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Letter to a Catholic Priest

21 Apr

Okay so it took a while, but as last I have penned my reply to the Priest. I think I struck a nice balance between all those things that one is supposed to balance. You know, those things.

Here it is then. I will let you have a stab at it, and then I will send it off to the padre in question in a few days. Read the original if you forget what the padre said. And then I will start preparing for my debaptism party.

Anybody have a Pope’s outfit, size 46..?

Dear Father X

I thank you for your letter and appreciate the time you took to write it. But I am afraid that it will not change my mind.

My decision to leave the Church has nothing to do with the recent scandals. However I think it is now timely to remove my name from the register as otherwise I am giving this organisation my tacit support by not doing so. The Catholic Church has moved so far from the teachings of its founders that it cannot be taken seriously at all, and I do not want to be counted among its members.

I understand that many individual Catholics are as disturbed by the recent events in the Church as the rest of us, but I see it as a duty to disassociate myself from organisations that perform illegal acts. Remaining on the register is pointless as there is no way for a member of the Church to push for change, since the Catholic Church is not a democracy and its leader is, by definition, never wrong.

I just want to make a few remarks on your letter (and it was a rare pleasure to receive a hand-written letter, may I add). Regarding first confession – as a child I did not do it because I particularly wanted to, I did it because that’s what one did. I also did not take confession seriously, and I know that the majority of my classmates didn’t either. We made up sins that didn’t sound so bad and we rattled them off in that confessional box while a priest pretended to listen to us. In was, for all involved, a waste of time. I know that the Irish children of today, by and large, are of the same opinion as we were back then, and I know this because I have talked to them.

Raising children with the assumption that they are inherently bad and sinful is, I think, the most questionable part of Catholic teachings. And I am very glad that my children will never get to experience the constant fear and guilt brought on by simply being a normal person and having normal thoughts and emotions.

I was told many things while in religion class that were patently not true, and yet I was encouraged to accept them anyway, and ordered not to ask too many questions. This I find particularly disturbing – adults should not be actively deceiving their children with things that cannot be proven and “should not be questioned” just because they happen to believe them themselves. At the same time, we were being taught the basic tools of science and reason and being told to ask questions and find things out for ourselves.

I have no problem with a grown adult who looks at the available options and decides to become a Catholic. But forcing children into any belief system without their approval is simply wrong. Your ceremonies may be “beautiful” in your eyes, but to me and many others it is simply a group of children who don’t know any better, who are being told not to question, being pushed to perform acts they don’t really understand.

You mention my parents passing on the “gift” of baptism. It is hardly a gift if it is done by default and the receiver of that gift is never consulted if they want it or not. You and I both know that baptising babies is an easy way for the Church to guarantee more Catholics, for whatever reason – saving their souls, boosting the members, increasing parish income, whatever. And I must say I am confused by your mentioning my parents’ names in what appears to be an attempt to add guilt to my decision. I am an adult, and my parents have nothing to do with this. In fact I question why you brought them up at all.

I also resent your claim that the Catholic Church is calling us to do good. I see little “good” in actively opposing the rights of women and gay people, forcing the horrible state of celibacy on people for reasons of property and mobility, and in removing children from their studies to work for free in a church. Morals are not dictated by an organisation, or by an external deity – morals come from being human. I have in fact known many good priests, but I have also known many good atheists, and good people are as widespread within the priesthood as outside. People are moral beings, and no amount of belief or lack of belief can change that.

I accept that you are a well-meaning person and I thank you again for taking the time out to contact me. But I can no longer in good conscience be any part of your organisation. I could pretend (as you seem to suggest) to remain a Catholic for the dubious comfort it might give people at death, but wouldn’t that be lying to myself? And isn’t lying wrong, by any measure of morality?

So please remove my name from the register. And I wish you all the best.

/ paddy

 
75 Comments

Posted by on April 21, 2010 in Life, Religion

 

Tags: , , ,

75 responses to “Letter to a Catholic Priest

  1. Lucy

    April 21, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    I think that is extraordinarily well-written and says what ought to be without ever sliding into mud-slinging. Well done!

