Pharyngula

This story about the desperation of the French priesthood to recruit new victims has some interesting statistics.

There are around 24,000 priests in France today, down from 42,000 in 1975. The number of Catholics entering the diocese has declined as well, from 116 ordainments in 1999 to 89 in 2009.

While 64 percent of the French population, or 41.6 million of the country’s 65 million inhabitants, identifies itself as Catholic, only a little more than 2 million attend church each week, said Jacques Carton, a representative from the Bishops Conference in France.

How desperate are they? Most of the story is about how they’re putting up posters and advertising on Facebook to convince young men to give up sex and commit their lives to sitting in churches and prancing through rituals. Yeah, that’ll work. Why not go all the way and put personals on Craigslist? That would at least sucker a lot of people into contacting them, because they’d all assume it must be something really perverse.

Comments

  1. #1 duckphup
    April 29, 2010

    Perhaps they could appeal directly to pedophiles. That ought to get the numbers up.

  2. #2 Brownian, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Most of the story is about how they’re putting up posters and advertising on Facebook to convince young men to give up sex

    Why? Has the Vatican decided priests aren’t allowed to have sex anymore?

  3. #3 jeff.satterley
    April 29, 2010

    If there are only 2 million people going to church, why exactly do they need more priests?

    2 million / 24,000 = 83.33…

    Even if we assume they were useful in the first place, why would you need more than 1 priest for every 83 Catholics?

  4. #4 Blondin
    April 29, 2010

    Jacques Carton? Any relation to Sydney?

    If I were him I would find something far, far better to do with my time.

  5. #5 AJ Milne OM
    April 29, 2010

    …because they’d all assume it must be something really perverse.

    And, after all, it is.

    (/Obvious.)

  6. #6 Larry
    April 29, 2010

    why would you need more than 1 priest for every 83 Catholics?

    Hey, those altar boys aren’t gonna rape themselves, you know.

  7. #7 Pen
    April 29, 2010

    I’m glad you brought up France. I was passing the local theological institute (whatever that is) yesterday afternoon, when a voice from its windows called out ‘Madame, Madame’. I turned, and lo! I had the dubious privilege of joining the ranks of women who have been the recipient of a flasher’s attentions. Yup, there on the windowsill, completely starkers and performing Elvis-like thrusting movements, was what I took to be a priest in training. Either that, or he got the date wrong for boobquake.

  8. #8 ButchKitties
    April 29, 2010

    Why? Has the Vatican decided priests aren’t allowed to have sex anymore?

    I think the Vatican ruling is that priests must give up consensual sex. Which is the only enjoyable kind, if you aren’t a psychopath.

  9. #9 jerthebarbarian
    April 29, 2010

    2 million / 24,000 = 83.33…

    Even if we assume they were useful in the first place, why would you need more than 1 priest for every 83 Catholics?

    You’re assuming that all of those priests are doing work where they interact with parishioners. This is a bit like assuming that every PhD employed at a university teaches undergrads. A fair-sized chunk of those priests are in the bureaucracy and are pushing around papers rather than doing parish business.

  10. #10 Crommunist
    April 29, 2010

    Craiglist Missed connections section:

    M4M

    Saw you at Starbucks (lol- what a cliche). You were wearing a navy button-up with a super-rad canvas messenger bag with a Black Flag patch on it. Wanted to say hello but was too shy.

    If you read this, would you consider abandoning all hope of raising a family and having a normal, productive life? Would you be interested in perpetuating a centuries-old lie that keeps shifting with public opinion but is passed off as the inerrant will of a loving God (who hates condoms almost as much as he hates fags)? I noticed you were using logic – I hope that was a one-time thing.

    Here’s hoping we made a connection! If you want to meet again, just come meet me at the church. I’ll be the one wearing the robes and ridiculous hat.

  11. #11 Michelle R
    April 29, 2010

    “While 64 percent of the French population, or 41.6 million of the country’s 65 million inhabitants, identifies itself as Catholic, only a little more than 2 million attend church each week, said Jacques Carton, a representative from the Bishops Conference in France.”

