Mother Teresa expressed grave doubts about God's existence and pain over her lack of faith...
There's a logic here that I cannot deny.
"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer gods than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all other other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
~ Stephen F. Roberts
Defiling the Eucharist, which Catholics believe is the body and blood of Christ, is also considered a sin of extreme gravity and one which is on the increase, the high-ranking members of the tribunal said.
Such sins, which can only be dealt with by the Pope, acting through the tribunal, bring automatic excommunication from the Church. If the Pope decides to grant absolution, the excommunication is lifted.
~ Vatican reveals secrets of worst sins - Telegraph
This illustrates why religious values are a poor guide for human morality. Desecration of a symbol (though Catholic believe the Eucharist IS the body of Christ) is ranked as a worse sin than, say, a priest molesting a child or a man murdering his wife.
Busty Virgin Mary Outrages Catholics - For his fashion show in Chile, designer Ricardo Oyarzun plans to dress models according to his vision of the Virgin Mary. True to his industry, that vision features women with ample, near-naked breasts. True to their mission, the Roman Catholic Church has condemned Ricardo Oyarzun and his show, and a conservative group has tried and failed to block the show's production in court.
Pope Benedict said on Monday that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behavior was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction...."(The Church) should also protect man from the destruction of himself. A sort of ecology of man is needed...The tropical forests do deserve our protection. But man, as a creature, does not deserve any less."
The Catholic Church teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful, homosexual acts are. It opposes gay marriage and, in October, a leading Vatican official called homosexuality "a deviation, an irregularity, a wound."
The pope said humanity needed to "listen to the language of creation" to understand the intended roles of man and woman. He compared behavior beyond traditional heterosexual relations as "a destruction of God's work."
He also defended the Church's right to "speak of human nature as man and woman, and ask that this order of creation be respected."
~ Pope likens saving gays to saving the rainforest - Reuters
Ben Stein hosts a documentary called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. I have not seen the film yet, and at first I was quite critical about the film's position, as I saw it, of supporting creationism. But as I read more, I realize that while I don't agree with Stein's position on creationism, I do agree that those who support the hypothesis should not be persecuted--IF indeed they are exploring a hypothesis of intelligent design scientifically and not simply foisting or promulgating religious beliefs.* But if people, scientific or not, want to explore the idea that there is an intelligence behind the creation of the universe, more power to them. It's an hypothesis worth exploring scientifically. However, it is not dogma that should be accepted without evidence...or taught in our schools. As dogma, such a belief is personal and/or religious. As a hypothesis, it's worth exploring.
Regarding the film's production, I've heard accounts that some of the scientists who criticize creationism (Dawkins, etc.) were mislead by producers as to the film's intent and how their participation would be used. If true, that's really offends me and greatly reduces my interest in seeing the film.
Stroke of Insight - Jill Bolte Taylor - One of the most profound presentations I have ever experienced....WATCH THIS!
Pastor Jeremiah Wright - In Context - With all the controversy about Pastor Jeremiah Wright's words, I wanted to get a bit closer to the context. I concluded that the news hysteria is misguided. In context, the sound-bites make perfect sense and don't justify the inflammatory response generated by the out-of-context sound-bites repeated ad-nauseum by our shameful media.
When we adopt the opinions of the media, accepting as proof a sound-bite, we risk being mislead. We risk public opinion being corralled by a minority with an agenda. Again, we've been fooled.
U.S. Adults Shifting Religions - Catholics are leaving the church in record numbers (with recent scandals, no surprise). But an "influx of Catholic immigrants" balances out the losses. Nondenominational Protestants are up, and the number of adults unaffiliated with an organized religion are way up. Buddhist, Muslims, and Pentecostals are the only growing populations, with Pentecostals leading that race.
This appeared on a Google group Atheism vs. Christianity under the title: Christians: Tips To Doing Battle With Evil Atheists. I actually thought this was pretty compassionate advice...Am I whacked?
- Remember that they are people, just like you are. Contrary to what you may have been led to believe, they are not some lower life form we share this planet with.
- More than likely, they are smarter than you are. This can be difficult to come to grips with, but it does appear to be true and is a claim that is actually supported by the Bible (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)
- Statistically, they are also as moral, if not more so than you are. While it is a good thing that they generally are highly moral, it is a shame that we, who often times claim the moral high ground, seem unable, or unwilling, to match our words with our lives.
- 4 Noble Truths
- Superb -- and BRIEF -- summary / outline of Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.
If link dies, see cached copy of most of the ideas below.
With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
~ Steven Weinberg
"It ainít those parts of the Bible that I canít understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand."
