Pope Francis: About Your Mother

Jan 16, 2015

By Ronald A. Lindsay

Pope Francis has given his opinion on the controversy surrounding Charlie Hebdo’s continued sharp criticism and sarcasm regarding religious beliefs. The pope has stated that there should be limits to free expression. In particular, one should not “insult the faith of others.” He analogized criticism of religious beliefs to someone cursing his mother, saying that such a person “can expect a punch.”

Pope Francis is wrong.

There’s a world of difference between criticism of a religious belief and insulting someone’s loved one. Given that he is a tireless and effective evangelist for his own faith, the pope is well aware that religious beliefs are (usually) expressly and vigorously promoted. Members of the public are told repeatedly that these are important beliefs that they should accept. Accordingly, those who find flaws in these beliefs may, quite appropriately, point out these flaws. Religious claims should be treated like political claims or any other claims advanced in the public square. They should not be immune from criticism.


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89 comments on “Pope Francis: About Your Mother

  • @OP- link – ” Francis said half-jokingly, throwing a mock punch his way. “It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”

    He said .. . . . . . . wearing a funny hat and a white frock, shortly after canonising some missionary as a “saint” for allegedly doing supernatural miraculous magic tricks!

    Francis, who has called on Muslim leaders in particular to speak out against Islamic extremism, went a step further Thursday when asked by a French journalist about whether there were limits when freedom of expression meets freedom of religion.

    “There are so many people who speak badly about religions or other religions, who make fun of them, who make a game out of the religions of others,” he said. “They are provocateurs. And what happens to them is what would happen to Dr. Gasbarri if he says a curse word against my mother. There is a limit.”

    So just the usual double talk! “We are united against ‘extremism’ – unless provoked by the ridiculing of our silly ideas”. – in which case we will become apologists for physical attacks on verbal and pictorial ” provocateurs”!



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  • I want a Charlie Hebdo cover with Jesus threatening to punch in the face anybody who’d say his mother is not a virgin.

    (St. Bartholomew, you had it coming… )

    Come to think of it, I would love the next Charlie to be 100% dedicated to Christianity.

    In case anybody is interested, the news went totally under the radar in France. Right wing newspapers mentioned quietly that the pope said one should not make fun of religion unless one expects violence in retaliation, and left wing papers just said nothing because, you know, they don’t want to offend believers nor anybody. The only reaction I read in French was in the… Huffington Post.

    On Christian web sites (La Vie, La Croix), the Pope’s speech is reported but, the Christians credit, is criticized heavily by individual Christians web commentators, who kindly remind the Pope of Christian values like forgiveness and turning the other cheek…)



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  • Meanwhile:- The “God’s punishment nutters”, are out in force – in the media at least!

    http://churchandstate.org.uk/2015/01/attack-on-charlie-hebdo-was-gods-divine-retribution-for-mocking-christianity-says-religious-right-broadcaster/

    According to People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch, on a recent broadcast the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer claimed that the terrorist murders in Paris were actually God’s way of punishing staff members of Charlie Hebdo for mocking Christianity.

    According to Raw Story’s Travis Gettys, Fischer “cited biblical passages such as Exodus 20 that suggested God would use ‘idolators’ to punish blasphemers, so it wasn’t out of the question that Muslims terrorists would carry out the Lord’s divine retribution.”

    “You look in the Old Testament at what happened to Judah, God used a pagan nation, I mean, he used idolators, he used the savage armies of Babylon to discipline his own people,” Fischer said. “He brought them in as the rod of his wrath to discipline the nation of Judah.”

    “Fischer’s comments aren’t surprising, given his well-known tendency to embrace extreme views,” Rob Boston, Director of Communications for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told me in an email. “There is an uncomfortable truth lurking behind his statement: Fischer has more in common with Islamic extremists than he may care to acknowledge. While Fischer has not called for violence, his social policies are virtually identical to those put forth by Wahhabis.

    “When it comes to issues like LGBT rights, the role of women in society, secular education, acceptance of modern science, human sexuality and so on, fundamentalists tend to be interchangeable across denominational lines. Strip away the sectarian references, and it’s difficult to tell whether you’re listening to an American TV preacher or a radical imam on YouTube.”



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  • OP :

    Of course, ridicule can be excessive or mean-spirited. The remedy for truly outrageous ridicule, however, is supplied by the marketplace. We are free to shun those who we think have gone too far, or decline to buy their magazines or listen to their programs. The remedy is not, as the pope suggests, violence, whether it is violence carried out by the state or private individuals who are offended by the ridicule.

    Exactly right ! I seem to remember commenting yesterday about the pastor who punched a smart Alec kid for not taking God seriously, (Jacklyn Glen). How these modern Christians must envy the lack of real punching power they have today.



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  • The Pope’s comments give a timely and ominous warning of the intolerance of all Abrahamic monotheistic religions towards freedom and free speech. The Catholic Church had the chance to show its stripes in the past and, surprise surprise, it instituted strict regimes of persecution directed towards all it considered to be heretics. These clowns (the churches, that is) should never again be placed in a position where they have control over peoples lives. Countries such as Saudi Arabia, amongst many, demonstrate the disgusting regimes that can result from theocracy.

    rz



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  • I agree with the article of the Center For Inquiry.

    The pope has stated that there should be limits to free expression.

    Yes, exactly what I have tried to say in a comment to a previous article on RDFRS news and elsewhere.

    Certainly I give my solidarity to Charlie Hebdo, and in the same time I have the need to say what are the dangers we run because the ability of the Roman Catholic Church leaders to exploit every situation.

    My advice is: don’t let the Catholic leaders be successful in the attempt to use Charlie Hebdo to make to forget about Giordano Bruno.

    Giordano Bruno was burnt in Rome on 17 February 1600. He was conducted to the stake with the mouth mechanically closed. So Giordano Bruno is the insuperable symbol of the Freedom of Thought and Freedom of Expression and of the struggle for them.

    Charlie Hebdo can be the symbol of the new obscurantism of the Islamists and the symbol of the freedom of satire: freedom that we gave for granted before the Islamists gained so much arrogance thanks to so many petrodollars.

    I heard some declarations and saw some writings of the RCC leaders and – reading among the lines – I saw that they are aiming to exploit Charlie Hebdo to try to reach the following results:

    To use the fierceness of the Islamist with the aim to reduce the freedom to criticize the religions (plural) taking the excuse that the Islam (singular) can react badly to the critics toward their religion.

    – To try to place Charlie Hebdo (that represents the Islamists’ fierceness against freedom of expression) in the place of Giordano Bruno (that represents the fierceness of the Catholics against freedom of expression) in the public imaginary.

    The main argument is that there is not the need to offend the religions mocking their fantasies and unproven statements.

    Offence became the key word. And look what can be the consequence.

    We atheists are very offended for what is happening to Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia. What would it happen if someone of us goes there and places a bomb in a mosque causing hundreds of dead? Will we be excused for the fact that we were offended?

    So we don’t have to excuse Islamists and we don’t have to let the RCC take advantage from the Islamist actions.

    The next 17 February 2015 I will celebrate Giordano Bruno and will remember the fierce death the Roman Catholic Church caused to him with the scope of warning everyone against the freedom of thought and expression.

    I know that now the main danger can come from the Islamists. In the same time I know that the Islamists’ fierceness has to be added to the historical Catholic fierceness and that the Islamists’ fierceness can’t erase the historical Catholic fierceness.

    And now with that statement of the pope everything is explicit.



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  • 9
    Light Wave says:

    Someone’s religious choice is not the same as someone’s mother….one’s religious choice is not a person and won’t get offended…only living people get offended… the advice of religious leaders who want special protection for religious people over ‘other’ humans should be viewed as part of the problem that divides us ….we all deserve equal protection of our lives but our ‘beliefs’ are entirely our own choice….as most of our actions are….



