Brenda chimes in next

Brenda swung by my recent post on Leah Libresco to offer this nugget.

Hi Leah,
I don’t know who you are, but I’d like to offer you a hearty “Welcome” from a fellow once Atheist and now fulfilled Catholic! May you find peace and love in  Jesus and your parish family.
For those who are critical of Leah and her conversion, educate yourselves first about the Catholic Church and open your hearts to God, He is infinitely patient and waits with open arms. Don’t be afraid.

Peace be with you!

“There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.”

So nice, right?

This is the kind of not-really-niceness I tend to encounter with believers; the type that scarcely masks the abrasive message underneath.  Not that I have a problem with abrasive.  I don’t.  But this type of pretending to be nice, assuming I’m stupid enough to miss the underlying message, drives me nuts.

Under the veil of politeness and concern we learn that atheists discount the idea someone rose from the dead not because we’ve listened and read the book and found the idea to be laughably unbelievable, but because we are ignorant of the Catholic church (bullshit, polls show that Catholics on the whole don’t know the doctrines of their own church while atheists do), closed off to god’s existence, and afraid (for whatever reason).  So not only is Brenda condescending and insulting, she doesn’t have the courage to be forthright about it.

We also found in Brenda’s comment assurance that Catholicism is true.  You know what we didn’t find?  A single god damn reason to believe that!  There have been a gaggle of “Catholicism is true” comments the last week, almost all of which were left by someone who didn’t think it might be a good idea to explain why anybody should believe that.  Maybe sitting and droning, “It’s true!  It’s true!  It’s true!” works for church, but in the real world the bar for what qualifies as a defense is slightly higher (i.e. somewhere off the ground).  At least Erick gave it the ol’ college grade school try.  His reasons were awful, but at least he tried to provide some.

Which makes me wonder how Brenda could possibly think we’re close-minded as she implies by admonishing us to open up to god.  How can she possibly know we’re close-minded when she hasn’t even given us a reason against which to harden our hearts?

Perhaps Leah will be an exception to the Catholics who are rushing over here to defend her, but were I in her shoes I’d be pretty ashamed of the company I just adopted.

  • Randomfactor

    but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.”

    Perception is reality. At least in this case. If they want to change the way they are perceived, they HAVE to change their behavior.

  • Rory

    So this is where Brenda explains how the misogyny, homophobia, and covering for child molesters is the perception and not the reality, right? That ought to be informative.

  • anteprepro

    “There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.”

    “WoooOOOOoooOOO. It was all an illusion . This is not the child rape you’re looking for. We were never at war with reality. You are getting sleepy. You are getting very sleepy. When I snap my fingers, you will ignore that our beliefs remain ridiculous and unjustified, you will go to the nearest Child Molestation Protection Racket and will give 10% of your income to the robed misogynist with the shiny plate. Amen.”

  • baal

    I get the feeling that Brenda etal have an entrenched “no true Scottsman” in their heads. The “true” Church is a fictional abstraction that exists only in their heads and any misdeeds (heinous immoral acts!) or flaw in the actual physical people and objects and actions that make up the embodied Church are not part of the “true” one.

    Would be nice if reality allowed for imaginary constructs to take on real embodiments but that’s not how it goes.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unequallyyoked/ Leah @ Unequally Yoked

    Well, it’s certainly the case that a lot of non-Catholics (and plenty of Catholics) have an incorrect understanding of how much authority the Pope has. Infallibility is almost never invoked, but a lot of people assume that, on every hot button issue, the Pope has made a definitive, unassailable ruling, rather than the best interpretation he can of the theology applied to facts on the ground. And when people reject the Church because the Pope gets to rule the minutia of your life, then they’re not actually rejecting Catholicism.

    But it’s not particularly helpful to trot out that quote, since it comes off as condescending, especially if you aren’t addressing a specific error.

    Almost everyone thinks that, if other people really understood the data, they’d all believe what you already believe (that’s why my debating group’s motto was “We care not what you think, only that you think, for we believe that, if you think, you will come to think as we do”). So Brenda’s pitch is essentially identical to the beliefs of everyone ever, and, as such, unpersuasive.

    Finally, bad arguments by people on my new team aren’t a disproof of my position any more than the “You must have had a stroke” comments I got from FA readers were a disproof of his. In fact, both of these are similar, in that the commenter is expressing an honest opinion without any data to engage with or be persuaded by.

    • ACN

      You don’t get it.

      I don’t care if it’s rarely used. I don’t care who’s using it. I don’t care if it only applies to a narrow range of topics. It really doesn’t matter. The idea that anyone can be infallible when issuing proclamations about ANYTHING is mind-numbingly stupid.

    • kagekiri

      I don’t care much whether the Pope has an iron fist. The idea of a Pope who’s supposed to have the best idea/interpretation of God seems messed up to me, especially because of God’s claimed character.

      If the Holy Spirit were around, and speaking to the Popes, why do their doctrines change at all? Why do we need multiple reinterpretations that say opposite things? God is unchanging, or at least knows the future, and supposedly has an absolute standard of morals I remember being quite proud about as a Christian.

      The fact that Catholic doctrine changes is enough to make you really question if they’re being led by someone led by God.

      The fact that all Christian religions have changed substantially through the ages means God is a terrible revealer at best, or he’s lying about his character, or that the religion is, you know, man made and constantly changed to manipulate its followers.

      That last one sure seems like the most likely explanation, considering the horrible things done by the church and Pope that directly contradict pretty un-misinterpret-able scripture.

