligence but has no true credentials or merit names one or the other.

    No, ZR is just the angry little wannabe who finds a high stakes game and pisses on the door because the muscle won’t let him in.

  320. #320 SC, OM
    February 9, 2009

    Yes, Galileo, Crusades, Inquisition, Pedophiles. Now back to the topic at hand:

    The Catholic Church does not defacto condemn those of other faiths (or unfaiths) to hell.

    This slays me. …, causing the deaths of millions of people by keeping condoms from them, centuries of oppression of women, participation in the Rwandan genocide, concordats with the bloodiest regimes of the past century,… What is hell? But beep can’t be bothered with all that – he knows the arcana of Catholic dogma is what’s important. And anyway, where we might see inhumanity, beep sees perhaps regrettable errors which do nothing to mar the wondrousness of his Church.

  321. #321 cicely
    February 9, 2009

    On the subject of the RCC and damnation of non-Catholics, I think beep may be talking about something like this, quoted from the Wikipedia article, here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_church

    “Although the Church maintains that it is the “one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church” founded by Jesus Christ, where one can find the fullness of the means of salvation,[25][26] it acknowledges that the Holy Spirit can make use of other Christian communities to bring people to salvation.[27][28]”

    Not an endorsement, just an observation.

  322. #322 BJN
    February 9, 2009

    An apologist commenting on the NYT article wrote. “Who is in a position to second guess the practices and authority of Rome?”

    I am.

    And so is every thinking individual on the planet.

    I was indoctrinated to Catholicism until third grade with parochial school, nuns, Latin mass, incense, ashes and the whole nine yards of “mystery”. I happily abandoned the whole masturbatory cycle of dogmatic irrationality in defense of the irrational and indefensible. The baroque nonsense of purgatory, confession, and the byzantine bureaucracy of punishment is literally nauseating to recall.

    I feel sorry for an intelligent mind trapped in dark age fantasy, and a little scared.

  323. #323 beep
    February 9, 2009

    Well, I don’t have any particular proof for God.

    What I had were a series of epiphanies, none of which I will claim are original, but which I do think are profound. And which kicked my ass into the pew.

    I came to believe that

    #1. I, and the rest of humanity were of no more value or importance than cockroaches. That free will was an illusion, that my existence was driven by a series of chemical reactions, a set of algorithms that I was no more in control of than a bacterium. From there, then, a cousin: that my consciousness was trapped in meat. (A la the great science fiction story, Meat.)

    #2. Time was non-linear. And that our brain just pieces it together.

    #3. Which relates to both above: That existence had no essential meaning, outside of a completely tragic and (paradoxically, in regards to both 1 and 2) fabricated construct.

    I’m sure you all have good reasons to find hope in what I see (without God) as a completely hopeless universe. That you are resigned to the eventual precession of the mortal coil to dust. I found it impossible to continue to exist that way.

    Beep

  324. #324 beep
    February 9, 2009

    SC,OM

    Millions dies in the Inquisition and the Crusades?

    News to me! And to history.

    Read some books. Or some wikipedia. They are your friends.

  325. #325 Lurkbot
    February 9, 2009

    Sign me up with those who disbelieve in ZR’s bona fides as a brain surgeon. With the possible exception of Facilis, he’s the stupidest waste of time I’ve seen on here.

    One thing I won’t stand for though: Godbotting and inane arguments, ignorance and insanity, meh. Par for the course. One thing I won’t tolerate is insulting Janeane Garofalo; she’s number 1 on my freebie list! (Plus the way he spelled her name is additional proof he’s no brain surgeon. Brain surgery recipient, maybe.)

  326. #326 beep
    February 9, 2009

    Must go eat fried chicken, so bid you all adieu.

    Ryogam:
    I go to confession. Plenty don’t. You’re supposed to. I wish they offered more opportunities. I find it quite soothing.

    Wowbagger:
    I was mostly an agnostic with competing atheist and deist tendencies. It makes sense to become a Catholic post-atheism, as they are polar opposites.

  327. #327 Wowbagger
    February 9, 2009

    beep,

    Maybe you should actually read what SC wrote, which was this – emphasis mine:

    This slays me. …, causing the deaths of millions of people by keeping condoms from them, centuries of oppression of women, participation in the Rwandan genocide, concordats with the bloodiest regimes of the past century

    Where, exactly, did SC say that the millions died specifically from the Crusades and the Inquisition? Reading for comprehension is your friend. No wonder so many people are schooling you on your religion.

  328. #328 SC, OM
    February 9, 2009

    Millions dies in the Inquisition and the Crusades?

    I wrote that?

    News to me! And everyone else here.

    Read this thread. Peabrain.

  329. #329 Dan J
    February 10, 2009

    Millions dies in the Inquisition and the Crusades?

    News to me! And to history.

    Read some books. Or some wikipedia. They are your friends.

    Depends on whose data you’re going to use and/or refute. If you count all of the crusades, and the deaths due to starvation, plague, etc., in addition to those by battle, the estimates range from about 1 to 9 million. The various Inquisitions probably total less than 100000 deaths.

  330. #330 Dahan
    February 10, 2009

    How many died in the name of what? I love the old “body count” logic! Who’s got the biggest pile? Christianity? Islam? Atheism? Something else? Was it done in the name of said belief? Maybe domestic abuse? Should we go by percentage over the history of the planet? What if we go by percentage that were alive on the planet at the time? Can we take into account the weapons of mass destruction available at the time? Where, oh where will it end?

    BTW the Crusades killed about 8 to 9 million people. This at a time when there were 300 or so million alive on Earth. So somewhere around 1/35th of those alive at the time. Population when Stalin was alive? About 2.3 Billion. Assuming the numbers are correct and Stalin killed 20 million then he killed 1/115th the population of the world. Who’s the bigger killer? What a stupid game you play.

    It seems obvious morality doesn’t come from religion, or at least doesn’t have to. It also seems that theists are just as bloody if not more. Got it?

  331. #331 Dahan
    February 10, 2009

    BTW,

    My numbers on the Crusades come from scholars who have also taken into account the deaths of civilians due to destruction of crops, collateral damage, lack of water, disease, etc.
    Since Stalin’s numbers always are inflated by these things, I thought it only apropriate that I do the same here.
    Actual number of soldiers killed, probably only 50 or 60 thousand. War hawks never like to count the civilians though.

  332. #332 Twin-Skies
    February 10, 2009

    @beep
    Whatever floats your boat, dude. Funny thing is I left the RCC for exactly the same reasons as you – I felt its dogma was nothing more than an outdated set of doctrines and rules that did little to uplift the human condition.

    If it did preach about charity, it was often merely an means to an end, that ends being personal salvation. How utterly selfish don’t you think? That we are pushed to do the right thing just because we’re to be rewarded?

    These days I consider myself a deist, but don’t tell anybody that.

  333. #333 Dahan
    February 10, 2009

    OK, last note, I meant 50 to 60 thousand soldiers in the First Crusade alone. I really need to proof read my stuff before sending more often.

  334. #334 Wowbagger
    February 10, 2009

    What about when Christians killed something like 600,000 US soldiers during the US Civil War?

    If you’re confused, look at it this way: the US population at that time would have been nearly 100% Christian, and the figure given for both sides’ combined losses during the war is a little over 600,000 – therefore, Christians killed around 600,000 US soldiers during the civil war.

    Are statistics great or what?

  335. #335 Dan J
    February 10, 2009

    OK, last note, I meant 50 to 60 thousand soldiers in the First Crusade alone. I really need to proof read my stuff before sending more often.

    LOL! Not often easy to do in the comments section. Again and again, though, we see that the history books were written by the victors.

    I think a better way to look at is is that ideology killed those people, as also with Hitler, Stalin, etc. The RCC likes to paint themselves as martyrs and benefactors. Granted, I know many wonderful Catholics (and I’m related to a lot of them), but the organization behind it is ruthless.

  336. #336 Beep
    February 10, 2009

    SC,OM
    Sorry i didn’t read your reply. I assumed you were responding to what I wrote, and not injecting a whole new bag of BS. Based on the quality and tenor of your other posts, I should have just ignored you entirely.

    Again, apologies.

    Now, please back up your “millions dead from keeping condoms from them.”

  337. #337 clinteas
    February 10, 2009

    Since the cricket is boring….

    @ 301,

    You’re still deluded, misinformed, and dangerously unaware. Oh, and yes, that’s an ad hominem attack.

    No it isnt.Its an insult.Read up on those terms before you use them,if youre not sure what they mean.

    And is this beep creep complaining that the Crusades didt kill enough people? I dont get it.

  338. #338 Wowbagger
    February 10, 2009

    beep wrote:

    Now, please back up your “millions dead from keeping condoms from them.”

