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...

Monday, April 04, 2005

on the bashing of dead popes...

A while ago, I got in the shit on this blog for acknowledging the pope as a man of peace because he openly spoke out against war, in particular the Iraq war. Seems you can't be an atheist/agnostic and find something nice to say about a pope.

Now that he's dead, he's being reviled (unjustly, I feel) for all sorts of apparent crimes.

I'm seeing, again, what I call left-wing or secularist fundamentalism and it sickens me as much as any form of religious fundamentalism does.

So let's back-up a bit and sort a few things out, shall we?

Secularism is under increasing attack and religious fundamentalism is on the increase. But as secularists we're not acknowledging the degree to which this increase in religious fundamentalism and the resultant attacks on secularism may in fact be a defensive reflex against what is nothing less than the emergence of secular fundamentalism.

What do I mean by fundamentalism? A form of absolutism; a form of ideological/philosophical/religious totalitarianism; a claim that only your mob are in touch with The Absolute Truth and that to question or disagree with this Absolute Truth is tantamount to heresy.

Now, secularists (by which, for the purpose of this debate, I generally mean atheists, agnostics and sceptics) should by definition be immune to the disease of fundamentalism. But I find the opposite to be true. Everywhere I look I see secularists behaving exactly like the worst kind of fundamentalists they so love to condemn. This is what I see:

(1) Their truth is the only truth and it must not be questioned.
(2) Their morals/values are the only correct ones and must not be questioned.
(3) To question their truths/morals/values is tantamount to heresy.
(4) They are aggressive and fanatical in their prosyletising.
(5) They indulge in outrageous distortions and lies to wage their ideological warfare.
(6) They attack and denounce the beliefs/morals/values of non-believers and other fundamentalist religions. I say “other” fundamentalist religions because the preceding items clearly identify them as being indistinguishable from fundamentalist religions.

Quick recap: Secular fundamentalists, like their fundamentalist brothers in other faiths, are bigoted, fanatical, intolerant of others' beliefs/values, and they are prone to tell outrageous lies to validate their odiferous viewpoints.

Take multiculturalism. There can be no multiculturalism in the presence of fundamentalist secularism even though this is supposedly one of their “ideals”. For multiculturalism to exist, we must have tolerance of others' beliefs, morals, and values. No such thing is permissible under the black cloud of secular fundamentalism. Multiculturalism is merely a wedge device to gain ideological supremacy and once it is attained the ideological Putsch commences. Secular fundamentalism is totalitarian in nature and is as evil as any other religious fundamentalism.

Now, let's get back to what prompted this post. I am outraged by a lie currently doing the rounds in the “secular” blogosphere, namely that the pope has killed millions with his doctrine.” This fallacy is nicely selective in how it sees the pope's doctrine. It conveniently overlooks the fact that Catholicism, as indeed every organised religion, including the religion of secularism, is a set of rules/commandments/precepts by which one should live one's life.

There's a thing about a set of rules. For example, road rules... If you break a road rule and you then get killed as a result of breaking THAT rule (e.g, driving on the wrong side of the road), blaming your death on ANOTHER rule which you did NOT break (e.g. obeying the speed limit), or blaming the rule makers, is an act of gross disingenuousness (look that up, it's worth it). It's so dishonest it's breathtaking. Yet this is exactly the crap that's being put about by secular CrapMeisters.

Lets' get specific: You don't have to be a Catholic, but if you choose to be a Catholic and you contract AIDS because you BROKE one or more of the rules of Catholicism (e.g. having monogamous sex only with a spouse of the opposite sex), don't obfuscate the issue by saying you got AIDS because you OBEYED some other rule (e.g. you did not wear a condom). That's just pure crap. And all of that crap about the pope or the Catholic church being responsible for all those AIDS deaths is just that, crap. It's sophistry. It's blame shifting. Had you not broken ANY of the Catholic church's rules, you could not possibly have gotten aids by having sex. Ditto, abortion. Ditto anything and everything. You might not like their teachings, but they're not the root problem. I welcome you to challenge me on this by the way.)

Sure, you can argue until the cows come home that you, a fine upstanding Catholic, for whatever reason, cannot obey all of the rules of Catholicism. Fine, no worries. So stop calling yourself a Catholic and stop blaming the Catholic church for what happened, given that it would not have happened if you'd stuck to all of the rules. The rest is bullshit!

And that goes for all religions, including the religion of secularism, and even the religion of anarchism. It goes for every ism. You think they are not religions? Think again.

