The Skeptical Mind Hard at Work

With Amnesty International pulling the rug out from under the bigots indicting Francis as a vile fascist collaborator, the paladins of Reason and Fact now batten on the next line of attack:

Wow! Pretty devastating! What a pig! Still, just for grins and giggles, could you, y’know, document that quote, O Anti-Theists. Pro Active Atheists. Opposing Religious Harm?  I mean, your FB image is all about fearless pursuit of TRVTH:

So: Documentation please?


Oh very well, I’ll do it myself. And lookee here!

Here is the latest Urban Legend making its way through the internet like wildfire and being attributed to Pope Francis in 2007 when Cristina Kirchner was running for President of Argentina. The quote is:

“Buenos Aires, 4 de junio (Télam) – El arzobispo de Buenos Aires, cardenal Jorge Bergoglio, afirmó que “las mujeres son naturalmente ineptas para ejercer cargos políticos”, refiriéndose a la candidatura presidencial de la Senadora Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. “El orden natural y los hechos nos enseñan que el hombre es el ser político por excelencia; las Escrituras nos demuestran que la mujer siempre es el apoyo del hombre pensador y hacedor, pero nada más que eso”.

The quote above begins with: “Women are naturally inept to exercise political office..the order of nature and human activity teach us that a man is superior in the realm of politics…”

“Télam” is the “AP” or major press organization of Argentina. When people research all of the Télam articles of June 4, 2007, they come up empty for this quote. The reason is because the quote was invented out of thin air and posted in a “Yahoo Answers” by an Argentinian who went by the name “Bumper Crop” and who at the time did not cite a link because the entire phrase was posted to smear Cardinal Bergoglio and make him look like he was attacking Cristina Kirchner.

In addition, the phrase completely contradicts Bergoglio known friendship and admiration for various Argentine women who have held political office and who were congratulated by him upon election.

A man who is usually very critical of the Catholic Church, but honest about Urban Legends, has published a very good exposé of this fraud

Remember: Christians are obscurantists who hide from reality with comforting lies while atheists fearlessly pursue the facts wherever they lead.

Update: No apologies, but they are crowing, “Thank you for sharing our graphic; it was wildly successful.” Amazing.

Getting to the Heart of Francis
Two Years Out from his Election to the Papacy, Bill Doino is delighted with Pope Francis
Pope Francis Minutes
Francis to Address Congress in September
  • Alister

    My brain flicked up a bit of a red flag warning the minute a friend of mine posted it. Thankyou for this, saved me a lot of digging through the mire of the internet.

    An atheist friend of mine is endlessly amused that it comes from a group he’s been banned from three times for not being ‘atheist enough’….

  • James H, London

    Passing it on. At least Truth might get its boots on in time, on this one.

  • TMLutas

    Mock people for buying into this without checking. It’s a sign that they are bigots.

  • Julie

    This will show up Laurie Goodstein’s next article. Ha ha.

  • Anon the Ateist

    Thanks, Mark. This nicely illustrates how easily a lot of the sayings and actions of Jesus could have been easily fabricated in your gospels, especially since fact-checking was a bit harder in the First Century than it is now, no?

    • Jared

      “Hey, remember that traveling teacher, Jesus?”
      “What about him, Pete?”
      “Let’s say he claimed to be God and proved it by rising from the dead!”
      “…well, I suppose as long as we keep the whole divine thing as a private eve–”
      “Nope! He said it publicly!”
      “Peter….people will notice you’re lying. Besides, what if they find the body? And what do we get out of this anyway?”
      “Poverty, the scorn of our neighbors, and probably death. Now, off to the corners of the known world!”

      • Anon the Ateist

        This assumes the apostles, as presented in your NT, were real people and not legendary composites or literary creations.

      • Anon the Ateist

        And btw, of all the 100s of thousands of crucifixion victims, how many bodies have we found of them? Precisely ONE. That’s it. Crucifixion victims were fed to wild dogs. Jesus most likely became Alpo.

        • KMT

          You’re kind of like the comic book guy in The Simpsons.