    I’m not surprised. It’s some common thing around Quebec too. People say they’re catholic but really don’t give a shit about the religion. It’s more like a… trinket.

    I wish they’d just shrug and dismiss the question altogether but it’s a start.

  12. #12 Robert Garner
    April 29, 2010

    I have always heard that the people that enter into the diocese are almost always pressured into in as a child by their parents.

    Now, while the parents are still catholic, there is a growing stigma surrounding the church. That, along with a huge increase in social communication and access to information are giving children many more options.

    In a sense allowing them to step outside family tradition in these matters. Anther case of the Internet killing religion.

  13. #13 Bob L
    April 29, 2010

    “Why not go all the way and put personals on Craigslist?”

    That ploy would only work if the Catholics set aside Jesus and the Trinity and went whole hog on the Mary worship. “Wanted, man to wear dress and worship virgin goddess ALL DAY. Grovel to earn her forgiveness you worthless worm in her collar and perform rituals in her name.” Then you would see the priesthood fill right up.

  14. #14 Daniel de Rauglaudre
    April 29, 2010

    This is strange: no way to access the Facebook page “Pourquoi pas moi”. When searching it, it shows a link (and the image of the ad), but when clicking on it: empty page, then a message telling that the address is invalid.

  15. #15 Crommunist
    April 29, 2010

    Craigslist personals section:

    P4M (pope for men… and ONLY men)

    SWM, 83, white hair, dark soulless eyes. Seeking young, gullible man who likes to read (the Bible… but not all of it), loves children (*wink*) and isn’t afraid of a lifelong commitment with no evidence of reward at the end.

    Turn-ons include: intolerance, bigotry, unquestioning fealty to an absent authority figure, Twilight movies (Edward is totes dreamy lolomg!)

    Turn-offs include: healthy sexual appetite, evidence of a mind at work, disclosure of indiscretion (yours or others) to police, the internet.

    If you think this might be you, please e-mail me (no cock shots please lol) at hopefulpope@vatican.va.

  16. #16 MATTIR
    April 29, 2010

    Prancing? They prance? Do they also flounce? Sashay? Mince? I thought the church was blaming the whole pedophilia thing on teh gay. Isn’t this a bit, I don’t know. . .

    Seriously, I think the horse has left the barn on the whole effort to keep western Europe in the religious fold. The no-sex-and-funny-dress thing just drives more nails into the coffin.

  17. #17 nomen-nescio.myopenid.com
    April 29, 2010

    Anther case of the Internet killing religion.

    great, now i have this urge to find a backbone router and scrawl “this machine kills theocrats” on the side of it.

    also i’ll have old quasi-communist folk songs running through my head all day. but that’s arguably a benefit, not a backdraw.

  18. #18 puseaus
    April 29, 2010

    I suggest the decent share of those priests (and the rest of their followers) leave the old, outdated religious labyrinth wreck, and strengthen their humanist and rationalist societies instead. Believe me, you do not want to be among the last to leave that ship!

  19. #19 PeteGrimes
    April 29, 2010

    Off topic, but worthy of posting:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kent-BR6-UK/We-can-find-1000000-people-who-DO-believe-in-Evolution-before-June/252759483743?v=info

    A group set up to counter another facebook group that’s trying to get 1m evolution-deniers before June.

  20. #20 Zifnab
    April 29, 2010

    Most of the story is about how they’re putting up posters and advertising on Facebook to convince young men to give up sex and commit their lives to sitting in churches and prancing through rituals. Yeah, that’ll work.

    Hey, the Priesthood might start looking like a great deal if the unemployment rate keeps up. A job is a job, after all. And, for certain segments of the population, I’m sure the priesthood has a few fringe benefits worth mentioning.

  21. #21 heff.myopenid.com
    April 29, 2010

    I saw a sign in one of the out-buildings that my mother’s church uses for classes and such, that encouraged young people to consider becoming priests and nuns.