A religion has the right to set up whatever moral structures/rules/commandments/precepts it sees fit. A follower should only be a follower if s/he has no problems with the moral structure. Be willing to follow, or leave. End of story.

You don't have to belong to that religion if you don't like what it stands for. And it's not your job to change that religion into what YOU think it should be. Most religions are not democracies in which the followers or outsiders get to decide what the religion should teach or what its rules should be. If you don't like what your religion teaches, get out. Leave. Start your own religion, and see who wants to adhere to YOUR set of Absolute Truths. You could become the pope of The Next Big Thing. That's where democracy is vis-a-vis religion. But stop trying to impose your will on a pre-existing religion you don't even agree with.

Basically, get real, guys, and stop peddling your outrageous lies to prop up your hidden control-freak agenda.

I'm sick of reading utter crap...

34 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gerry, I congratulate you for the post. It is a brave call. Indeed, I feel a bit 'guilty' for Pope bashing myself. Probably a regression, as I was brought up R.C., then shifting, when I felt I could stand up for myself.

Sure, some blogs are having a bash. Others have a different approach. It might be natural that the downside to the Popes legacy is given slightly more of a go in the blogosphere. It's an alternative, self-publishing medium.

Might be worth applying your six laws of fundamentalism, that I consider great and promise to steal, to the established press.
It is possible that the unbalanced crap you perceive on sites is a reasonable response.

Remember too, that a lot of folks were born into religious/secular fundamentalism. Hard for some to crack. Anyway got to go, but stimulating stuff.

April 04, 2005 5:29 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Wow, Anonymous. Thanks for the validation (I think). Just a small pity a real name or a known nom de plume didn't come with it. [sniffle]

We're all become fundamentalists if we're not careful how we get passionate. I should know, I often backslide. :-)

Your hypothesis of "reasonable crap" is an interesting one. :-)

April 04, 2005 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Damn, you're not mad at me are ya G? I've never been call a fundie before.

I understand where you're coming from, can't say that I agree entirely but It's important that everyone with my perspective continue this kind of self analysis.

These are debates that my side of the belief spectrum must have.

April 04, 2005 6:46 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

No, Phil, not you. I won't name names. Everyone knows who the prime suspects are.

Most of my rants are aimed at myself as much as they are aimed at others.

"We hate most in others that which we hate in ourselves.." and all that jazz...

April 04, 2005 7:05 PM  
Blogger Flute said...

Are you saying that the pope's influence should be irrelevant as soon as you break any rule of the church? Life isn't that simple, and just as we now know that the sun goes around the earth, and burning heretics is wrong despite the resistance by the vatican, future people will look back at today's harmful doctrine and will ask why?

Society has every right to request change in a religion's rules when the effects are externalised. The view of a woman's place in society held by many faiths effects the attitudes of men and women who are not members.

April 04, 2005 9:07 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Flute, if we live in a place/time where religion is imposed, your point would be compelling, but in a place/time where people are free to embrace a religion or dismiss it as gibberish, I will argue the way that I have.

Harm? What harm? If you want to get into this, I'll want it chapter and verse, and not sweeping generalisations. I'll go into what is real harm and what is perceived harm. I'll get into nailing down who really is responsible for what happened. I don't think you will want to go there, Flute. But by all means...

"Society" ??? That's an abstract construct.

The church is only (and must only be) talking to it's own congregation. I reject the right of the church to talk or dictate outside of that sphere of influence.

Hence the separation of church and state is essential - this is what we must be eternally vigilant about.

If poeple don't like what's happening within their church they should leave it immediately and take as many people with them as possible. Religions have a habit of reforming very quickly if they lose enough market share.

I commiserate with your ideals, Flute, and they are very similar to mine I imagine, I just don't see how a religion can be (or should be) dictated to from the outside, and internally they do not have a democratic structure.

So I advocate walking out in protest if your religion doesn't fully fit your own moral values. That's the only democracy religions understand.

But running around blaming the church you pretend to believe in for what happened to you as a result of you breaking one or more of its rules is total bullshit.

I think a religion is like being pregnant, you can't be half-religious.

Personally, I think you're nuts if you become religious, but I'll defend to the death your right to do that.

At the end of the day there are no absolute morals/values/rights. Neither secularism nor any religion has anything to offer except a highly subjective set of morals/values/rights they argue are better than another's. To get totalitarian about it is the road to secular or religious fundamentalism.

