Nothing in this blog can be believed. If you think that anything in this blog is true or factual, you'll need to verify it from another source. Do you understand? No? Then read it again, and repeat this process, until you understand that you cannot sue me for anything you read here. Also, having been sucked into taking part in the mass-murder of more than 3 million Vietnamese people on behalf of U.S. Big Business "interests", I'm as mad as a cut snake (and broke) so it might be a bit silly to try to sue me anyway...

Sunday, February 06, 2005

pope paul II - the peacemaker...

Those of you who have read this blog in any depth will know that I alternate between being an agnostic and an atheist. It's a difficult issue for me.

So it may puzzle you that I dedicate this post to Pope Paul II. Why do I do this? Well, tonight I watched what was probably a good piece of Catholic propaganda on the ABC's Compass program. I am however willing to acknowledge Pope Paul II for the following:

He is against war. He preaches that war is no way to solve problems. He inspires the pursuit of peaceful ways of solving problems. He won the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for teaching that "all war is wrong". As a pacifist, I feel I must acknowledge this man for his contribution to pacifism. I believe that Jesus was a pacifist. So there is no conflict here...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe so, but I can't ignore his murderous views on contraception. He is at war with AIDS sufferers in the name of archaic dogma which has no place in the modern world. I despise him.

PS: It's great to have you blogging again :)

February 07, 2005 12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fuck, I did it again. That was me, Kent.

February 07, 2005 12:20 AM  
Blogger Noel Chrotsky said...

Ditto on having you back, Gerry (and no, I'm not a Rush Limbaugh fan). I don't know much about the Pope, but I wish his sheep (e.g. Tony Abbott) would follow him in regards to war and such.

How can some religious folk hold such authoritarian views in one area (e.g. abortion) yet be so liberal in another area (e.g. killing people). And these wankers think they're holier than thou... grrr

February 07, 2005 4:00 PM  
Blogger Link said...

This Pope in particular gets my seal of approval, for as Phillip Adams put it, 'cancelling hell'. The Pope bravely conceded (or admitted) that it was not an actual 'place' but rather a 'state' ie state of mind. Poor old sod, not long for this world.

February 07, 2005 6:03 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Kent, so much hate. So much intolerance of another's viewpoint. If you're not careful you'll do "a Gerry" and sign up for some war against "the enemy" and play your part in a new mass murder of people who have different beliefs than your own. Please don't go there, Kent. I've been there and it only fuels the fires of eternal war (hell).

It's easy to believe you are right and they are wrong. But killing them because they are "wrong", "bad", or "evil" is the road to hell itself, and hate is the pavement of that road...

Thanks for your kind "welcome back."


Paul, it's broader than just religion. All of us who are a bit shy of being perfect have the problem of being "liberal" in one area and "authoritarian" in another. I think it's called "being human".

Now RATIONAL humans think about these things, and notice that they just as prone to "crappy logic" as the next person, and thereby start to reign our egoes in a bit, and with a bit of luck we don't join extremist groups or fanatical patriotic ratbag outfits to take part in the next bout of murder and mayhem for some ideologically spurious cause.

Yeah, and thanks for your "welcome back" as well, Paul.


Link, Yeah, I find it hard to find too much fault with this pope. There's been a lot worse and none better that I know of... May as well acknowldge good where we find it, eh? Oh, I could have a real bunfight with him on a few issues, but overall, I think he has been a force for good.

February 07, 2005 11:51 PM  
Blogger 23asdf23 said...

Sorry, I totally disagree. I don't hate him irrationally - I disagree with him, but because of the scale of the issue and the number of people he is trying to condemn to unnecessary death, that disagreement turns to despising. I'd love him if he would stop saying that contraception is "evil". Which is what he thinks and says and tells the millions of people who listen to him.

To be honest, I'm astonished that nobody here seems to care. I don't give a fuck about whether hell is a state of mind or not - as far as I'm concerned this Pope is sending a whole lot of people early on their way to heaven, hell, or purgatory unnecessarily because of his own ridiculous views on why contraception is evil.

