New Stupid Media Trick

Step 1: Arrange a debate between Richard Dawkins and Leading Catholic Prelate.

Step 2: Allow Dawkins to blather about how Old Testament Jews were a small tribe of ignorant savages and brutal barbarians who were way behind us in their understanding of 21st century moral standards, not to mention in their grasp of biology and the art of making blenders and microwaves. This is, of course, standard atheist boilerplate.

Step 3: Prelate then grants that Old Testament Jews were indeed a tiny little nation who were often savages and barbarians and that they were ignorant of much that we now take for granted, thanks to developments which have occurred over the past 5000 years.

Step 4: Have standard issue media freakout and scream “Australia’s most senior-ranked Catholic says Jews ‘intellectually and morally inferior’”.

It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Bishops, God bless ‘em, really need to develop some media savvy about how things like this go. The purpose of the MSM is not to inform or enlighten. It is to sell beer and shampoo with ginned-up controversy. And Know Nothing anti-Catholicism is one of the drugs of choice for the MSM. Induces a crystal meth 15 minute hate high (particularly in the UK press) every time.

  • Telemachus

    … and this is why Richard Dawkins refuses to debate anyone but clergymen (notably, refusing continuously to debate William Lane Craig, who could wipe the floor with him), because Dawkins is seeking to embarrass and berate, and he knows the mainstream media will help him.

    QFE: “Bishops, God bless ‘em, really need to develop some media savvy about how things like this go.”

    They need to ignore creeps like Dawkins, and tend to their flocks.

    • Billy Pips

      Straight up. Evangelise, evangelise, evangelise and stop worrying about what these apes think. They don’t like us. Who cares!

      Indeed, I think it lacks style to even acknowledge their presence.

  • math_geek

    I mean, I have no problem noting that Israel in the time of Christ was not a particularly wealthy or advanced nation.

    Crap like “no people in history have been punished the way the Germans were. It is a terrible mystery.” is a bit less defensible.

    I saw Cardinal Pell speak at WYD in Koln. I remember strongly disliking him. He spent some time criticizing effeminate portrayals of Jesus, in particular iconography of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. As a result, I’m unsurprised he put his foot in his mouth during a debate with Richard Dawkins.

    Let’s be clear, Richard Dawkins is a jackass and a fool. Serious thinkers should be able to rip his arguments apart like a knife through butter.

  • Hidajunshin

    We need to get a serious apologist promoted to Bishop. THEN sic ‘em on Dawkins. ;)

    • Michael P

      Archbishop Charles Chaput (Philadelphia)and Timothy Cardinal Dolan (NYC) come to mind. Two EXTREMELY media savvy bishops.

  • An Atheist

    So Mark, are you saying that the OT law code WASN’T nasty and brutish? Do you think doing things like stoning homosexuals, witches, and polytheists is defensible given the cultural context? If yes, you do know what that makes you, right? One of those moral relativists you hate so much.

    • Mark Shea

      You aren’t much on reading comprehension, are you? Too busy trying for gotchas.

      • Ismael

        People like ‘An Atheist’ are ‘unliterate’ (a neologism): i.e. they CAN read, but refuse to do so.
        Hence they speak out of ignorance.
        —-

        “Do you think doing things like stoning homosexuals, witches, and polytheists is defensible given the cultural context? If yes, you do know what that makes you, right? One of those moral relativists you hate so much.”

        This is a straw man.

        Putting things ‘in context’ is quite different than claiming that ‘everything is relative’.

        For example if a child does or says something stupid, like “mooning” someone in public, it is understandable because he is a child, hence he still has limited understanding of the world, of social behavior, etc…
        This does NOT however make behavior like “public mooning” something good or just in itself.

        The CHILD is excused for acting stupid seen his limited capabilities, but the action itself is NOT excused.

        On the other hand, in ‘moral relativism’, the ACT ITSELF is good depending on the point of view.

        Let me give you some advice dear ‘An Atheist’: you should buy a dictionary and try to understand what words exactly mean.

        Also I recoment to become literate again, i.e. start reading what people write before commenting.

        Atheist keep praising intelligence and reason… maybe they should praise them a bit less and use them a bit more.