    I’m surprised that sign stayed up for five minutes. Demographics have changed, and most families (even Catholic families) only have one or two children (in the US, possibly fewer in population-declining Europe). If you have nine kids, and one becomes a priest, that’s fine (perhaps even something to admire in some circles). But if you have one kid, and that kid joins the (Catholic) clergy, guess what? No grandkids for you, ever! Even if you have two kids, one in the clergy means fewer (and possibly zero) grandkids.

    I’m surprised that some parent who would like to have grandkids some day didn’t tear down that sign when no one was looking.

  22. #22 elnauhual
    April 29, 2010

    I just notice….

    guess what links goggle ads is sugesting along that article…

    Ads by Google
    Child Safety
    Child Safety

    Unfortunatelly non is about how to defend from priest…

  23. #23 Daniel de Rauglaudre
    April 29, 2010

    #14 (Me to myself) The links works now…

  24. #24 MarkL
    April 29, 2010

    New commenter here. I’ve been enjoying reading the blog for a while.
    This post brings up a question I have about religion. Doesn’t the evidence show that people are pre-disposed to be religious—or at least that many people are? When people are fat and happy, probably less so—unless they are wooking for eternal life from Deepak—but when times get tough, people turn to the irrational.
    I don’t like the RCC at all, and the Anglican communion is an embarrassment because of the large voice that the bigoted African contingent has. Still, while one group declines, another may fill the gap. If the RCC goes down in France, which religion will rise during the next swing towards belief?

    Rather than eschewing religion altogether, our atheist het-men should come up with a new, attractive religion which will draw people away from the old, backward ones. Some sort of god will be worshiped, but the morals will be strictly secular—even sexular, because procreation is a very important part of spreading religion.
    I propose calling the new god Pharyngulon.

  25. #25 Sajanas
    April 29, 2010

    I’m sure the priesthood looked nice back when you had 6 brothers and sisters fighting over the food, and you barely got any attention from your family. But now that people have one or two children, and there are enough resources around? I once searched around for the average priest salary, and it was in the ballpark of $15k a year, for working a 24/7 job. Even if they got rid of the celibacy requirement, its harder and harder to convince people to join a profession that dramatically underpays you and gives you only one possible employer, who can send you wherever he wants, and doesn’t have to listen to what you want.

    Having dated someone who wanted to be a Lutheran pastor, things were slightly better, but it still seemed like largely a bum deal of a profession. More and more, people are taking a firm “let other people do it” stratagem, and I think it will be the real crush on religions in 20 years when all the catholic priests are dead.

  26. #26 Insightful Ape
    April 29, 2010

    No Mark, evidence suggest no such thing.
    Check Greg Paul’s writings on that, in the Wall Street Journal and Evolutionary Psychology.

  27. #27 MS
    April 29, 2010

    Re #20: a friend of mine is a civilian instructor at an urban police academy (a city large enough for a professional orchestra and some pro sports). He says in hard times the quality and quantity of the recruits goes WAY up. I think they’re not having any trouble making their quotas now, and are now longer winking at some things they might have five years ago.

  28. #28 MarkL
    April 29, 2010

    Ape, got a link?
    I saw a reference to Paul’s studies on religiosity and morality, which is not what I’m talking about. I don’t know how you could argue that religion is not innate. It’s nearly universal in human history.

  29. #29 Kamaka
    April 29, 2010

    I don’t know how you could argue that religion is not innate. It’s nearly universal in human history.

    There’s always been skeptics and non-believers, too. And I’d be willing to bet that the better half of the shamans and priests knew very well they were peddling bullshit. They just thought it was “good for people”.

  30. #30 ehlsever
    April 29, 2010

    MarkL @ #28

    It’s nearly universal in human history.

    Only because for 98% of our species’ existence nobody knew what made the sun go away at night and come back again every morning.

  31. #31 csreid
    April 29, 2010

    @MarkL

    I don’t claim to know whether or not religion is innate, and I don’t really think it matters. I think feeding people a set of lies when “the going gets tough” for them is a bad idea, even if the lies are more to our taste.