April 04, 2005 11:26 PM  
Blogger Brownie said...

Diogie, mate, it just 'appears' that Wojy is being reviled, it's because media rules much more than it did when his predecessor died. I have said elsewhere that he was the most agreeable Pope ever. He was the first multilingual pope, and he was the first travelling pope, and he had a sense of humour. If his successor improves on Karol's improvements it will be wonderful, but I doubt that his successor will appear in person on the streets of Belfast and say "stop killing each other for Christ's sake!"

April 05, 2005 8:53 AM  
Blogger the urban fox said...

Excellent, well-argued post, Gerry. Atheism is a belief system just like any religion, as is modern science and the notion of "progress". Those who claim they are not religious are often guilty of exactly the same closed-minded superiority complex as those who believe in a god.

I'm not a fan of the Pope or Catholicism in general, due to the pernicious feelbad "original sin" guilt factor which I feel is wholly wrong on every level. But what you say about the condom/Aids issue is true, strictly speaking. I'd argue that the overriding guilt premise of Catholicism condemns people to live their lives in a certain fearful way, regardless of the individual rules, based on the side of my family who are from a Catholic nation. That's a general point though, not specific to the anti-contraception moral issue.

I'm totally with you on the atheist fundamentalism thing though. Bigotry and extremism is equally damaging whichever side of the fence you sit. Great point, well made.

April 05, 2005 9:47 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Ah, Brownie, we're mates now (warm fuzzy glow). Love your new gravatar.

A lot of people with a gay rights agenda, a pro-choice agenda, a "sex is not just for procreation" agenda, a "condoms prevent aids" agenda, somehow want to blame the Catholic church, or the pope personally, for the woes they see.

It's convenient scapegoating which conceals the true cause of their woes and therefore tends to deflect their energies away from more effective action. It's misdirected activism.

And bloggers peddling that crap are either ignorant or knowingly and misleadingly belligerent.

April 05, 2005 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Ron said...

Everyone has an agenda, Gerry, be it gay rights or Vietnam veterans' benefits.

The fact is the Catholic church's agenda affects everyone whether you are religious or not. Do you think the Mad Monk will divorce the church from his opinions and policies should he become PM?

My agenda for gay rights affects NO one except gay people.

You can see how the Catholic church influence's the world by the saturation media coverage at the moment.

It's a bit like US politics: we don't get to vote for the US president because we are not US citizens but his decisions and policies affect every person on this earth. For this reason we have the right to criticise him.

And so while religion interferes in the running of the world via its members in positions of power we have the right to criticise it too.

The pope may have done some wonderful but he was also an autocratic, authoritarian, misogynistic homophobe running a business with the same faults.

April 05, 2005 12:06 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Ron, yes we all have agendas. That's not the problem. The problem is people with agendas trying to impose them on the Catholic church.

I argue that they are way out of line. The church has every right to set its morals/values where it deems fit. If you don't like what the Catholic church stands for, don't be a Catholic. Simple. Ditto with any other religion, political party, etc.

I was having a go at those giving oxygen to the fallacious reasoning used to blame AIDS deaths on the pope or the Catholic church. If you think you have a logically sound argument on that issue, I'd like to hear it.

Question: Are you saying that because there is a ton of media coverage of the pope's death/funeral, most of it is being orchestrated by the Catholic church? If so, do you have a reliable source for such an allegation, Ron?

Yes, you are allowed to criticise the pope/church, Ron. All I'm saying is if one uses bullshit arguments, if one can't substantiate one's allegations, then one is actually discrediting and undermining one's own cause or agenda because any intelligent, thinking person will be able to see it for dishonest crap that it is and expose it as such.

The pope is an autocrat because the church is an autocracy and not a democracy. And guess what, Ron, there's nothing wrong with that.

I'm starting to think that you and millions of others really do not understand what a reigion is and so you have unrealistic expectations of them.

Yes, their teachings are still rooted in values influenced by a misogynistic and homophobic past. And if people had the integrity to leave the church if they disagreed with its teachings, and if there were enough of them, the church would change it teachings pronto.

Want to change the Catholic church, Ron? Disseminate factual stuff and not hysterical beat-ups and dodgy propaganda. In a word, beat the bullsit with facts.

Talk Catholics into leaving the Church in protest. Talk to Catholic Priests, monks and nuns and convince them of the validity of your agenda. Convince others with your agenda to do likewise.