    I thought you said Wikipedia was our friend? Perhaps you two haven’t been in touch lately. Here is the page you want.

    You’re really bad at this, aren’t you?

  339. #339 Dan J
    February 10, 2009

    No it isnt.Its an insult.Read up on those terms before you use them,if youre not sure what they mean.

    Oh spare me you pedantic bastard.

  340. #340 clinteas
    February 10, 2009

    beep @ 336,

    Now, please back up your “millions dead from keeping condoms from them.”

    Shut up moron,go and read,learn.

    http://www.avert.org/aafrica.htm

    http://www.sptimes.com/2003/10/12/Perspective/HIV_spreads_under_Bus.shtml

  341. #341 Kel
    February 10, 2009

    Some simple maths: There are over 20 million people with AIDS in Africa, and there are around 2 million new cases every year. The Catholic church has direct influence on about a quarter of the african population. By refusing to allow condom use, it only takes a couple of years for the catholic church to be facilitating 1 million new cases of AIDS each year. Condoms wouldn’t stop new cases, but they would go a way to prevent the spread. If the Catholic Church changed it’s policy, then surely it wouldn’t take much to limit the spread and thus the number of lives lost through the AIDS virus will lessen and the Catholic Church won’t be responsible any longer.

  342. #342 Rey Fox
    February 10, 2009

    “That you are resigned to the eventual precession of the mortal coil to dust.”

    Well yes, but there’s beer and sex and sunsets along the way, man!

  343. #343 Charlie Foxtrot
    February 10, 2009

    Well yes, but there’s beer and sex and sunsets along the way, man!

    Sometimes in that order as well!

  344. #344 Dan J
    February 10, 2009

    Well yes, but there’s beer and sex and sunsets along the way, man!

    That’s one thing that always gets me… If I was actually a member of one of these churches, I would not be able to find the time to get much done.. all the prayer and genuflecting etc., etc.; I just don’t know how they do it.

    Oh, and sorry, clinteas: not in the best of moods tonight. I retract my slur.

  345. #345 Wowbagger
    February 10, 2009

    If I was actually a member of one of these churches, I would not be able to find the time to get much done.. all the prayer and genuflecting etc., etc.; I just don’t know how they do it.

    thing is, as far as I can tell, most of them don’t live their lives any differently from atheists; apart from Church on a sunday they don’t pay any more attention to the ‘rules’ than we do. I’m fairly sure the greater proportion of religidiots are paying lip service to belief because of Pascal’s Wager and/or because that’s how they were raised, and the only difference it makes is which box they fill out on things like census forms.

    It’s just the fringe bunch of dimwits who turn up here to defend Jesus and the insane rubbish the churches put out.

  346. #346 clinteas
    February 10, 2009

    Dan_J,

    its ok,Ive got a headache myself,must be those stupid godbots here today…..
    That ZR fella was just bizarre.

  347. #347 Kagato
    February 10, 2009

    Beep@323:

    I came to believe that

    #1. I, and the rest of humanity were of no more value or importance than cockroaches. That free will was an illusion, that my existence was driven by a series of chemical reactions, a set of algorithms that I was no more in control of than a bacterium. From there, then, a cousin: that my consciousness was trapped in meat. (A la the great science fiction story, Meat.)

    #2. Time was non-linear. And that our brain just pieces it together.

    #3. Which relates to both above: That existence had no essential meaning, outside of a completely tragic and (paradoxically, in regards to both 1 and 2) fabricated construct.

    …therefore God?
    Sorry, you lost me.

    I’m sure you all have good reasons to find hope in what I see (without God) as a completely hopeless universe. That you are resigned to the eventual precession of the mortal coil to dust. I found it impossible to continue to exist that way.

    Oooh, right.

    So you did believe that before, didn’t like it, and just stopped believing it and stared believing Catholicism? Just like that?

    How do you do that?

    My take on your points:

    #1A: Reasonable enough. We don’t have any intrinsic value, only that which we ascribe to ourselves. But as a social species, we (should) have empathy to our fellow humans, and tend to value each other over other things.
    (To a varying degree, other animals too. I’ve got a theory that our empathy to animals mostly relates to their eyes — dog eyes seem to express similar emotions, so seem smart; whereas sheep eyes are different, and freak me out.)

    #1B: Consciousness as chemical reactions: true, though why does this preclude free will? That’s just the physical substrate your “software” runs on. Sure, some aspects of your personality aren’t willfully motivated (eg. you don’t choose who you find attractive), but it’s not like your actions are pre-ordained.

    #1C: Consciousness trapped in meat: Yep. Tough luck on that. Once the hardware fails, the software stops. You get one shot at life, so don’t waste it.

    #2: Huh? Everything that ever was or will be just exists, in some sort of big ball wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff; and we’re mentally assembling a sequence by consensus reality? Wherever did you get this idea — and how is it compatible with point 1?

    #3: Pretty much the same as 1A. “Fabricated”? Again, where does that come from, if you think (sorry, thought) it’s all meaningless?

    As Calvin (of “and Hobbes”) says: “It’s either mean or arbitrary”. If God does exist, he’s either completely hands-off (in which case he might as well not), or he’s actively cruel (in which case he does not deserve worship). I’m more inclined to think he’s not there at all.

  348. #348 ndt
    February 10, 2009

    OK, people, I’m only going to explain this one more time.

    It’s spelled “altar”. Two “a”s.

  349. #349 Zeno
    February 10, 2009

    ndt (#348) is right. There’s a big difference between “alter boys” and “altar boys”.

  350. #350 aleph
    February 10, 2009

    Hmmm. Looking at the bright side of this…

    Given that when indulgences were first intoduced they were a fiscal requirement to fund various godly activities such as genocide, oppression, crusades (redundant perhaps) and vatican hosted orgies with actual female prostitutes (yeah, i know!), this has a very positive implication. That being that the vatican’s elephantine vaults have not come through this ongoing financial crisis unscathed.

    Given that the last indulgence craze almost ended with the complete dissolution of the church itself, a re-introduction indicates that the god-bothering balance sheet must be in very poor shape indeed.
    Shame we’ll never see it.

    I will pause until the cheering subsides.

    (apologies if this is a repeat, but markets are open)

  351. #351 Ichthyic
    February 10, 2009

    beep spewed irrationality thusly:

    that those who disagree with the written, set-in-stone dogma of the Church are out of line, Furthermore, this dogma is unchanged and unchanging, outside of periodic codifications.

    translation:

    “dogma is unchanged and unchanging, except during the times when it has changed and will be changed. those that disagree will be excommunicated without actually being excommunicated.”

    fucking moron in denial, nothing more.

    you belong with the catlicks alrighty. You made a fine choice.

    what a waste of human life.

  352. #352 Ichthyic
    February 10, 2009

    I go to confession. Plenty don’t. You’re supposed to. I wish they offered more opportunities. I find it quite soothing.

    “Far away across the field
    The tolling of the iron bell
    Calls the faithful to their knees
    To hear the softly spoken magic spells.”

  353. #353 Ichthyic
    February 10, 2009

    I found it impossible to continue to exist that way.

    LOL

    yes, living in a fantasy world of rampant unsupported speculation is difficult to pull off.

    …and so you became a catholic??

    ROFLMAO

  354. #354 clinteas
    February 10, 2009

    Ichty,

    you still have to learn a bit about your new country of residence mate.
    The Kiwis are currently playing Australia in a Cricket match in Adelaide,and it is your patriotic duty to watch !!

    Good to hear from you…;)

  355. #355 Wowbagger
    February 10, 2009

    Ichthyic,

    Props for the Pink Floyd reference. Makes me think I should dig out my copy of Dark Side of the Moon and crank it up.

  356. #356 KatieG
    February 10, 2009

    My mother told me a few weeks ago that, here in Scotland, they’ve been told a “substantial donation” can see that people never have to enter purgatory at all.

    They’re all crazy.

  357. #357 Porco Dio
    February 10, 2009

    PZ this post is so wonderfully packed with heresy i am not sure who to blaspheme next.

    thanks for the heads-up though about the indulgences… it was a shame they did away with them as they were soooooo useful for building pretty churches…

    and, i’m a little worried about my sentence so every little bit helps

  358. #358 Ichthyic
    February 10, 2009

    The Kiwis are currently playing Australia in a Cricket match in Adelaide,and it is your patriotic duty to watch !!

    I got sucked into watching Coronation Street instead. Call me when it’s rugby.