  32. #32 Insightful Ape
    April 29, 2010

    Why belief in god is not innate

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304222504575173890997846742.html

    Look at the UK, for example: as the Anglican churches have become empty over decades, evangelical and pentecostal churches have not been able to fill the “void”, which should make you think whether the void is real or imaginary. (Fundamentalist churches in the UK cater predominantly to the immigrants, not locals).

  33. #33 MarkL
    April 29, 2010

    Ok, I found something on wikipedia.
    The blurb of Paul’s thesis on the prevalence of religiosity is similar to what I said in my first comment: religiosity declines in times of prosperity. Duh.
    Even in the course of an individual’s life, he’s more likely to turn to religion as a response to death, illness, loss of job, etc.
    It’s certainly been my obversation that even very well-educated, scientifically literate people may start going to church if they get cancer, for instance.

    I’m not advocating for religion.
    But there are two strands of thought on this blog, which I’m not sure are separated by people here.
    First, arguments for or against existence of god, gods, thetans, etc.
    Everyday there is a knockout victory by the atheists, because the other side has zip. It’s quite fun to read those arguments.Every time I peel a banana, I laugh at Kirk Cameron.

    The second strand is a moralistic, preachy condemnation of organized religion.
    Personally, I”m indifferent to whether people go to church. Religion is a habit, just like smoking or eating bacon or anal sex. Some people do it; others don’t.
    Whatever Greg Paul says, I have read of studies which indicate that holding religious beliefs correlates with longevity, health, etc.
    For instance http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/05/990517064323.htm

    Whether these assertions are true or false is completley independent of the question of whether God exists. If someone studies the relation between religion, culture, morality, health and prosperity, I hope that person doesn’t have an axe to grind—in either direction.
    I would be interested in a more dispassionate attitude towards the second question.

  34. #34 Cannabinaceae
    April 29, 2010

    The “holy trinity” works out to an incestuous MMM threesome, yes? Fair game for a personal ad.

  35. #35 MarkL
    April 29, 2010

    Ape, thanks for the article.
    Paul is an excellent writer.

  36. #36 MarkL
    April 29, 2010

    Let me put it this way.
    I think that worrying about whether churches tell followers the “truth” about god and the afterlife is as naive as being upset when a politician lies.
    Religion is not about belief, IMO, even if some believers think so. Studies have shown that people choose their church and THEN learn to accept the dogma. Church is about meeting social needs, and “spiritual” ones, if you can define what that means.

  37. #37 Insightful Ape
    April 29, 2010

    I don’t think the link you posted addresses the question of whether belief is innate or not.
    You may want to take a look at the article before dismissing it: there are some tribal systems that have loose “religions” having no bearing on their day to day lives. Among human civilzations, the Chinese are not known for excessive religiosity. And in post-industrialized nations secularization happens as fast as within a few decades, as analyzed in this book:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0521548721/ref=mp_s_a_1?qid=1272565144&sr=8-1
    To say religion is a human “universal” is too broad a claim that cannot be supported by data. It is not a universal in the same sense as need for food or shelter. Even one individual living without religion would invalidate that claim.
    Going back to your original post, no, I don’t think another religion will rise from the ashes of catholicism in France. After all secularism has been the norm in that country for decades (if not centuries) and there is no sign of anything like that happening.

  38. #38 csreid
    April 29, 2010

    @MarkL

    If people have social needs, they should find people with similar interests, and like join a club or something, rather than agree to get with a group of suckers and be lied to once a week. There is no benefit to meeting ones social needs through a church over meeting the same needs elsewhere.

    As for spiritual needs – I don’t think I’ve ever had a spiritual need, so I guess I’m unequipped to answer that question?

  39. #39 Bad Albert
    April 29, 2010

    …41.6 million of the country’s 65 million inhabitants, identifies itself as Catholic, only a little more than 2 million attend church each week.

    What a shame. All that lost revenue!