Do any of you agree with him? I want to know why this doesn't bother you.

February 08, 2005 3:07 AM  
Blogger Jenni said...

I certainly care about the contraception issue and I strongly strongly disagree with the Catholic church's stance on it, as I disagree with a lot of other pieces of the Catholic dogma.

But I also think that it is possible to respect the Pope for his pacifist stance, while still thinking that he is completely and utterly wrong in other beliefs and preachings. I definitely don't ignore his views on things like contraception. But, I do respect him for speaking out against war as a solution.

February 08, 2005 7:01 AM  
Blogger Link said...

Kent, poor old Popey has the weight of the Vatican behind him. Because this monstrous institution has no real knowledge, but immense (really immense) power, it would be impossible for him to run counter to its long held, yet erroneous beliefs. Individuals must make up their own minds. How many good Catholics would there be in the world, pumping out child after child, because they don't 'believe' in contraception? Stopping the spread of AIDs is an education issue. Educating people about how it is transmitted and educating many of the world's men into an understanding that they cannot simply treat women like dogs and fuck them at will and complete disregard for the consequences. Cancelling hell was a bit step in giving people back their own free will. One thing at a time. Clearly the RC view on contraception is these days completely anachronistic sooner or later they'll realise (if they haven't already) that their whole organisations is same.

February 08, 2005 7:04 AM  
Blogger 23asdf23 said...

OK, I admit to not being an expert on the Catholics, but so far as I understood it isn't a matter of free will. I thought the word of the Vatican was as good as the word of the Bible or anything else. (I was brought up with the Lutherans so I have little background).

And the reason I am so upset is because I read a Weekend Australian article saying that the Pope's views on sexuality and contraception are very much personal. I think that he is far from interested in changing the position of the Vatican, and that younger cardinals are far more liberal. Bring them on, I say.

But yeah, I accept that you can acknowledge his good side, his pacifism.

February 08, 2005 3:53 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Oh dear... Kent, Jenni, Link, I love this debate. But the Pope is a Catholic. More than that, he's the head of the Catholic church. As such, he has reinforced the Catholic position on sex, which is that its purpose is procreation and not merely the pursuit of sexual pleasure.

Flowing from this premise is the view that, within the moral structure of their faith, sex is to be engaged in only between husband and wife. This in turn informs their attitude towards contraception and how to best deal with aids.

You might not agree with their moral position on sex, marriage, procreation, contraception and aids, but to hate or ridicule them for their moral position is to imply that you are morally superior to the thinking that gives rise to these morals. In short, it's as morally fascist as the Catholics themselves. Pots, kettles, black, I think...

I should know, I'm often the worst offender. :-(

We've wandered into a moral minefield, boys and girls.

February 08, 2005 10:11 PM  
Blogger 23asdf23 said...

True... I want to try and find other justifications for my opposition, beyond 'morals', because my view isn't really a moral one. I oppose his stance on public health grounds, for example - the use of condoms is a serious hinderance to the spread of AIDS.

And yes, I still think they are wrong and I won't cede that position, and if that means I am a moral fascist, so be it. I think my worldview, where human life is more important than the pursuit of blinded and completely irrational religious dogma, is a better one than his.

February 09, 2005 1:47 AM  
Blogger Jenni said...

Gerry...I gather that you subscribe to moral relativism then, where one set of morals can't be judged from the viewpoint of another? I would tend to agree with that viewpoint most of the time, but I have a hard time seeing two different viewpoints as equals when I see one as providing a way to prevent human suffering and the other as standing back while human suffering continues.

I don't have a problem with the Catholic churches stance of the purpose of sex in theory, but in reality sex is not just used for procreation, whether that is right or wrong. If I was Catholic, I think a more tenable position would be sex should only be used for procreation...but as long as there are people out there who aren't Catholic and don't adhere to our views (or people who are Catholic and "sin"), they should protect themselves as much as possible.