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  • I think it helps to consider what the criticism and free expression is about….if it is about a belief system that contradicts modern human rights and human decency then it should be open to any amount of criticism or satire in order to expose it and hopefully change or eliminate it for the benefit of civilisation. The changing thereof is simply a human choice to be made.

    If it is simply prejudice against others on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, physical handicap etc then that is cruel and indefensible as the targets cannot do anthing to change even if they wished to. No choice is possible.

    Religious belief is the former…things like fgm, killing for apostacy, adultery, being an infidel, hiding paedophiles from the law etc.



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  • 14
    Miserablegit says:

    It is easy to see that the pope has no rational argument for denying the right to criticise religion, so like many of his kind he uses ridiculous arguments to back up his case. This is an important time now, cave in to the wish of religion and we might as well have a worldwide blasphemy law which of course is exactly what they want.



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  • Ronald Lindsay, one of the finest minds in the secular humanist community today, and certainly the best essayist at CFI and Free Inquiry magazine, brings his comprehensive yet concise judgment to bear on Pope Francis’ criticism of Charlie Hebdo’s provocative “insult[s] [to] the faith of others.”)

    Of course, ridicule can be excessive or mean-spirited. The remedy for truly outrageous ridicule, however, is supplied by the marketplace. We are free to shun those who we think have gone too far, or decline to buy their magazines or listen to their programs. The remedy is not, as the pope suggests, violence, whether it is violence carried out by the state or private individuals who are offended by the ridicule.

    In my own sorrow, after turning the tragedy over in my mind, I can no longer characterize it as fodder for debate about whether free speech should or should not have limits. Perhaps our abstracting larger free expression issues gets between us and what the terrorists actually perpetrated that day, the premeditated, deliberate, coldblooded first degree murder of 12 human beings. Though the three terrorists died in shoot outs with police, the lives they took from their victims can never be restored -no matter which side “wins” the side-show debates. Pope Francis, implying that the victims got what they asked for by drawing and publishing anti religious -anti-Catholic and anti-Islam cartoons, plays devil’s advocate by rationalizing mortal sin. Murder. No equivocation, your Evilness. Simply murder.



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  • Yet more evidence that this Pope is just a Cuddlier version (read – less honest) version of the last one. This one knows they do not have the power they once had and is seeking to build up numbers again, the last one wanted to apply the dogma of the church more directly. If anything I find I preferred the last one at least it was clear what you were up against.



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  • If Pope Francis does not want religious beliefs criticized, then he
    should advise all believers to keep their views private—as private as
    his relationship with his mother. Undoubtedly, though, he will not do
    that, and when he does continue to make claims in public about the
    truths of Christianity, these claims are properly subject to
    criticism, whether that criticism takes the form of a scholarly
    rebuttal or a satirical cartoon.

    Good point from the author of the article.



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  • 18
    voiceofarabi says:

    Question: is the above a reflection of how atheists think in General??

    Reasons I ask is, it appears, generally speaking, they think their excrement don’t smell, while the rest of the people smells really bad…

    Before I start, let me say it is wrong to kill “full stop”… the people who commit executions in Paris, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, etc, etc do not deserve the air the breath, and they should be locked away with anyone who pays and support them.

    I agree with the pope on the following: We are all humans and have human shortfalls. And we can be highly cultured and reasonable people, as the atheist tend to think they are, but we all have buttons, which once pressed, we turn to our basic and animal instinct, and you don’t have to go far to see this.. Just read through all the contribution made on this site.

    I don’t believe in the religion the pope believes in, but I believe he is more aware of human instincts. Each and every one of you will turn animal if they get their toes stepped on… some of us will flip when we see animals killed, some others will flip if it is to do with the gay communities, and others will flip because someone denied the holocaust. Point is we all flip if our buttons are pushed, and it is very human and you can’t stop it or deny it regardless of how cultured you are.



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  • I see Pope Frankie has been trying to associate the power of the climate with his claims of the power of de Lawd to milk the aftermath of the earlier disaster!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-30859609

    .Pope Francis has held an open-air Mass in the Philippine city of Tacloban, which was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan just over a year ago.

    Tens of thousands braved pouring rain and strong winds brought by Tropical Storm Mekkhala to attend the Mass.

    .He was due to meet survivors of the typhoon after the mass but the storm forced the Pope to cut short his visit.

    Apparently the weather is not co-operating with de Lawd’s claims to be in charge of it, or with the Pope’s plans for Catholicism to exploit the disaster.

    The Pope said as soon as he saw the catastrophe caused by the typhoon, he had decided to go to the Philippines.

    Pope Francis is visiting the Philippines, where there are 80 million Catholics, as part of a six-day tour of Asia.

    The typhoon, which remains the strongest storm ever recorded on land, created a 7m (23ft) high storm surge, destroying practically everything in its path when it swept ashore on 8 November 2013.

    Around 90% of the city of Tacloban in Leyte province was destroyed and more than 14.5 million people were affected in six regions and 44 provinces. About one million people remain homeless.

    .Pope Francis was due to have lunch with survivors of Typhoon Haiyan later on Saturday but he left Tacloban four hours early because of the approaching storm and returned to Manila

    That intrusion of physical reality, mocks his shared delusions of being a representative of the all-powerful fairy!

    Earlier, he apologised to the crowds gathered at the main cathedral in Leyte province and said: “I am sad about this, truly saddened, because I had something prepared especially for you.”

    The Pope said his pilots had told him that the weather was going to get worse. “We barely have time to get to the aeroplane,” he said.

    .Tropical Storm Mekkhala, with winds of up to 130 km/h (80 mph), forced the suspension of ferry services to Leyte and stranded thousands of travellers, according to the Associated Press news agency.

    One woman was killed after the mass, when scaffolding near the stage collapsed, local media report.

    Those mean atheistic laws of physics, are just not impressed with staged woo promotion events, or the prayers of huge sheeple crowds, but the cognitive dissonance and indoctrination of the sheeple crowd, will probably ensure they still just don’t get it, even when the weather chases the pope off the island!



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  • 20
    old-toy-boy says:

    So what the pope is saying is that he is the kind of person to throw the first punch. Well if he were to punch me … I will forgive him, mainly to set a better standard, (but maybe also to annoy him).

    On a more serious note, one should be absolutely right to state the truth (ie, when supported by overwhelming evidence) no matter who is offended to whatever level. The only voluntary restraint should be based on compassion for the misinformed.



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  • The decent and safer world is one in which we bring our children up to tolerate others. Not the one where we simply tell them to keep a low profile and button it.

    Civilisation happened because bigger brained mammals developed spindle cells. They, as much as, anything gift us our collective achievements, by making us stay our hand when brought to anger. Our amygdala a comparatively early development saved us in more brutal times by giving us a speedy ramp to our flight or fight responses. This saved us as individuals. Later we got a cortex of some processing power and this allowed us to understand the actual intentions of others and the consequences of our actions. But it took its time to understand this bigger picture. Quick to anger but slow understand, we might progress in a state of endless regret. Why did I punch that annoying kid in the chest as hard as I could?

    Spindle cells are some kind of civilising miracle. They are specially evolved high speed cables that help us get our deeper understandings generated in the frontal cortex back in time to an error detector in the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex. This is the jewel in our human crown, so to speak. It flags up when we encounter mistakes. When cortical understanding and “amygdalan” feelings conflict. It makes us laugh and it unclenches our fist.

    Societies have been built by this think-again behaviour. By not being driven by mere feelings, but by the understanding that follows those who have sought to place this cognitive attribute at the heart of their cultures have made them the richer.