     
    • paddyK

      April 21, 2010 at 9:10 pm

      Lucy, I could hug you.

       
  2. Alan Rhattigan

    April 21, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Marvellous bro. Bloody marvellous.

     
    • paddyK

      April 21, 2010 at 9:10 pm

      Thanks. I’ll hug you too.

       
  3. David

    April 21, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Actually, I doubt you ever learned Catholicism, and that may be your problem. You say that the Church has moved so far from the teaching of it’s founders. There was only one founder. And the teaching of the Catholic Church is exactly the teaching of Christ. I would wager that every human organization of the face of the planet has performed illegal acts, so you better disassociate yourself from all organizations. Your understanding of papal infallibility is wrong. You should look it up.
    It’s very obvious that you were not instructed properly into the basics of the Catholic faith. If you actually went into the confessional and made up stuff, you weren’t taught to examine your conscience. And while I cannot say what you heard or what your teacher said, we are not taught that we are full of sin, we’re taught that the human race is fallen, and that we will all sin at some point. That’s just truth. The big one for most of us is to not give God our full love. I wonder if you’d share some of the many things that are patently not true that your teachers taught you. It’s very possible you just had bad teachers. That happens. Regarding waiting until you’re an adult to decide your faith, we, as parents, make many decisions for our children-what immunizations to receive, what food they should eat, vegetarian or carnivourous, what schools they go to. These are responsible decisions of adults for those they’re supposed to care for. Baptism is one of those. It comes from the Jews, who circumcised their children at 8 days old. I can tell you that questioning your faith is understood to help someone, and it’s encouraged. Again, I wasn’t there, so maybe you were told that, but most of the world knows different. Also, regarding the gift of baptism, you say it’s not a gift if it was forced on you, well most gifts are. You can reject them, give them away, or throw them away, but they are forced on you. You’ve rejected the gift your parents gave you. By the way, baptising children does little for the financial state of your parish.
    Regarding ‘gay rights’ and ‘women’s rights’, and the Church’s stance on those topics, I wonder if this is not your main reason for leaving??? But for your information, the Church does hate sin, but it does not hate sinners. Living a gay lifestyle and having an abortion are direct disobedience of God’s laws. If you have children, and they were about to make a mistake, like operating a vehicle while intoxicated, would you just let them do it? Or would you at least warn them of the danger? This is the purpose of the stance on abortion and homosexuality-to warn that these actios lead to hell. Nobody forces someone to be a priest. But to be a priest requires celibacy, the giving of your most important purpose to the God who made you. Property and mobility are side effects, not the main effect. Teaching children to serve the Church is a proper way to teach them their faith, which should be part of their study. All humans are born with the natural law instilled in them, that is true, but it does, ultimately come from God.

    By the way, did you ever learn that your baptism is an indelible mark on your soul?

     
    • paddyK

      April 21, 2010 at 9:09 pm

      Did you write all this drivel in just 20 minutes? That’s simply amazing. You must have a whole document full of these rants just ready to go.

      And, erm, my soul is exactly the point here. I don’t have one. Do you want it? It’s cheap.

       
    • paddyK

      April 21, 2010 at 9:11 pm

      You’re not getting a hug, just so you know.

       
    • Melliferax

      April 21, 2010 at 9:14 pm

      Wow, David, you make me wish I was a member of the Catholic Church just so I could leave it!

       
      • Ben Warsop

        April 21, 2010 at 10:53 pm

        >> There was only one founder

        That would be Constantine, then? Or were you thinking of Peter? Me, I see Paul’s mysogynist and gentile finger-prints all over it. Jesus was a Jew who preached to Jews and had nothing to do with Rome.

        >> And the teaching of the Catholic Church is exactly the teaching of Christ.

        No it’s not.

        So much so that I can’t be bothered to point up the differences.

        >> If you actually went into the confessional and made up stuff, you weren’t taught to examine your conscience.