  40. #40 MarkL
    April 29, 2010

    Ape—Huh? I read the article. It was excellent and fully explanatory of Pauls’ thesis.
    It was sloppy of me to suggest religion is innate, but the existence of one non-religious person wouldn’t invalidate the claim at all.
    It could be that some people have the tendency, and others not.
    Religion is certainly very common in human society. Saying that it’s a response to socio-economic stress, etc., is not very explanatory, IMO.

  41. #41 MarkL
    April 29, 2010

    CSReid,
    There’s the preachy moralism I was talking about.
    Also, your comment suggests that people who go to church don’t have a common interest, which is pretty funny.

  42. #42 randydudek
    April 29, 2010

    It’s certainly been my obversation that even very well-educated, scientifically literate people may start going to church if they get cancer, for instance.

    [citation needed.]

    When I got cancer, for specific, I continued to put zero faith (ha!) in the priests, rabbis, imams and gods who were powerless to prevent me from getting cancer in the first place. Or were they just unwilling to prevent it, while being all loving?

    Instead, I put my trust in the scientifically literate members of the medical community. And, thanks be to doctors, nurses, chemists, biologists and all of the other people I’m unable to list at this very second, the cancer has at worst recessed to a removable size or even more likely been gotten rid of completely. (Pending meeting w/urologist.)

    Long story longer, if my first action were to go to church, I’d be getting sicker. My decision to instead go to an oncologist has made me better.

  43. #43 randydudek
    April 29, 2010

    Church is about meeting social needs, and “spiritual” ones

    So is the personal section of Craig’s List.

  44. #44 Insightful Ape
    April 29, 2010

    Sorry Mark, I didn’t see your post, however,
    the words “universal” and “innate” need to be better defined.
    Breathing air is innate. Belief in a monotheistic god is not.
    And it may not be strictly true that it is not a response to socioeconomic stress, having people more or less secure about their future does decrease religiosity.

  45. #45 csreid
    April 29, 2010

    @MarkL

    It wasn’t intended to imply church-goers don’t have a common interest. Maybe it was worded poorly. I was saying that people whose social needs are not being met should find people who share common interest, rather than attend whatever type of church you’re proposing. Your scenario implies that the people whose social interests are not being met are not church-goers. You then said that people “choose their church and THEN learn to accept the dogma.” So, prior to joining this hypothetical church, the person would not necessarily share common interests with the people who are current church-goers.

    Talk about preachy moralism all you like, I just think it’s a bad idea to construct yet another belief system on a bed of lies, to which people can run when they’re having a hard time. I can’t understand how that could ever be a good idea.

  46. #46 thisisentirelybogus
    April 29, 2010

    The common usage of the word used to be ordination which refers to the act of ordaining. Ordainment refers to the ceremony and you might have one ceremony but perform multiple ordinations. Kind of like the baptism in Oh Brother Where Art Thou where a bunch of people are dunked.

  47. #47 naddyfive
    April 29, 2010

    A lot of impulses are innate, but arguably not worth promoting in people: for example, the seemingly bottomless need some people have for a strong tribal affiliation, which has been behind most wars for centuries.

    Oh wait, that’s the innate need you’re talking about, isn’t it…?

    The idea that because something has been a constant in human cultural history that it’s also biologically innate in any ‘hardwired’ sense is a stretch. I’d be more inclined to look at religious impulses as biologically hardwired if they were shared by at least a good percentage of our primate cousins and perhaps even most mammals. But you don’t see chimps dressing up in funny dress and telling other chimps they’re going to hell if they don’t. So I’m guessing this impulse in people is an effect of largely cultural forces on human history.

    Just looking at my own case: I was raised by extremely sincere, Pentacostal Christians, one of whom is incidentally a Jew with OCD who loves rituals even outside of church. But I never believed nor felt any strong pull to participate in the social aspects of church whatsoever. Nor did I believe a word of their mullarkey. So I’m a sample of at least one that makes a good countercase.

    Our being a ‘social animal’ has changed throughout human history to mean very different things at different times. It seems utterly regressive to insist that adherence to pre-modern, medieval institutional social rituals should continue on for as long as humans live.