    The religious, it seems sometimes, having little insight into what actually animates them, are often far too quick to take feelings as evidence of how a thing is. I have a feeling of transcendence, it must be God. Anger is righteous. My disgust is another persons fault not mine.

    Only very recently in the Enlightenment have religions started to match up to the decency of the earlier axial age philosophers. But the fundamentlist backswing has given us a distasteful reminder that in religion, self control is more often required of others not yourself. Women must not taunt by their very appearance, but be shrouded modestly. Men’s feelings of lust are natural and god given.

    This is back to front. It is immoral and dangerous. The safer more decent world is the one evolution has shown us. It is up to us to stay our hand, have our feelings but control our behaviours, and not expect changes of behaviour in others.

    Bringing our kids up to not take offence, so that absolutely as much speech as possible can be aired and a full understanding of the others feelings can be got, is stable, open and maximally civilised. The world that does not take offence is what we need rather than the one that does not give it.



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  • Point is we all flip if our buttons are pushed

    No, if “flip” means to act. This depends on your culture and what your parents taught you about self control. Moral cultures, moral parents, teach that acting on feelings alone is bad, the more so for negative feelings.



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  • 23
    voiceofarabi says:

    It appears like all the moral cultures and moral parenting that people conduct can fail when confronted by the basic instinct of human beings… maybe it is the old wiring that needs to be got rid of, but until that happens, humans will still screw up.

    You sir are no different than what religion preaches.

    They say “don’t play with yourself, as it is against god”, and put a person into conflict with thier own sexual desire, and guess which one wins at the end!

    You say “ignore your base instinct, and only follow what moral code teaches you”, and that too puts us into conflict.. and I have a feeling that basic instinct will win at some point.

    Unless off course, you are a prophet .. as their excrement smells of roses (joke)



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  • You say “ignore your base instinct, and only follow what moral code teaches you”

    No. Besides, I wouldn’t know what a viable moral code would look like. Morals are personally derived through learned processes and innate heuristics.

    Moral cultures, moral parents, teach that acting on feelings alone is bad



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  • 26
    voiceofarabi says:

    hahahahahahaha… I really don’t know, it must be something to do with unresolved parental issues, or thinking about sleeping with my parents.. I am not sure.. (joke)

    I guess I was looking for something that unite all humans, and sex seems to do the trick. I could have used the need to eat or drink, but I suppose I wanted to shock, maybe..

    either way, it is really nice to have this discussion with you sir, as you seem to be open minded, not afraid of challenges, and certainly with good sense of humour.

    by the way, I agree with you that good upbringing and good teaching will bring benefits, but I also believe those benefits quickly dissolve against human nature. a bit like religion.. show a priest a pretty boy, and all the teachings go out of the window… (again.. no offence meant… just joking)



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  • It grates a little bit with me when believers say they are insulted by their gods being criticised when their god has the most appalling punishment in store for us.

    Its basically saying “You must respect my belief that god hates you and you will burn in hell forever, and I am offended if you don’t”.

    I also find the “It’s like you offended my mother” line which you hear quite regularly. What an absurd comparison, in one moment claiming this god is all powerful and can’t be harmed by any mere mortal, then next he is like a kind sweet old lady who wouldn’t harm a fly. Its a tactic that tries to lay the guilt trip on the hell-bound and portray the judge as the victim.

    When it comes to insults, there is nothing I can say that could ever be considered more insulting than “you deserve to burn in hell forever”. So God threw the first stone. He started it.

    Does god X respect, god Y and god Z? All the religions insult each others god and torture everyone else. Wasn’t even Jesus supposed to killed for blasphemy? Mohammed went into the Kaaba and broke all the idols. So he didn’t give their gods any respect. Huh? It’s farcical!

    If you are talking about not insulting people, then all the religions and holy books could be classed as insulting and ‘hate speech’ based on the punishments, both real and imaginary, against disbelievers contained with its pages. But I think people should be entirely free in public and in the press to say that I deserve to be tortured in an imaginary hell forever.

    There is a Christian man outside my train station on the way to work who stands on a soap box with a sign and a megaphone saying that disbelievers will go to hell. I walk on right past and I even politely pick up a leaflet from him sometimes. People just walk right on past him. I wish him no harm, and it doesn’t make me angry with him, but it does make me sad. But what saddens me even more is when people I love hold this belief too, but are just too nice and polite to confront it and tell me to my face, because they know it is horrid, and I think we need to demonstrate to people that when they actually think about it, they are better than their god. But no doubt, some will still take false offense at the compliment. Sigh



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  • you seem to be open minded, not afraid of challenges

    My folks and education did most of that My wife and girlfriends taught me how to control my occasional anger. (I’m socially a little duff.) The whole team (thanks team) have made my buttons almost unpressable…



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  • “The family is threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage, by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life,” Francis said at a Mass in Manila. “These realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces, which threaten to disfigure God’s plan for creation.”

    He also praised strongly Pope Paul VI’s controversial 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, or On Human Life. “He had the strength to defend openness to life at a time when many people were worried about population growth,” Francis said of the former pope.

    If there was ever a honeymoon period for Papa Frank (there never was for me) it is surely over…



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  • “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.” Luke 6:27-29

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matthew 5:38-39



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  • “I am in favour of free speech”
    Translates as:
    “I am in favour of free speech providing what is said does not conflict with my views”

    I am sure there is a legal distinction between “free speech” and “incitement”, for example:
    “The prophet of islam was a paedophile” is free speech; “behead that person (insert name e.g. Salman Rushdie) who has insulted our prophet” is incitement



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  • 33
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    … and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.

    Good plan. Then just walk around naked until you catch a cold or get arrested for indecent exposure.

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

    … So he can slap the other one too. I guess you don’t have to be a masochist to be a good Christian but it helps.

    😉



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  • 34
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    “The prophet of islam was a paedophile” is free speech; “behead that person (insert name e.g. Salman Rushdie) who has insulted our prophet” is incitement

    Yes this is a clear cut case because the former consists in a derogatory comment aimed at a dead or fictitious person and the latter is an explicit death threat to a living person well known to the public. I don’t know about England or America but in Canada, a death threat either in speech or writing is considered assault and can be prosecuted in a court of law.



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  • Ah the old insult to the mother, ( RCC Church !) Apparently one of the worst things you can do ! Otherwise the Pope will punch you ! Metaphorically of course !

    Meanwhile in the real world, sensible Catholics ignore his restrictions on contraception, and enjoy their sex anyway ! Something Holy Jo is going to have to get used to, at least in the more developed countries. I’m sure the Catholics will have forgiven his early exit from the hurricane zone, after all, wasn’t there some hotline to God, or was it just the evidence based weather forecast that scared him away ?



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  • 37
    maria melo says:

    I was reading the news about pope Francis, but what I have been reading was more enthusiastic, it reads (in a google translation almost entirely):

    (…)The new director, Gérard Biard- of Charlie Hebdo, signs an editorial full of criticism to what it considers to be the hypocrisy of some reactions after the terrorist attack, and says the biggest laughing stock in the wording was that the bells of Notre Dame Cathedral have rang in honor of the newspaper.
    “Last week, Charlie, an atheist newspaper, did more miracles than all the saints and prophets together,” writes Biard, underlining, ironically, the newspaper won “many new friends.”
    The editorial ends with a direct reference to the Pope, recalling the when bells have been rung by eight women of the feminist movement Femen at Notre Dame Cathedral in February 2013, in a protest that served to mark the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI: “We want to send a message to the Pope Francis, who also ‘is Charlie’ this week: we do not accept that the bells of Notre Dame ring in our honor unless they are rung by activists Femen “.