        That’s a non sequiteur. Paddy may have been taught to examine his conscience and have decided NOT to. Or have examined it and decided that it was none of the priest’s damn business. Or decided that the whole thing was an empty ritual. Or any of a number of things.

        >> we’re taught that the human race is fallen, and that we will all sin at some point. That’s just truth

        What are you referring to when you say “That’s just truth”? That this is what Roman Catholics are taught, or that the human race is fallen, etc?

        On second thoughts, don’t answer that. It’s bollox either way, but I wanted to make a cheap point about your lack of coherence and logic.

        >> Baptism … comes from the Jews, who circumcised their children at 8 days old.

        Um. No. Of course, I had a nasty little Anglican upbringing, but I was taught it came from the immersion rituals of John the Baptist. The clue is in the name.

        >> I can tell you that questioning your faith is understood to help someone, and it’s encouraged. Again, I wasn’t there, so maybe you were told that, but most of the world knows different.

        Huh? This makes no sense at all.

        >> Regarding ‘gay rights’ and ‘women’s rights’, and the Church’s stance on those topics, I wonder if this is not your main reason for leaving???

        Institutional homophobia and sexism are among the best reasons for leaving any organisation.

        >> Living a gay lifestyle and having an abortion are direct disobedience of God’s laws.

        And so is eating shelfish or doing anything other than sleeping, having sex and eating salad on a Sunday, and all the other jollities in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. But Roman Catholics pick and choose among the teachings and decide which ones they follow or discard. You can’t expect that argument to hold water if you want to have it both ways and ignore the boring and inconvenient teachings while accepting the lovely warming hate-filled ones.

        >> to be a priest requires celibacy

        Not until the 4th Century, it didn’t. It still doesn’t in the Orthodox and post-Reformation traditions. Rabbis can marry. In fact, it’s only the post-Nicean Roman Catholic church which requires celibacy. It’s a bit of an add-on really.

        As kokopelli has said, your arguments only hold water for those who already buy in to them.

        Ben

        PS – Sorry Paddy – I couldn’t resist. Delete this if you want to get rid of the Troll-food.

         
    • Sean Mulroy

      April 21, 2010 at 10:32 pm

      David. Im really really sorry, Im not an abusive person but that is the most blindingly moronic load of pig shit I have ever read. I really dont have the time and energy to get into it as there is a flaw in every single line you have written. What fucking planet are you on?
      But just incase you think Im just being lazy let me prove my point with your very first line:
      “Actually, I doubt you ever learned Catholicism, and that may be your problem.”
      Paddy did learn Catholicism, the same Catholicism as myself and literally millions of Irish people over the years. We learned it from Catholics in catholic schools with regular bonus sessions from Priests who are called by God to do his work. If these Priests are teaching it wrong then who in the name of Odins beard is going to teach it right?????
      And your last line:
      “By the way, did you ever learn that your baptism is an indelible mark on your soul?”
      Its all very well teaching kids about something which almost certainly doesnt exist and for which there is absolutely no reason to believe exists but that doesnt make the soul any more real. Just because you have convinced yourself to believe in it doesnt mean we all have to. Did you ever learn not to believe in fairy storys?
      No Im really too weary of bible thumping twits like you to bother with every line between your first and last. Its all too depressing.

       
  4. Russ

    April 21, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    I understand the letter but what is up with the Google sign? Are you now a Presbyterian?

     
    • paddyK

      April 21, 2010 at 9:11 pm

      It’s a fun sign, is all. But not as fun as a hug.

       
  5. kokopelli

    April 21, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    @david
    I’m afraied that your line of arguments only sounds convincing to people who believe what the Catholic church teaches. People who do not believe that there is a hell will not be very much shocked by somebody telling them that homosexuality leads there. To be a priest does not require celibacy in many non-Catholic denominations, e. g. Protestant and Orthodox priests, who do not seem to do worse than Catholic ones in their jobs. Does this mean that Catholics priest need to learn better time management so that they will be able to serve their god & community as well as their family? Celibacy for priests is not in Jesus’s teachings, as far as I know, but became a church rule in the middle ages.
    “Baptism is an indelible mark on your soul” – is there any proof of this? No. Just a story that might work for believers but will not convince anybody else. Sorry.