    :P

  359. #359 clinteas
    February 10, 2009

    I got sucked into watching Coronation Street instead

    *headdesk*

    ;)

  360. #360 Interrobang
    February 10, 2009

    I, and the rest of humanity were of no more value or importance than cockroaches. That free will was an illusion, that my existence was driven by a series of chemical reactions, a set of algorithms that I was no more in control of than a bacterium. From there, then, a cousin: that my consciousness was trapped in meat…

    I can’t imagine why this would bother you, or why you’d need to go rushing off to some bogus authority who supposedly knows better than you do what your own purpose should be. Don’t you, you know, have an imagination of your own, or do you really need outside agencies to run every single aspect of your life?

    Mind-blowing. I don’t subscribe to authoritarian belief structures and have a hard enough time obeying laws I think are unjust, simply because they are unjust; I can’t imagine letting someone else tell me what my purpose in life is. That’s my decision, and fuck anyone who tries to get in the way. They’re liable to wind up with an Interrobang-sized hole right through them.

  361. #361 Andyo
    February 10, 2009

    Posted by: Ichthyic | February 10, 2009 2:34 AM

    I found it impossible to continue to exist that way.

    LOL

    […]

    You had me at “LOL”.

  362. #362 aleph
    February 10, 2009

    “I got sucked into watching Coronation Street instead”

    given their performance against the Proteas that may have been the wiser choice.

  363. #363 Rey Fox
    February 10, 2009

    “They’re liable to wind up with an Interrobang-sized hole right through them.”

    How do you get the little dot on the bottom?

  364. #364 Jadehawk
    February 10, 2009

    oh man, since I decided to actually get some work done, I’ve been missing out on all the trall-stomping, so here’s my quick summary

    1)ZR is a teenager; after the brain surgeon, the hot wife, and the 1.2 mil income, I was kinda expecting a bright-red Ferrari/stately Mercedes Benz/Gold Plated SUV to be next

    2)Being scared shitless of your own mortality can do weird things to a person; some take up heroin, some take up religion, and some get cured of their suicidal depression (don’t laugh. I wanna see you try to off yourself when you’re actually scared of dying!)

    3)The thing with Catholicism and hell is actually an interesting story. There originally wasn’t one. the OT Sheol, and the NT Hades/Tartarus were “the unseen” and later “death and the absence of God” i.e. the cold dead grave (basically what we atheists expect anyway). Jesus’ resurrection was supposed to open the gates of heaven so that the followers could be in the presence of God after they died.
    The “carrot” of being with God after death apparently wasn’t enough, so the “stick” was introduced by the invention of Hell (basically Hades + Hephaistos’ Forge). The Church didn’t really think that one through tho, because all sorts of bugs started propping up; which is why we have this odd patchwork of Hell, Purgatory, Limbo, exceptions for those who’ve never heard the word of God etc. The RCC has never been able to get that shit sorted out properly.

  365. #365 Jadehawk
    February 10, 2009

    trall?

    I get the weirdest typos lately. Looks like I’m about ready to accept the title of Queen of Typos. I hope the Rev. won’t mind ;-)

  366. #366 Patricia, OM
    February 10, 2009

    beep – Well, I don’t have any particular proof for god.

    No shit. That’s the first sensible thing you’ve said.

  367. #367 Patricia, OM
    February 10, 2009

    Jadehawk – It’s that damned BigDumbChimp virus.

  368. #368 H.H.
    February 10, 2009

    Joe @ #173 blathered:

    As a Catholic, I am impressed with you folk. You spend more time thinking about Catholic Doctrine, than most Catholics do, in fact, apparently hours and hours spent endlessly mulling over theology, Popes, Church history, saints, and so on.

    Yes, it’s an amusing mythology. I probably wouldn’t pay it much mind except for the fact that there is such a preponderance of fellow citizens who take this superstition seriously.

    In contrast, one tires of these Catholics who show up half an hour late for Mass, and are ashamed to talk about their faith, or even hold a conversation with an atheist. Terrific job, Atheist folk.

    Well, thanks. But I’m not sure that the fact that many Catholics are careless, flippant and ashamed about what they claim to be the most important fact of human existence is entirely our doing. I think on some level they must understand how farcical their religion is.

    The fact that you talk endlessly about the Church is one proof to me, that God exists.

    It is, lol? Well, the fact that you think merely paying attention to the ridiculous antics of you and your church somehow makes your god real is proof to me that you don’t have a fucking clue what the word “proof” means, and so must have very low standards of evidence indeed.

    Glad to see that you are interested in God, and what He is about. Keep thinking, talking up God, and thanks for you good work in promoting His existence.

    Poor, confused, Joey. No, my lad, pointing out that there are no good reasons to presume god exists and several to presume he doesn’t is not “promoting his existence.” It is the opposite of that. Plenty of people like to discuss Harry Potter, but that doesn’t mean he’ll magically come alive. Don’t you recognize fiction when you see it?

  369. #369 Jadehawk
    February 10, 2009

    Jadehawk – It’s that damned BigDumbChimp virus.

    is there a vaccine? and does it last, or do I have to refresh it for every thread? or should I just resign myself to weirdass typos

  370. #370 Stephen Wells
    February 10, 2009

    I’m still confused as to beep’s thought processes. Apparently (1) he noticed that we are matter and (2) that makes him unhappy so (3) he’s decided to believe everything the Pope tell him. There is a largish gap between (2) and (3).

  371. #371 Kate
    February 10, 2009

    @ Stephen Wells #370:

    “There is a largish gap between (2) and (3).”

    Which is, I think, directly related to the largish gap between beep’s ears.

  372. #372 ConcernedJoe
    February 10, 2009

    Someday it has to strike intelligent, knowledgeable, sane people that all this god stuff originated in the imagination of primitive and very ignorant people, and that later the-powers-that-be codified and institutionalized it for their own controlling purposes.

    Yes there are strong powerful psychological needs to explain the unexplained and to visualize immortality. And yes there is a social component that is good in shared belief institutions. But someday sane, intelligent, knowledgeable people will have to become so embarrassed by it all that they slowly and quietly slink away from it – retreating to some minimalistic fallback position or becoming atheist.

    How can any reading and listening to this stuff in 2009 seem — well — not a fairytale or delusional ravings.

    Yup about 30% have enough “god gene” to override reason and yes leaders will fight tooth and nail to maintain their control mechanisms.. but really – how can a person outside those not be painfully red-faced embarrassed to say “I am adult, I am rational, I am free, I am educated, I am intelligent, yet I believe all this.”

  373. #373 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 10, 2009

    is there a vaccine? and does it last, or do I have to refresh it for every thread? or should I just resign myself to weirdass typos

    There doesn’t seem to be any cure. I doubt it is terminal however.

    I just drink more.

  374. #374 Valis
    February 10, 2009

    ConcernedJoe: The social and cultural pressure in favour of religion is extremely powerful. I doubt it will end any time soon (unfortunately). Take myself for example, I was raised to go to church six times a week, and I continued doing so for decades after leaving the parental home. I’ve been atheist for almost ten years, and my (75 year old) parents still don’t know I am atheist.

  375. #375 mayhempix
    February 10, 2009

    Apparently “Sensitive Ann” was so sensitive she couldn’t return and respond to any of the comments directed her way. Too bad. As an earnest young and possibly part time professional science writer (according to her blog) she could have earned a modicum of respect had she tried to engage us in a “spirited” well reasoned discussion given her understanding of at least part of the scientific process. Instead she chose to lay one and run.

  376. #376 Blodwin
    February 10, 2009

    bleeb @323 wrote:

    I came to believe that

    #1. I, and the rest of humanity were of no more value or importance than cockroaches. That free will was an illusion, that my existence was driven by a series of chemical reactions, a set of algorithms that I was no more in control of than a bacterium. From there, then, a cousin: that my consciousness was trapped in meat. (A la the great science fiction story, Meat.)

    #2. Time was non-linear. And that our brain just pieces it together.

    #3. Which relates to both above: That existence had no essential meaning, outside of a completely tragic and (paradoxically, in regards to both 1 and 2) fabricated construct.

    I’m sure you all have good reasons to find hope in what I see (without God) as a completely hopeless universe. That you are resigned to the eventual precession of the mortal coil to dust. I found it impossible to continue to exist that way.

    So, in other words, you embrace your religious beliefs because they make you feel more important, I can’t see anything else in that list. Fair enough, we all harbour some kinds of illusions about ourselves to help bolster our self-esteem, but do you honestly think that flattering your ego is a valid basis for claiming knowledge of fundamental truths about the nature of the universe? Are you realy that self-unaware?

    Oh, and a materialistic universe does not preclude free will, that’s a very basic philosophical misunderstanding which itself derives from the unspoken assumption that your thought processes are somehow seperate from the workings of the universe. Doesn’t matter if the universe is materialistic and whether or not it’s deterministic, it’s still “you” making the decisions in your life and how to lead it. In this case you are making the free will choice to ignore the balance of evidence in order to satisfy your ego. You could choose to be more honest if you wanted.