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  • Question: is the above a reflection of how atheists think in General??

    Reasons I ask is, it appears, generally speaking, they think their excrement don’t smell, while the rest of the people smells really bad…

    Hi Voiceofarabi,

    In what sense does the above indicate that we do not think our S**&T don’t stink? No one is suggesting that they don’t flip out we are suggesting that the Popes solution that no one should ever offend religion is unworkable and self serving. There is some history here as well recent first, the catholic churches position on the Danish Cartoons a few years back and the Salman Rushdie book was much the same, don’t stand up for freedom of expression, tell us how bad blasphemy is. If we look back further, the Catholics position on blasphemy was to put you to death, so hearing this, from him, does make many of us a bit angry, note though that none of us are suggesting we go to the nearest catholic church and machine gun everyone in sight.

    Religion if it is true should be able to stand up to scrutiny as does everything else, the religious often are not prepared to tolerate this in others as it undermines their basic project (hence the first 3 of the ten commandments). You won’t have to look far on any of these forums to see examples of Atheists arguing and disagreeing with each other, very few of us would try to blame this murder on the victims though, but we are very used to religious leaders doing just that.



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  • 39
    mombird says:

    Over the years I have come to learn that the Catholic dogma keeps changing. One minute eating meat on Fri. is a mortal sin then it’s not. Limbo is a place for unbaptized babies but now it’s not so I’m told. The confessional is a thing of the past, the virgin Mary apparently did not ascend to heaven upon her death after all. Now, I’m shocked (no I’m not) to learn that Jesus would not turn the other cheek.
    Christianity and Islam are strange bedfellows in their demand for respect that neither of them deserve.



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  • 40
    voiceofarabi says:

    Religion if it is true should be able to stand up to scrutiny as does everything else,

    Hi Reckless Monkey (like the name 🙂 , is there another type ?

    I believe if you arrived at this site, you already now that religion is about as true as Santa Clause. It is all man made and great work of fiction (it would make a great horror movie)… so, I think that topic is resolved.

    To the topic of the freedom of speech, and I strongly believe in having the freedom to express yourself, while having the courage and sensibility to restrain yourself when freedom of speech starts becoming a liability (if you like, self censorship.. I will give you a true story from my childhood…)

    When I was very little, my dad said to me once…. “Son, you can’t call a prostitute with that name, even after you have just paid her, and you are actually on top of her, as this will surely result in her calling your mother a prostitute”.

    I think the point my dad was making was…. at some stage, everyone knows the true, and pointing it out helps no one… instead, we should look for ways to best work with each other….



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  • Hi Voiceofarabi,

    I think that like all organisms recklessness is variable 😉

    Ta for the reply,

    To the topic of the freedom of speech, and I strongly believe in having the freedom to express yourself, while having the courage and sensibility to restrain yourself when freedom of speech starts becoming a liability (if you like, self censorship.. I will give you a true story from my childhood…)

    I appreciate what you say and in most day to day cases I would do just that, live and let live. However the situation with the cartoons is an example of journalism. No one was being forced to buy or read the magazine so any offence caused was cause simply because of the existence of offensive material. In a free society we cannot afford to have limited freedom of the press. Every dictatorship the first people they line up are journalists, authors, artists, teachers and scientists and lock them away (or kill them). The last thing authoritarian regimes (they are not societies because the public is under coercion) want is freedom to offend or express themselves. Information, debate, disagreement runs in the opposite direction to freedom. Self censorship is achieving the same thing voluntarily which to my mind is creepy especially coming from the head of an organisation that not too long ago would happily torture you and burn you alive for daring to speak against them.

    I would not personally by one of their magazines, it’s not my type of satire (I really don’t want to look at a whole bunch of politicians masturbating or having group sex with various deities) but I want them to be able to publish I want people in the media with bigoted views arguing with more reasonable people, we need to argue this out and if we are going to be grown ups then it means nothing is off limits.

    I think the point my dad was making was…. at some stage, everyone knows the true, and pointing it out helps no one… instead, we should look for ways to best work with each other….

    I agree that is good manners, however using the example of prostitutes, what fundamentalist Islam is trying to do is to say “you can not any-time in any context mention the word prostitute or we’ll come and mow you down”. Perhaps this isn’t clear, I may not call a prostitute a prostitute to her or his face, but I’m not going to be told by them or anyone else that we can not discuss prostitution on the TV or in the Papers or online. Because I’m not sure everyone does understand, kids don’t grow up understanding politics and religion they need to be exposed to it in the media if they are going to be independent thinkers. I’m not going to grant one group of people the right to expect the rest of us to control their tempers for them. Fundamentalist Islam needs to grow up and accept that they may have a personal or cultural taboo but they cannot expect the rest of use to respect it, but it is a real pattern with them. Look at the way they treat their women, why do they require their women to cover up? What purpose does it serve? Why do many in that culture cut of the genitals of their little girls? What purpose does that serve. Because they do not want to control their own lust instead they seek to inflict covering over women and remove their sexual drive as much as possible so that they will not bring them into temptation. This is not a pattern of behaviour I feel should be tolerated.

    Genuinely ta for the reply regards.



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  • 42
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Reckless Monkey,

    We actually agree on most points, and only differ on few, and even then it is just levels of variability.

    Please allow me to illustrate this from a completely different point of view – Put on your international (as oppose to European or American ) thinking Hat for a second..

    No one was being forced to buy or read the magazine

    That was true until the press decided to make a big issue out of this, and made it accessible to every person watching the news regardless of age (I suppose we can say the media in general partly to blame.)… As a result, my mum, who is a senior citizen and still believes in “Santa” equivalent, got her sensibilities devastated in the name of freedom of speech. like me, my mother would want people to speak their mind and values freedom of speech, but believes it should have its place. She would not go out and buy this type of satire and she does not understand why it is in her living room.

    Fundamentalist Islam needs to grow up and accept that they may have a personal or cultural taboo but they cannot expect the rest of use to respect it,

    This is the other point we differ on. Fundamentalist Islam can never grow up… as it is not Islam. Apart from the name, they have nothing in common. Fundamentalist are like cancer cells, they used to be normal cells, but now mutated, and can’t be fixed. they must be removed from society. they need to be cut out, or destroyed.

    To help you understand better, you need to understand the following: The Quran, like all good holy books, is very vague and caters for both sides to attract as many punters as possible. So, you get the statement like “you have your own religion, and I have mine”, indicating you can be whatever you want, and on another page, you will read “fight all infidels blah blah blah” indicate that only Muslims allowed policy. Until late 18th century, all Muslim scholars balanced the two resulting in living with each other in harmony.. after the 18th century, two things happened, Wahhabism in Saudi, and Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Both of those are cancer cells as they only read one part of the Quran, and forget the other (in fact, Wahhabism is trying to delete the “you have your own religion, and I have mine” from their version of Quran.

    Wahhabism and Muslim Brotherhoods is a tiny minority accounting for less than 1% of Muslims world wide. (but they have very deep pockets thanks to the hosting country)

    I think all religions are wrong, but I can live with them… but Wahhabism and Muslim Brotherhoods I can’t live with, as they will want me to convert with them, or die (head on a stick preferably)



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  • 43
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    Wow, a Catholic Pope who’s against satirizing deities, prophets and religious authority figures. What a surprise!

    The pope, by his despicable comments, has made himself the leader of what Salman Rushdie described as the “but brigade” on the Jan 9 episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. He has also shown to the entire world that he doesn’t understand what freedom of expression truly means.



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  • That was true until the press decided to make a big issue out of this, and made it accessible to every person watching the news regardless of age (I suppose we can say the media in general partly to blame.)….