    • Ted Seeber

      He’s saying that the OT law, has nothing to do with how Jews are today.

      ” Do you think doing things like stoning homosexuals, witches, and polytheists is defensible given the cultural context?”

      Yes. In fact, I think it’s almost defensible given the evil such people do in society TODAY (the only difference being that we now have the ability to weld steel, and thus, enact a sentence of life in solitary instead, which is marginally more moral). It is because of moral relativism being tolerant of such people that we allow them to harm others.

    • Mark t

      No. That’s what Islamists do as of right now. Stone, kill and murder with no shame, no humanity and certain
      Y no loving or living God. They are now, what Jews were then. Justify this contemporary horror. You want a war on women. Look at Islam. Well, there war is against everyone including their own.

    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

      In a pastoral, semi-migratory society with relatively tight margins between making it in a good year and losing people to hunger, how much can you devote to the reform of criminals as opposed to merely trying to limit the number of people who will die from their theft and violence and do your best to mitigate the long term damage even when the result isn’t anywhere near what you’d like it to be? A lot of criticism of OT justice really does evaporate when you actually try to figure out how you could do better. You should give it a try.

  • An Atheist

    Are the things I listed morally defensible or not, Mark?

    • emmayche

      Maybe not.

      Stoning atheists, on the other hand…

      • godescalc

        Such talk is inadvisable; almost no-one likes other people talking about stoning them, even in jest. Love thy neighbour/enemy/fellow comboxer, &c.

        • Ted Seeber

          “stoning” refers to just one of several punishments, the main purpose of which was to remove an unjust person from a just society. Today our option would be either exile or life in solitary.

          • Bob

            Just incidentally in relation to the alleged nastiness and brutality of the Jewish code, I have been looking up the actual use of death penalty, as opposed to its prescription among Jews, before, during and after Jesus’ life. It would seem that:

            1) while it would be naive to believe it never took place, or that the occasional lynching or mob violence didn’t happen,

            2) there was considerable disquiet concerning it, and it would be equally naive to conclude that everybody who was accused of said crimes would be stoned, or burnt or whatever else. I think a court which sent one person to death every seven, some said seventy, years was considered to be particularly bloodthirsty.

            3) From a while before Christ, the Jews were denied the right to execute anybody. This of course is repeated in the Gospels’ narrative of the passion.

            4) Later Judaism further stigmatized capital punishment, to the point that Rabbi Akiva is said to have claimed that not even one person would have been put to death if he had been on the Sanhedrin.

            5) Even in early Judaism, a number of requirements had to be completed before someone could be executed, including:

            (a) The accused had to be judged by a court of at least 23.

            (b) The accused had to be warned, and have acknowledged the warning, before committing the crime of the fact that the crime was capital.

            (c) There had to be two witnesses, neither of whom could be related to each other or to the accused by blood or marriage (which would practically rule out the possibility in a small community).

            (d) full consent and all that entails.

            Thus, in practical terms, the prescription of the death penalty for a particular crime is not an indication that the death penalty was actually carried out, but of the seriousness of the crime. I wouldn’t be rushing to judge the Jewish Laws on their attitude to the death penalty… In fact, in general, when one reads the Laws of the Old Testament, one needs to be careful not to assume that anybody actually lived entirely by them (The Jubilee legislation, for instance, was never actually in practice, so far as we can tell). I think that is part of Paul’s point concerning the law (Gal 3:10).

            I would further note the curious fact in St. Paul that he quotes the Deuteronomic curse (Deut 21:23; Gal 3:13) on the man who hangs on a gibbet, which occurs after the list of capital crimes, in reference to Jesus’ execution.

            Sources: An Encyclopedia of Judaism and Christianity by Dan and Lavinia Cohn-Sherbok

            “Capital Punishment” in The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion

            and “Capital Punishment” in the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia.

            • Mark Shea

              You are messing up the standard “We are 2000 years smarter than all those dumb bible savages” narrative of the New Atheism. Troublemaker.

    • Mark Shea

      Of course not. But they are less culpable when you are talking about people who do not have the benefit of 5000 years of developed moral teaching. It is the easiest game in the world to judge one’s ancestors on the basis of what you know and they did not. Meanwhile, you studiously ignore my point, which is that Pell gets blamed and Dawkins does not for acknowledging the barbarism in the OT. Do you really have nothing better to do than play cheap games of gotcha?