  377. #377 BrightonRocks
    February 10, 2009

    ZR, your first post at #20 was:

    Why do you even care what the Catholic Church teaches (sic). You guys are a bunch of knobs.

    You then followed this up 30 minutes later with the following at #51:

    I see hostility is a tenet of the Atheist FAITH.

    Is calling a group of people ?a bunch of knobs? as your first contribution to a thread not hostile?

    What a pathetic, hypocritical knob.

  378. #378 BernieM
    February 10, 2009

    Mayhempix:
    “Holbach
    “I make fifty million a year as an exorcist…”
    That won’t go very far in eternity.”

    Compound interest. Provided the interest rate is greater than zero, the returns are . . . infinite. Do the math.

  379. #379 Lee Picton
    February 10, 2009

    The social and cultural pressure in favour of religion is extremely powerful. I doubt it will end any time soon (unfortunately). Take myself for example, I was raised to go to church six times a week, and I continued doing so for decades after leaving the parental home. I’ve been atheist for almost ten years, and my (75 year old) parents still don’t know I am atheist.

    Six times a week? Wow. They really had their hooks into you didn’t they? And I thought my churchgoing was onerous because I had to go twice on Sunday (I was in the choir). And my father was THE PRIEST! I got to college, went once voluntarily to Sunday church (I gave up sleeping in for this?), never went again, and never looked back. I was atheist since I was seven, but when I suspected the fairy tale was what put food on our table, I went through the proper motions. The terrible irony is that about a year before he died, daddy said, “It’s all poppycock, you know.”
    That he was atheist himself explained a lot. His drinking, perhaps.
    So when are you going to tell your parents?

  380. #380 Mrs Tilton
    February 10, 2009

    ZR @60,

    I perform brain surgery among other things

    What you do to the unfortunate kittens you capture behind your mother’s house doesn’t really make your argument any stronger, you know.

    As long as you’re telling us about yourself, though, do you also wet your bed and set fires?

  381. #381 Mrs Tilton
    February 10, 2009

    ZR @126,

    You will also be lucky enough to never have to live in a world void of theism, because I guarantee that you eggheads would be the first to end up in a tight leather suit with a zipper on your mouth and a chain around your neck

    You have the details wrong. It’s not a leather suit, zipper and chain, but two rubber suits with a dildo up the arse and a noose around the neck. And it’s not atheists but Baptist reverends.

  382. #382 Tulse
    February 10, 2009

    I, and the rest of humanity were of no more value or importance than cockroaches.

    And no less that the entire galaxy. See, that’s the thing about a universe without intrinsic values — you determine your own value. So sure, think you’re a cockroach if you want, but there is nothing to prevent you from thinking you have the same value as the stars.

    Me, I value consciousness, and so I think this tiny bit of matter that can actually see and think about the rest of the universe is pretty darned important. And I think it is incredibly cool and deeply moving that I am literally made out of stardust, that the atoms that make me up were largely created inside suns and at their violent, massively explosive deaths. That makes me feel I have value in and connection to the universe, and that sense is every bit as valid and justifiable as your sense that you’re a cockroach.

    existence had no essential meaning, outside of a completely tragic and […] fabricated construct.

    So existence has no meaning — so what? You seem determined to imbue that fact itself with some deep meaning, calling it “tragic”. If there is no meaning to life, that fact itself is meaningless. If nothing intrinsically matters, then that fact itself doesn’t matter. You really need to read Thomas Nagel’s article The Absurd to get some perspective, and see how intrinsic “meaninglessness” is not some existential doom.

    In any case, how does having someone else tell you the meaning of your life make the situation any better? If you found out you had been created by extraterrestrials as a food source, would you celebrate that you had finally found the meaning to your life? If your parents demanded you be a doctor, would you feel that that was what you were obligated to do? How does having a god tell you what your life should be any different than these situations?

  383. #383 Knockgoats
    February 10, 2009

    Now that the president, who was elected because of white guilt,/I> – ZR

    How astonishing. ZR is not just a fuckwit, it’s a racist fuckwit.

  384. #384 Sam
    February 10, 2009

    Ah yes, that’s our ever-the-scientist PZ, always seeking out the most accurate sources for information.

    The NY Times on religion.

    Shall we now turn to Good Housekeeping magazine to get insights into the situation in the bond market?

    How about Christianity Today on the latest DNA research?

  385. #385 Tulse
    February 10, 2009

    Ah yes, that’s our ever-the-scientist PZ, always seeking out the most accurate sources for information.
    The NY Times on religion.

    So Sam, I’m a bit confused — are you saying that the Catholic Church has not changed its approach to indulgences? Are you suggesting that the issue is too subtle for the New York Times to understand? What’s your point?

  386. #386 Mrs Tilton
    February 10, 2009

    Beep @165,

    The Catholic Church does not defacto condemn those of other faiths (or unfaiths) to hell…. And you shall not find contemporary Catholic doctrine to show otherwise

    Your emphasis on “contempoary” Catholic doctrine is disturbing, given the eternal and unchanging nature of the Deposit of Faith delivered once and for all to the saints. Still, the wheels of the Roman Church grind famously slow, so perhaps you are simply using a very large value of “contemporary”. A value, say, that includes the beginning of the 14th century, and the papal bull Unam sanctam, from the pen of one Benedetto Gaetani (stage name: Pope Boniface VIII). As the learned holy-man wrote:

    Unam sanctam ecclesiam catholicam… urgente fide credere cogimur et tenere… extra quam nec salus est, nec remissio peccatorum….

    Porro subesse Romano Pontifici omni humanae creaturae declaramus, dicimus, definimus et pronunciamus omnino de necessitate salutis.

    There’s obviously no need to translate from the Latin for a good Roman Catholic like yourself. But bear with me for a moment as I assist the ignorant heathens who infest this unholy ground:

    I1 am compelled by urgent faith to believe and maintain that there is one holy catholic church… outside of which there is neither salvation nor the forgiveness of sins….

    I further declare, decree, define and pronounce it to be absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman pontiff.

    Now, maybe that isn’t terribly contemporary. But I seem to have missed the official pronouncement from the Holy See that the infallible truth of statements as to faith and morals uttered by popes ex cathedra has an expiration date. And it does look rather as though Benedetto would disagree with you about the ultimate fate awaiting non-catholics.

    1 He used the second person plural in the original, of course; I am translating here not only from the Latin but from the Papal as well.

  387. #387 AnthonyK
    February 10, 2009

    I guarantee that you eggheads would be the first to end up in a tight leather suit with a zipper on your mouth and a chain around your neck

    The combination of sexual perversion and religion is particularly noxious, though all too common. I suppose that when the religious parts of a brain are firing without control, they take over the mental reproduction circuits and wreak havoc.I feel it unwise of you to make this clear, however.
    One is on famously difficult ground, imputing one’s own sexual fantasies to others,

  388. #388 AnthonyK
    February 10, 2009

    Mrs Tilton, you seem very learned (to rhyme with “earned”). What are you views on the Albigenesian Heresy and its relevance to our troubled times?

  389. #389 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 10, 2009

    Posted by: Jadehawk | February 10, 2009

    trall?

    I get the weirdest typos lately. Looks like I’m about ready to accept the title of Queen of Typos. I hope the Rev. won’t mind ;-)

    Patricia and I kind of had a cyber mud wrestling match over the title but the results were unclear. I have since moved on to other titles while Patricia placed her powers in being Queen of the Sluts. You are welcome to the title of Queen Of Typos.

  390. #390 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    February 10, 2009

    You are welcome to the title of Queen Of Typos.

    Coronation Ceremonies are BYOB, lots of it.

    And B stand for Buttloads of everything.

  391. #391 WRMartin
    February 10, 2009

    I would like to bet that ZR’s wife is Morgan…ummm…Morgan Fairchild. Yeah, Morgan Fairchild.
    That’s the ticket.

  392. #392 Justin H.
    February 10, 2009

    This is not as exciting as when I found out the McRib is back.

  393. #393 AnthonyK
    February 10, 2009

    This is not as exciting as when I found out the McRib is back

    You have been misinformed. Insofar as it is anything natural, the McRib is side.

  394. #394 Jon H
    February 10, 2009

    The priests are allowed one penary indulgence every day.

  395. #395 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 10, 2009

    This is not as exciting as when I found out the McRib is back.

    Homer?

    You have been misinformed. Insofar as it is anything natural, the McRib is side.

    The McRib is not natural, at least by any normal definition.