    No, the press did their best to resist showing the cartoons, wrongly in my opinion. David Dimbleby stated on Question Time that a blanket ban on depicting the prophet was BBC policy. Your mother would have to have been very observant to spot the cartoons for the short time they were displayed on the news. Terrorists had just murdered 12 people and claimed they were avenging the prophet – the news media were quite justified in displaying the cartoons.

    Your mother needs to understand that there is no right not to be offended. There are many TV programmes and even news items I find disagreeable – I won’t use the word offensive because that would be an exaggeration. I don’t think programmes such as Deadenders (sorry Eastenders) should fill the schedules as much as they do, but l (and your mother) can always change channels, switch off or even complain to the broadcasters.

    Later the news programmes showed the front cover of the latest Hebdo “survivors” issue. And millions of people bought copies to show their support for free speech. The cover showed Muhammad with a tear in his eye saying “I am Charlie” and “All is forgiven”. Again, a justifiable decision by the news media.

    This is the other point we differ on. Fundamentalist Islam can never grow up… as it is not Islam. Apart from the name, they have nothing in common.

    Well, we have just been discussing one thing they seem to have in common. The fundamentalists believe that it is a sin to depict the prophet and that such depictions should be banned in all countries. Are you saying that this view is only taken by fundamentalists? What does your mum think?

    Fundamentalist are like cancer cells, they used to be normal cells, but now mutated, and can’t be fixed. they must be removed from society. they need to be cut out, or destroyed.

    That’s too fundamentalist for me. Too many young Muslims have gone to Syria to fight alongside the fundamentalists but I think many of them will have changed their minds when they experience the situation on the ground – they will realise that they have been conned by the extremists.

    Until late 18th century, all Muslim scholars balanced the two resulting in living with each other in harmony..

    Not quite in harmony.



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  • 45
    voiceofarabi says:

    @ Marktony,

    for some reason, the site will not allow me to reply to your post below, so I am trying to respond here…..

    My mother thinks all bottoms on the news is offensive and not freedom of speech, including Raquel Welch’s bottom, and I disagree with her totally, but I understand her point of view, and that’s way I don’t leave my stack of porn all over the living room when she visits. Now imagine if it was her parents bottom, or someone she looks up to. It is just not cultured or civilized. (but great fun if it is Raquel 🙂

    The news is watched by all including six year olds… that’s why we should not be explicit in pictures. (some times you can’t even escape it….)

    My mother does not really care what others think as long as they don’t shove it down her throat.

    That’s too fundamentalist for me. Too many young Muslims have gone to Syria to fight alongside the fundamentalists but I think many of them will have changed their minds when they experience the situation on the ground

    if they changed their minds, then they are no longer fundamentalists, in which case, they should only be judged on how many people they’ve killed or maimed while in Syria (standard stuff I think) – but since they proved their lack of reasoned thinking, they should not be allowed to embrace any religion what-so-ever.. not even Buddests 🙂

    Correction from above. Not all Muslim Scholars… I should have said, Some Muslim Scholars..



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  • The mother/prophet analogy trotted out here by Pope Idiot CCLXV is also of course popular with “outraged” muslims.

    Whereas love and hurt in respect of your parents are personal and normal emotions, harbouring such feelings for a largely imaginary (and certainly long dead) personality is pathological behaviour that can only be acquired through indoctrination. To compound that by advocating physical violence as recommended by da Papa is nothing less than an actionable offense.



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  • Thanks for that Real Time reference. I liked these from Rushdie:

    “Sit down you are rocking the boat, that’s the theme song of the but brigade”

    and

    “What we can do is not give a fucking inch”



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  • Hi voiceofaribi,

    again ta for reply I enjoy civilised disagreement. But the way my native thinking hat is Australian if that helps you peg my biases (I’m sure there are some).

    In terms of your Mum’s offence from the media I have a couple of comments.

    as Marktony commented the media often refused to show any images which like Marktony I disagree with. Clearly I think the 6:00 news should not be showing the most vulgar images (as there are children watching however they especially online newspapers can link to these images). I would have been happy with a description of what the offensive cartoons and the full context. This would have been useful.
    Your mother can turn off the TV, she does not need to buy the magazines or newspapers and she can turn safe searching on her google or simply not go looking.
    Your mother has the right to be offended, but that right does not extend to the right to expect others to necessarily respect what she finds offensive.

    My mother thinks all bottoms on the news is offensive and not freedom of speech, including Raquel Welch’s bottom

    I have to agree with your mum here, I don’t particularly want to look a women’s bum in her seventies either 😉 but joking aside this makes my point as well, it shows ageist attitudes, possibly sexism etc. on my part. I’m not so confident about my values to think I or your mum other than objecting has a right to demand that media conform to this belief under threat of death, so to this extent, provided Raquel is prepared to expose herself for some newsworthy goal then more power to her.

    On the issue of fundamentalist Islam I agree that we disagree here and I’ll give a couple of examples.

    When I separate different aspects of Islam I do so but separating how it is practised in reality vs what is in the holy books (in this case the Quran). That is I take the Quran at it’s word so to speak, but I acknowledge that like most Christians, most Muslims either have not read their holy books or have only read them selectively and choose to ignore anything that doesn’t conform with their standards of morality. So I do not consider fundamentalist Islam to be the wrong Islam I consider moderates to be selective Islamists. To the same extent I can only have Christians as friends because they do not accept the majority of the of the bible as true. So on this I’d agree with Sam Harris when he says the problem is not Islamic fundamentalists but the fundamentals of Islam.
    The Quran is vague (I’d say contradictory) in places and very clear in others particularly in relation to this being the final perfect word of God, must never be changed or altered. It is very clear on this and goes on about many times, it is therefore difficult to justify not treating infidels as these fundamentalists do, and even if you disagree this is the line being taken in these Mosques where these people are being radicalised.

    So if you at least get what I’m saying so far then IMO the solution is to encourage the moderates and in the fundamentalists as they must follow the literal word of the Quran expose them to cognitive dissonance. IMO people of fundamentalist beliefs are often easier to convert than those of moderate faith. They are brittle and essentially fairly honest (they really do believe in what they believe). Thus if they can open their ears and eyes and be confronted with aspects of their religion that are unworkable you have a chance of them dropping the whole lot. Not easy though. Moderates however are like mashmellow you push and prod and they just sproing back, they don’t care if this verse or that is contradictory they’ll just say “you have to understand it in context, this isn’t what it really means, it’s allegorical etc.”.

    Wahhabism and Muslim Brotherhoods is a tiny minority accounting for less than 1% of Muslims world wide. (but they have very deep pockets thanks to the hosting country)

    I think all religions are wrong, but I can live with them… but
    Wahhabism and Muslim Brotherhoods I can’t live with, as they will want
    me to convert with them, or die (head on a stick preferably)

    Agree with you 100% on this though. Hence the importance of public discourse of confronting Islam (including and especially the fundamentalists with the contradictions of their views). In the meantime if the more moderate branches or religion didn’t try to censor the west for their own benefit.

    Be away for a couple days if you plan on replying I won’t be back before then.