    • Mouse

      Jesus explicitly overturned the Old Testament teaching of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” and so on. How to understand the Old Testament regulations of the Mosaic Law is a matter that is debated even among Christians. Dawkins most likely knows this. If he doesn’t, he is ignorant of the topic on which he speaks. What he is doing by hammering this point is substituting a controversy over biblical interpretation for a serious philosophical debate over the existence or non-existence of God. In other words, he’s avoiding the issue.

      Also, the underlying theme seems to be this: We are morally superior than the God of the Old Testament, and therefore God doesn’t exist. Leaving aside for the moment that this hidden theme involves a non sequitur, it is outrageous for people who support abortion to presume they have a moral high ground from which to judge anything. Abortion is the killing of the most innocent human beings of all, and a deeply wounding degradation to their mothers. Failure to recognize this is well beyond the moral offenses that Dawkins et al are claiming to find in the Scripture, even misinterpreting it as they do.

  • An Atheist

    But those commands were from the direct word of God! You’re saying God develops and changes his eternal Word? Besides, if we take cultural context into account that makes you…wait for it…a moral relativist.

    • Mark Shea

      You really need to stop imagining that every Christian reads the Bible as a fundamentalist like you does. If you’d like, I can send you a copy of my Making Senses Out of Scripture: Reading the Bible as the First Christians Did.

      And no, taking a cultural context into account is not coterminous with moral relativism. Moral relativism believes that truth actually changes as men’s minds change. So, for Himmler, the murder of Jews was a Good Thing and we cannot condemn him for it according to moral relativism. It was His Truth., as the saying goes.

      Sane understanding of moral development, in contrast, recognizes that there is such a thing as a culture which grasps natural law imperfectly and is struggling to grasp it more deeply (as ancient Israel did), and a culture that has a developed understanding of natural law and is wilfully choosing to reject it (Nazi Germany). In short, sanity grasps that we hold adults responsible for things we do not hold children responsible for. That does not mean that when children do evil they did not do evil. It merely means that they are less culpable for it (or not culpable at all). But the evil remains an evil.

      Seriously, stop playing gotcha and try learning about the thing you reflexively and unthinkingly ridicule.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      Don’t foist Biblical fundamentalism onto Catholics. If you want to understand what Catholics believe, do your homework, then come and discuss it. If you really want to understand what Catholic believe about the development of doctrine I recommend John Henry Newman’s essay on that topic.

    • Ted Seeber

      We’re saying that man’s understanding of the Word changes- this is a basic part of Catholic teaching.

      Dogma is fixed, doctrine develops, discipline is temporary.

    • Mark t

      I admit, I’m curious why an ‘atheist’ is trolling the comments. Are you trying to convert people to your religion? You have anointed this Dawkins fellow. Now you preach to the ‘unconverted’. Do you worship together at rallies? Sounds like a new religion to me. And the attacks on other faiths…sadly, we religious people tend to do that. Welcome to the group of religions my atheist friend…and please spare me that atrocious stamp collecting metaphor.

      • http://7kids6dice1gamerdad.wordpress.com Raul

        There seems to be a trend lately in evangelizing atheists. Try it yourself. Post any of Mark’s posts relating to non-theists on Twitter, your blog or other social media and be prepared to get some interesting responses. Perhaps they are, in fact, tired of their non-belief and would like to find a reason (and in my recent experience, ANY reason) to discontinue in their current path. Either that or they are trying to convert us ‘poor’ Christians to unbelief! Of course, if you aren’t disposed to their dysfunctional gospel, you will be branded a knuckle-dragging dim.

  • An Atheist

    And “gotcha” questions? Sarah Palin, is that you?

    • Mark Shea

      Oh bruh-ther.

      Dude, you don’t seem to realize that you are not a moral relativist. You are, indeed, a rigid moralist who is assuming that the moral code he happens to hold (largely a ripoff of developed Judeo-Christian morals, with a few adulterations by the current culture of American libertarian hedonism to keep God off your back when you feel selfish) is the Iron Law of Morality for All Time on Everybody. So you gladly condemn people and don’t even offer the normal mitigating excuses that sane people typically make for the ignorant and the stumbling pioneer.