    @ Paddy
    Brilliant letter. Polite but firm and all that. Hope they remove your name from the register without any further ado.

     
    • paddyK

      April 21, 2010 at 10:26 pm

      Hug for you! A firm one.

       
  6. Martin R

    April 21, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Well done, Paddy!

     
  7. Rich

    April 21, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Well done Paddy,

    Polite and respectful, with free-flowing complements. Very dignified and treats people with respect. It’s an art and I hope it gets you what you want.

    Rich

     
    • paddyK

      April 21, 2010 at 10:27 pm

      Hug now or later?

       
  8. Ben Warsop

    April 21, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Who are you, and what have you done with Paddy?

    ;-)

    Awesome stuff: reasoned, reasonable, polite, (polite!), and it covers all the bases very nicely indeed.

    (Do I get a hug, now?)

    Ben

     
    • paddyK

      April 21, 2010 at 10:28 pm

      I shall keep Paddy until he learns how to hug. Hug for you!

       
  9. Wynn

    April 21, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    Great answer. It’s so true, even though I know nothing about catholics, I agree with much of it from what I have experienced and heard (the least reliable form of information I know).

    And I agree with the answers to David’s comment also.

     
    • paddyK

      April 21, 2010 at 10:29 pm

      Thanks. I’d hug you too, but that would be pervy.

       
      • Wynn

        April 21, 2010 at 11:45 pm

        Hey why would that be pervy? I’m sure we’re along the same wavelenghts in that aspect!

        Yes, I am grabbing straws here. Just like David.

         
    • paddyK

      April 22, 2010 at 7:26 am

      Okay, hug for you then. But no hands on the ass, if that’s alright.

       
      • Wynn

        April 22, 2010 at 5:47 pm

        Hey that’s alright, I’m not hard to deal with.

        *looks pleased*

         
  10. Sean Mulroy

    April 21, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    I want a sinful homosexual hug please.
    Its a really good letter ut would my pointing out of a spelling mistake lead to less rimming?

    “In was, for all involved, a waste of time”

     
    • paddyK

      April 22, 2010 at 7:28 am

      Sean, that squeaked by all proof-readers. Nice one, you always did like to correct me, and correct me well, so you did. Gay godless hug.

       
  11. David

    April 21, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    You folks really ought to study up before you try to blame the Catholic Church for anything. Go ahead, be angry, keep yourselves in ignorance, you’ll go real far.

     
    • Sean Mulroy

      April 21, 2010 at 11:18 pm

      Study up? Doesnt being raised as a catholic from baptism at a few months old and then having the stuff taught to us all through school count for anything?
      You really ought to try logical and coherant debate without couching it in Cathechismic clap trap and smug god inspired proclamations. How about actually addressing a few fact based points with factual points of your own and ditch the hocus pocus for a while.

       
  12. Sean Mulroy

    April 21, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    BTW how do you know we havnt studied?

     
    • Melliferax

      April 22, 2010 at 9:04 am

      Because you don’t agree with him, duh. If you had been taught True Catholicism (TM) you would believe in it, because it’s true. Anyone who doesn’t believe in it has been taught the wrong version. It’s obvious!

       
      • Anonymous

        April 22, 2010 at 10:20 am

        Ah yes. Its the old “The bible is the word of God, the supremne being whos own word is so garbled that entire colleges of theology and teams of biblical scholars constantly re interpret it and fight over its meaning. If God was a second grade English student he’d be getting an ‘F’ for that effort.

         
      • paddyK

        April 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm

        Hug for you! And one for anonymous.