          • Jason Heathman

            KMT – Yes, Anon IS a lot like a Simpson, only less intelligent and less good looking. Note that the 40 year old basement trolls come out when their Mommies go to work their second shift at the 7/11, while the little trolls sneak out of their basement rooms to see if Mommy left any of her pain pills out in the open or if perchance a dollar bill might have fallen out of her purse while she was in the shower. Then they thump back down the stairs to their moldy little domiciles, smelling of stale beer, vomit and smegma, to search out another Christian website to bless with their ‘wit’.

        • Corita

          Statistically speaking, the chances that the Son of God’s body was fed to dogs is? …?

        • Andy, Bad Person

          Well, as long as we’re being evidence-minded skeptics, I’ll accept your “probably” over the testimony of thousands. Thanks, rational thinker!

          • Anon the Ateist

            This again begs the question of whether the apostles were real people. The one we know the most about (Paul) didn’t even know Jesus when he was alive and only had some unverifiable mystical vision (probably in reality a gran mal seizure).

            • Dan F.
            • Andy, Bad Person

              Wait. We have mountains of letters, testimony, and, in Paul’s case, references to “hundreds of people” who saw the risen Jesus, most of whom were still alive, and any one of them could have debunked Paul’s claims had they been fraudulent.

              But please, enlighten me with your “probable” seizure, diagnosed from across the world and 20 centuries. These people died defending their beliefs. You’ve got probables. Who’s being rational?

            • Allan

              We have a lot more eveidence of the existence of the apostles than we have of your ability to spell “atheist”. Genius.

              • Dave P.

                *Sigh* Another troll who seeks out Christian blogs to shout “Christians are stupid poopyheads! I’m smarter than you! Neenerneenerneener”!

                Please go away. You’re not impressing anyone.

    • Irenist

      This would be a better analogy if the guy who made up this tripe on Yahoo Answers went on to be crucified upside-down rather than recant it. The Apostles didn’t just say these things, they dedicated their lives, and their martyrs’ deaths too them. They weren’t just in it for the lulz.

      We know this about the Apostles we have excellent nearly contemporary documentation of them, for anyone who cares to study Patristics, rather than accept the mutually reinforcing Fundamentalist Protestant/Fundamentalist Atheist conceit by which arguments in America ignore all early Christian literature except the New Testament. It’s fine for a sola scriptura Protestant theologian to ignore Patristics if that’s how he rolls, but it’s completely unacceptable to ignore the evidence from Patristics when making a historical, as opposed to a theological argument. And “the Apostles just made it up” is very much a *historical* argument. So unless your the rare (I’ve never met one) atheist versed in Patristics, go read some Polycarp, some Irenaeus, some Clement, and then get back to me.

      • Irenist

        What is with me and the typos this week? “Poor speller on Internet has opinion.” Sorry, folks.

    • Advocate

      I guess no one else in history has ever asked that question. Oh wait, they did:

      For that Christianity is Divine, is plain also from this consideration:— how did it occur to twelve ignorant men to attempt such a vast enterprise? That they were timid and cowardly, is shown by him who wrote of them, and who did not decline to tell the whole truth, nor endure to throw their faults into the shade; which is itself the greatest proof of the truth of his narratives.

      Whence was it then that they who, while Christ was alive, did not withstand the attack of the Jews, afterwards, when Christ had died and been buried, and, as ye say, had not arisen, nor spoken to them, nor infused courage into them, set themselves in array against the whole wide world?

      Would they not have said to themselves, “What means this? He had no power to save Himself, and will He stand up in our defence? When in life, He did not defend Himself, and now that He is dead, will He stretch out a hand to us? He Himself, when in life, did not even subdue a single nation; and shall we, by uttering His Name, convince the whole world?”

      Why, how could it be reasonable, I do not merely say to do this, but even to think of it? From all this it is plain that unless they had seen Him risen, and had received the fullest demonstration of His power, they would never have ventured on so great a hazard.

      – St Chrysostom (337-407 AD), Hom. iv. on 1 Cor.
      Read the whole thing at

    • Mark Shea

      Ah! Bullshit judo! Bye!

  • Anon the Ateist

    BTW I think the new Pope is a very impressive person. The fact that such a humane and otherwise decent human being could also hold such reactionary views on sexuality, not to mention silly notions like resurrecting god-men, is a perfect illustration of religion poisoning everything yet again.

    • ivan_the_mad

      Obvious troll is obvious.