  48. #48 flyonthewall
    April 29, 2010

    is it wrong to want to live long enough to see the peasants storm the vatican, gut its possessions and lead the pope and his minions off in irons.

  49. #49 naddyfive
    April 29, 2010

    If there *is* in fact some kind of biological substrate to the whole tribal-affiliation thing, however, I’d also guess that it’s far from universal. I’d guess that it’s much stronger in males than in females.

    Consider if you will the popularity of watching team sports among men– not even playing, but simply watching other men and cheering on “the team” seems to fulfill some kind of masculine need for… well, something I’ve never understood in the slightest. This kind of thing, anything based on competition for the hell of it, tends to bore most women absolutely to tears.

    There seems to be quite a difference between the religious model of the ages, which is based on a more competitive, imperialist mode, and the socially cooperative mode a lot of men and most women prefer to operate under these days. Trying to convince people that religion is going to stop being what it’s always been (a tool for oppression and domination) would be a rough sell. Especially to women, I’d think.

  50. #50 jcmartz.myopenid.com
    April 29, 2010

    Priests have not given up sex, despite taking an oath of celibacy.

  51. #51 Ing
    April 29, 2010

    “is it wrong to want to live long enough to see the peasants storm the vatican, gut its possessions and lead the pope and his minions off in irons”

    Is it wrong to start calling ‘dibs’ on some of the art?

  52. #52 naddyfive
    April 29, 2010

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080703145157.htm

    This research actually puts strong qualifiers on the idea that religion alone leads to longer life and better health.

    Basically, that effect is only seen in mainline Protestant denominations and Catholics, which the researchers associate more with secular community building and ecumenism. Fundamentalist (or “conservative protestant”) attendance is actually associated with higher mortality.

  53. #53 blf
    April 29, 2010

    is it wrong to want to live long enough to see the peasants storm the vatican, gut its possessions and lead the pope and his minions off in irons.

    How effective are halberds and rosary beads against pitchforks and flaming torches?

  54. #54 Armand K.
    April 29, 2010

    Sajanas, #25:

    I once searched around for the average priest salary, and it was in the ballpark of $15k a year, for working a 24/7 job.

    They are priests 24/7, all right, but much like one is, say, a biologist 24/7. It’s not that bad, after all, given that their job is in no way harder than any other actor’s. And, although an average of $15K a year isn’t too much, keep in mind that it comes with all sort of benefits, like free housing, social status (for the vast majority of them, anyway) and some legal privileges. This only to limit myself to the explicit ones, without touching on subjects like the lesser advertised occasions to make some extra bucks.

    MarkL, #28

    I don’t know how you could argue that religion is not innate. It’s nearly universal in human history.

    Which religion do you mean?
    If you mean the inclination to believe religious ideas, that reduces, arguably, to ignorance, credulity and curiosity. These are truly universal, and counteracted, respectively satisfied, only by proper education (understood as teaching how to think, not what to think). Religion is merely acquired on top of these, from the surroundings.

  55. #55 Armand K.
    April 29, 2010

    @randydudek, #42
    Ditto for me… And I am somehow inclined that it was not so much the display of Catholic cult items on the halls of the hospital as it was the chemotherapy that made the tumors recede so that there’s only some “scar tissue” detectable for somewhat more than a year now.

  56. #56 irenedelse
    April 29, 2010

    Thanks for bringing this up, PZ. The attempts of the French branch of the RCC to attract young men through “modern” channels of communication laughingly clumsy. The Church and associate show here how much they are disconnected from the society in general. Especially the part of the society with an active and healthy sex life.

    I blogged about this last week because if was so ludicrous, and at the same time revealed so much about the Catholic Church.

    Look for instance at the home page of their Et pourquoi pas moi” website!

    I mean, just look at it. My first thought was: “Oh, the recruiting page for a gay organisation?” My second thought: “Is this a spoof, or are the Catholics that clueless?”

    But no, it’s the real, official thing.