      Some Christians foolishly argue that atheists are immoral. In fact, atheist are intensely moralistic and more intolerant than the most rigid Puritan. They have almost no capacity to allow for the ignorance and weakness of their ancestors and routinely arraign them on charges of Not Being 21st Century Suburban Americans. *Is* there anybody more provincial and insular than a New Atheist? I suspect not.

      • An Atheist

        Atheists don’t crib from “Judeo-Christian morality” but try to follow the Golden Rule, something that existed in human thought and morality long, long before Jesus or even the Hebrews and is taught by all religions and philosophies in one form or another.

        • Mark Shea

          Um. No. It wasn’t. And atheists don’t believe the Golden Rule any more than most humans do, since the Golden Rule ultimately means “love your enemy”: a development that absolutely required the Christian revelation to be articulated and which is hard even for most of us Christians to buy, much less live. The notion that the golden rule is self-evident is adorably naive. Atheists have a rough and ready awareness of the natural law, as do almost all non-sociopaths. But there are a hundred refinements on the natural law that are deeply and uniquely Christian which ignorant atheists take for grant (as you do) as “taught by all religions and philosophies”. Among them, for instance, are things like “judge not” and “be humble”. Whole religious traditions exist which ignore such details–and which regard love for enemies as utter folly. You are, I repeat, amazingly insular and provincial.

          And you are blissfully ignorant of the difference between relying on natural law (which anybody can do) and being able to account for natural law (which ultimately requires a transcendent God). You haven’t even caught up with a real atheist like Richard Rorty.

          • An Atheist

            The Golden Rule is “do to others as you want to be done by”, taught by all religious teachers, not so much “love your enemy” which always struck me as a ridiculously impossible and self-defeating commandment.

            If you want to love Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden, or Dennis Rader (the BTK serial killer) go right ahead, but that strikes me as little more than high-sounding masochism.

            And “judge not”? It seems to me Christians do an awful lot of judging, especially in sexual matters.

            • Mark Shea

              Enemies are included in the class “others”. You are refuting yourself. Make up your mind. Does Christianity say the same thing as everybody else or not?

              Try to pay attention. I’m not claiming Christians aren’t judgmental. I’m saying there’s a real difference between a tradition that condemns judgmentalism as a sin and one that commends it as a virtue. Your moral code, because it steals from Christianity, assumes that judgmentalism is a sin. But there are whole religious traditions (like the people in that link above) which frankly and openly commend judgmentalism and do not regard it as a sin at all. Result: when you–in your provincial, insular, suburban, and ignorant assumption that all religions are the same–condemn those people for their judgmentalism it has no effect because they could not care less about your assumption that hubris, pride and judgmentalism are sins. Why? Because they do not take for granted the Christian moral code that you are ripping off and presuming to be universal.

              Seriously, try to get out of your amazingly cramped bubble.

            • Ted Seeber

              Which religious teachers? Buddha didn’t teach that. Confucious didn’t teach that. Most of the Shamanistic religions I’ve studied didn’t. In the Middle East, none of the polygamist religions taught it.

              It’s a direct cribbing from a certain set of semitic middle eastern tribes- and them alone.

            • Telemachus

              We judge acts, not people, which is why we are talking with you.

              You also judge acts all the time, each and every day, in all sorts of contexts. That’s part of living a rational human life.

              You are only offended by our judgments because they don’t agree with your judgments. Therefore, the important analysis is why our judgements do not harmonize. Most anti-Christians never get to that analysis, however, because they would rather simply denounce us as backward and lacking in sense.

              God bless,
              Tele

            • Mark t

              We condemn what we don’t understand. If that is what you are criticizing Christians for, you are certainly more like us than you realize.

        • Ted Seeber

          “Atheists don’t crib from “Judeo-Christian morality” but try to follow the Golden Rule,”

          A direct contradiction. Which is it? Do you crib from Judaeo-Christian morality by following the Golden Rule, or do you NOT and follow the true Golden Rule (he who has the gold, makes the rules, is the version that existed before Judaism).

