21st July 2012

“The [Catholic] Church has always been able, even through the fiercest periods of radical and traumatic change, to maintain its grip on western societies and keep its claim to the high ground of moral exclusivity intact. After the recent history of scandals and affairs, however, believers and non-believers alike have had to recalibrate their opinions regarding the role, the authority and the credibility of the Vatican.”

Michele Monni

7 Responses to “21st July 2012”

  1. Xhim Says:

    Carbon 14: I got in late, but did respond to your question on yesterday’s quote.

  2. Carbon14 Says:

    Xhim, the bible verses you reference say that you can’t kill a slave, destroy a slave’s eye, or sleep with a slave that has been betrothed to another man. That leaves a lot of stuff you can do.

    I admire your verbal contortions, but I’m really not interested in a studious examination of whether the New Testament does or doesn’t support slavery. What bothers me is that you believe in a god who has it in his power to change anything, but prefers the approach of slowly changing the system from the inside, while thousands – millions – of people live a life in crushing, servile poverty.

    Does god prefer such a passive approach now? Why don’t you should approach the victims of Human Trafficking referred to in your link and let them know?

  3. Xhim Says:

    Carbon14, I can appreciate your sense that my “explanations” are a bit inadequate. Even we religionistas have serious trouble with what is called “the Problem of Pain.” Why does an almighty being who is also good allow evil to exist in any form? Anyone who takes human suffering seriously is going to struggle with this.
    There are three things that occur to me that at least mitigate this:
    1. God suffers right along with us. I won’t even attempt to “prove” this, and since for an atheist there is no God it is probably irrelevant anyway.
    2. The trade-off is freedom of will. While some human suffering is of natural causes (which opens a whole new area that I won’t go into, the effect of sin on the natural world), the vast majority is directly related to human choice. If God allows us to choose our behavior, then he can’t limit us to making only good choices. That is no freedom of will.
    3. He expects his followers to be committed to alleviating that suffering. A Christian businessman visited a developing country, got off the plane, rented a car, and pulled into traffic. He was almost immediately overwhelmed by the poverty he saw, and cried out to God, “God, why don’t you do something about this!?” God answered, “I did. I sent you.”
    This last one is where we have dropped the ball. Modern “Christians” are amazingly self-centered. While there are a lot who are heavily involved in resisting trafficking (my daughter is one), in disaster relief, fighting poverty, etc., most are cultural coasters who never give such things a thought. This is why for personal use I prefer the term “follower of Jesus” to “Christian.” A “Christian” who does not follow Jesus in these areas as well as just personal piety can at best questionably be called a Christian.

  4. Carbon14 Says:

    I can sense you’re genuine in your intentions, but even you must be able to see the work you have to do to marry your belief that God exists and your observations of the world.

    Explaining the universe is much easier when you imagine that God doesn’t exist.

  5. The Heretic Says:

    Back to the quote, from an aside view. I was talking with my father last week. He is appalled and horrified over the Jerry Sandusky matter at Penn State (as should all be). When I brought up the horrors that the Catholic Church had also wrought upon small boys, he couldn’t equate the two. I was stymied by this. When a mag buggers small boys in a sports venue it is dreadful, but if a priest does it then we shouldn’t talk about it? Is it somehow not the same? I posit that it is worse! Sports are voluntary, but not necessarily so for church (at least for small children in religious families.). He avoided the subject like the plague, and I consider him to be a non-believer. I really don’t understand the reaction.

  6. Kittie Aldakkour Says:

    It is more personal to him that Jerry Sandusky did these things and those who could stop it chose not too. He probably just doesn’t identify as closely with the church situation.. never trusting those people anyway and so it is not such a shock or an affront.. But a venerated sports figure…one who may be his age? is harder to deal with. He has to change his thinking about Sandusky – but he never did like the church/religion? just a guess

  7. Kittie Aldakkour Says:

    We need some new material – the Catholic church is taking up too much energy. How about someone addressing Xhim’s still using “free will” as an explanation for suffering in this world – anybody want to tackle that one? Sam… this call is for you.