Multiculturalism, Ron, what does it mean to you?

The reason I ask is because I think multiculturalism involves accepting, and being willing to live side-by-side with people whose beliefs and values you may not necessarily be over the moon about...

Expecting the rest of the world to convert to your beliefs and values is called monoculturalism or fundamentalism.

April 05, 2005 7:38 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Urban Fox, yes, I think we mostly agree. Again, thanks for your kind words.

April 05, 2005 7:48 PM  
Anonymous Ron said...

Question: Are you saying that because there is a ton of media coverage of the pope's death/funeral, most of it is being orchestrated by the Catholic church? If so, do you have a reliable source for such an allegation, Ron?

I have come across comments like this several times in newspapers and on radio and tv: "And Vatican watchers say Church leaders are working to use media coverage of the Pope's death as an advertisement for the Catholic faith."

Source: ABC AM Program transcript

April 05, 2005 8:06 PM  
Anonymous Ron said...

The problem is people with agendas trying to impose them on the Catholic church

And as I said, the Catholic church does exactly the same. Once again let me remind you of Tony Abbott and Senator Harridine as examples of conduits for the Catholic church's agenda.

And it's not just the Catholic church. All religions push their agendas on non-members. Go back through Weezil's blog for his run in with JWs. You're in for a nasty surprise if you visit Saudi Arabia wearing a cross around your neck and have a bible in your suitcase (or a bottle of Scotch).

There's a thing about a set of rules

Fine if you are educated and live in a Western country, Gerry. You and I wouldn't root a very young virgin believing it would cure AIDS but in some areas of Africa this belief exists.

April 05, 2005 8:18 PM  
Blogger Flute said...

Gerry, I think our ideals are fairly similar so just a few minor quibbles:

if we live in a place/time where religion is imposed, your point would be compelling

We do live in such a world. There are places where you will be disadvantaged if you belong to the wrong crowd. Why be a martyr?

Harm? What harm?
Consider homophobia and sexism for starters. George Pell describing homosexuals as sinners. The pope defining a womans role as a mother. Specific enough? If you take the justification of god out of this "values" system you end up with a grab bag of bigotry.

The church is only (and must only be) talking to it's own congregation. I reject the right of the church to talk or dictate outside of that sphere of influence.

Fine, but the fact is that they try to have a wide a sphere as possible. If you oppose some of the views which are morally repugnant then keeping your mouth shut to obey Gerry's law only leads to the spread of those "values"

Hence the separation of church and state is essential - this is what we must be eternally vigilant about.

Bodies such as the Lyons Forum, and the Family First Party are here today, the separation is non existent. Politicians attempting to enforce their religion based ideals on non believers is happening right now.

I commiserate with your ideals, Flute, and they are very similar to mine I imagine, I just don't see how a religion can be (or should be) dictated to from the outside

Likewise if I thought you were a twat I wouldn't be arsed writing this. However I digress. As religions do everything in their power to influence or convert people, it is only fair to counter with influence and conversion. There is no point in taking a centrist everything has pros and cons approach to some values. Some things are just plain wrong and are justification of prejudices in the name of a supreme being. Utter bollocks. And yes prejudice does cause harm. I am fed up with hearing a crappy piece of bigotry backed up with bible this or god that.

So I advocate walking out in protest if your religion doesn't fully fit your own moral values. That's the only democracy religions understand.

Again, the world is not as accomodating.

I think a religion is like being pregnant, you can't be half-religious.

But some people do and in your world you shouldn't be imposing your view on others.

Personally, I think you're nuts if you become religious, but I'll defend to the death your right to do that.

If someone is a bigotted fuckwit, then they are a bigotted fuckwit whether that bigotry comes from belief in a supernatural force or not. If a religion teaches prejudice, harbours paedophilia it should be disbanded.

There are too many ifs and buts in your position Gerry. Yes, religions should preach to their own coverted, but they don't. People should leave a religion when they break the rules or don't like it, but sometimes they cannot.

Usually wise, you are off on planet lala with this topic.

April 05, 2005 10:22 PM  
Blogger Nic White said...

Well said Gerry. Heres a trackback replacement.

http://52nd.blogspot.com/2005/04/in-defence-of-pope.html

April 06, 2005 1:05 AM  
Blogger miss piss said...

if we live in a place/time where religion is imposed, your point would be compelling, but in a place/time where people are free to embrace a religion or dismiss it as gibberish, I will argue the way that I have.