          • Mark Shea

            I think what he means is that Christians stole the golden rule from All the Religions and Philosophies of the World and there is no difference–and that there’s a huge difference because Jesus understood the Golden Rule to mean “love your enemies” which is crazy and wrong and no other religion says that. In short, all religions are equally superior to the Christian faith.

            • Ted Seeber

              Not only that- in most cases the “treat others as I would myself” is only extended to friends and family at best- rarely even to one’s next door neighbor. Christ meant EVERYBODY.

              I still say most libertarians I’ve met, atheist or otherwise, follow the original Golden Rule- he who has the gold, makes the rules. It’s certainly at the center of all the Austrian Economics I’ve ever read; and it’s the reason for their continual harping upon the point of government “interference” in the marketplace.

              • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

                If all the libertarians you’ve met believe in he who has the gold, makes the rules, then I recommend you get out more. If you’re in the Chicago area, I’ll meet you and then you will certainly be able to say you’ve met a libertarian who has a different opinion.

                Austrian economics is all about having clear rules that try to adhere to reality and studiously avoiding the tilting of the rules towards those who are presently wealthy. That’s at the heart of baseline capitalist concepts like creative destruction. The wealthy buggy whip manufacturers ruthlessly have their buggy whip business destroyed and if they don’t step lively into a different trade, their wealth will go too. There are plenty of people who think that the rules should tilt but they are generally not libertarians.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      I think I can safely say that you are unwilling to engage in anything that even resembles a discussion.

      • http://signsshadows.blogspot.com/ Colin Gormley

        Indeed. An Atheist seems to have a shotgun script like your average 1st tier tech support. When that script is deviated from, he doesn’t know how to counter. He just continues with the script as if his argument wasn’t just reduced to ashes.

        • Mark Shea

          Perhaps of interest: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2011/10/this-is-something-new.html

          Be sure to follow the links to Flynn’s stuff. The atheist “but the Bible is supposed to be the Big Book of Everything!” naivete, coupled with the cocksure sense of Adult Superiority flummoxed by Christian failure to stick to the Fundamentalist script is high comedy.

  • Telemachus

    @ “An Atheist”

    The various laws given to Israel were pretty darn good for what they were meant to accomplish, i.e. to protect Israel from taking on the horrid practices and beliefs of their neighbors such as sacrificing children to Moloch or engaging in homosexual practices or worshiping animals. A portion of the laws given to Israel was THE Law, the portion which holds true for all human beings eternally. The portion of laws which were specific to the internal functioning of Israel are particular and did not carry over into the Church.

    If you’d like to know which laws belong to which group, you have two choices: decide for yourself from reading the Bible (i.e. the fundamentalist position), or listen to the Church as she is guided by the Holy Spirit (i.e. the Catholic position).

    Because you appear to be reading the Bible according to principle #1, you are being labelled here as a fundamentalist. This is a blog written by a Catholic, so expect to be rebuked. It’s for your own good.

    God bless,
    Tele

    • An Atheist

      Homosexuality is a “horrid practice”? Wow. Just wow.

      • http://www.pavelspoetry.com Pavel

        Namely what? Bluntly…

      • http://signsshadows.blogspot.com/ Colin Gormley

        Given the health complications associated with homosexual actions one could argue they aren’t the most healthy things. And yes such actions are immoral and repugnant.

        Telemachus specifically said practices, not “homosexuality.” The practice is what we object to, not the person.

      • Telemachus

        Yes… confused? You might not be if you stepped out of your bubble of absolutist sexual liberationism, most likely picked up in college? Lots o’ free thought there.

        It’s so funny how the average person is simply expected to kow-tow to post-modernist fads such as acceptance of homosexual acts, abortion, contraception, etc. when the vast majority of human beings have inherently understood that such acts are completely inconsistent with human life and health.

        And don’t bring up the old canard “Well, humans thought slavery was OK, too.” The universal rejection of slavery was merely a movement from inconsistency to consistency. The taking up of the post-modern fads listed above are a movement from sanity to insanity, which is a much more severe development.

        God bless,
        Tele

      • Ted Seeber

        It is to every person who has an ounce of sense, or a modern knowledge of basic biology.