         
  13. David

    April 21, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    What you were taught and what you really learned are quite possibly different animals. If that’s really what you were taught, I don’t blame you, that’s false religion. If you were taught what the Catholic Church really is and what it really believes, you would know better. I know that many, many teachers do not teach the faith well, or correctly. It’s a shame. But if you really cared about your soul, you might want to learn the truth. It seems there’s either a disconnect between the Church and what the priests are teaching, or a disconnect between the teacher and the pupil.

     
  14. Wynn

    April 21, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Oh, and for an argument to not support the catholic church, I have three words: Africa. Condoms. AIDS.

     
  15. David

    April 21, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    Wynn, your comment shows how much you read the mainstream press, and never get down to the nitty gritty. You should look up what the Pope really said, and then follow up with the statistics. Fact is that condoms do not prevent AIDS as well as abstinance. Every time abstinance is promoted, and used, incidences of AIDS drops. If you know a disease is caused by doing something, and you know that if you stop doing that something, the disease rate spikes downward, you tell me, what’s the best answer?

    You’re right, I am grasping at straws. I just think that, before you quit on something, you should have an idea of what you’re really quitting on. And from what I’ve seen, you don’t have a clue. You could get one, I know that.

     
  16. Wynn

    April 22, 2010 at 12:29 am

    Actually, I have nothing to “quit on” because I have never been, is not, and never will be christian, catholic, muslim, hindu or any other religion out there.

    And, there’s a HUGE difference between promoting abstinence and saying straight out that condoms do not protect against HIV, which to the rest of the scientific world is false.

     
  17. David

    April 22, 2010 at 12:59 am

    You’re right, there is a huge difference.

    Here’s what was actually said:
    It is my belief that the most effective presence on the front in the battle against HIV/AIDS is precisely the Catholic Church and her institutions. I think of the Community of Sant’ Egidio, which does so much, visibly and invisibly to fight AIDS, of the Camillians, of all the nuns that are at the service of the sick.

    “I would say that this problem of AIDS cannot be overcome with advertising slogans. If the soul is lacking, if Africans do not help one another, the scourge cannot be resolved by distributing condoms; quite the contrary, we risk worsening the problem. The solution can only come through a twofold commitment: firstly, the humanisation of sexuality, in other words a spiritual and human renewal bringing a new way of behaving towards one another; and secondly, true friendship, above all with those who are suffering, a readiness – even through personal sacrifice – to be present with those who suffer. And these are the factors that help and bring visible progress.

    “Therefore, I would say that our double effort is to renew the human person internally, to give spiritual and human strength to a way of behaving that is just towards our own body and the other person’s body; and this capacity of suffering with those who suffer, to remain present in trying situations.

    “I believe that this is the first response [to AIDS] and that this is what the Church does, and thus, she offers a great and important contribution. And we are grateful to those that do this.”

     
    • Ben Warsop

      April 22, 2010 at 8:21 am

      Woulda Shoulda Coulda… And in the meantime, Africans of all ages are dying in their millions … Condoms work better than abstinence because very few men, priests included, can sustain voluntary abstinence. Sex is the most urgent human need after air, water and food.

      Their infected blood is on the Church’s hands. Your hands, since you identify so strongly with the Church.

       
      • paddyK

        April 22, 2010 at 2:18 pm

        But don’t you know we can’t treat people as how they are, but how we think they SHOULD be?

         
  18. Dave

    April 22, 2010 at 1:14 am

    And on the 6th day, God created dinosaur bones. Good on ya Paddy. Religion in general has always been a tax on the poor…. something like the lottery. At least with the lottery… there’s a chance in hell.

     
  19. paddyK

    April 22, 2010 at 6:01 am

    So then, David. I’m been reading up on your strange little cult, trying to understand it, and here’s what I’ve worked out:

    Christianity is the belief that a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live for ever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in all humanity because a woman constructed from a bone was convinced by a talking snake to eat a wise fruit from a magic tree.

    How did I do? DId I miss anything? Perhaps you can explain each of these points if they are wrong, thanks. (And apologies to those who have seen this before.)