February 09, 2005 2:16 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Kent, Jenni, I'll try to stagger through is moral minefield without getting blown to bits. Not easy...

I am not trying to defend the Catholic position. I'm merely saying they have, as a religion, the right to practice their religion, and express their moral views, without being vilified or becoming the subject of hatred.

Anything else is, in my ever-so-humble opinion, a form of moral supremacism or moral fascism, both of which are in fact traits of religious fundamentalism.

Given my comments elsewhere in this blog it may seem strange that I now play the advocate. And maybe not...

Catholicism is a religion. A religion sets out a way to live one's life. It speaks only to its followers. Unless it is evangelising, in which case a short, sharp "fuck off" is in order.

AIDS? Since sex for Catholics would only happen within a monogamous heterosexual marital setting, AIDS would hardly be an issue. Condoms? A non-event because true Catholics would only have sex to create children and therefore contraception would be sinful within their belief system. Abortion? Why would a Catholic want an abortion given their views on the sanctity of life?

So what's the problem?

The problems arise when Catholics try to impose their values on non-Catholics, or when non-Catholics try to impose their values on Catholics, or when Catholics don't practice what they preach.

So let's just postpone the next Kristallnacht, eh?

February 09, 2005 10:14 PM  
Blogger 23asdf23 said...

Jenni, you say it so exactly well!

Sorry Gerry, but it's going a bit far to say that any critic of the Catholic religion is a religious fundamentalist themself - that seems to be what you're saying.

I'm not religious or spiritual in any way, none of my views are blindly dogmatic as fundamentalism insinuates. Morals play an incredibly small role in my thinking, as well. Contraception isn't "right" or "wrong", it's just a method of preventing the transmission of a deadly disease. It's neuter on my moral scale.

I have my morals on what sex is about, pretty liberal ones esp. compared to the Catholics, but they are not present in my argument here - I'm not opposing the Catholic views on sex. Sure, their position on contraception is a derivative of their morals. My position on contraception is not a moral one.

Roughly, I think that rules affecting other people shouldn't be made on a moral basis. Especially when it has such, well, murderous consequences.

I have no doubt that's an incriminating comment from me, that last one. Anyone like myself would now hunt me down and find a major inconsistency and accuse me of hypocrisy, but.. sigh.

PS - like someone above said, no-one actually follows these morals. A huge percentage, way over half, of practising Catholics have sex for fun and use condoms. So my other point is that the Pope might be admirable for some of his views, but he and the rest of the church are living in a fantasy land and it's hard for me to take anything they say seriously. But that's just part of my general scorn for dogmatic religion, and is a different topic.

February 10, 2005 3:19 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Kent, as I understand the world "moral", anything to do with "right" and "wrong" is a moral issue.

You said:

(1) '...none of my views are blindly dogmatic as fundamentalism insinuates.' I beg to differ. How can one disagree with so violently with the Pope's teachings except if one is operating from a contra-dogma.

(2) 'Morals play an incredibly small role in my thinking, as well.' Huh? You quite clearly think the Pope's teachings are "wrong", "bad", etc. That's according to your own moral views.

(3) 'Contraception (sic) isn't "right" or "wrong", it's just a method of preventing the transmission of a deadly disease. It's neuter on my moral scale.'

That may be so, but then you would extend that to mean we have a moral duty to use condoms to prevent the transmission of diseases, and the moment you do that you're indulging in moralising.

(4) 'My position on contraception is not a moral one.'

I think it is.

(5) 'Roughly, I think that rules affecting other people shouldn't be made on a moral basis.'

If my understanding of the meaning of "moral" is correct, what you just said is an oxymoron.

* * *
Here's my point: I'm merely saying that the Pope, when speaking to Catholics, is saying nothing which is inconsistent with Catholic values and that those adhering to those values will not be endangering anyone else.

Why do those who do not share Catholic morals get so angry with what the Pope says?

It seems some will not be happy until the Pope makes the following utterances:

"We teach that the human embryo is a life and that all human life is sacred, but hey, it's OK by me if you (Catholics) have abortions."