When court decisions mention the Bible, and when we have the Brian Harradines and Tony Abbotts of the world, and when we have whole towns without condoms because the local pharmacist is a bit funny about condoms -- then we have a situation where religion is not 'imposed,' but it still informs and effects.

Secondly, as for condoms and AIDS? Anyone who paid more than three minutes' attention to this will have noticed that it is not just Catholics there who are affected by this. Catholic-run health care centres/etc don't just treat Catholics.

Thirdly: What gives anyone the right to tell me that I as a Catholic have no right to ask for change?

If poeple don't like what's happening within their church they should leave it immediately and take as many people with them as possible.

That's like saying that if you don't like what's happening in your country then you should go find another one. Don't bother writing your MP or anything like that. Don't say anything. Just get out.

April 06, 2005 2:09 AM  
Anonymous Kent said...

Ahh I was waiting for this post Gerry ;)

Perhaps you're right that my view is 'fundamentalist' - but (that inevitable but) I can't conceive of living life in any other way. I totally agree with flute. What are we supposed to do? Accept that everyone lives life by their own set of morals and simply let things be because, oh, they're working from a different set of ideas? What's to stop some church reintroducing burning witches at the stake, and then what do we say? Oh, that's fine, because that's what they believe in and what their believers subscribe to? No! But then I see your point.

At the very least don't label us 'totalitarian'. I disagree with them, and say so, strongly, but I'm not trying to subjugate them or burn down St Xavier's, etc.

Anyway, interesting post, I can't figure out a way to render it fradulent. Damn! :@

PS The other distinction I'd draw between the secular viewpoint and the religious one is that one don't get its views from a 2000 year old piece of fiction - or really just from a 2000 year old corrupt and bloated institution. (Show me the Lutheran fundamentalists)

April 06, 2005 2:33 AM  
Anonymous Ron said...

IF this article in the Sydney Morning Herald today is true, could it not be construed as orchestration by the church leading to manipulation of the media?

April 06, 2005 6:42 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Whoa..!!!... So many sitting ducks, so few bullets...

I intend to get the discussion back on topic i.e. the accusation that the pope has killed millions because he doesn't support the use of condoms. That is the topic, and any future ploys to insert little red herrings will be blown to smithereens. Get it? Got it? Good!

Proviso: Because I too have wandered off-topic in my replies to comments, I'll deal with some of the other issues raised by creating new posts dedicated to those soon. Be patient, my little luvvlies.. Who knows, it might even be worth it...

OK, let's start with you, Ron: You haven't actually addressed the topic (as defined above) yet in any direct way that I can discern. Correct me if I'm wrong. I deserve all the correction I can get. and that goes for the rest of you queuing up to correct me in this bunfight... [grin]

Flute: Thank your for not thinking of me as a twat. But that could change one day. Who knows. :-)

You asked “Are you saying that the pope's influence should be irrelevant as soon as you break any rule of the church?” Back to the condom issue: He was talking to Catholics. Let's split them into Good Catholics and Bad Catholics for the purposes of his doctrine:

Good Catholics would only have sex after getting married. They would never commit adultery. They would only have sex for the purposes of procreation (or at least not try to prevent conception from occurring). And they would stay married till death does them part. This is what a Good Catholic would do if they followed the centuries-old teachings of the church. The pope merely made a ruling based on those teachings with regard to the condom issue. Given the teachings, the ruling was perfect. How dare anyone outside the church say that these people should not live their lives this way? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bad Catholics are the ones who, for whatever reason, make the decision to deviate from the teachings. And this is where the “road rules” analogy applies (see original post). Their teachings warn ad nauseam that breaking the rules has bad consequences. The church is not responsible, and cannot be held responsible, for the outcomes produced from the breaking of any of the rules. I need say no more about that beyond what I have said in the original post.

(If I were a Catholic and I made the conscious decision to break one of the sex-related rules, I would probably wear a condom, but if it broke, came off during intercourse, had a puncture, or I just didn't wear one, I would not blame the church or the pope for the outcome. Get fucking real guys!!!!)

And now we get to the non-Catholics. If a non-Catholic allows themselves to be influenced by Catholic teachings which they don't agree with they are suffering from a thought disorder and should seek treatment for it.

If the Catholic church somehow prevents non-Catholics from living their lives as they see fit, they should raise all sorts of hell! But blaming the Catholic church or the pope for the outcome produced by non-Catholic behaviour is an utter wank !!!!!!!!! Get fucking real, guys!!!!!!