        • Therese Z

          Homosexual acts are biologically absurd. If you jammed food into your ear and called it eating, people would either laugh themselves silly or refer you to a counsellor.

      • Steve

        One of the evils of homosexuality is that by enjoining a perverse sexual element into a same sex relationship of love and brotherhood, it makes suspect and objectionable such a relationship. Thus the diabolical claim that Jesus was homosexual because “the disciple whom he loved” laid his head upon his breast, which certain cretans have mockingly suggested. It poisons the air of normal, healthy human interaction.

  • Blog Goliard

    Cardinal Pell is sometimes prone to embarrassing choices of words.

    But maybe, just maybe, we should cut people a little slack when they’re willing to shoot from the hip and speak their minds. Aren’t “authenticity” and honesty and a willingness to explore and take risks all things that most people claim to want?

    Everybody says, for instance, that they’re sick of robotic politicians who speak without saying anything. But they must not mean it, because the Romneys of the world (and the idiot Masters of Persuasion behind them, who are usually no more skilled at genuine communication than my late pet gecko) keep succeeding.

    (Just as how people say our politics are broken and we need to throw the criminal bums out…but until name recognition becomes a bad thing, one must sadly conclude that they don’t really mean it.)

    • Telemachus

      I don’t fault Cardinal Pell for what he said too much. What I fault him for is for even engaging Dawkins in the first place. Dawkins is out for scalps, not for actual argument or discussion, and the media loves him. Did Cardinal Pell understand this, and simply think he could up-stage Dawkins?

      • Blog Goliard

        Well, yes, that’s fair enough. Daring must be joined to wisdom, especially when you’re a shepherd of so many souls…and I don’t know that it’s wise for anyone to go on television to discuss faith with someone whose fame and identity are both bound up with a white-hot hatred of religion.

  • A Philosopher

    …except that Step 2 doesn’t actually seem to have happened. Looking at the transcript of the debate, the closest Dawkins comes to “blathering about how Old Testament Jews were a small tribe of ignorant savages and brutal barbarians who were way behind us in their understanding of 21st century moral standards” is a very brief remark early in the debate that “it’s true that you can find the occasional good verse and the Sermon on the Mount would be one example, but it’s lost amid the awful things that are dotted throughout the Old Testament and actually throughout the New Testament as well”.

    Then much later in the debate, after a long period of Dawkins not saying anything about the Jews or the Old Testament, Pell pretty clearly just gets himself tangled up trying to make a reasonable point about the cultural relation of Israel to (e.g.) Egypt and Persia. I don’t think he’s particularly culpable in making that remark (although one hopes that “morally” was just a complete slip). But his making those remarks was in no way triggered by Dawkins.

    And Pell clearly is culpable in saying some completely outrageous things about Jews, the Holocaust, and Germany, such as “probably no people in history have been punished the way the Germans were”. These remarks are much harder to take as Pell getting tangled up making a reasonable point. (I think the most sympathetic gloss is that being the agents of the Holocaust was a special kind of suffering of the German people, but that’s a weird use of “punished” and a weird insensitivity to the clear difference in suffering between undergoing and causing the Holocaust.)

    • Mark Shea

      Looking at the transcript of the debate, the closest Dawkins comes to “blathering about how Old Testament Jews were a small tribe of ignorant savages and brutal barbarians who were way behind us in their understanding of 21st century moral standards” is a very brief remark early in the debate that “it’s true that you can find the occasional good verse and the Sermon on the Mount would be one example, but it’s lost amid the awful things that are dotted throughout the Old Testament and actually throughout the New Testament as well”.

      In other words, step one happened and (be honest) has happened hundreds and hundreds of times in Dawkins armory of rhetoric.

      • A Philosopher

        I have far too little interest in Dawkins to bother reviewing what he’s said over time. But I think it’s a bit strained to think that Dawkins’ claims on completely different occasions, combined with a very brief and not particularly pejorative mention of Old Testament moral misdeeds, somehow led to Pell “granting” five minutes later what you say he granted in Step 3. Pell’s remark wasn’t made in response to Dawkins’ remark at all.