      • Dale Price

        Yeah, that he couldn’t process the fact that it was a bogus quote is grimly amusing. Such frauds affirm him in his worldview, and that’s what counts.

      • The True Will

        You mean oblivious.

  • JoAnna

    Anon, ever hear of a biological term called “decomposition”? That may be why the bodies of crucifixion victims from nearly 2,000 years ago haven’t been found.

    • Corita

      Science is too confusing to biased minds.

    • Anon the Ateist

      But Jews used bone boxes if they were buried in a tomb which would preserve evidence. But again, we can only find ONE.

      There were three supreme punishments in Rome: being burned alive, being fed to wild animals, and crucifixion. To show the power of Rome they would make sure nothing was left behind.

      You can bet your hat that outside the gates of Jerusalem, where crucifixion victims hung, the dogs were waiting, and hungry…….

      • Anon the Atheist

        Still no response to that I see…let me repeat:

        We have found only ONE crucified body of anyone in the history of the entire world. It suggests their bodies were destroyed, ESPECIALLY those of Jews since they would have used bone boxes.

        Jesus isn’t lord, he’s Alpo.

        • Corita

          I bet you get a little thrill out of writing that last sentence, don’t you? We must be skeptical of those impulses that come not from intellect but from self-service. And I mean all the implications of that phrase.

          Nobody responded probably because you are obviously a troll, AND making a big deal out of something so obviously stupid.
          (I guess you missed what I meant by my statistical question, above.)

          So here: *If* the body of Jesus of Nazareth was taken, as is claimed, by the rich man Joseph of Arimathea before it could be thrown to dogs, then that part of your pet scenario is interrupted. THEN if the entire body of Jesus was resurrected, as Christians claim, it would NOT decay and go in a bone box. So I don’t even know why you referred to that unless you are really, really slow this morning.

          • Corita

            Oh- wait– did you think the bone box was used the day after a death? You know that is not how it works, right?

          • Anon the Atheist

            You misunderstand.

            The Romans, when they executed someone, always made sure there was nothing left to demonstrate the power of Rome. That’s why out of the 100s of thousands of crucified men we’ve found ONE body.

            Jews also used bone boxes to preserve the remains when buried. So why aren’t we finding ANY bodies of crucified Jews under the earth of Israel today?

            Joseph of Arimathea? Hahaha. Literary device. Almost literally a Deus ex Machina. Do you really think in any case the Imperial Roman government would listen to the pleasings of some Jew to let him bury the body? LOL!

            • Mark Shea

              Thanks for that bulletin from the REALLY LOUD ASSERTION EQUALS EVIDENCE school of rhetoric.

            • Andy, Bad Person

              Do you really think in any case the Imperial Roman government would listen to the pleasings of some Jew to let him bury the body?

              Exactly! Hilarious! It’s just as unlikely as the Imperial Roman government acquiescing to the will of the mob to execute an innocent man!


              • Corita

                I am with you, Andy. Yawn. I tried to give it the benefit of the doubt. Crap, now I have to go and clean, after all.

        • Maiki

          We have the bones of St. Peter under St. Peter’s basilica. Is that the *one* victim of crucifixion whose bones we have? Relics of St. Andrew’s crucifixion are also held in several churches. So that is a second victim of crucifixion whose remains we have. Whoops? Skeptical about your claims. Plus, there are studies of the wound marks regarding crucifixion, how were those done… with the nonexistent bodies and bones?

          Regardless of whether he was fed to the dogs or not (nothing in the historical record suggests that he would have been, Jews in general would not have consented to that sort of punishment for their own), that would not prevent his resurrection, natch. So I’m not sure what point you are trying to make.

      • Mark Shea

        Just curious. Out of the total population of antiquity, how many corpses do we actually have on hand. Now factor in, how many corpses of death penalty victims are we likely to have?

        • Anon the Atheist

          We find plenty of bone boxes under the soil of Israel. But none bear the marks of crucifixion.

          • ivan_the_mad


            Oh look at that, someone with credentials sez: “The surprising lack of similar physical evidence for crucifixion elsewhere, Mevorah said, may be due to beliefs that crucifixion nails had magic properties. People in the ancient world, he said, “might have collected the nails as amulets.””

