Thanks for the feedback, Emmet.

Oh goodie!  Some Catholic commenters came over to play while I was in Wichita.  My favorite has to be Emmet.

Exactly – “pretty much everything” – so when it comes to having a go at the Catholic Church, evidence for claims isn’t required as long as “pretty much everything” is correct? Right.
Of course you can formally leave the Church – procedures are different in different dioceses, but they’re there.

Not hard to find a reason to give atheists shit – blogs like this put reasons out there in spades. If I wasn’t a Catholic I’d be an atheist – no middle ground as far as I can see, Nietzche et al have destroyed that I think. More and more I’m happy with my choiuce to be Catholic – more and more it seems like the truth to me.
I’ve been reading atheist blogs for a year or two now, and if this is the alternate option to being Catholic, I’m even more convinced I’ve made the right choice. The worldview presented on blogs like this one is so often stunted, unimaginative, bilious, bombastic, pompous and pseuodo-intellectual. Nothing I read about the Catholic Church on these blogs engages with the depth and richness of the faith – it’s all half-understood, poorly-researched and even more poorly-reasoned bitching about things the bloggers know little about.
(I guess, when you want to get several posts up a day, and sate your readers’ desire for angry, provocative reading material, a “writer” both doesn’t have time and doesn’t have the inclination to actually engage with the issues in any depth. A quick skim over the top will suffice – and who needs the evidence to back it up when your readership has already made the decision to believe that any bad thing about the Church is true?

It’s a consistent trope with Catholic commenters.  They’re livid that I’ve gotten so much wrong about Catholicism, but they scarcely ever tell us what we got wrong (and recall that, on the whole, atheists know more about the various faiths than the adherents of those faiths, including Catholics).

The Pew Forum on Religious Religion and Public Life released a survey on religious knowledge today. Atheists and Agnostics scored higher on it than anyone else, closely followed by Jews and Mormons, all Christians, Protestants and Catholics, were far behind.

That’s overall, but when you get into specific religions it does show a startling lack of basic knowledge by practitioners. From the report:

More than four-in-ten Catholics in the United States (45%) do not know that their church teaches that the bread and wine used in Communion do not merely symbolize but actually become the body and blood of Christ. About half of Protestants (53%) cannot correctly identify Martin Luther as the person whose writings and actions inspired the Protestant Reformation, which made their religion a separate branch of Christianity. Roughly four-in-ten Jews (43%) do not recognize that Maimonides, one of the most venerated rabbis in history, was Jewish.

So, in terms of pure starting probability, these Catholic commenters probably don’t have a clue what they’re talking about compared to atheists who spend more of their time learning about religion than most (e.g. myself and the readers of this blog).  That’s my theory for why they never go into specifics. So, Catholic commenters, do yourselves a favor and try to get away from “you’re wrong” and give us a little more of “you’re wrong, here’s why“.

Exactly – “pretty much everything” – so when it comes to having a go at the Catholic Church, evidence for claims isn’t required as long as “pretty much everything” is correct? Right.

Oh gee, where will we ever find evidence against the Catholic church.  Oh, I know!  Every single human being who has died and not reanimated in three days, or the fact that the surface tension of water is insufficient to support an adult human male.  Does Emmet really think we criticize the church with no evidence?

And what’s more, when someone who believes that somebody rose from the dead because a couple people wrote in a book that it happened a few thousand years ago demands, with a completely straight face, evidence from people skeptical of that claim, it’s a special kind of irony that deserves a freaking trophy.

Of course you can formally leave the Church – procedures are different in different dioceses, but they’re there.

The app is primarily about requesting excommunication, which is not the same thing.  However, it can also help one formally leave the church with panache.

Not hard to find a reason to give atheists shit – blogs like this put reasons out there in spades.

Of course, Emmet can’t be bothered to list any of those reasons.  And just how would a Catholic give atheists shit?

