19th October 2017

 2:00 am

“[Religion] is so patently infantile, so foreign to reality, that to anyone with a friendly attitude to humanity it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life.”

Sigmund Freud1856 – 1939

18th October 2017

 2:00 am

“While traditional religious observance is declining in western Europe, religion is growing in many parts of the world. Christianity seems to be the fastest-growing religion in terms of conversions, while Islam is ahead on the birth-rate front. Christianity is reckoned to have around 2.1 billion adherents, with Islam's figure close to 1.5 billion. That's quite a lot of punters in the pews by any standards.”

Ron Ferguson

17th October 2017

 2:00 am

“Through most of the 20th Century, Ireland was poor, backward and deeply Catholic. Irish Catholicism tended to be of a particularly harsh and unforgiving variety.”

Tom Hundley

16th October 2017

 2:00 am

“In a sense, chastity could be treated as an indicator of just how obsessed a religion is with sex. The more a religion emphasizes chastity, the more they are effectively talking about and referencing sexuality. It's not just the religion that's obsessed with sex, but the adherents as well. After all, if the people themselves weren't constantly going 'too far' in sexual behavior, religious leaders wouldn't have to constantly keep telling them to stop. You can't have chastity without sex.”

Austin Cline

15th October 2017

 2:00 am

“About two-thirds of Ireland's population turned out to see the pope during his three-day visit [in 1979]. Before the pope's arrival, they were entertained by two of the Irish church's most popular and charismatic leaders: Bishop Eamon Casey of Galway and Rev. Michael Cleary, Dublin's 'singing priest,' who had his own show on national radio.

A decade later, it would come to light that Casey was the father of a son by an American woman and had 'borrowed' from church funds to silence them. Cleary, it was discovered, fathered two children and had an abusive relationship with a troubled young woman who worked as his housekeeper… As the sex scandals gathered momentum through the 1990s, so did the flight from the pews. For the church, which once occupied a position at the pinnacle of Irish society, it was a stunning fall from grace.”

David Aaronovitch