          • Mark Shea

            Because bone boxes are a sign of upper class status, you dolt. And what do you mean “we”. You a biblical archeologist?

  • Anon the Ateist

    Most modern scholars now believe that Peter, for example, was a literary composite of a half dozen different early Jesus followers.

    • ivan_the_mad

      Citation, please?

      • Anon the Ateist

        he links would put me in the spam filter but ever heard of John Dominic Crossan, Dr. Bart Ehrman, Dr. Robert Price, or Robert Funk? That’s just for starters. Let me know when you get done reading them. Your mind will finally be open.

        • ivan_the_mad

          I asked for a citation about your claim regarding an position held by “most modern scholars”.

          Do those four comprise “most modern scholars”? Can you provide me with a list of the total number of modern scholars, and the number that make that assertion? Then we can do simple division and determine if the assertion is held by a majority.

          Otherwise, you’ve got a gratuitous assertion, to which I’d reply: quid gratis asseritur gratis negatur.

        • Tim Jones

          Tee-hee! I’m always encouraged to see such energetic trolling. It means you’re doing something right, Mark. Not the highest quality trolling, maybe, but persistent.
          Do go on, Anon. I love the smell of desperation in the morning.

        • Michael Lynch

          Right, because the Jesus Seminar represents a healthy cross-section of NT scholars. *rolls eyes*

          • Corita

            I had a professor who was part of the (later round) of the Jesus Seminar. He was a maniac. Brilliant, yes. Completely full of himself and mean, yes.

    • Matthew Kennel

      Really, it takes alot of panache to post an uncited and unsubstantiated claim like that the Bible history like that on a site that’s likely to be read by experts in the field.

    • An Aaron, not the Aaron

      Most modern scholars believe an “h” is missing from your handle.

      • Dale Price

        Not true. Many scholars theorize that the A (for “Antiaitch”) Community used a different dialect that abjured the use of “H” in its naming conventions.

        Another theory is that it was the work of a redactor trying to make a spiritual point, one which has been lost.

        • An Aaron, not the Aaron

          I’ll grant those are theories, but they come out of the Tubingen school, who are leading the charge on the Fourth Quest for the Historical “H.” You know what those guys are like.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          Fool. You’re begging the question that AtA even exists. Contemporary scholarship reveals that “Anon the Ateist” is actually a composite of several internet trolls. Since the only evidence we have is AtA’s writing, we have no way of knowing for sure.

          • Dale Price

            Drivel! Reputable mainstream scholars have long admitted that AtA exists! The Consonant Seminar is a batch of cranks. Cranks with an excellent PR sensibility, but cranks nonetheless.

            However, I will grant that AtA’s works may have been redacted to address the sitz im leben in various atheist communities. Moreover, the sayings of AtA almost certainly come from multiple sources. As everyone knows, the famous JEPD theory, using the German abbreviations J (for Jerch), E (Erratich), P (Pinnheid) and D (Duufuus).

            • ivan_the_mad

              Ha! This made my day!

              • James H, London

                Truly, we are in the presence of greatness! I love it!! :)

            • Andy, Bad Person

              I can’t keep up with this. You win.

    • Irenist

      We have writings like First Clement from people who knew Peter personally. Less Jesus Seminar, more Patristics.

      • Irenist

        To say nothing of the Epistles of Paul, which also mention Peter by name.

        • Anon the Ateist

          I said he was a literary composite as presented in the New Testament, not a total fiction.

        • Anon the Ateist

          If “by name” you mean one brief passage, then yeah. Then you have to make the jump from that that it is the same Peter, and that he’s actually like the one in the gospels. Pretty big leaps there.

          Sorry, we know next to nothing about the historical Peter, and your crucified savior was dog food.

          • ivan_the_mad

            You are trying so hard to be an ass. It’s pathetic. We feel sorry for you.

            • Anon the Atheist

              I feel sorry that you still think the Sunday School version of Jesus and the Bible are anything like what really happened.

              Virgins don’t give birth.

              Loaves and fishes don’t magically

              People don’t walk on water.

              Water doesn’t turn into wine.

              And most of all: people don’t resurrect from the dead. It just. Does. Not. Happen.

              It’s a FAIRY TALE.

