News: The Pope should look inward

Benedict marked his arrival in Britian with an attack on secularism and atheism with the predictable Nazi comparison.  The Pope might be better turning his moral indignation inwards to the systemic child abuse by his fellow Catholic churchmen. Years of church denial and cover-ups should be of greater moral importance to humanity than his attempting to perpetuate their irrelevant superstitions. The Papacy hypocrisy must test even their Catholic saints!

See Guardian report below…

Alex McCullie

News: UK Newspaper quotation

“Popes have had no problem voicing their opinions when we wanted contraception or divorce. No problem criticising The Da Vinci Code. No problem criticising Naomi Campbell for wearing a bejewelled cross. Yet when it comes to the evils done by paedophiles dressed as priests they are silent. It is grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented. They stand for nothing now but evil.”
(Sinead O’Connor, Independent)

as quoted by National Secular Society (UK).

Alex McCullie

Comment: Materialism Isn’t Materialism

This is one of the popular “con-jobs” commonly used by Christian leaders and writers to attack religious non-belief.

The Christian attack on materialism is a convenient and deceptive conflation of two separate uses of the word, “materialism”. As a philosophical worldview, materialism is the belief that all aspects of reality have a material or physical source. Modern science shows that matter resolves to mass and energy so this worldview is often better referred to as physicalism or naturalism. Therefore people are seen as physical beings interacting with a physical world. Believing in materialism or naturalism does not deny that we have feelings, moral sensibilities and ambitions. This worldview sees only physical sources and denies any non-physical postulations commonly referred as god or gods. All empirically-based sciences from physics and chemistry to the human sciences use this materialist assumption about the world and knowledge.

However many Christian writers deliberately confuse this meaning, which most atheists and agnostics hold, with an everyday usage of materialism as excessive consumerism, as reflected in Madonna’s song, “A Material Girl”.

Religious and non-religious people alike seem to condemn or embrace today’s consumerism. Christians are quite comfortable benefiting from the consumption of others and would be hypocritical of Christian writers to claim otherwise. One could argue separately about the role of capitalism and globalisation as contributors to this problem. However the harmful consequences for humanity and the world are part of a total human problem and have little or nothing to do with religious belief.

In a recent speech Pope Benedict XVI attempted this very deception. He somehow claims that Christian religious belief has the high moral ground on caring for the environment and that atheism and by implication materialism are leading to the destruction of our planet. Critics would rightfully see this newly-found custodianship as blatantly hypocritical. Look at a short sample of his speech:

Experiencing the shared responsibility for creation (Cf. 51), the Church is not only committed to the promotion of the defense of the earth, of water and of air, given by the Creator to everyone, but above all is committed to protect man from the destruction of himself. In fact, “when ‘human ecology’ is respected in society, environmental ecology also benefits” (ibid). Is it not true that inconsiderate use of creation begins where God is marginalized or also where is existence is denied? If the human creature’s relationship with the Creator weakens, matter is reduced to egoistic possession, man becomes the “final authority,” and the objective of existence is reduced to a feverish race to possess the most possible.

Alex McCullie

News: Insulting the Pope is Illegal

In Italy comedian Sabina Guzzanti faces up to five years jail for telling a joke at the pope’s expense. This is reminiscent of Muslim anger over the cartoons. (See article at TimesOnLine 12 Sep 2008.)