Nick, thanks. The bullshitting bastards are trying their damnedest to drive me back to the centre. ;-)

Miss Piss!!! What an an uncontrollably knee-trembling pleasure! My pacemaker has gone mad and is causing all manner of fibrillations! Welcome!

If the the local chemist(s) refuse to stock condoms, the local Labor, Greens, Socialist Alliance, etc members might like to contact Ansells, get stocked up, and start selling them from stalls in the main street as fundraisers. What a wonderful idea! Then of course, there are servos, pubs, clubs etc where condoms are sold through vending machines. I can see no problems... Or are you saying that the sale of condoms in Chemist shops should be mandatory? I don't understand where you're coming from... Are you a closet prescriptoid control freak...? I don't get it...

Catholic-run health care centres, like any other health care centres run by religious groups, tend (understandably) to conform to the rules/tenets of that religion. This surprises you? You would impose YOUR values upon such religious outreach centres? Nothing stops other groups from setting up health care centres. And nothing stops any group or individual from promoting and distributing condoms themselves. And if anyone tried (to stop them), this would set up a beautiful opportunity for the subversive distribution of “illegal” condoms. Beautiful! Artistic! I see no problems...

Kent. I think my mini-dissertation about secularism being in danger of being taken over by a creeping fundamentalism is pretty straight forward and well-enough articulated. I don't feel the need to change anything about what I said on that topic at this time, but I will make it the subject of a new post so people can try to overwhelm me with sophistry or rational argument as they see fit. I'm up for it. Care to tell me why the pope or the Catholic church is responsible for killing millions by not condoning the use of condoms?

If I've still got it wrong, people, please correct me. But red herrings, obfuscations and other tempting tidbits of sophistry, or indeed any other feats of rhetorical gymnastics will be blown to bits!!!

Fair enough? ;-)

April 06, 2005 11:41 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Change of plans. I won't be posting additional posts deriving from the comments. I figured I can satisfy everyone by saying the folowing:

I was wrong when I said people should not challenge the teachings of their church. It's also fair to say that the church does not have to take any notice.

I was wrong when I said that outsiders should not criticise a religion. Criticise away, but don't your knickers in a twist if that religion doesn't conform to your wishes.

I agree that religions lobby and use their influence politically. So? Secularists do it too. So keep lobbying, keep on figuring out how to lobby and influence more effectively. Out-lobby them. Out-influence them! It's what you have to do in a democracy if you hope to get your ideas implemented. But to bitch about the religions' influence is a total waste of energy and a loser's attitude.

I still assert that the best tactics for secular activism is to not get all hissy fitty if the religions do not listen to your criticisms or ideas, but rather to focus your energy on finding ways to get your ideas implemented.

Bypass the bastards!

Here's a couple if tips:

(1)If you can't change the religion, change the believer.

(2) If you can't change the party, change the member/voter.

Are we happier now?

April 06, 2005 4:57 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Anonymous, when you want to make a comment which is on-topic, I'll stop deleting your comments. See my comment above about this debate remaining on-topic.

Also, from now on, people commenting anonymously who don't at least provide a pseudonym will have their comments deleted. I'm sick of explaining the reasons for this, and nor should I have to.

April 06, 2005 6:26 PM  
Anonymous Kent said...

I had a further thought today: perhaps many of the people suffering from AIDS - especially in Africa and other poor areas of the world - don't have any education - perhaps they don't realise that wearing a condom will stop the disease and literally save lives. If that is the case, and I suspect it is, I wonder if the Catholic priests and nuns (those loyal to the Pope, at least, which by all reports doesn't seem to be many) tell them this before telling them not to use condoms.

Or do they just tell them that using condoms is sinful?

I don't know - if it's the latter, I hold the church and thus the Pope in approximately the same regard as I hold the cigarette companies.

As for your latest comments - I'm not an activist, unfortunately. I just don't see what's wrong with passionately disagreeing with someone else's moral viewpoint, and saying so! I really really don't like the contraception line they've taken, however sincerely they hold it.

PS I hope this is on-topic, Gerry - if not and you don't want to pursue it here then I won't be at all offended if you delete it - as you say, it's your site and your rules! I'd just flesh it out and put it on my site ;)

April 07, 2005 1:17 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Kent, you're nicely on-topic. :-)

You can blame the pope, the priests, and the nuns, Kent. That'll make a HUGE difference.