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  • 49
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Reckless Moneky,

    I am still laughing… that was both very funny and informative.. I loved it.

    and if Raquel Welch is in her seventies… how old am I?? 🙂

    I think we both agree (and maybe the majority on this website) that all religions are manmade and work of fiction, and they all have contradicted holy book, and for a reason, as they work by putting us in conflict with ourselves in the hope we will surrender ourselves to either God or Satan.. (and if I believed, I would rather choose Satan, as he drives nicer cars 🙂 ) For example, “thou shalt not kill”, but if you sleep with same sex or eat shell fish, then you are dead…

    That’s why majority of faith people, will belong to a religion, but they selectively pick and choose what they want to follow, as @Phil Rimmer suggested above, people mainly follow their internal moral code and what upbringing told them to do. (for example, Female genital mutilations is against Islamic values, yet it is still practiced in some Muslim countries in Africa and Asia, as this practice was imported from Africa originally, and who ever was running Islam at the time did not want to loose those people, and said “yeah, you can still mutilate your men and women, but do it quietly). to clarify, Islam inherited male genital mutilations from the Jewish faith, which in turn inherited it from the region customs and culture)

    I think majority of faith people can see the contradiction, and if left to their own devices, they will eventually stumble on the fact that their religion is nothing more than “Santa Clause ” on steroid, with a bit of Horror thrown in. But if we keep trying to tell them their religion is wrong, they will stick to it harder and that’s just human nature.

    Now, when it comes to fundamentalists, I agree we should expose them and show how they contradict their own religion, but we should not “paint with too broad of a brush” as this will unite the entire faith . We should be selective and call them by their names.. It is the Wahhabis that think you and I should be executed because of what we write here. It is the Muslim Brotherhood that thinks only Muslims are allowed to live on this earth.. We should expose and name them specifically to uncover them, just as we would name the Hasidics, the Puritans, etc.

    But if we want to stop them, then we must go to the source.. Muslims don’t just mutate into Wahhabism or Muslim Brotherhood.. There are programs, heavily funded by few countries that targets disadvantaged and poor people, and pay them money and brainwash them to use them as political weapons to win political wars. We should target those countries that support, and pay for those two cancers types of cells.

    by the way, I love Australia, and Australian people really know how to have fun and live…..



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  • I take your point about organised religion but is there not a more general one about power itself?

    Religions may be a particular expression of excessive power not tempered by self restraint and reasonableness but so was Al Capone or the Kray twins! Generally, there are always people who want to dominate others and have little or no personal constraint upon the means used if they allowed to do so. Perhaps religion provides one method through which the brutal and power obsessed may demonstrate their desires but it is not unique.

    Perhaps this is more a pastiche than a true example but I’ve always been struck by how successive Home Secretaries in the UK after some time in the role seem to become more draconian and repressive in their publically expressed views . This seems irrespective of their politics before starting in the role. Perhaps after a while they lose some perspective and start to feel that the only solution to the threats they perceive is force and oppression. History seems to tell us that rulers usually – whatever stripe they started off – end up using oppression to solve their problems unless constrained by others.



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  • I’m slightly surprised by the Pope’s comments because, while I’m not surprised by him thinking these things, I’m surprised he would make the risky move of publically endorsing the use of violence in support of one’s beliefs so soon after an atrocity.

    On a wider front, I know the particular focus of this site is religion/secularism but I my feeling about religious institutions is that they are a special case of something we see at all levels of society: the expression of power and dominance over others.

    The restriction of free speech and critical thinking is not limited to organised religion, it is done everywhere at every level by people of all persuasions including those who would consider themselves as “good” people.

    For example, at a day to day level I see it in the behaviour of my employers. I believe that they consider themselves as reasonable but I’m often aghast at some of their thinking and their attempts at justification. Many organisations are the same – not just content with the a contract between employer and employee that states what people are expected to do, they also seek to control the minds of employees. My employer has developed a prescribed set of attitudes, beliefs, personality traits and behaviours that it regards as vital in its employees. Not only that but we are required to “prove” that we have exhibit these characteristics in our staff appraisals – no longer is it sufficient to do your job effectively, now we have to be the right kind of person, too.

    I see these desires and behaviours as all about (total) control of others and religion and most other ideologies are aspects of this. It seems to me that many people – in any position of influence – have little difficulty in coming to a conclusion that once they have decided upon a course of necessary action (as they see it), the means, however much suffering it causes (for other people of course) is justified by the result. All kinds of behaviour from the school yard, to heads of state to spirtual leaders is really about the expression of power and the bullying of others into doing what someone wants.



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  • David, Tu quoque is the name of the logical fallacy your argument seeks to invoke.
    ‘You too’ or ‘everybody does it’ style, you see?

    Why pick on Francis? He’s the pope and we’re finding his moral shortcomings being illuminated by himself. They’re characteristically not very bright popes, not really.



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  • the important message to take home is that free speech is fine but so is responding to words with violence

    let me just fix his comment….

    , one should not “insult the faith of others.” He analogized criticism of religious beliefs to someone cursing his mother, saying that such a person “can expect a carefully planned attack after amassing automatic weapons and a lot of amunition on anyone found working in or around the building of the person who insulted my mum, even if that includes a policeman who happens to have a lot of respect for my mum but still feels the need to protect innocent people from a psychotic man in a dress with unresolved mother issues.”

    Let me just point out that anyone like the pope who gets all fisty when someone throws a “yo momma” into the banter would not last 5 minutes where I’m from and I suggest he either develops a thicker skin and think up some decent come-back lines or stop having such an ugly, fat crack-whore as a momma



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  • @OP – He analogized criticism of religious beliefs to someone cursing his mother, saying that such a person “can expect a punch.”

    Perhaps members of the RCC hierarchy are obsessed about their mothers, because since early childhood they have been required to call various strange-thinking and strangely dressed characters “Father”!



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  • Hi Len

    Just to clarify, as I don’t quite understand your post, are you saying there is a logical fallacy in my post? I had to look that particular one up and I don’t really see the connection with what I wrote.

    i thought my post was agreeing with the general trend of this thread and I was merely trying to make an additional point that I believe that one of the underlying motivations behind religion is the same as that behind many ideologies – it’s about dominance and power. This clearly isn’t the whole story but I didn’t consider it a controversial position. Perhaps it is!

    If this wasn’t the point of your comment, I’d be grateful for an explanation – the purpose of discussion afterall is to learn stuff and think about things you wouldn’t necessarily think of on your own…

    Regards

    D



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  • The Pope’ mom (like everybody else’s mom) is not an ideology but a person; Muhammad, Jesus, etc are no longer people, if they ever were, but are ideologies, public figures and symbols, therefore, they can be criticized, satirized and even insulted as anything created by humans. If the Pope’s criteria are accepted, anyone who spoke ill of Stalin, Hitler, the North Corean nutter, etc, should get punched on the face because there are many people who love these characters and might be offended by insults dedicated to them. A person like a politician can also be insulted because he/she is a public figure as long you don’t include his/her relatives who have nothing to do with politics. If governments are tempted to ban critical caricatures to public figures and symbols, following the Pope’s criteria, we’ll be on the eve of a world dictatorship.



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  • I am not religious at all. I am a person of science and reason, but I find too much hostility in this community and in most of the replies.
    Anyways…
    About the article, the author says: “There’s a world of difference between criticism of a religious belief and insulting someone’s loved one. ”
    The pope said: “one should not “insult the faith of others.”
    The problem I see is that this atheist or non religious community loves to criticize religion, which is ok, but they don’t realize (since they are not religious) that many religious people love their gods, love their beliefs and their prophets as much or more than their closest ones. And attacking those believes, for them is exactly like insulting a loved one, not just an objective criticism. Something that obviously this community don’t understand.



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  • In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the Pope is just one of many commentators who are waging a very clever but disingenuous campaign that seeks to convince that satirical mockery of religion is aimed at ordinary believers.

    We have to remember that most of the general public, and much of the media, are completely unaware of the debate that has been ongoing for some years now between religionists and secularists/New Atheists. They are now being duped into thinking that serious critics of religion are out to make fun of little old ladies going to church.

    This deviousness has only hardened my resolve to criticise and mock religious ideologies a bullies.



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  • 61
    voiceofarabi says:

    I agree with you Andres… it is probably because majority are either newly converted or still in denial about why they left religion in the first place… just my two cents

    in some countries, if you insult a persons football team, you get a black eye also, for the same reason.. when people love someone or something, they protect it, rightly or wrongly.