              • ivan_the_mad

                Again, gratuitous assertions gratuitously denied. You really need to learn how the whole logic and argument thing works.

                • Dale Price

                  AtA: “Oh! Oh,I’m sorry, but this is ‘Abuse.’ Ah yes, you want room 12A, Just along the corridor.”

                  • James H, London

                    YES!! A roll is being onned!

              • Irenist

                Catholic don’t deny that Resurrections and Virgin Births and water turning into wine don’t happen in the ordinary course of things under the laws of nature. That’s why they’re miracles.

                The question then is, “Do miracles happen?” If there’s a God Who sustains the universe in existence from moment to moment, then it’s certainly possible for Him to bend or break his own laws of physics as He likes. Google some of Edward Feser’s blog posts on classical theism for logical demonstration of why there must in fact be such a God. The argument for the possibility of miracles flows from there. Once you’re convinced that miracles are possible, the excellent ancient documentary evidence for the Gospel accounts makes them quite intriguing, indeed.

              • Geoffrey

                Anon the Atheist: “And most of all: people don’t resurrect from the dead. It just. Does. Not. Happen. It’s a FAIRY TALE.”

                Oh look, I found a resurrection:

                Miracles are supposed to be impossible; they run contrary to the way we know the world should work. That’s why we call them miracles.

              • Kristen inDallas

                I was totally going to stay out of this until you said humans couldn’t walk on water:
                Science! Boom!

          • Mark Shea

            Correction: *You* know next to nothing about Peter. Actual scholarship has shown us plenty about the historicity of the gospels as eyewitness accounts. When you are reading Mark, you are hearing Peter.

    • Mark Shea

      “Most. Know” Bwahahahahaha! And by “most” I mean four guys, one of whom spend most of his time writing about Lovecraft, the other of whom said “We need to find a way to make our work pay better.” Bwhahahahahaha! You kill me.

  • Anon the Ateist

    I have to go now, but here are the simple facts:

    *There is no God

    *There is no such thing as an “eternal soul”. The entire concept is imaginary.

    *There is no final judgement, no heaven, and no hell. These are simple fairy tales.

    *Jesus of Nazareth is certainly dead.

    *Your death is coming. It is final. What you do here on Earth in the meantime is entirely up to you and you only, not a church and not a god.

    • ivan_the_mad

      BWAHAHAHA!!! Translation: I’m an ignorant, petulant troll. I like to throw rocks. So NYAH!

      Thanks for that steaming pile of gratuitous assertions, which we may gratuitously reject.

    • George Lower

      Oh, bother…and they say you have to have faith to be a Christian! LOL…every single one of those is a faith statement lightyears beyond anything asserted (on the basis of eyewitness testimony) by the Church, at least the Church offers SOME proof that is tangible. But I’m glad you stopped by to instruct the ignorant…it is a work of mercy. Thanks.

    • Dale Price

      Anon contacted me and wanted me to add the following:

      *There is no God, and I am his prophet.

      *I have the social skills of the Unabomber.

      *Which explains why I like to leave little shit bomblets as gifts for people I have nothing but contempt for.

      *That would be people like you, just to be clear.

      *I haven’t really read Crossan, etc.

      *But I’ve read about them, and they appear to confirm me in my biases.

      *No, I haven’t read criticisms of my cherry-picked scholars of whom I haven’t actually read.

      *For instance, I wasn’t aware that Crossan had withdrawn his “dogs eating the body” hypothesis in a fit of PC cowardice after feminist scholars complained that this marginalized the accounts of women seeing Jesus.

      *But that doesn’t matter because my pre-commitments (wholesale contempt for You People) prohibit me from processing inconvenient information.

      *That’s hard-headed critical thinking in this day and age.

      *Peace out.

      • Bella

        Amen! I also love the “Paul had a seizure” bit —- because yeah, Grand Mal seizures always RADICALLY change people’s lives to such an astonishing effect that the ripples reach us two millennia later!

        • rakowskidp

          Yeah, that’s kinda funny… I know a thing or two about seizures, especially now that my first-born son has been diagnosed with epilepsy which manifests itself in the form of tonic-clonic (formerly known as grand mal) seizures. Bottom line, seizures don’t cause delusions, though I suppose it’s possible that if the person experiencing the seizure fell down and struck his head…

        • Anon the Ateist

          Sure they do. What do you think happened to Muhammad after all?