  396. #396 jimmiraybob
    February 10, 2009

    You, my dear, are lucky enough to live in a world where the vast majority of people believe in a God and that try to live their lives accordingly. You will also be lucky enough to never have to live in a world void of theism, because I guarantee that you eggheads would be the first to end up in a tight leather suit with a zipper on your mouth and a chain around your neck.

    I assume then that you are not referring to this chap,

    An Alabama minister who died in June of “accidental mechanical asphyxia” was found hogtied and wearing two complete wet suits, including a face mask, diving gloves and slippers, rubberized underwear, and a head mask, according to an autopsy report. Investigators determined that Rev. Gary Aldridge’s death was not caused by foul play and that the 51-year-old pastor of Montgomery’s Thorington Road Baptist Church was alone in his home at the time he died (while apparently in the midst of some autoerotic undertaking).

    And this post notes a little more detail:

    Personal Effects: One yellow metal ring intact on left ring finger, one dildo.

    Pretty impressive for an Alabama minister.

  397. #397 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 10, 2009

    Funny. I just took a quick peek into the dungeon. None of the whiny libertarians are in it. The malodorous Brian Macker is not in it. But ZR is. Ha ha ha…

  398. #398 Doug the Primate
    February 10, 2009

    Back on topic — the Churchis plain that the purpose of reinstituting indulgences is to impress upon people that they sin, and therefore need the ministrations of the Church. Bad marketing, and a death cry of the Church itself.

    As an undergrad I took a course in philosophy of language. I was enrolled in a liberal Catholic college (although an aetheist) and the course was taught by a priest in the neighbouring seminary. One day after class, intrigued by the architecture of the seminary, I went exploring, and found the chapel. At least it looked like a chapel, and it had what looked like a baptismal font (someone should invent that), although why a Catholic seminary would have such an office when its clients were seminarians and their families, presumably already bapstized, quite escaped me. So I lifted the lid and found inside a slip of paper on which was written a prayer “Casting Out Demons” Kid you not, and this was only 1977. As I read it, I nearly ROLFed, for the gist of the prayer was a logical self-contradiction. Paraphrasing closely it read “…I command all demons herein and hereabout, now and forever, to depart this place … “.

    Well! A prayer that is supposed to be effective for all time at least in this one place, ought only need be invoked once. Yet here it was, on paper, in a reserved place, evidently to be read again and again.

    Of course this had nothing to do with being of little faith; it had everything to do with self-reinforcement of specialness. It’s easy to cast out demons: recognize that they are, as supernatural entities, part of the null set. The real demons are those that threaten that specialness, and, for young seminarians, they are primarily sexual, as would surely be reinforced by their concurrent studies in theologically contaminated eudaemonistics. Neo-Platonists ? bah!! These young men were being inculcated into a belief set that sexuality has only a sacred or a profane use, reproduction or everything else, and that anything else is demonic and a defilement of the human spirit. Blah?blah. In effect, this Seminary was a school for mental illness.

  399. #399 Chris Dawson
    February 10, 2009

    On one level, the Church is only doing what individuals have done forever. This makes sense since the Church is simply a human construct and it therefore exhibits human behaviors writ large. When I do something dumb to my wife I might bring her flowers or chocolate to shorten my time in the doghouse. If my daughter has done something to anger me, she will sometimes give me a big hug and say, ?I love you SO MUCH, Daddy.? She might not be aware of what she is doing or why, but it is clearly an effort to shorten the length of time I am mad at her.

    These ?tricks? often work in human relationships because they are subtle and unmentioned. What horrifies me about indulgences is how strictly transactional it makes the process of making up for something. It takes a fine-tuned trick humans have mastered below the radar and puts it out where everyone cans see it. And in the process it has somehow cheapened the acts of contrition. It places into doubt both the sincerity of the penitent and the good intentions of the Church.

  400. #400 Mrs Tilton
    February 10, 2009

    AnthonyK @388,

    What are you views on the Albigenesian Heresy and its relevance to our troubled times?

    My views on the Albigensians? Well, I suppose little has changed since Abbot Arnaud, the pope’s ambassador and commander of the Roman Catholic troops besieging the town of Béziers during the crusade to exterminate the Albigensians, was asked how the troops could tell the heretics apart from the loyal catholics. Arnaud’s reply has been repeated down the centuries in various forms; you will be most familiar with it as “Kill ‘em all, let God sort ‘em out”.

  401. #401 AnthonyK
    February 10, 2009

    Kill ‘em all, let God sort ‘em out.

    Indeed, in this God has an impressive record.

    I feel that the Albigensian Heresy, insofar as plenary indulgences are concerned, did not go far enough. That the soul is the soul, and the body essentially corporeal is self-evident, as is the converse.

    On a lighter note, do you think that I cculd sell Catholics “one free wank” cards? The cost to them will be modest, the relief intense, and since I am a strict atheist, there will be no conflict of interest.

    Dragon’s Den, here I come.

  402. #402 Kristjan Wager
    February 10, 2009

    I think you’re thinking of limbo. And they didn’t get rid of it, exactly. I think the more appropriate phrase might be that they deprecated the concept.

    Actually owlmirror, they released an report about Limbo, in which they said that they had prayerful hopes that it didn’t exist, but more study is required. I am not kidding

  403. #403 Mrs Tilton
    February 10, 2009

    Kristjan @402,

    they released an report about Limbo, in which they said … more study is required

    We will know much more about this once the Large Limbotron Collider is up and running.

  404. #404 Anne
    February 10, 2009

    Naw, mayhempix, I didn’t hit and run. Had to get a little work done, but I’ve been eager to get back and see how the conversation has progressed.
    Thanks for the advice, AnthonyK. Definitely this is not the place to try to promote a little peace and lighthearted banter about matters of faith. And I’m sorry if it made me a “spammer,” Blue Fielder, but I did notice that my new blog got more than 100 hits the first time I put a link under one of Pharyngula’s posts, and that was exciting. I’m not selling anything, just trying to write about science for public consumption. A couple of people did stop over and comment, as athiests, and raised questions that I know I wouldn’t be able to answer to the satisfaction of anyone here.
    But I’ll take a brief stab at it anyway, because I sort of love to talk about it.

    mayhempix wrote (can someone tell me how to indent quotes?)
    “Ann (I think he meant ‘Anne’), please explain why being a scientist who prays to some form of god is something our society needs.

    First of all, I am not a scientist who prays because I think society needs me to. I respect both science and religion because I have both the interest and capacity for scientific inquiry, and the interest and capacity for faith. But I have taken the notion that society will be better off if more people speak up about honoring both types of perception, because I think that could remove social roadblocks to progress on important issues, like the protection of species and the environment.

    mayhempix wrote: “I request this with no snark or sarcasm.”

    I know. I can tell.

    mayhempix wrote: “But as far as I can tell it all comes down to the unproven perception that a foot in both camps will somehow bring the world together.”

    Unproven, sure. But I would like to try.

    mayhempix: “As you can tell most of us who comment on Pharyngula believe the world would be much better off without belief in the supernatural.”

    Okay, your turn — why?

    mayhempix: “I would think as a scientist you too would be skeptical of anything you can’t document with physical or mathematical evidence and not project spiritual feelings and emotions onto an invisible exterior entity.”

    I do project feelings and emotions on an invisible exterior entity, because life is more beautiful when I do. My relationships go more smoothly, and I’m happier and more at peace. However, my faith and my scientific processing of the world happen in different realms. Perhaps they use different neural networks; I wish I knew enough to say. What I do know is this separation allows me to not feel the need to “prove” the existence of a higher power using science. And it does not require me to interpret scientific findings through religious terms.

  405. #405 Lowell
    February 10, 2009

    “As you can tell most of us who comment on Pharyngula believe the world would be much better off without belief in the supernatural.”

    Okay, your turn — why?

    I’m sure Mayhempix will answer for him- or herself, but my answer would be that the world would be better off without belief in the supernatural because those irrational beliefs tend to creep into the public sphere in the form of, for example, legislation designed to (1) insert creationist beliefs into public education, (2) inhibit womens’ reproductive freedom, and (3) prohibit same-sex marriage and other civil liberties.

    There was also–and this is just off the top of my head–a recent political leader who started a war, at least in part, because god told him to do it.

    If everyone treated their religious beliefs as a mere hobby, like Dungeons & Dragons or knitting (to use PZ’s example in Expelled!), I wouldn’t have a problem with it. It just never seems to stay on that level.

    There are many here–and I’m starting to come around to this position myself–who would argue that you, as a seemingly reasonble person of faith, are enabling or “giving cover to” those religious zealots who take it too far.

    Maybe that’s harsh, but it sure looks that way when those zealots parade statistics about how we’re a Christian county, etc.