“Oooooooooooh, look at the people who don’t think a guy rose from the dead!  Nerds!”

“Yeah, pre-marital sex doesn’t harm anyone, sure.  Don’t mind me, I’ll just be directing my moral admiration at a guy who put more effort into shielding the rapists of children than delivering recompense to their victims.  Catholics rules!!!1!”

“Yeah, sure, atheists send oranges to starving kids.  How will those oranges taste when they’re not being sent from a GOLD-STUDDED PALACE THAT IS ALSO A CITY!!!  Catholics for life!”

Yeah, give us shit, Emmet.  Let us heathens have it.

More and more I’m happy with my choiuce to be Catholic – more and more it seems like the truth to me.

Again, he can’t be bothered to say why.  Emmet has important preening to do with his comment.  Priorities.  I can see why he wouldn’t feel the need to defend his belief in people rising from the dead as coming off as totally legit.  Happens all the time.

I’ve been reading atheist blogs for a year or two now, and if this is the alternate option to being Catholic, I’m even more convinced I’ve made the right choice. The worldview presented on blogs like this one is so often stunted, unimaginative, bilious, bombastic, pompous and pseuodo-intellectual.

Even if I were to concede this (which I don’t), none of this would even make us an iota less likely to be right.

Stunted, how so?  We’re not the ones tipping our hat to a moral leader who shielded child rapists.

Unimaginative?  We have plenty of imagination, we just don’t let our imagination override reality, so we don’t wind up believing in people rising from the dead and walking on water, or in sacred water.  You get the gist.  We keep the products of our imagination relegated to the realm of the hypothetical, and thereby don’t allow ourselves to be convinced that a conclave of old white dudes voting is the best, most reliable way god could have delivered to us his vicar on earth.

Bilious?  How so?  I think you just threw out a bunch of adjectives without thinking them through.  Our world view might make you vomit, but apparently a moral leader who abets other moral leaders who diddle little boys doesn’t make you throw up, so I’m not too worried about your moral judgment of my world view.

And accusations of being bombastic are pretty cute from a guy who must think the Vatican is an example of inconspicuous humility.

And it’s not pompous to assert that people don’t rise from the dead or that the author of the entire universe doesn’t take a specific interest in me.  That last one is all you guys.

And as for atheism being pseudo-intellectual, isn’t it fascinating that a peer review paper defending the existence of god by recourse to the evidence has never survived the process of peer review in academia?  Strange, that.  But go on, you who admires the man who proclaimed that science affirmed that condoms actually increase the spread of AIDS, tell me how atheism is pseudo-intellectual.  Tell me how the organization that has burned scholars at the stake and which confined Galileo to house arrest for asserting that the evidence did not align with Catholic dogma is friend to intellectual pursuits.

Seriously, go on.

Nothing I read about the Catholic Church on these blogs engages with the depth and richness of the faith – it’s all half-understood, poorly-researched and even more poorly-reasoned bitching about things the bloggers know little about.

Again, no specifics.  Do Catholics not believe someone rose from the dead?  Do they not have sacred water?  Did Joseph Ratzinger not protect child rapists?  Where, exactly, have I failed to engage Catholicism accurately (and remember, atheists, on the whole, know more about Catholicism that Catholics).

…and who needs the evidence to back it up when your readership has already made the decision to believe that any bad thing about the Church is true?

If the points I make are so bad, you could try refuting them.  It should be easy for you.

The fact of the matter is that the points I harp on are true.  Catholics do believe outlandish things for positively stupid reasons.  The actions of the church are often flagrantly in opposition to the interest of morality or human well-being.

Also, Emmet, your comment sets the standard for arrogance.  It’s a whole bunch of assertions that you expect us to take with no examples, no evidence, just because they came out of the mouth of Emmet.  I at least give reasons.  Maybe you’ve been a part of an organization that expects you to swallow all of their proclamations without question for too long.  In a world where human intelligence means something, that is the opposite of a virtue.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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