          See, you’re an atheist, too. You don’t believe in Allah. Or Zeus. Or Neptune. I just take it one god further.

          • Dale Price

            How can we miss you if you’re not going to leave?

            • Anon the Ateist

              I’m back.

              Now, what do you think happened to Muhammad if it wasn’t a seizure? There’s one seizure that influences us to this day. Surely you don’t believe a heathen like him was in touch with the supernatural, right?

              • Dale Price

                You first, Unasprayer:

                You haven’t acknowledged that Crossan changed his “the dog ate it!” theory. For political reasons. How is that good scholarship? Apart from the fact that it makes you feel all warm and affirmed in your abrasive, all-encompassing contempt, which really doesn’t enter into it.

                • Dale Price

                  I mean, since you’re all up on Crossan, you have to know this, right?

                  • Anon the Atheist

                    BTW, I’d like a link saying Crossan backed away from it for the reasons you cited.

                    • Dale Price

                      You’re the guy recommending Crossan. How do you not know this?

                    • ivan_the_mad

                      BWAHAHA!!! You’ve yet to provide the citations I’ve asked for. Come on now, fair’s fair.

                    • Dale Price

                      And by the way, even the old Crossan version was less dogmatic than you claim–he admitted that it was plausible that the body was buried.

                • Anon the Atheist

                  So what if he did? I go where the evidence goes and I haven’t seen Christians disprove the Alpo Thesis yet. The Evangelicals couldn’t do it! Maybe Catholics can?

                  • ivan_the_mad

                    What evidence? Citations, please. Since you seem to have difficulty with the concept, I present for your edification:

                  • Corita

                    No evidence given, no need to debunk. I did, however argue above that you are being illogical to even present the idea as *proof* of anything, even if it IS true! (Which I don’t doubt other than my always-first level of skepticism about anything I hear from strangers on teh internets)

          • The True Will

            Like Arab Christians, I believe in Allah.

          • Irenist

            You don’t believe in Allah. Or Zeus. Or Neptune. I just take it one god further.

            “Allah” is just the Arabic name for the God of classical monotheism in Whom Jews, Christians, and Muslims all believe. The God of classical theism is not a being, but Being. Zeus, Neptune, etc., are merely beings. From a classical theist perspective, the pagan gods are more like powerful space aliens than anything meriting the term “God,” which has very precise metaphysical content. Again, google some Edward Feser and get back to us. We’ll be here.

    • rakowskidp

      Oh NOES! My faith has been destroyed by the unsourced, unexplained assertions of Angry Anonymous Atheist Bomb-Throwing Combox Warrior.

  • Mike


  • Deacon Tom

    To “Anon”: Spoken like a true, troubled atheist. When confronted with the attempted fraud by atheists against our new Pope, which you cannot deny, you somehow find this relevant to your anal obsession of all things “godless.” I hope you get the help you need.

  • Non-Trady

    Here’s a nice story of one woman with fond memories of the Pope:

    UENOS AIRES, Argentina – An Argentine woman who grew up as the neighbor of the future Pope Francis says she was very briefly the object of his affections when they were both 12.

    Amalia Damonte, now 76 like the pope, still lives four doors down from where Jorge Mario Bergoglio grew up in Buenos Aires.

    Damonte says it was clear early on that he was thinking about dedicating his life to God.

    She says in a handwritten letter he left for her, the future pontiff drew a picture of a little white house with a red roof and wrote “this is what I’ll buy when we marry.”

    Read more:

  • Darren

    Man, no wonder you have a negative opinion of Atheists (from the comments).

    So, he didn’t martyr himself by giving the finger to the fascists in the 70’s?

    So, he actually goes along with his churches teaching about natural inclinations and talents as they are influenced by gender?

    Considering some of the other named candidates who I actually _would_ have had a problem with, I gotta’ say, “Not such a big deal…”

    I’ll save my being pissed off at the guy until he actually _does_ something that pisses me off, thank you very much… ;)

    • Tim Jones

      The point being, though, the “quote” in question is known to be a complete fabrication.