Here's a clue: I'm sure there are lots of secular NGOs in the places you refer to running clinics and education campaigns. So tell me, have you bothered to find out which NGOs they are, and have you bothered to donate an amount of money to them roughly commensurate with the level of your rage about your perceived injustices?

I think it really comes down to something like that...

April 07, 2005 2:52 AM  
Anonymous Kent said...

No, I haven't, and therein lies my hypocrisy. sigh.

April 07, 2005 4:00 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

If you're worried about hypocrisy, Kent, know that I'm probably a bigger one than you. But neither one of us is as big a hypocrite as a Catholic pope or George W. Bush.

Confused yet? :-)

April 07, 2005 4:38 AM  
Blogger miss piss said...

Catholic-run health care centres, like any other health care centres run by religious groups, tend (understandably) to conform to the rules/tenets of that religion. This surprises you?

No, but that fact seems to have escaped some people, to wit:

And now we get to the non-Catholics. If a non-Catholic allows themselves to be influenced by Catholic teachings which they don't agree with they are suffering from a thought disorder and should seek treatment for it.

If your only source of health care happens to be a Catholic mission in some impoverished third world shithole then you can't fucking help it, can you now?

April 07, 2005 8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoa, we're having fun here.

Miss Piss said:
If your only source of health care happens to be a Catholic mission in some impoverished third world shithole then you can't fucking help it, can you now?

Miss Piss, although Christian, I'm not Catholic. I have some concenrs with some Christian's stance on this too (Protestants and other Christians face the same issues in their missionary work as well)

But why is it only the churches who are providing health care in many areas in many impoverished nations? Where are the private organisations, government hospitals. Where are the Atheists and Skeptics hospitals, the Buddhist's Health clinic...

In fact, who were the first to extend care to AIDS victims when it was first thought to be a 'gay problem' and the whole world thought it anathema?

Blow me down, it was Christians.

And if non-Christians don't want Christian teaching and practice and values rammed down their throat, is it fair then to expect Christians to have non-Christian teaching and practice and values rammed down theirs?

I actually think there is a possibility for some movement on this issue without compromising Christian teaching. But it won't happen with this sort of mud slinging.

I think all Gerry is calling for here - and I support him - is more considered criticism (and perhaps some suggested solutions for perceived problems) then just throwing around the same old cliches and urban myths.

Um, I didn't mean to pick on you, just picked the last comment in the thread.

Big breath everyone. And remember to laugh at yourself every once in a while

saint in a straitjacket

April 08, 2005 8:03 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Saint! I'm honoured by your visit.
And your moral support. thank you.

Miss Piss, you would do well to consider the saint's sage remarks, in particualr this bit:But why is it only the churches who are providing health care in many areas in many impoverished nations? Where are the private organisations, government hospitals. Where are the Atheists and Skeptics hospitals, the Buddhist's Health clinic...

And I think you missed what I said to Kent, namely:Here's a clue: I'm sure there are lots of secular NGOs in the places you refer to running clinics and education campaigns. So tell me, have you bothered to find out which NGOs they are, and have you bothered to donate an amount of money to them roughly commensurate with the level of your rage about your perceived injustices?

April 08, 2005 9:39 AM  
Blogger miss piss said...

...In fact, who were the first to extend care to AIDS victims when it was first thought to be a 'gay problem' and the whole world thought it anathema?

Blow me down, it was Christians.


I know, I know. You are preaching to the converted (literally). I am not saying that this is bad.

What I am saying, though, is that it's not even *approaching* sensible to say that if you don't like something, your only choices are to put up or shut up. I mean, have I misread something here? -

You don't have to belong to that religion if you don't like what it stands for. And it's not your job to change that religion into what YOU think it should be.

If not ours then whose?

April 09, 2005 12:51 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Miss Piss, your first quote in the previous comment is actually the straightjacketed saint's, however your question I think is directed at me so here goes:

Not every organisation is run along democratic lines. Nor do they have to be. This obsession some people have that everything ought to be run along democratic lines and that they should be consulted and heard is a load of hogwash IMHO.

A religion can be many things, but one of the things a religion is is a n arbiter of morals and values. In a democarcy which offers freedom of religion, it is perfectly acceptable to me that those in the upper echelons of a religion abitrate on the morals and values for that religion. I can always leave their religion if I don't agree (And I did.)