      Didn’t God say that he abhorred sexual immorality and to expel the immoral brother (1 Corinthians 5)? Yet that didn’t happen in the child rape cases. The church wanted and wants to be unaccountable to “evil” secularists and secular nations, and that is BIBLICAL (1st Corinthians 6, don’t take lawsuits between believers to secular authorities, though there are exceptions for “major” crimes, but hey, cherry picking is par for the course).

      Didn’t God command, in Numbers 5, that abortion and sterilization was what to do to adulterous women pregnant with someone else’s child? Yet the Church fairly recently excommunicated young raped girls for getting abortions.

      They refuse accountability, fail to even stay accountable to their scripture, spread backwards thinking based far more on conservatism and control than morality, that’s Catholicism to me.

      As the Bible says, you judge a believer by their fruit, and the Catholic church has rotten fruit. They might have pretty theology, but the lack of practice of their morality is PROOF, EVEN BY THE BIBLE’S STANDARDS, of their evil.

    • John Horstman

      It also doesn’t matter if a given papal directive is technically considered an infallible one by the church hierarchy when it’s horrific and many people do follow it – it still causes massive harm and is therefore NOT OKAY. I understand from Fincke’s writings that you may have followed some complex series of meta-ethics arguments to a conclusion that Catholic ethics is most useful or correct (though I still don’t see why that implies their claims about the nature of existence), but at some point you still need to give your reasoning a reality-check (or, put another way, verify that the applied ethics derived from your meta-ethical framework are actually in line with what you see as ethical behaviors). In the case of Catholicism, this reality-check should give you pause, as truly horrible things have been done within the Catholic meta-ethics framework (unless you’re arguing that the RCC regularly does not operate in accordance with Catholic morality/ethics, in which case I question the use of the label “Catholic” by both you and those you’ve read that informed your present view). Impacts matter, and if you’re going to go for a No True Scotsman, you’d really better never give a penny to the Church AND dedicate your Catholic activism to reforming that institution versus expanding its influence over the rest of us (unless you actually think that a decades-long, if not in fact centuries-long, and ongoing child-sex-trafficking system or campaigning to, in impact, spread HIV in Africa or denying women full humanity by denying them bodily agency or any of the rest of the terrible things the RCC both has done and is presently doing is somehow morally justifiable in your framework, in which case UH OH).

      • F

        “You must have had a stroke” comments. Yeah, blech. Still waiting on the non-bad arguments from anywhere in the entire religious league, let alone your new team, though, to be honest.

      • sqlrob

        unless you actually think that a decades-long, if not in fact centuries-long, and ongoing child-sex-trafficking

        You missed one time scale – millenia, which is the one that happens to be accurate. There was a youtube with sources that was posted on SB a while ago.

    • Richard

      Guys, guys, wait for her actual blog thing with JT. Take a breath, take a step back, and relax. We’ll get answers soon…soooooon….

  • kagekiri

    “Don’t be afraid”? You’re doing it wrong.

    What about “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”? Forgot about that one, eh? Or the many dozens of other times the Bible says to fear God?

    “Oh, but it means respect him like you would a father”! Yeah, a father who beats you and is willing to torture you if you disobey him, right?

    Also, as for this “you don’t know us well enough to really hate us” crap, yeah, she’s wrong. I know scripture better than most Catholics or Christians I’ve ever met.

    And even if I didn’t fully know their scriptural foundations were made of shit, well, we have historical evidence beyond the horrors of child-rape. Say, the Crusades? Charging for forgiveness (indulgences)? Stealing children from their mothers because of their religion? The Inquisition? Encouraging anti-semitism for hundreds of years? Being a huge part of colonialism and the various underhanded conquests of non-Europeans? Opposing science ever since its inception? Massive homophobia and persecution of gays?

    All the shit they’ve done and keep doing, that’s far more than enough reason to truly hate the Church.

  • Thorne

    Maybe sitting and droning, “It’s true! It’s true! It’s true!” works for church

    I think it goes, “I DO believe in spooks! I DO believe in spooks! I DO! I DO! I DO!”

  • anteprepro

    Some of the things that actually concern people about the Catholic Church:

    And even if I didn’t fully know their scriptural foundations were made of shit, well, we have historical evidence beyond the horrors of child-rape. Say, the Crusades? Charging for forgiveness (indulgences)? Stealing children from their mothers because of their religion? The Inquisition? Encouraging anti-semitism for hundreds of years? Being a huge part of colonialism and the various underhanded conquests of non-Europeans? Opposing science ever since its inception? Massive homophobia and persecution of gays?

    One of the things Leah thinks concerns people about the Catholic church:

    Well, it’s certainly the case that a lot of non-Catholics (and plenty of Catholics) have an incorrect understanding of how much authority the Pope has. Infallibility is almost never invoked, but a lot of people assume that, on every hot button issue, the Pope has made a definitive, unassailable ruling,

    [hint] It doesn’t matter if papal infallibility is a rarely used option, the very fact that it is an option is profoundly ridiculous [/hint]

  • Ray

    Brenda, Tell me about the true Catholic Church. As a skeptic I am more than willing to convert if you can provide a good rational argument. I know hundreds of Catholics and none of them has provided a good argument. They don’t even try when I ask. Please enlighten me. I’m serious.

  • F

    Hi. I’m a once fellow Catholic, now a fulfilled atheist. So what?

  • had3

    “he is infinitely patient … And awaits with open arms.” Either infinitely patient means that I can ask for forgiveness after I die and actually see evidence of his existence, or that word doesn’t mean what you think it means. (as an aside, are his arms smooth like my dead mom’s, or hairy like dad’s, or one of each?)

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    He is infinitely patient

    How can a finite being know infinity when they see it?


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X