        Look, I’m granting that Pell’s remark (that one, not the one about Germany) wasn’t particularly outrageous. I just think you’re overreaching quite a bit to fit things into your preferred narrative. Not a big deal, but it is (to be honest) a persistent failing in your writing.

        • Jb

          While I understand what everybody is saying about insensitivity, please understand that from a third-generation German immigrant perspective, it was great to hear someone finally admit that Germany did suffer. After WWI and as part of WWII. The bombing of Dresden, as just one example, was a disgrace, and should never have happened.

          Certainly it isn’t the same level of “punishment” as what has happened in Darfur or Rwanda. Just understand that some Germans know the level of suffering our people have had as well. I know it doesn’t fit in well, though, with the PC narrative of evil Germans vs. virtuous allies. Too bad for the narrative that the allies are the ones who began the bombing of civilian targets.

  • http://www.pavelspoetry.com Pavel

    There’s another approach. If we are wrong about life after death, then you, Atheist, will die, and that will shut you up, and we will go on to the next atheist and the next until all of you are dead. And then we will have some peace from your everlasting yammering. Thank God. And welcome to your annihilation.
    Go and die. You have nothing to offer but death.

    • Ted Seeber

      That is, unless the Tibetan Buddhists are right about what happens to a soul that refuses to listen to yidyams (Gods, gods, devils, and saviors). The weird thing about the Tibetan Book of the Dead is that they think the athiest is *rewarded* by another turn at the wheel- where to a Christian or a Satanist, that would be a punishment in and of itself.

      • http://www.pavelspoetry.com Pavel

        I believe that when we are given a choice between the Light and darkness, it would take someone possessed of satanic pride to choose darkness.

        BETWEEN THE PANTHER AND THE WOLF
        For R.S.

        God, the all-powerful, has granted two freedoms
        To us alone, and to no others
        We may love, we may self-slay

        God is love, immortal love,
        Only we of clay
        May die of our free will

        Alone and in the grand collective
        Free to choose the way
        Of human freedom

        In that dark wood of Dante
        Between the panther and the wolf
        The soul can make its way

        In that deep gloom
        The lion of the yellow skin
        Crouches on the sun

        Take back your freedom
        It is too great for us
        Is what we say

        Oh no, oh no, for what I give
        Is not forsworn
        But I forgive

        Pavel
        April 11, 2012

      • Adam

        Wait what? Yidyams, books of the dead, wheels? Explain more please!

  • http://www.pavelspoetry.com Pavel

    You have nothing to offer but death. Death everlasting, the dispersal of “glittering dust” into the everlasting wilderness of time and space. Nothing. Null. Zero. And your arguments and commentary too become null, zero, nothing.

    Annihilated, finished, over with. Existence ended. That’s you. Nothing.

  • http://www.pavelspoetry.com Pavel

    Invariably, every atheist I’ve ever debated with on the Net is frightened and gripped by loathing at the mere mention of death – it is the atheists’ obscenity. \

    Teetering on their infinitesimal specks of existence in the ocean of infinity, about to be pitched into an endless sterility, they have nothing to offer anyone except platitudes and bluster. Everything about them is negative, which is a sign of where they come from.

    This is not true of atheists in other cultures. I remember being told about atheists in Moscow who attended Fr. Alexander Men’s kitchen sermons, and how their jaws dropped at what he had to say. They were fascinated, and perhaps some of them were even converted to faith. Who knows?

    But here, in the cheap and derivative culture of atheism, in that intellectual slum, there is nothing but ignoble squalor.

  • http://www.pavelspoetry.com Pavel

    Challenged again and again to be explicit about what they have to offer, the most any of them will say is “reality.” And this from people who display none of their accomplishments, if any, and post using handles.

    So far as anyone knows they might be 12 year old eunuchs emailing from Laputa.

    Come on, what have you got to offer? What is your actual connection with life? Even if it’s only your suffering, that would be something. Speak! Let’s hear some “reality.”

  • http://www.seraphicsinglescummings.blogspot.com Seraphic

    I saw that freak-out headline and went directly to your blog for an explanation. I did not read the MSM article. I did not collect two hundred dollars. I went directly to “Catholic and Enjoying It.”

    • Jb

      Amen to that. Catholic and enjoying it.