    • Dale Price

      Darren: you really are the exception. Most atheists who visit here are of the monomaniacal asshole variety.

      • Mike

        Yes, but then again most atheists are repressed theists and just sayin’, complete aholes.

  • meunke

    Have you ever noticed that atheists are always going ‘ohhhh, look at the time. I need to run now! Later!’ exactly at the point when you begin to demand citations and challenge their sources?

    Funny how that works. If I were a smarter man, I might detect a pattern.

    And no, he isn’t gone. He’s still refreshing the page and reading the comments, but lacks the intellectual honesty to respond to challenge.

  • The True Will

    Meanwhile, atheist Ayn Rand wrote that a rational woman would not WANT to be President. “For a woman to seek or desire the presidency is, in fact, so terrible a prospect of spiritual self-immolation that the woman who would seek it is psychologically unworthy of the job.”
    But I guess she wasn’t a “real” atheist. Or Objectivism is “really” a religion, like Communism. Or something.

    This citation not from Wikipedia, but from THE VOICE OF REASON, Vol. V of the Ayn Rand Library.

    By the way, the same volume includes Peter Schwarz’s “Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty”, which presents… problems for those who keep assuming libertarians are Ayn Rand groupies.

    • Corita

      Ayn Rand was a woman-hater of the first order. I threw Atlas Shrugged against the wall after reading one too many sex scenes in which the female character enjoyed being dominated by a man.

  • Corita

    Oh can you believe this? I just checked to see if they pulled the graphic. I found a “Thank you for sharing our graphic; it was wildly successful.” So. You know, no bullshit there.

    I have a lot of respect for my atheist friends… Because they are honest, moral people who think about things. Not so much crap-mongers like that.

  • Roberto

    Thanks be to God for atheists like this one, who go out of their way to confirm how irrational, incorrect and plain stupid atheism is. The “arguments” he brings up are so trite and completely busted since time immemorial that is it is amusing to see them still used.
    Now, if God lets them into Heaven, will it feel like Hell to them? In that case I am not sure how to pray for them.

  • Pavel Chichikov

    Son of a bitch! In the comment space in the Daily Telegraph I posted that while I know nothing about Argentina, I refused to accept the various charges and insinuations at face value.

    Good for you, Mark, for pulling it together.

    Russian aphorism: He lies like an eye witness.

  • Rubik

    Silly atheists got pwned.

  • Pavel Chichikov

    Most atheists I read in comboxes I think of as misguided people. There are a few I take more seriously, since they seem to come from a rather more unwholesome place.

  • Pavel Chichikov

    The Apostles were a different sort of eye-witness, since they put their skins on the line, so that the Romans could have said: You asked for it. In fact, there is no record of any of them recanting, although they would have saved their lives by doing so.

  • Ben @ 2CM

    I see “bad data” a lot at work during complex troubleshooting/problem solving. Data we like is passed on enthusiastically will little or no scrutiny. Data we don’t like is ignored or over-analyzed. Always ask fair questions, whether you agree or disagree; whether you like a piece of data or you do not. It’s an act of the will that leads to truth.

  • A Philosopher

    So Mark, I admit: I don’t get it. Surely it’s obvious that the atheism posts just turn into open invitation for bad behaviour on all sides. So why keep on making them?

    Is it just a “keep the hit count up” thing? There’s no denying that they pile up the comments. And I guess that the light-to-heat ratio isn’t appreciably worse than with other numbers-drivers like “Boy, those Rorate Caeli commenters sure are a bunch of nutcases, aren’t they?”. If it’s numbers you’re out for, though, maybe you can come up with some fusion of Communion in the hand, vaccination, spanking, and the title of the new Star Trek movie.

    • Mark Shea

      Because this meme, like the Ratzinger the Nazi meme, is a deliberate lie that will go around the world before truth has time to get its trousers on.

      • A Philosopher

        Fair enough. Plausibly this was the wrong post on which to make my complaint. For what it’s worth, I suspect this particular meme will have a short lifespan. (I do, of course, realize what it’s worth.)

        • Mark Shea

          Ratzi the Nazi” is still going strong. The behavior of the liars who spread the latest lie is telling. It was a “success”. The lie was propagated. That’s all that mattered to them.