     
  20. RBH

    April 22, 2010 at 7:17 am

    Paddy, well done! Being an ex-professor, I can’t resist one editorial suggestion. You wrote

    Raising children with the assumption that they are inherently bad and sinful is, I think, the most questionable part of Catholic teachings.

    If I were writing it I’d use “pernicious.” It’s well past “questionable.”

    There, that wasn’t painful, was it?

     
    • paddyK

      April 22, 2010 at 7:24 am

      I never take proof-reading personally, RBH. Thanks!

       
  21. Bellis

    April 22, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Absolutely brilliant letter. Polite, well-reasoned, not offending, but still very firm. And dignified. Well done, Paddy. Well done.

    All the best,
    Bellis

     
    • paddyK

      April 22, 2010 at 2:18 pm

      Yes, it was a struggle not offending, but I tried!

       
  22. Rolf

    April 22, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Perhaps I’d better make a comment after all.

    I read the reply-text and decided to say nothing, since I couldn’t find anything wrong or even badly worded in it, to complain about.

    And no, I don’t deserve a hug for keeping quiet.

    cheers/Rolf

     
    • paddyK

      April 22, 2010 at 2:19 pm

      Okay, no hug then! Some people are never happy…

       
  23. karin

    April 22, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Well spoken, Paddy!
    I find it utterly fascinating that some catholics, some other christians and some muslims and oh, actually religious people of all kinds, find it perfectly reasonable to claim that in fact the only ones who have UNDERSTOOD are those who have the same beliefs and opinions as themselves.
    I can accept and respect that they have strong beliefs. I will never, however, accept that they know the TRUTH. I believe none of us can know the truth. We have no idea who wrote the bible and other religious texts, we have no idea why those/he/she who did wrote it. We can BELIEVE we know, but we cannot know for sure.
    Neither can David (though he’s utterly convinced he does, in a quite frightening way).
    I believe the bible was written by people who believed in what they wrote, that they worded it in a way that their peers (ie mainly quite un-educated people from the middle east) would understand. I believe there are MANY metafors in the Bible to make it easier for the readers to understand it, for example that “hell” can actually mean “anguish” or “hardship” (and yes, for sure, in a homophobe society it must be VERY difficult to be a homosexual, so in a way then the words of the bible – at last some of them – make sense. Being condemned by all around you is hell. For sure. But FORTUNATELY we are wiser now, and it’s a lot easier to live life as a homosexual. Thank god for development), that “god” can mean “divinity” which may in fact simply be a set of values. I believe that the rules around food and hygien in the Bible were well meant guidelines written to help people, but I don’t think they are of much help in this day, especially not for those of us who live in a totally different climate.
    I’m not a christian, but I can still read wise words in the bible, if I interpret them according to my beliefs.
    But when I read the opinion of David and his likes I just get plain scared, not by their personal beliefs but by their habit of condemning people who have different beliefs. That, to me, is one of the biggest sins.

     
    • paddyK

      April 22, 2010 at 2:22 pm

      When I need guidance, I pick up “The Algebraist” by Banks. It’s holy words never fail to guide me. And, to be honest, tales of the far future are probably MORE relevant to us as a species that mouldy old stories from thousands of years ago. For people that claim to be full of love, they are surprisingly hateful. So you get David’s hug!

       
      • Karin

        April 22, 2010 at 10:43 pm

        I’ll ahve to have a look at The Algebraist :-).
        My point, though not very clear is that it’s ironical that some of the christians, who basically claim to OWN the concept of Love and Goodness, in my opiniun misinterpret their own Bible, into something much less loving, much less wise, much more hateful and condemning than I think it was meant to be…. isn’t it funny, in a way? But sad. Hypocritical.

         
      • Karin

        April 22, 2010 at 10:45 pm

        Oh, and now I get the blog-link thing, heheh…

         
    • Aphra Behn

      April 23, 2010 at 8:12 am

      >> yes, for sure, in a homophobe society it must be VERY difficult to be a homosexual, so in a way then the words of the bible – at last some of them – make sense

      I think a lot of the time things which are taken as curses or instructions are just observations. Think of the stuff about the sins of the fathers affecting the chldren for generations. That’s just an observation, surely.