Sure you can mount whatever protest you want, and the church leaders may or may not listen to you, but unless your church is run along democratic lines in the sense that grass-roots followers get to vote on doctrinal matters (and don't know of too many which are), trying to IMPOSE democracy on them is IMHO unrealistic and even wrong.

Do you really not understand why it should in fact be that way, Miss Piss? Would you like me to do a new post on that specific subject?

April 09, 2005 6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I normally agree with most of your comments/beliefs/ideas Gerry, this is one time I must side with the opposition. First of all the pope is not just another preacher - he happens to be one of the most powerful people in the world. Second, there are millions of poor, uneducated catholics out there that have no idea what causes aids or how to prevent the spread of it. Third, isn't the pope (or any other world leader)saying "no" to condom use similar to someone in a crowded theatre falsly yelling "FIRE?" Actually I think it's worse - in the theatre perhaps a few hundred may die, while the pope's words will probably kill millions in the end!!!

DS

PS The pope is dead! Long live the pope!

PPS I worry that the next one will be a free market, capitalist bastard.

April 10, 2005 11:11 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Et tu, DS?

What did you not understand about the "road rules" analogy, DS?

This next thing I didn't think I'd actually have to trot out. If you're a Catholic, and they tell you:
(1) Don't fuck before marriage.
(2) Only fuck with your spouse.
(3) Fucking is for making children therefore don't use contraception.

HOw ya going to catch sexually transmitted AIDS aids without you or your spouse breaking one of these rules?

And here's the clincher. If you're going to break one rule, why not break another and wear a condom?

The Caholics don't have a problem with any of this, only non-catholics. So where are the non-Catholics in these places where AIDS is being blamed on Catholicism?

Why don't they go there and educate these "victims" of Catholicsm and hand out condoms by the truck load? Why don't those who spend so much energy slamming the Catholics actually donate as much money as possible to such a cause? In fact why haven't they gone there to fix the problem as they see it?

I'll tell you why: They're actually just using this disingenuous moral beat-up because they hate the Catholic church for being anti-gay and anti-abortion. And that's fine, just stop peddling bullshit about what's causing the AIDS in those place because it's as simpe as they're telling you to do one thing, you do the opposite, you get aids, next minute some Catholic-knocker comes along and says the Catholic church has caused the AIDS. That's a frigging lie, in the literal sense of the word, DS. It's the dirtiest of dirty politics. As I said, a moral beat-up.

It attacks the freedom of religions to teach their stuff as they see fit. I notice there's not the same sort of hysteria about Islam. Or Buddhism. Do you know what their rules on sexual activity are? I don't think they're much different, but it's Catholic bashing time because in America/Europe, Catholics are the biggest enemy of gays and abortion.

MY argument is, instead of attacking Catholicism, by pass it, ignore it, educate the masses despite it.

April 10, 2005 3:21 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

I'm on a roll...

I too have condemned all three Western religions. I have ranted about their reification of a misogynistic, homophobic, male-genedered, patriarchal, sociopathic control-freak "God" thing! I think it's all a wank, a total control-the-masses wank.

BUT...

I'll defend to the death their right to practice their religion, however stupid or harmful to themselves it might be.

If I think their religion is negatively influencing those who are not of that religion, all I can do is somehow get involved in counter-educating them. And in a pathetic way, this blog is trying to do exactly that.

Secular organisations who have a problem with the condom issue, have, ipso facto, their own moral obligation to set up in competition to The Catholics (or whoever) wherever they (the secularists) feel the church is doing "harm".

The left just can't seem to crank up the same sort of support for its ideologies and in the democracy of ideas, they petulantly cry, "But we're right and you've just got to listen to us! It's compulsory! You're either with us, or you're against us!"

Well, I've got bad new for them. It's about PR, it's about applied psychology, it's about mass education, it's about reason and logic and not voodoo and emotion. It's about garnering donations from people till you have the size of Operating Budget you need to get the job done. It's a numbers game of getting enough people educated and on-side. And if the best you got is a Big Lie (the condoms lie) so flimsy that even I can see the holes in it, you're done for before you even start. If the best tactics you got is sophistry and bullshit then listen again to Jim Morrison's song used in the intro to Apocalypse Now...

"This is the end... This is the end, my friend, the end..."

Don't be losers, be winners! Don't resort to emotional bullshit, resort to hard unemotional incontrovertible facts! Stand on solid ground, not quicksand. But I'll say it again, it'll come down to fund-raising, the information war, and PR. If you don't win those battles, you're dead.

April 10, 2005 10:57 PM  

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