  406. #406 Chris
    February 10, 2009

    The Catholic Church is up to its old tricks again?its VERY old tricks. It has reinstituted the practice of granting indulgences. When I first saw this story I thought it was a joke. I went to Catholic High School?St. Anthony?s in Smithtown, NY?and I learned all about indulgences back in ninth and tenth grade when I studied Church history. My teacher, Mr. Donlon, was an intense intellectual and, as I recall, he presented indulgences as something too theologically complex for 14-year olds to understand. So I went to the Catholic Encyclopedia to learn what he would not teach us.

    I don?t think I am oversimplifying with the following description of the official Catholic Church teaching on indulgences, but if I am, please set me straight:

    1) The members of the Church are like the organs of the body?they share one life and one spirit.

    2) Each good action of church members accrues expiatory power in a ?treasury? controlled by Church.

    3) The Church controls an inexhaustible fund of ?satisfaction? based on the good works of its members, the virtues, penances, and sufferings of the saints, the works of the Virgin Mary, and the infinite value deposited by the life and death of Jesus Christ.

    4) The Pope and his chosen delegates can grant use of the funds built up in the treasury to shorten or even cancel the amount of time a soul is required to spend in Purgatory before going to Heaven.

    5) Control of this treasury is granted NOT to individual Christians but instead to the Church. In order to tap into this fund of ?satisfaction? there is required an exercise of authority and the Church alone can determine how, on what terms, and to what extent indulgences may be granted.

    The Church outlawed the outright sale of indulgences in 1567, so now you can earn an indulgence through charitable contributions and other acts. The church contends there is no quid pro quo.

    Paul Vitello in a recent New York Times article writes:

    ?According to church teaching, even after sinners are absolved in the confessional and say their Our Fathers or Hail Marys as penance, they still face punishment after death, in Purgatory, before they can enter heaven. In exchange for certain prayers, devotions or pilgrimages in special years, a Catholic can receive an indulgence, which reduces or erases that punishment instantly, with no formal ceremony or sacrament.

    There are partial indulgences, which reduce purgatorial time by a certain number of days or years, and plenary indulgences, which eliminate all of it, until another sin is committed. You can get one for yourself, or for someone who is dead. You cannot buy one ? the church outlawed the sale of indulgences in 1567 ? but charitable contributions, combined with other acts, can help you earn one. There is a limit of one plenary indulgence per sinner per day.?

    When I think about this idea of indulgences I am forced to admit a certain amount of admiration for the Church. The Church has found a way to place a value on the amount of time spent in Purgatory. They have made a commoditized the lessening of a soul?s suffering. I am both horrified and impressed at the theological convolutions, contortions, and gymnastics required for the Church to find itself morally okay with the concept of trading contributions for a lessening of suffering.

    For one thing it becomes undeniably clear that a system requiring this much explanation is surely a construct of humans and NOT divinely inspired. If there were a God, S/he would not have the idea of a BANK filled with the moral valence of untold good works. Banks where good deeds are hoarded is certainly a human idea. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, ?Once it is admitted that Christ left the Church the power to forgive sins (see PENANCE), the power of granting indulgences is logically inferred.? Maybe. But the power to act as bankers doling out propitiations is far from logically inferred.

    On one level, the Church is only doing what individuals have done forever. This makes sense since the Church is simply a human construct and it therefore exhibits human behaviors writ large. When I do something dumb in my marriage with Erica I might bring her flowers or chocolate to shorten my time in the doghouse. If Isabel has done something to anger me, she will sometimes give me a big hug and say, ?I love you SO MUCH, Daddy.? She might not be aware of what she is doing or why, but it is clearly an effort to shorten the length of time I am mad at her.

    These ?tricks? often work in human relationships because they are subtle and unmentioned. What horrifies me about indulgences is how strictly transactional it makes the process of making up for something. It takes a fine-tuned trick humans have mastered below the radar and puts it out where everyone cans see it. And in the process it has somehow cheapened the acts of contrition. It places into doubt both the sincerity of the penitent and the good intentions of the Church.

    http://c-dawson.blogspot.com/

  407. #407 Ichthyic
    February 10, 2009

    I have taken the notion that society will be better off if more people speak up about honoring both types of perception, because I think that could remove social roadblocks to progress on important issues, like the protection of species and the environment.

    I have several questions about this statement.

    What do you mean, exactly, when you say “both types of perception”? There are not two sides of perception in science. How would it be of value to society to blur this issue?

    What “social roadblocks” do you perceive would be rounded? How would a discussion of faith in any way promote progress of any scientific discipline? As to the issue of conservation, have you read EO Wilson’s latest attempt to try and garner interest in conservation from the religious?

    If not, you might give it a try:

    http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&q=eo+wilson+books&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=17002258347763950232#ps-sellers

    after you finish it, you might want to read why many of us felt it was an utter waste of time:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/02/eo_wilsons_wonderful_book_for.php

    Okay, your turn — why?

    have you ever heard the term: Cognitive Dissonance?

    Of what value at all is the inclusion of theism/deism in relation to science? It’s not only superfluous, it’s entirely misleading and unproductive.

    At best, one might look at religion like going out to bars and dancing at night – something that might balance the psyche a bit, but hardly of use (aside from the obvious) wrt to one’s “day job”.

    I do project feelings and emotions on an invisible exterior entity

    something you should be aware of then:

    http://www.rationalresponders.com/psychological_defenses_projection_identification

    However, my faith and my scientific processing of the world happen in different realms.

    there is a well documented danger in over-utilizing compartmentalization. You should be careful.

    You could end up like Michael Egnor. If you don’t know who that is, search on this blog.

  408. #408 Owlmirror
    February 10, 2009

    They have made a commoditized the lessening of a soul?s suffering.

    That’s a bit mangled; it should probably read: “They have made a commodity of the lessening of a soul?s suffering.”

    But still. That’s all of religion in a nutshell.

  409. #409 Ichthyic
    February 10, 2009

    That’s all of religion in a nutshell.

    that’s all conmen, in a nutshell.

    creating an imaginary market for their product, and convincing the gullible to part with their cash.

  410. #410 TomJoe
    February 10, 2009

    Back? They never left.

  411. #411 Sastra
    February 10, 2009

    Anne #404 wrote:

    I respect both science and religion because I have both the interest and capacity for scientific inquiry, and the interest and capacity for faith. But I have taken the notion that society will be better off if more people speak up about honoring both types of perception, because I think that could remove social roadblocks to progress on important issues, like the protection of species and the environment.

    I think the conflict lies in the fact that there is a significant difference between the aspect of “faith” that deals with aesthetics, philosophy, ethics, commitment, and inspiration — and the aspect of “faith” with deals with making supernatural claims about the nature of reality. I suggest to you that everything valuable which you find in faith, has a rational, secular analog in one of those other areas. If it makes sense to someone who seeks to do what is good, loving, and wise on earth, then it’s not unique to religion. Which means it’s not really “religious” at all.

    What doesn’t track with secular reason, of course, are the supernatural claims. And the problem with beliefs that rest on one’s eagerness to believe in them is that they can and do go anywhere, and can and do justify anything. They no longer have any test in reality.

    One can easily find “faith beliefs” in supernatural agency which care nothing about saving the environment, or which promote no value for other species. ‘God said it, that settles it’ is the easiest way to put up a roadblock to any and all social progress. And there is now no common ground to stand on, to try to remove it. Your arguments aren’t against people, but against “God.” You have to argue that your understanding of God is better than their understanding of God, with nothing but your mutual “faith” to check against. Good luck with that.

    What you propose is similar to finding a form of astrology which doesn’t clash with reason, and which only advocates things which would make just as much sense without doing the readings about the planets and the stars. But once you accept that “astrology matters,” how do you argue against those people who do take those readings seriously enough to think astrology tells us things we can’t learn any other way? Are they doing astrology “the wrong way?”

    Religion is only benign when it’s used as a prop to hold up ideas and ideals that make just as much sense without religion. There is nothing about the concept of God that demands that what God wants, and what God is, and what God does, has to appeal as much to an atheist, as to a believer.

  412. #412 WRMartin
    February 10, 2009

    Anne:

    can someone tell me how to indent quotes?

    Wrap the text to be quoted inside blockquote tags thusly:
    <blockquote>can someone tell me how to indent quotes?</blockquote>
    Some folks prefer italics.
    This:
    <i>can someone tell me how to indent quotes?</i>
    Will get you this:
    can someone tell me how to indent quotes?

  413. #413 pdferguson
    February 10, 2009

    Anne@404:

    I respect both science and religion because I have both the interest and capacity for scientific inquiry, and the interest and capacity for faith.