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  • Andres :

    The problem I see is that this atheist or non religious community loves to criticize religion, which is ok, but they don’t realize (since they are not religious) that many religious people love their gods, love their beliefs and their prophets as much or more than their closest ones. And attacking those believes, for them is exactly like insulting a loved one, not just an objective criticism. Something that obviously this community don’t understand.

    Is that the problem ? AFAIC the problem is that religion is given a free pass, because of the reasons Andres mentions, but it doesn’t bloody deserve any free pass! This poster, a fairly regular at the “community” of RDFRS, understands alright, but I am not prepared to put up with irrationality. If that upsets some, then too bloody bad.

    Ridiculous ideas should be ridiculed.



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  • If someone insulted your mother for no good reason you would get a huge amount of support and sympathy from very many around you and the insulter would pay a considerable price in being dismissed as merely vicious and would lose credibility in 99.99% of society.

    If you mother concealed from the police that her friends had raped children, if those friends had lied about condoms as a help in combatting aids, if they were sexist in the extreme and claimed that at birth I was a sinner and needed to make amends to her god then whoever called her on that may gain support from a very large proportion of righteous people if the evidence stacked up.

    For a very large proportion of the righteous the evidence stacks up against the RCC.



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  • Some leave religion because it is not true. Some leave because it is immoral.

    Football teams would find it more difficult than mothers to be untrue or immoral. They are dissed purely as an insult. The comparison is ludicrous.



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  • If you weren’t reasoned into it you won’t be reasoned out of it.

    Meanwhile children are being indoctrinated. They think these untruthful and often immoral ideas are facts because they trust their parents and their parents too often insist they are, indeed, stone cold facts. It is entirely for them that their parents should be held up to scorn…..to give their children pause….to have them think again about that cast iron truth whilst a few years of plasticity remain.

    For those who have a seed of doubt there is an extraordinay wealth of education available for them (and not from proselytising atheists either). But that scintilla of doubt must come first.



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  • If this wasn’t the point of your comment, I’d be grateful for an explanation – the purpose of discussion afterall is to learn stuff and think about things you wouldn’t necessarily think of on your own…

    Sorry David, I read your note because it was the most recent and I don’t visit often these days. In isolation I mistakenly thought you were seeking to normalize the pope’s remarks, as in ‘look at what other folk do’. I didn’t read the lengthy discussion although I agree with you about the value of them.

    I don’t disagree with anything you said and now I’ve had the opportunity to see some of your other sensible and considered notes I recognize my error. On first glance I thought aha, tu quoque, so apologies again and welcome too, if you’re new here.



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  • My mother thinks all bottoms on the news is offensive and not freedom of speech, including Raquel Welch’s bottom, and I disagree with her totally, but I understand her point of view, and that’s way I don’t leave my stack of porn all over the living room when she visits.

    How does hiding your porn collection prevent your mum seeing bottoms on the news? I’m sure if Islamic terrorists murder people because they published a photo of Raquel Welch’s bottom, then the news media would probably assume that showing the photo would not add to the story. However, if it was say a satirical cartoon involving say the prophet and Raquel Welch’s bottom then they may be justified in showing it on the news broadcast after the watershed, providing they got Raquel’s permission.

    Now imagine if it was her parents bottom, or someone she looks up to. It is just not cultured or civilized. (but great fun if it is Raquel).

    Even if your grandparents are in the porn business, they are unlikely to get on the news. Maybe some pay-per-view channel or in one of your magazines. You’ve got a bit of a thing about Raquel, haven’t you. She was great in 1 million years BC – now there is a film for the creationists.

    The news is watched by all including six year olds… that’s why we should not be explicit in pictures. (some times you can’t even escape it….).

    That’s why we have programmes like CBBC Newsround – for the children and your mum. The adults can watch the later news editions.

    My mother does not really care what others think as long as they don’t shove it down her throat.

    You’ve been looking at those mags again.

    but since they proved their lack of reasoned thinking, they should not be allowed to embrace any religion what-so-ever.. not even Buddests.

    Would they be allowed to watch old Raquel Welch films?



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  • “You look in the Old Testament at what happened to Judah, God used a pagan nation, I mean, he used idolators, he used the savage armies of Babylon to discipline his own people,” Fischer said. “He brought them in as the rod of his wrath to discipline the nation of Judah.”

    If there is a god, and he’s this evil, I don’t want to know him. I’m glad I’m an atheist – best decision I ever made.



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  • The Pope now tells us there are “plenty of” approved methods of contraception available to Catholics. He is trying to dodge carrying being responsible for the Churches opposition to contraception in the Philippines and the suffering that results from that. Does anyone know what the “plenty” are ? Celibacy, don’t have sex when the women is fertile, … ????

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/20/catholics-dont-have-to-breed-like-rabbits-says-pope-francis



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  • 72
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Marktony,

    You had me in stitches….. How old are you?? and have you ever travelled outside of England ?? (wales, Scotland ??)

    good news is, you mean well, but you are imprisoned by your geography… travel more if you can…



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  • 73
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Phil Rimmer,

    I am always afraid of reading your posts, as it has me diving for my dictionary a lot, but once I understand it, it has good substance. 🙂 (and that’s reflection on me!)

    I don’t think many on this site support or argue for religion. majority agree religion, like any position of power and masses control, can be and will be abused. (but majority also know it is work of man!)

    What we are discussing here is the right to insult (not the right to rationally discuss topics) I don’t think insulting people or things brings any benefits to anyone, and I think it is a tool people use (mainly kids) when all options run out…

    I would like to revisit the prostitute example I mentioned above… pointing it out helps no one, and only hinders what you are trying to achieve.

    (p.s. I have healthy respect for the oldest profession in world, and I think it is needed in our society)



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  • 74
    Cairsley says:

    His Holiness Pope Francis might have had something interesting to say about free speech and respect for religion if he had considered why religion is so often the butt of jokes and satire. Given that lying and swindling are generally regarded as morally reprehensible, and that the truth-claims made in the name of all three Abrahamic religions are bogus, it is little wonder that religion has long been recognized as eminently worthy of jocular and satirical treatment. Apart from His Holiness’s feint of the heartstrings attached to eveyone’s dear mama, he offers no reason for his claim that freedom of speech is limited with respect to religion, except perhaps to suggest that hurting people’s feelings is not nice.

    Well, yes, it is not nice to hurt people’s feelings — on that we can all agree. In some situations, however, niceness is not what is called for, as in the case of swindlers and charlatans, who need to be made aware, however unpleasant they may find it, that they have been seen through and that their business is objectionable and unacceptable, not merely offensive or hurtful to feelings but morally wrong on account of the harm it does. What saddens me most about this current pope is that he is a good man in himself, who remains convinced of the truth of the religion in which he was raised and educated, and who in his current high office reveals very clearly the harm caused in his own soul by the religious superstitions that still vitiate his thinking.



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  • Well, anal sex of course. Outside of enlightenment countries and its natural home (Greece/Turkey) anal sex is most practised in Roman Catholic countries according to the 2005 Durex global sex survey. Chile and Greece come equally first… Chile also has the lowest reproductive rate in South America.



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  • 77
    voiceofarabi says:

    my mum never used a computer in her life… bless her, she belongs to a different generation.. a phone to her is exactly that!! (and it needs to have a wire attached to it)

    I guess, we agree to disagree, and I enjoyed the discussion.



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  • 78
    voiceofarabi says:

    Wow… does that mean anal sex is only practiced in religious countries?? or because of the religious ban on condoms??

    Does that mean Atheists don’t engage in Anal Sex??