  • Jacob Morgan

    It seems like the new atheists are pretty much in one of two camps.

    The first is full of some vain people. These days “being smart” has replaced all virtues. It is somehow the sole measure of man, which an interesting topic in itself. Used to, being smart meant knowing Latin and Greek, before going to college. Used to, being well educated meant knowledge of ancient and modern literature, philosophy, history, etc. But that all takes work. Now it is really easy to be smart, just say you’re an atheist. Instant superiority over 99 percent of everyone that ever lived. The palpable smugness on display confirms that.

    The reason for the surge in aggression amongst the atheists is because they are relics from the modern era. It’s post-modern now. And science is just a construct of white males to control others. Post-modernity has no use for them. So to stay in the game the new atheists don’t fight to return to their home turf of modernism, that would be too hard, rather they try to buddy up to post-modernism by making war on the common enemy. But the modern era, that in which scientific materialism was king, is over and it was killed by the academy and the elites. Those that the new atheists leave alone.

    Vanity and sucking up to the post-modernists, no wonder they’re angry.

    • http://ideasaboutgodandtheworld.wordpress.com/ Alejandro

      I think that atheists are aggressive because of all the injustice and crimes they see when they investigate religion (or more specifically, Christianity and Islam, because to modern anti-theists, those are the only two religions in existence), and seeing fundamentalists and religious irrationality, it’s not hard to see why anti-theists behave this way.

      • http://signsshadows.blogspot.com/ Colin Gormley

        “I think that atheists are aggressive because of all the injustice and crimes they see when they investigate religion”

        But it is entirely selective. They don’t see that they emulate the worst traits they accuse theists of. And the body count is far higher under those enlightened regimes of secular thought.

        • http://ideasaboutgodandtheworld.wordpress.com/ Alejandro

          I know they are biased, because there’s been alot of good made in the name of religion, and the two most criticized ones actually advocate for the same things anti-theists fight for, it’s just that when you see irrational religious fanatics, you tend to react like them. Violence begets more violence, the same with irrationality.

  • http://www.azoic.com/ Irenaeus of New York

    Talk about disappointment with Card Pell. I watched the debate and I was a little perplexed at his answers. Pell referred to Adam and Eve as being a myth. Of course, it is not supposed to be a scientific account… but a myth? Do we not have the stain of Original Sin either because it is only a myth? In any case, there is genetic evidence that our species began with one male and one female.

    • http://ideasaboutgodandtheworld.wordpress.com/ Alejandro

      Yeah, we have, but that doesn’t prove that Adam and Eve existed. The whole Genesis account should be taken allegorically, that’s another reason why I don’t take the Jesus account literal either, even though I do believe in His existence and resurrection.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      Just because something is a myth doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

      And Alejandro, be careful when reading Scripture that you understand what style each book is supposed to be written in. Genesis isn’t intended to be a historical account, so Adam and Eve doesn’t have to be taken precisely that way.

      On the other hand, the Gospels are meant exactly to be historical accounts, and denial of their content is a rejection of faith.

      • Mouse

        “Andy, Bad Person says:

        April 14, 2012 at 6:39 am

        “Just because something is a myth doesn’t mean it isn’t true.”

        This is a twisted definition of the term “myth” that I have found to be used only by skeptical academic theologians who actually don’t think that the Faith is true, but want to hide that fact, so they call it a myth but then define myth as a story that may be true in some sense, but not really in an historical sense. Of course, that is not how they will explain it to you, but that is the essence of it, when you dig into it. And it may also be used by members of certain other disciplines that study religion but do not believe any of them are true in the normal, real sense of the word true!

        And in any case, in modern parlance, “myth” is used to refer to something that is not true, so it is insane for any believer in Jesus Christ to refer to any part of Sacred Scripture as myth. That only confuses people, and gives unbelieving pseudo-theologians a way to hide their lack of faith.

        • Mouse

          I don’t mean this as an attack on you, Andy, just as a caution. We shouldn’t play by the rules of those who actually despise the faith, or use their lingo!

          Also, the Church teaches that we do indeed have two original parents, as Genesis teaches. Some might think that we don’t believe this, just because we are not required to believe that creation occurred in six 24-hour days, but not so.

    • Mark Shea

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