    The website, by the way, was designed by an Internet communication company with strong Catholic ties, Bayard Web Services. It’s a subsidiary of the Bayard Group, a media & publishing group owned by a Catholic family and well-known in France as one of a few media outlets who never, ever, say bad things about the Church.

    Obviously, the Et pourquoi pas moi campaign designers intended to make the website, posters and Facebook page look like another recruitment campaign material, like what universities, associations or political parties use to communicate toward the young adult crowd: friendly colours, human silhouettes that can be any age between 15 and 25, without obvious ethnic markers, etc. The problem, obviously, is that nowadays, these organisations always include male and female characters!

    But of course, when it’s the Roman Catholic Church trying to recruit priests, they cannot do that. So, only males in the picture. And now their precious campaign make them look like a gay men’s association.

    Only, they don’t even realise. Poor them.

    One other thing. The ludicrousness of the result is laughable, but one has to wonder about the silhouette of a young child in the lower left of the picture! Once again, what were they thinking about?

  57. #57 Rod
    April 29, 2010

    Blondin @4 wins! Awesome!

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times!

  58. #58 paulmurray
    April 29, 2010

    “Prancing? They prance? Do they also flounce? Sashay? Mince? I thought the church was blaming the whole pedophilia thing on teh gay. Isn’t this a bit, I don’t know. . .”

    Come on! Those *fabulous* robes! Those *divine* windows! The trinkets! The trifles!

    Religion is universally a way for people who are a little “different” to make a living. That even applies to medicine-men, shamans, and the local wise-woman.

  59. #59 Kendo
    April 29, 2010

    @58 – Lenny Bruce at a Catholic mass: “Excuse me darling, I love your drag but I think your handbag is on fire!”

  60. #60 MolBio
    April 30, 2010

    You’re coming at it from the wrong angle. It’s not a job, it’s a membership upgrade.

    Normally, you pay to pray: upgrade and we pay you.

    Normally, pre-teen sex is forbidden: upgrade and you can have sex with all the pre-teens you want, and protection provided* (*legal not rubber).

    Normally, we take advantage of you and your many: upgrade and we take advantage of you and the money you tithe off others.

  61. #61 MolBio
    April 30, 2010

    many should be money, 2 thoughts got blended in the formation of a perfect thought…

  62. #62 Aquaria
    April 30, 2010

    This kind of thing, anything based on competition for the hell of it, tends to bore most women absolutely to tears.

    Um–No. At least not in America.

    Many (if not most) women in the US love sports. Playing them, watching them, or both.

    Especially in Texas, where the average woman can tell you all about football. In San Antonio, the sports knowledge set extends to basketball as well. In South Texas, most of the women know soccer (oh do they know it!).

    My mother is such a fanatical Dallas Cowboys fan that people send her sympathy cards when the team loses. I hear she’s gotten a lot of them for several years now; I no longer watch the game, since I defected to basketball & baseball many moons ago.

  63. #63 TimKO,,.,,
    May 1, 2010

    The French view of religion is interesting. When I lived there I was endlessly fascinated by it and asked about it when given the chance. It’s quite different than in America (as is their bible) and difficult to describe; it has a different place in their society. They are defensive of it as an institution and cultural icon but make fun of it continually and nobody I could find took the pope or the church seriously. From what I found out, two major wars in a row had a profound impact.

  64. #64 naddyfive
    May 1, 2010

    Sure, there are women who get into watching sports in areas where that’s a big part of local culture, as in Texas. There’s no doubt about the fact that there are plenty of very athletic women who enjoy playing sports.

    But that’s not what I’m talking about. On average, I’d guess that the competitive aspect of sports is less interesting to women who play or watch. It seems that way to me, anyway, in all the countries I’ve been to. And I’m not saying this is biological- it could be entirely cultural conditioning behind this.

    I’ve never once in my life heard a woman refer to a sports team she cheers for as “we”, but men do this all the time. Almost as if to claim part of the team’s glory as their own. It’s that sort of attitude that baffles me.