    As long as you understand these are diametrically opposed, certainly as it pertains to religious faith. Friedrich Nietzsche said it best, “Faith means not wanting to know what is true.” Quite the opposite of scientific inquiry, isn’t it?

    But I have taken the notion that society will be better off if more people speak up about honoring both types of perception, because I think that could remove social roadblocks to progress on important issues, like the protection of species and the environment.

    But history has taught us, time and time again, that faith does not remove roadblocks, it erects them.

    Certainly in the area you mentioned, protection of species and the environment, I see no significant contribution made by religious faith. In other areas (women’s rights, gay rights), religious faith has been the primary force opposing social justice and equality. That’s exactly the problem with faith; it impedes rather than enables social progress because its adherents steadfastly refuse to adapt to the contemporary needs of society if those changes threaten their carefully constructed mythology.

    And finally, to describe faith as a ‘type of perception’ is disingenuous at best, downright dishonest at worst. Faith is not a perception, it is the absence of perception. It is the denial of reality in favor of fantasy, supernaturalism, and superstition.

  414. #414 Wowbagger
    February 10, 2009

    Anne wrote:

    I respect both science and religion because I have both the interest and capacity for scientific inquiry, and the interest and capacity for faith.

    How do you know that you’ve picked the right faith? If you were unsure about one of the core tenets of that faith, how would you go about establishing whether it was right or wrong?

  415. #415 Aquaria
    February 10, 2009

    There aren’t any branches or sects within the CC.

    It would behoove god-poisoned morons to actually KNOW what they’re talking about before attempting to expose their ignorance to the world.

    1) The Catholic Church is a communion of 23 sui juris particular churches. Among these are the Western Rite (Latin Rite) and Eastern Catholic Churches comprising 2,782 dioceses.

    2)

    The Eastern Catholic Churches are autonomous (in Latin, sui iuris) particular Churches in full communion with the Bishop of Rome ? the Pope. They preserve the liturgical, theological and devotional traditions of the various Eastern Christian Churches with which they are associated, and between which doctrinal differences exist, in particular between the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy and the Assyrian Church of the East. They thus vary with regard to forms of liturgical worship, sacramental and canonical discipline, terminology, traditional prayers and practices of piety. But they recognize that their faith is not at variance with that of the other constituent Churches of the one Catholic Church, including the Latin or Western Church, all of which are of equal dignity. In particular, they recognize the central role of the Bishop of Rome within the College of Bishops.

    Bold parts utilized for the intelligence-impaired known as the religious, to better inform them that there are indeed sects of catholicism.

    I’d like to know how the Maronite Rite church has quite a few variations on the western rites, and that not be “branches” off each other.

  416. #416 Anne
    February 10, 2009

    Wow, thanks for the discussion. I?ve really learned some things here. Definitely I?m not converted to atheism, but I have a much better appreciation for the perceived conflict between science and faith, and even some of the reasons for the animosity. I like Wowbagger?s question to start:

    How do you know that you’ve picked the right faith? If you were unsure about one of the core tenets of that faith, how would you go about establishing whether it was right or wrong?

    I was raised Catholic, and decided pretty early on that I didn?t agree with the line in the Apostle?s Creed that requires adherents to believe in ?one holy Catholic and apostolic church,? because I couldn?t imagine that all the other people in the world who interpreted God in different ways could be wrong. More recently, a couple of family members have gone hip-deep in fundamental Chritianity, and they seem even more certain of their exclusive path to, and interpretation of, God. I don?t buy it. Makes me feel pretty good to read about Hinduism these days, because that faith, in my interpretation, seems to advocate that no path to God is wrong because they all end up at the same place. I don?t adhere to any dogma, as far as I?m aware. I just feel like there is a Creator and I?m glad he, she or it saw fit to give me a life.

    Ichthyic said

    What do you mean, exactly, when you say “both types of perception”? There are not two sides of perception in science. How would it be of value to society to blur this issue?

    And pdferguson said

    And finally, to describe faith as a ‘type of perception’ is disingenuous at best, downright dishonest at worst. Faith is not a perception, it is the absence of perception. It is the denial of reality in favor of fantasy, supernaturalism, and superstition. ?

    And I?m sorry, but I don?t feel like I can clarify my position any more on that one; it might just be a point of disagreement. I feel that my science and my faith are separate parts of the way I view and process the world, and therefore I don?t feel conflicted about them. I think there?s the realm of science, and the realm of faith, and I?m simply okay with that.

    Ichthyic and pdferguson both also asked what social roadblocks might be salved by some cooperation between people of faith and people not of faith ? and then Lowell sort of answered it. He said:

    the world would be better off without belief in the supernatural because those irrational beliefs tend to creep into the public sphere in the form of, for example, legislation designed to (1) insert creationist beliefs into public education, (2) inhibit womens’ reproductive freedom, and (3) prohibit same-sex marriage and other civil liberties.

    I don?t know about the social positions; they disturb me too. It?s the evolution issue where I see the most hope for cooperation, and maybe openmindedness could grow from there.

    I don?t think supernatural beliefs have as much to do with those positions as the personality traits of the people who tend to hold them. I think they?re black and white thinkers with a fear-based need for control. They?re frightened by people who don’t behave like they do, and so they reach for the nearest Bible to explain why the others are wrong. James Fowler (http://jhfowler.ucsd.edu/) has actually found some evidence for a ?control gene? that appears to be linked with partisan behavior, especially conservative partisan behavior.

    But that?s exactly why I think marginalizing religious types is a bad idea. Once they take an anti-science position, they seem to fight all science tooth and nail, even if it means compromising their better judgement on environmental issues. There?s some progress in getting Christians to see a different side of the Bible when it comes to the environment and climate change. In my blog, whose link I will most certainly never put here again (!), I have some links to such efforts, and a few people commented and added more. Here they are:

    Evangelican Environmental Network takes a Biblical approach that?s a refreshing departure from a focus on dominion. (http://www.creationcare.org/responses/faq.php)

    A friend forwarded this document to me from the Episcopal Church. It appears to be part of a catechism class, and I find that it?s refreshingly open-minded as well.
    (http://www.episcopalchurch.org/19021_58398_ENG_HTM.htm)

    The Clergy Letter Project, which has united over 12,000 Christian and Jewish clergy members with over 600 scientific consultants to support the coexistence of science and faith, especially where evolution is concerned. (http://www.theclergyletterproject.com/)

    The National Center for Science Education also maintains a list of religious perspectives on evolution. (http://ncseweb.org/media/voices/religion)

    Finally, Sastra, thanks for this because it?s good writing and food for thought.

    I think the conflict lies in the fact that there is a significant difference between the aspect of “faith” that deals with aesthetics, philosophy, ethics, commitment, and inspiration — and the aspect of “faith” with deals with making supernatural claims about the nature of reality. I suggest to you that everything valuable which you find in faith, has a rational, secular analog in one of those other areas. If it makes sense to someone who seeks to do what is good, loving, and wise on earth, then it’s not unique to religion. Which means it’s not really “religious” at all.

    And thanks for the E.O. Wilson goods. I?ll read them eagerly.

  417. #417 Alyson Miers
    February 10, 2009

    Am I the only one who’s a little intrigued by that restriction of one indulgence per sinner per day?

    I mean…how many indulgences does one person need in a year? A month, even?

    Also: an awful lot of people spend a lot of time talking about Twilight, so I guess that means Edward and Bella are real people. I used to spend a lot of time talking about Harry Potter & Co. with a lot of other people, so, if I visit Scotland, I guess I’ll find Hogwarts. Awesome. I’ve always wanted to learn how to do magic.

  418. #418 dean
    February 11, 2009

    “The Katolik church has a thing called dogma. Either you believe it hook, line, and sinker, and are a Katolik, or you don’t.”

    And that is the problem, an admission to all that you don’t have a whit of curiosity about the world, but are simply willing to be spoon fed your life from authority without question.

    that might have been understandable in the past, when the abilities to read/write were closely guarded by religious orders to maintain their power, but in the current world, the idea of taking an old line without question can hardly be thought of as an indicator of integrity, but a sign of intellectual emptiness.

  419. #419 Sondra
    February 11, 2009

    I thought they dispensed with purgatory. What’s up with that?

  420. #420 pdferguson
    February 11, 2009

    I don?t think supernatural beliefs have as much to do with those positions as the personality traits of the people who tend to hold them. I think they?re black and white thinkers with a fear-based need for control. They?re frightened by people who don’t behave like they do, and so they reach for the nearest Bible to explain why the others are wrong.

    I agree with you. It has been my experience that religious people tend to see the world more in black and white terms than non-religious people (or course, there are exceptions on both sides). While I’m no geneticist, I do suspect there is a genetic basis for this, and more generally, for religious beliefs.

