Sunday, October 19, 2014

Quotation

"The question of the truth of a religion is one thing, but the question of its usefullness is another. I am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue."
Bertrand Russell
My Religious Reminiscences

Lecrae: neither humble nor honest

The Blaze's "The Simple Question This Famed Christian Rapper Has for Atheists Like Richard Dawkins" is a rather laughable attempt to pass off a blatantly propagandist puff piece as an actual news story. Both the author of the written part and the interviewer in the embedded video all but stick their tongues up Lecrae Moore's self-righteous ass. And, he is quite self-righteous.

The pretense that he is sincere, humble, and honest is ludicrous. He constantly contradicts his own supposed message/points. He doesn't actually want to ask questions or interact with atheists at all. He wants to insist on his own views while denigrating and belittling others. In fact, he does look down on atheists and does view the world in an us-vs-them mentality despite claiming the opposite. Throughout the video he speaks in a manner that is dismissive and confrontational. His claim to having been an atheist is just as disingenuous as the rest of his act. Lacking interest in religion and having a lack of morals is not part of the basic definition of an atheist.

Any one with a functioning brain should be able to see through this pathetic charade.

"Me & Dog"

I think I'm going to have get a copy of "Me & Dog." It sounds like a pretty good kid's book. It sounds like Weingarten took a well balanced approach to the topic of God. I'm glad he didn't take the possibility of others being offended too serious. I do think he is fooling himself a little about the potential responses. Despite not intending to be offensive it is all but guaranteed that conservative theists will hear about it and viciously attack not only the book but Weingarten himself. The majority of them will probably never read it themselves, he's right about that, but that won't keep them from ramming their views about it down other peoples throats.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Synod Silliness

It is nice to see that at least a few people are paying more attention to details during the latest round of "Pope-a-palooza." Far too many are still being incredibly naive and delusional about the Synod Pope Francis has been heading. Many of the reports in the mainstream media have taken the minor step of pointing out that the document being talked about is "preliminary." Sadly, virtually none of the mainstream sources have acknowledge that it is at this point strictly a matter of rhetoric. A few sources have even confused this report as having actual substance. The subtitle to a Salon piece read "The Church issued a document indicating a profound shift in doctrine on civil marriage and homosexuality." It is not only misleading but blatantly false. The "document" in question is a draft and does not contain anything that will alter official doctrine or practices.

One of the most talked about phrases from the draft that relates to the church's views on homosexuals is about the “gifts and qualities to offer.” Few have really looked at what that really means. Many of the mainstream sources are still bending over backwards to make it seem like this is a major breakthrough for homosexual rights. They have used terms like "earth shaking" and "revolutionary." It isn't. Even if it is taken at face value, which there is little reason to do so, it is at best a very, very tiny step in the right direction. Again, there is nothing to indicate a change in doctrine or policy. There is nothing to bar the church from continuing to lobby against homosexual right on a variety of fronts (marriage, adoption, workplace, housing, etc.). Homosexuality is still viewed as a sin. Basically, it is the equivalent of the clergy smiling at homosexuals while explaining they are welcome to sit in the pews, donate to the church, serve as volunteers for the church, but that they will still be receiving a one way ticket to hell from the church.

I still don't see how the current Pope is that different from his predecessors. There isn't any reason to see this latest round of reporting as an intentional move to generate positive PR for the church after decades declining membership and increasing criticism.

Below is a short list of some of the more intersting pieces floating around about the synod.

At the Vatican, a Shift in Tone Toward Gays and Divorce (New York Times, 10/13/14)
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/14/world/europe/vatican-signals-more-tolerance-toward-gays-and-remarriage.html

Vatican urges Catholics to recognize “gifts” same-sex couples have to offer (Salon, 10/13/14)
http://www.salon.com/2014/10/13/vatican_urges_catholics_to_recognize_gifts_same_sex_couples_have_to_offer/

A new welcome for gay Catholics in the church (CNN Belief Blog, 10/13/14)
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/10/13/a-new-welcome-for-gay-catholics-in-the-church/

Under conservative assault, Vatican backtracks on gay comments (CNN Belief Blog, 10/14/14)
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/10/14/under-conservative-assault-vatican-backtracks-on-gay-comments/

Never Mind, Catholic Church Will Probably Just Keeping Hating Gays Like Always (Wonkette, 10/14/14)
http://wonkette.com/563359/never-mind-catholic-church-will-probably-just-keeping-hating-gays-like-always

Everyone Keeps Falling for the Catholic Church's Good Cop/Bad Cop Routine (Slog, 10/14/14)
http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2014/10/14/everyone-keeps-falling-for-the-catholic-churchs-good-copbad-cop-routine

Initial Report From Vatican on Families Is Criticized (New York Times, 10/16/14)
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/17/world/europe/initial-report-from-vatican-on-families-is-criticized.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Quotation

"It takes two to speak the truth - one to speak, and another to hear."
Henry David Thoreau