       
  24. ladyfi

    April 22, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    A very balanced letter that makes a lot of good points. And no bad language or mud-slinging either. Fabulous job!

     
    • paddyK

      April 23, 2010 at 8:58 am

      There IS no “bad” language, my dear ladyfi! Only easily offended people.

       
  25. csrster

    April 23, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Ben Warsop :
    >> There was only one founder
    That would be Constantine, then? Or were you thinking of Peter? Me, I see Paul’s mysogynist and gentile finger-prints all over it. Jesus was a Jew who preached to Jews and had nothing to do with Rome.

    Paul was Jewish too. I’m just saying …

     
    • Ben Warsop

      April 23, 2010 at 8:19 am

      True. But if it hadn’t been for Paul this whole argument would be about the priests and rituals of Mithras. Or Zoroaster. Or Isis and Osiris. Or Woden. You get my drift.

       
      • paddyK

        April 23, 2010 at 8:59 am

        All those cool gods, and we get stuck with boring bloody Jehovah. Typical.

         
  26. Bellis

    April 23, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Ben Warsop :
    True. But if it hadn’t been for Paul this whole argument would be about the priests and rituals of Mithras. Or Zoroaster. Or Isis and Osiris. Or Woden. You get my drift.

    Would that have made any real difference?

    Mithras, Zoroaster and Isis are as much of fairy tale stories as the characters in the Bible. It doesn’t particularly matter if you call the deity Krishna, Osiris, Oden or God, the superstition is basically the same.

    All the best,
    Bellis

     
    • paddyK

      April 23, 2010 at 9:00 am

      Different fairies though, and cooler weapons. I’d back Oden over Jehovah any day.

       
    • Ben Warsop

      April 24, 2010 at 12:16 pm

      You make my point for me, Bellis. Whichever sky fairy we had, there’d still be misogynists, homophobes, xenophobes, hypocrites and radicals.

       
  27. Anonymous

    April 23, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    You blaspheme against The FSM!!!!!!!!!

     
  28. Anonymous

    April 23, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    paddyK :
    All those cool gods, and we get stuck with boring bloody Jehovah. Typical.

    paddyK :
    Different fairies though, and cooler weapons. I’d back Oden over Jehovah any day.

    Fair point. Jesus on an eight-legged horse would be a lot cooler than Jesus hanging off a cross.

     
    • Melliferax

      April 23, 2010 at 2:21 pm

      Interestingly Odin and Jesus have some things in common. If I recall my norse mythology correctly, Odin spent like nine days hanging from a tree with a spear wound. Clearly more badass than Jesus, who couldn’t even manage three.

       
  29. Rolf

    April 23, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Melliferax :
    Interestingly Odin and Jesus have some things in common. If I recall my norse mythology correctly, Odin spent like nine days hanging from a tree with a spear wound. Clearly more badass than Jesus, who couldn’t even manage three.

    That’s nothing compared with Conan the Barbarian – hanging helpless upon the “cross” he bit off the head of one of the vultures that attacked him, and then he ripped himself loose therefrom. Not a sissy, Conan… :-)

    What say, start the Facebook group “Conan as Jesus”? :-)

    cheers, Rolf

     
  30. Bellis

    April 23, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Rolf :

    Melliferax :
    Interestingly Odin and Jesus have some things in common. If I recall my norse mythology correctly, Odin spent like nine days hanging from a tree with a spear wound. Clearly more badass than Jesus, who couldn’t even manage three.

    That’s nothing compared with Conan the Barbarian – hanging helpless upon the “cross” he bit off the head of one of the vultures that attacked him, and then he ripped himself loose therefrom. Not a sissy, Conan… :-)
    What say, start the Facebook group “Conan as Jesus”? :-)
    cheers, Rolf

    Rolf, Rolf…

    You have to study up a bit. Conan?! A pussy if ever there was one.

    Let’s talk some real badass tough guys here.