    What those people do is use their religion as a bludgeon to inflict their binary view of the world on those around them. Abortion is murder. Women are chattel. The world is only 6,000 years old. God hates fags. Evolution is evil. The list goes on and on.

    We can’t change the genetic factors that make people this way, but we can try to reduce the size of their bludgeons by marginalizing the use of the Bible (or the Koran, the Book of Mormon, or the bat shit craziness of L Ron Hubbard) as legitimate authorities on science, politics, social policy, or even morality.

    But that?s exactly why I think marginalizing religious types is a bad idea. Once they take an anti-science position, they seem to fight all science tooth and nail, even if it means compromising their better judgement on environmental issues.

    That’s exactly why I think marginalizing religious types is a good idea. If they are on the margins, then their fighting “tooth and nail” has far less chance to cause harm. We don’t elect Holocaust deniers to public office, people who believe leprechauns are real don’t run large corporations. Yet society accords dangerous charismatics like Jim Jones, Jerry Falwell or the Pope enormous power, wealth, and influence to wreck havoc simply by claiming to have special knowledge of what God wants. To a secularist, this is a truly frightening and appalling situation. Among the worst aspects of the Bush nightmare (and there were many to choose from), his born again delusions about God and religion, and how that influenced his public policy were the most scary. In a saner society where such beliefs are marginalized, George Bush would never have been able to get anywhere near the presidency.

  421. #421 Anonymous Coward
    February 11, 2009

    One thing I find curious is how it’s a popular atheist conspiracy theory that Barack Obama is a closet atheist that only acts Christian for the political capital, but assumes that Bush had to be the real thing.

    I recall reading about a supposed series of memos to Bush Sr. in the 80s regarding motivating and mobilizing celebrity evangelicals. After which Bush Jr. started the god-talk. A Democrat could get on the Presidential ballot and maybe win without evangelical support, but a Republican wouldn’t even be able to get on the ballots (even mavericks are known for whoring out their values to court this group).

  422. #422 pdferguson
    February 11, 2009

    One thing I find curious is how it’s a popular atheist conspiracy theory that Barack Obama is a closet atheist that only acts Christian for the political capital, but assumes that Bush had to be the real thing.

    Whether or not Bush was “the real thing” is immaterial. He spoke to Christards like Jerry Falwell and Ted Haggard on a regularly scheduled conference call. In other words, the president of the United States talked to these clowns every frackin’ week, and presumably listened to whatever God-soaked nonsense they had to offer. Who else outside his immediate circle had that kind of access?

    Bush set up an office of faith based initiatives, giving millions of tax dollars to religious organizations in direct conflict with the First Amendment. He banned stem cell research and contraception. And of course, worst of all, he claimed divine inspiration for going to war in Iraq.

    And for the record, I don’t know anyone who subscribes to your so-called “popular atheist conspiracy theory”. Obama’s a “closet atheist”? That’s about the oddest claim I’ve read in a while. I realize being intelligent, educated, and articulate may make him look like an atheist, but that doesn’t mean he actually is.

    Atheists are watching Obama with the same critical eye we did Bush, and Obama’s recent action on faith based initiatives is troubling. At least Obama acknowledges atheists (“non-believers”) as Americans, unlike Bush Sr. who said atheists should be considered neither citizens nor patriots.

  423. #423 Ichthyic
    February 11, 2009

    but a Republican wouldn’t even be able to get on the ballots

    indeed, just ask John McCain, who, after not winning the Rep. nomination in 2000, in large part because of his criticism of the republican party for embracing the religious right for so long, not only did so himself in 2008, but even changed his fucking professed religion from Methodist to Southern Baptist.

    I do hope your point was that ALL political parties in the US need to ween themselves away from placating religious zealots, otherwise you missed a golden opportunity to make yourself at least seem intelligent.

    as for the “atheist conspiracy” crap… already addressed just above this post.

  424. #424 Ichthyic
    February 11, 2009

    I think marginalizing religious types is a bad idea. Once they take an anti-science position, they seem to fight all science tooth and nail, even if it means compromising their better judgement on environmental issues.

    If they CAN react that way, all the more reason to attempt marginalization.

  425. #425 Ichthyic
    February 11, 2009

    @Anne:

    don’t know if you’re still perusing the thread, but you might be also interested in what Carl Safina has been trying to do over the last few years:

    http://carlsafina.wordpress.com/2007/09/09/baked-alaska/

    there are several points of contention with what he wrote, which are covered in large part on this very blog:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/09/when_did_framing_become_a_syno.php

    However, nobody denies that the actions Carl took in reaching out to evangelicals (note: ones that at least SHOWED prior interest in the issue) to physically show them the damage and changes being wrought by global warming were worthwhile.

  426. #426 Anne
    February 11, 2009

    Thanks, Ichthyic!

  427. #427 Owlmirror
    February 12, 2009

    And, for the record, we are capable of having civil conversations with believers, like so.

    (Of course, that was around Christmastime — gasp! Maybe it was a miracle!)

  428. #428 Jadehawk
    February 12, 2009

    The Katolik church has a thing called dogma. Either you believe it hook, line, and sinker, and are a Katolik, or you don’t.

    I think he just de-catholicized all of Poland, as well as most former Spanish colonies and their native-catholic hybrids…

  429. #429 windy
    February 12, 2009

    A rather civil conversation about science and Catholicism appears to be taking place over at Dr Isis’ place right now.

    (The drawback is that in the comments there’s the usual parade of clichés against the critical examination of belief. The “my love for my children is unfalsifiable” argument? Check. The “ice cream preference” argument? Check. Is there a drinking game for this?)

  430. #430 Wowbagger
    February 12, 2009

    Windy,

    Thanks for that link. I’ve never actually heard the ‘ice cream preference’ argument before. I still can’t understand why these otherwise intelligent and philosophical people cling to their beliefs, though. It just makes so little sense to me – mostly because I’m a never-theist rather than an ex-theist.

  431. #431 John Morales
    February 12, 2009

    Wowbagger @430, belief in belief, maybe.

  432. #432 Anonymous Coward
    February 12, 2009

    To the people who denigrated me for mentioning that “conspiracy theory”, you must be new here. Almost every Obama comment thread on Pharyngula has seen a variant of the “Obama is an atheist” meme mentioned. I was not passing any value judgments for or against. I was simply saying I’ve seen it in atheist circles, whereas the only place I’ve seen the “Bush faked Christianity for votes” meme is in right wing Christian circles. It just reinforces the us versus them vibes. As I said, I found it curious.

    I’m not saying it excuses Bush’s pandering to his (real or faked) religion’s representatives.

    Bush set up an office of faith based initiatives, giving millions of tax dollars to religious organizations in direct conflict with the First Amendment.

    I’m guessing you missed where Obama is doing the same thing?

    It’s just irritating that the tendency is to assume the best of Obama by default while assuming the worst about Bush by default. I was hoping the freethinker types could get away from the “us vs. them” politics that most Americans buy into.

    At least Obama acknowledges atheists (“non-believers”) as Americans, unlike Bush Sr. who said atheists should be considered neither citizens nor patriots.

    Has any atheist been able to track down a video or recording of Bush Sr. saying that? Last time I researched it all I could find is a single reporter stating that is what happened, with no corroborating evidence. And for the record, I am one of those who cheered when Obama mentioned unbelievers (a better word would have been nice, but any mention at all was much better than par).

  433. #433 Ichthyic
    February 13, 2009

    I’m guessing you missed where Obama is doing the same thing?

    Obama is setting up ANOTHER office of faith based initiatives? Or do you mean he’s not abandoning what Shrub started?

    It’s just irritating that the tendency is to assume the best of Obama by default while assuming the worst about Bush by default.

    have you ever heard the term:

    false equivalency?

    next you’ll be telling us how irritating is the tendency here to assume the best of science and the worst of creationism. You really have to ignore all the lies and doublespeak in order to do either.

    Has any atheist been able to track down a video or recording of Bush Sr. saying that?

    It was in a letter he wrote to the President of one of the Atheist leagues at the time (name escapes me at the moment), it was not in a speech.

    It shouldn’t be too hard for you to find, really, it was very well documented.

    I know I have the link to it somewhere, but it’s been a couple of years since I stored it away. I do recall it taking less than 5 minutes to find, though.

  434. #434 SEF
    February 13, 2009

    Obama is setting up ANOTHER office of faith based initiatives?

    I’m unsure how it will play out in terms of actual institutions and funds, but the recent suck-up noises being made towards the religious were certainly disturbing. This one says he’s keeping an existing faith-based thingy. This one called it a “renewal of faith-based service programmes”. This one talks of Blair being allowed to start something new in that evil direction.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.