~ Mark Twain
Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.
~ Isaac Asimov
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.
~ George Bernard Shaw
Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions.
~ Blaise Pascal
Forgiveness - As a former Catholic, I have experienced the sacrament of reconciliation. It begins with confessing your sins to a priest. After hearing your confession, the priest will usually offer some advice and penance. After that, the priest will declare you absolved or forgiven by God.
During my junior high and high school years, I was a fairly devout Catholic, and I found this reconciliation experience incredibly powerful. After confession, I had a clean slate and felt pure. What a marvelous feeling, especially for a guilty Catholic boy.
I remember a particularly powerful experience. During a high school retreat, we had the opportunity to ask forgiveness from any classmates we had sinned against. In essence, we asked forgiveness directly from those we'd wronged. WOW! I took this very seriously, and went up to a guy I had really hated...He was a big, strong, jock, and I really didn't like him...I can't remember why now...
Will Marre Christmas Message - I received this by email on Christmas Eve day from Will Marre of the American Dream Project. I find Marre such a genuine voice of humanness. He doesn't hide his flaws, is always questioning, and always finds an inclusive perspective on often divisive topics. I see that he was brought up Catholic, attended 12 years of Catholic school, but seems to have adjusted his Catholic faith...Perhaps that's why I can relate to him so well.
Document posted by Vatican is difficult to read with the fancy background. Here's Pope Benedict's encyclical Spe Salvi in a more readable format.
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
TO THE BISHOPS
PRIESTS AND DEACONS
MEN AND WOMEN RELIGIOUS
AND ALL THE LAY FAITHFUL
ON CHRISTIAN HOPE
Chuck Norris Advocates Bible as Textbook - I was quite surprised to to see this ad with Chuck Norris. In the ad, Norris and his wife advocate using the "bible as a textbook" in our public elementary and high schools.
I see the merits of studying the bible from an academic perspective. Such an academic study would discuss the good and bad ideas that can be found in the bible, review the history and context in which the books of the bible were written, and examine the many difficulties with translation.
However, in reviewing the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools website, I see that such academic ideals are not what Norris is advocating. Norris and the council want a Sunday school approach to bible study. They hope those Sunday school sessions will help heal the moral ills of our culture. Noble cause. But is the bible the best book for this? I don't think so.
My wife passed this one along...Being of the male persuasion, I was intrigued by the question...The woman pictured must be an atheist.
What Religion is Your Bra?
A man walked into the ladies department of a Macy's and shyly walked up to the woman behind the counter and said, "I'd like to buy a bra for my wife."
"What type of bra?" asked the clerk.
"Type?" inquires the man. "There's more than one type?"
Mysticism is a rational enterprise, religion is not...The only angels we need invoke are those of our better nature: reason, honesty, and love. The only demons we must fear are those that lurk inside every human mind: ignorance, hatred, greed, and faith, which is surely the devil.
~ Sam Harris
End of Faith by Sam Harris ignites a firestorm of debate. Here are some choice reviews and comments:
Bill Maher on Religion - I worry about this trend. In this video, Bill Maher calls himself a "Rationalist," and those who have religious beliefs he calls some pretty harsh names. I know it's Maher's shtick, and it's not that I'm religious myself. What raises red flags for me is when I hear a self-righteous voice -- whether "rationalist" or religious. Believe what you want; I don't care. But I think Maher's "rationalist" slam of all with religious beliefs is just as self-righteous as a fundamentalist Christian claiming those who don't believe in Jesus will got to hell. Arrogance, on whatever side, raises warning flags for me....
But we are attracted to confidence, aren't we? When we can't find faith in ourselves, we seek it out in others...so the arrogant are rewarded with this attention, and thrive.
Penn Jillette and God - If you are devoted to any religion, even in a small way, you will surely be provoked by Penn Jillette's (of Penn and Teller) essay for the NPR program, This I believe.
But even if you have agnostic or atheistic tendencies, you will probably still be provoked. Let's face it. Penn Jillette is a provoking guy with a lot to say. Here are some excerpts from his essay There Is No God...
Richard Dawkins and Religion - In this thought provoking article, Richard Dawkins, a Darwinian evangelist who wrote the controversial classic The Selfish Gene, offers an unflinching reductionist view on the origins and value of human religion.
I currently believe that we, as humans, need hope, faith, love, mystery, and a belief in God. Is there really a God or not? We cannot know for sure, so in a way, the answer doesn't matter. What matters is: Do you live a better life believing in God? Does it hurt to believe in God?
I found religion!
(Link outdated. Read cached copy below.)