    Like Prómetevs of Greek mythology.

    After having stolen the knowledge of fire from the gods and given it to us humans, he was what you might call punished. Three days on a cross? Nine days on a cross? Ripping yourself off the cross?

    Kindergarten stuff.

    Prómetevs was chained to a cliff and had an eagle come hacking out his liver with its beak, eating it.

    But not once, you see.

    Because the freakin’ liver grows back and the eagle comes back every day and hacks it out and eats it.

    For the rest of eternity.

    And do you think Prómetevs even flinches? Whines? Complains?

    No way.

    And did I mention that Prómetevs is human? An ordinary Greek?

    Now, as for the Greek *gods*…

    Drive a hard,
    Bellis

     
  31. earthie

    April 24, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Well I’m just coming in for a Paddy hug.

    Seriously folks, this (and the other thread from the original) has been a truly brilliant discussion. One of the best I’ve read in ages.

    Well done on the reply letter Paddy. It says everything that needs to be said . . . and it desperately needs to be said!

     
    • paddyK

      April 26, 2010 at 7:38 pm

      Hug! Sorry, was falling behind there…

       
  32. DrDan

    April 24, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    did I miss it, or did you forget to mention that the main reason you’re leaving is that there is no god?

     
    • Anonymous

      April 25, 2010 at 11:31 am

      Not speaking for Mr K but I defected sometime last year just so the evil monkeys cant use me in their stats and as a form of protest. The invisable cosmic tyrant who manages the double whammy of being a prick whilst not existing didnt really factor in it. Many Christians and (until recently) Catholics are also defecting whilst still hanging onto their beliefs. I reckon it more out of disgust at the Catholic Church than any thing else.

       
  33. Sean Mulroy

    April 25, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Oh. That above was me. Didnt register me for some reason. I blame DAS CHURCH!!!

     
    • Anonymous

      April 26, 2010 at 2:19 pm

      I just thought it was an important distinction – I suppose some people are leaving the church while retaining these beliefs specifically because it has lost (if it ever really posessed) any moral authority. The letter Paddy recieved seemed to imply that the priest may have thought this, so it is probably worthwhile mentioning the whole “leaving because there is no god” thing as being the main reason.

       
  34. DrDan

    April 26, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    oops, this accidental anonymous posting is contagious!
    Last one was me.

     
  35. Sean Mulroy

    April 26, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Yeah. I hear ya.
    Re the moral authority of the church. That was /is the problem in Ireland and i would guess to be the same in the other ultra catholic countries. Through a mixture of ingrained supplication in generations of Irish and a willingness to exploit this, the authority of the church superceded that of state and the law, unofficially of course but utterly so in practice. There are countless incidences of police and politicians being made aware of individual abuse cases and being unwilling to or believed unable to intervene. There were circumstances of police being demoted for carrying out their duties, individuals being shunned by their communities for reporting suspect priests etc etc.
    Though the behaviour of state and police cannot be excused iy was , quite simply, the way the system functioned. A truely horrible time.

     
  36. Bellis

    April 26, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    When in Ireland, I couldn’t help but notice how hard people stressed that they were *Irish* Catholics or *Irish* Protestants.

    An old lady showing us the way to a restaurant asked, since this was Christmas time and she’d just been to church, if we (me and my girlfriend) were believers. Upon having politely answered in the negative, I asked her if she was a Catholic or a Protestant, and she very markedly stressed that she was an *Irish* Catholic.

    I think, having visited some other Catholic countries, that Catholicism might have a stronger hold on people’s minds in Ireland than in most other places. That Irish Protestantism does, I am sure of – there is no way the vast majority of Swedish Protestants, for example, are even one third as fanatical as most of their Irish counterparts.

    This stressing of being *Irish* Catholic/Protestant I think might be of some significance, because the Irish seem very aware that their brand of these two branches of Christianity are in some quite important respects far deeper ingrained in the fabric of society and in their minds than in most other non-secular, Christian countries.

    All the best,
    Bellis

     

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