          • A Philosopher

            Time will tell, of course, but I think there are important points of difference between this and the Ratzinger accusations. In Ratzinger’s case, there were at least some actual facts, even if those facts didn’t entail what detractors portrayed them as entailing. In this case, there’s just nothing (as far as the current evidence indicates) underlying the accusation.

            There’s also a question about what “still going strong” amounts to. A little poking around didn’t reveal any actual statistical information on people’s belief that Ratzinger was a Nazi. For comparison, apparently a 2011 Gallup poll puts the number of Americans who take Obama to have been definitely or probably born in another country at 13%, and I guess I wouldn’t describe that particular meme as “going strong”. (Not that I want to hang anything on such vague categorizations, of course.)

            There’s no denying that there are people who throw around “Ratzi the Nazi” with considerable invective. I sometimes feel that one of the downsides of the google era is that we can turn up hateful speech of all kinds with a few keystrokes – it’s easy for that to make things look worse than they really are. (I tend to go by the default rule that for any view, no matter how crazy, you’ll be able to find at least 5% of the population that holds it.)

            None of this is meant to diminish the objectionability of these kinds of slander. I hope that the serious discussion can swiftly move past all the smoke and focus on the serious issue of whether Francis will be able to make significant inroads against the curial culture of concealment.

            • Dave P.

              A Philosopher:

              Would you and Darren consider it ironic if we thank God there are reasonable atheists like yourselves?

              • A Philosopher

                Yes. But then, I’m a big fan of irony. Invented by the grandfather of my intellectual tradition, you know. And rather underappreciated within the Christian tradition.

            • Mark Shea

              The irony is that a couple of days ago, the people levelling the accusations at Bergoglio were saying, “There is a clear difference between this and the smear of Benedict. Here you have actual facts.” Heh.

  • Michelle

    The graphic has not been pulled, unfortunately. But it is true that the page owners are crowing over its success:

    “Thanks for sharing the Pope quote graphic highlighting his misogyny, it has been seen by getting on for 600 000 people. Our second highest reaching post was seen by 60 000, so it’s a great result. Thanks again.”

    I’m sure the Father of Lies is quite proud, is patting Screwtape on the back, and promising yet again to devour Screwtape last.

  • Ed the Roman

    “(I tend to go by the default rule that for any view, no matter how crazy, you’ll be able to find at least 5% of the population that holds it.)”

    John Warner, as Secretary of the Navy, once said that while Naval officers’ politics did not run from A to Z, they did run from C to X.

  • Alister

    Happy to report that one of my atheist friends has both removed it from his own wall, and apologised for posting it in the first place without fact-checking. While another posted this rebuttal and was banned for her efforts.

    There’s hope yet.

    • Mark Shea

      Good to hear. One down. 60,000 to go. If this is commitment to TRVTH and REASON, I wonder what commitment to lies and irrationality look like.

      • Alister

        I’ve found that the ones who have a genuine commitment to truth and reason, while they have their lapses, have a genuine interest in reasonable dialogue and learning more about Catholic teachings.

        The other 60,000 who share this are what I like to regard as ‘anti-establishment’ atheists: they’re in the rebellion phase of life, and want something to rebel against that doesn’t require any real change in themselves or exposure to danger or ridicule from their peers and allows the shameless worship of their own intellects. Which I now find utterly hilarious, seeing as I used to be one of those people myself when I was young and stupid.

  • Pavel Chichikov


    Aeschylus struck dead
    Concussion was the cause,
    An eagle overhead
    A tortoise in its claws

    Because his head was bald
    The eagle thought it gneiss,
    It let the tortoise fall,
    A throw of fatal dice

    Who disbelieves in fortune
    Must also be a fool
    Who ambles without caution
    And does not know the rule

    That all that may not happen
    In ordinary ways
    Like fifty throws of seven
    Can happen any day

    Wisdom knows the reason
    How such a thing can be,
    The Lord who makes things seven
    Has made infinity

    March 15, 2013

  • FW Ken

    I’m still working over the notion that “what you do on earth… is entirely up to you”. I was disabused of that notion within a year of finishing grad school. Not only do other people have the gall to intrude on the triumph of my will, but I manage to sabotage what I want to do, or think I want to do.

    Reality sucks.

  • antitheist