    I agree with you guys, what the church is doing with the condom ban, especially in the Philippines should be classed as a war crime against humanity, but that’s not the reason the Greeks did anal sex… they did it for their own reasons, and we may never find out why (although I have a good idea!)



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  • It is a jokey reply. (I don’t do smileys. The occasional ellipsis is all I can manage.)

    But, you need to read with a little more care. I started with “outside of enlightenment countries”.

    I’m making no actual argument for a causal relationship, but it would be funny if a ban on condoms by the RCC caused the increase of a practise they abhor (practise as their clerics might…).



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  • You had me in stitches….. How old are you??

    Yeh you’re right, bringing up the subject of Raquel Wech’s bum on a post about the pope’s views on freedom of expression could be seen as a bit juvenile. Hopefully my fellow commenters won’t be too judgemental.

    and have you ever travelled outside of England ?? (wales, Scotland ??)

    Yes, and outside of Europe too. But if it helps you to think of me as a provincial teenager, that’s OK.



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  • Hi voiceofarabi,

    Hope you’re still monitoring the exchange (I’ve been away for a couple of days). We almost completely agree I think, however a couple of points I found interesting in your reply that I’d like to reply to so I hope you’re still about.

    (for example, Female genital mutilations is against Islamic values, yet it is still practiced in some Muslim countries in Africa and Asia, as this practice was imported from Africa originally, and who ever was running Islam at the time did not want to loose those people, and said “yeah, you can still mutilate your men and women, but do it quietly).

    Agree that this is the case but I’d point out that the adoption of this by Islam is not so much of an accident, for example if African tribes that were being adopted into the Islamic Faith practised idolatry they would have been forced to drop it as the Charlie Hebdo case shows. Female and Male circumcision however works towards the general agenda in the Koran, that is, women are effectively male property, sexual desire is something that must be controlled. As such the types of behaviours that all religions adopt (even if not explicitly outlined in holy texts) are based very much on the fundamentals of their respective beliefs. They telling part is not how or who these practices were adopted from but why they have not been forbidden.

    I think majority of faith people can see the contradiction, and if left to their own devices,

    This is a genuine point of disagreement between us. I think they have done so because of push upon push from secular forces and science, I think left to their own devices they will try to do what they have done in the past attempt to have their agenda pushed upon the rest of us. I cannot prove this so I suppose this just has to be a point of disagreement but I’d at least like to clarify my position.

    I very much agree with you on your point of naming and explaining where the source of fundamentalists are coming from. I would like to see much more discussion about the nuisance in this debate unfortunately a lot of my fellow pinko-lefties don’t want this discussion for fear of being perceived as racist.

    All the best



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  • 83
    voiceofarabi says:

    Welcome back Reckless Monkey, I hope you had a good trip….

    We agree on so many points that I look forward to sharing Golden Liquid Refreshment (that’s how they refer to beer in my part of the world ) when and if we meet. it is however a shame we don’t agree on Raquel Welch’s bottom 🙂

    Agree that this is the case but I’d point out that the adoption of this by Islam is not so much of an accident,

    We agree 100% on this point. Religions in general adapted from each other and from cultures whatever help them control people, and that’s why some of them are so similar (almost all religions ration/control food, ration sex and want you to be dumb!! – they hate science ).

    This is a genuine point of disagreement between us. I think they have done so because of push upon push from secular forces and science,

    I don’t think we disagree here either.. I believe religion is like mushroom, it flourishes in the dark and if it is fed on manure. so, in the dark days of thinking “Thunder” is god getting upset, people believed, and as science gets more mainstream, people in general will move away from this “Santa Clause” thinking model. I think of it like smoking.. you think it is cool, until science tells you that it can give you cancer, and then you just say, I prefer to stay alive..

    That said, the dark forces of mass control is fighting against science (and that’s not just the religious establishments) and that’s why we see movies like “Left Behind” released in this day and age!!..

    I look forward to future discussion with you…



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  • Hi voiceofarabi,

    Ta again, I think we are in consensus pretty much. I hate to leave the discussion with so little left to agree on so perhaps I should google Raquel Welch’s bottom and see if it measures up so to speak 😉

    Cheers



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  • Andres Jan 19, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    .Then, use your reason to teach and show the facts, don’t reduce your intelligence for mockery.

    Effective mockery requires intelligence – as any one who understands “stand-up-comedy”, can tell you.



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  • Just in case anyone is being mislead into believing that there is a unity of religionists against insults to religious representatives, or that religion mixed with politics brings peace: –

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-30928744
    .The UN human rights chief has called on Myanmar to condemn a Buddhist nationalist monk for calling a UN special envoy a “bitch” and a “whore”.

    UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said Ashin Wirathu’s comments amounted to “incitement to hatred”.

    The comments related to South Korean envoy Yanghee Lee, who was in Myanmar last week to address the plight of its Muslim minority.

    .Wirathu spent almost a decade in jail for inciting anti-Muslim violence.

    The monk is a leader of the 969 movement, which says Myanmar should remain a Buddhist country and calls for restrictions and boycotts on Muslims.

    Mr Zeid called the language “sexist” and “insulting”.

    “I call on religious and political leaders in Myanmar to unequivocally condemn all forms of incitement to hatred including this abhorrent public personal attack,” Mr Zeid said in a statement.

    Since the end of military rule in Myanmar, also known as Burma, in 2011, Buddhist nationalism, largely led by monks including Wirathu, has been energised.

    In 2012, scores of people died and thousands were left homeless after violence broke out between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine state, mostly from the Rohingya minority. Anti-Muslim violence has flared several times since then.



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  • Let’s see what he has to say about his “nice” Catholic supporters arrangements for his tour?

    Pope Francis met with street children during his recent visit to the Philippines
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-30946059
    The government in the Philippines is facing calls for an inquiry after it admitted relocating homeless people temporarily during Pope Francis’ visit.

    Social welfare secretary Corazon Soliman said that nearly 500 people were taken from the streets of Manila to an upscale resort in the outskirts.

    The Philippine Star said he plans to summon Ms Soliman to explain her agency’s actions before lawmakers.

    Ms Soliman said in interviews this week that the homeless families were removed shortly before the pontiff arrived on 15 January.

    Many of them lived along the Manila Bay seafront, the venue for Sunday’s mass which drew a record crowd of six million.
    House of Representatives member Terry Ridon called for an inquiry, saying the move was a “clearing operation”.

    Pope Francis arrived in the Philippines last week and left on Monday.

    Mr Ridon said the government relocation scheme was “truly horrendous, given the fact that Pope Francis visited our country to – first and foremost – see and talk to the poor.”



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  • It seems that while the Pope has been touring the Pacific, and pontificating on Charlie, the neglect of supervision of his priests in Europe has continued!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-31013653
    A judge in the southern Spanish city of Granada has charged 10 Roman Catholic priests and two Catholic lay workers with child sex abuse.

    The 12 are suspected of abusing four teenage boys between 2004 and 2007, the most serious offences occurring in a house used by the priests.

    Pope Francis telephoned one of the alleged victims, now 24, in November to offer his apologies.

    He acted after the man wrote him a letter about the alleged abuse

    Several arrests were made in November but the suspects are now free on bail.

    According to Spanish broadcaster RTVE (in Spanish), the young man in question and a friend had served as altar boys in the Diocese of Granada.

    Following the Pope’s call to the alleged victim, the Archbishop of Granada, Francisco Javier Martinez, and fellow priests prostrated themselves in front of the altar of Granada’s cathedral to seek pardon for sexual abuse in the Church. {see photo on link}

    Many survivors of abuse by priests are angry at what they see as the Vatican’s failure to punish senior officials who have been accused of covering up scandals.



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