"We teach that the sole purpose of sex is for procreation and that it should therefore only be performed if the (Catholic) man and woman are married to each other, but hey, it's OK by me if you (Catholics) go and fuck anyone anytime anywhere for sheer hell of it, so please protect yourselves from unwanted pregnancies and promiscuously transmitted diseases, and if you do get accidentally pregnant, kill the fucker!"

This will never happen and so, getting angry with the Pope or the Catholics, or worse, hating them, is in itself a mistake. Do you like it when Catholics get angry at, or hate, secularists? Are we getting this yet, dudes and dudettes? :-)

[/pope's advocate mode]

February 10, 2005 12:24 PM  
Blogger 23asdf23 said...

I'm not a philosopher, I don't know what definitions of morals are, so I can hardly go into this.

I have morals about murder - if you kill someone I'll say you were wrong to do that, you are therefore bad.

If you have unprotected sex, I won't say you are bad because you did something wrong. I'll say you are stupid, because you have AIDS and are giving it unnecessarily to the other person blah blah.

anyway. I give up, I concede. I won't criticise the Catholics.

February 10, 2005 3:55 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Kent, I hope there are no hard feelings. I was just trying to make the point that we all moralise whenever we get form opinions about good/bad, right/wrong, better/worse. Religions do it, secularists do it, everyone does it. If we get too authoritarian about it, we become fundamentalist or fasist. The problem starts when we try to impose our values on others when we don't have the authority to do so. It's a very difficult issue.

Inventing a God and attributing moral laws to "him" is a real groovy stunt because it gives the priests instant authority bestowed by the God they invented. It's a con. I understand your anger at this system. I've been there myself. But it just turned me into a secular fundamentalist.

These days I realise that values (morals) are given authority by a community either via a legal code or a religious code. The legal code can be changed via our legislature. The religious code is controlled by the religious leaders, and in non-theocratic countries, if we don't like these, we can quit that relgion. Outside of this there are personal values (morals) but these carry no authority over others.

I didn't say that you shouldn't criticise the Catholic religion (or any other). I was merely pointing out that hating them may be getting a bit extremist.

I hope I haven't pissed you off too much, Kent. :-)

February 10, 2005 10:42 PM  
Blogger 23asdf23 said...

Yeah, you haven't pissed me off, I'm just struggling, that's all. We have exactly the same points of view, I agree with your entire comment.

I don't think I quite understand the philosophical background to my position, and precisely what morality is. I'm not going to find these answers on a blog, so.. yeah.

And I should add that my hatred (and that's a bit strong a word, really..) isn't intellectual, it's emotional, and if I were get serious about the issue (i.e. write an actual essay or speak to an actual person) I wouldn't use that sort of language because it wouldn't be right.

(Of course you are an actual person, but I think you get my drift. We get casual in the blogosphere sometimes)

February 10, 2005 11:26 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Hey, Kent, I'm struggling with this subject too. :-(
And as far as telling you off for getting too angry? Me, The Angermeister? Anyway, thanks for not taking offence.

February 11, 2005 12:23 AM  
Blogger Rosey said...

Gerry, I understand and agree with the comment you made (posted below)

Does this mean I must be a nutcase too? ;)

"Flowing from this premise is the view that, within the moral structure of their faith, sex is to be engaged in only between husband and wife. This in turn informs their attitude towards contraception and how to best deal with aids.

You might not agree with their moral position on sex, marriage, procreation, contraception and aids, but to hate or ridicule them for their moral position is to imply that you are morally superior to the thinking that gives rise to these morals. In short, it's as morally fascist as the Catholics themselves. Pots, kettles, black, I think...

I should know, I'm often the worst offender. :-(

We've wandered into a moral minefield, boys and girls."

July 08, 2006 7:47 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Rosey, one of the few absolute ways of determining that person is a nutcase is this:

If they're posting comments here, they are. ;-)

July 08, 2006 9:29 AM  

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