back to article Hacker defaces Irish Catholic paper: 'Gotta love false hope'

A security breach has left several sites including the Irish Catholic defaced. Atheistic hackers defaced the paper's site at on sunday with a message mocking religion that also fired barbs at a site admin. The message, headed, You.Got.Taken (screenshot below), states: "The Irish Catholic - …


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  1. Greg J Preece


    I'd recognise Garland anywhere. I smell an unpatched Drupal vulnerability.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, what's the problem?

    I think it's perfectly reasonable and definitely in the public interest to inform those that hold a totally irrational and unfounded belief in the deity who generally goes by the name of God that they are, indeed, barking up the wrong tree. Or maybe just barking.

    The fact that this information is being disseminated on the web site of a broader and ignoble organisation that has an extremely long and unenviable history of persecution, subjugation, suppression of the truth, and generally making people feel pretty bad about themselves from (quite literally) the moment they are born, and which holds unknown (but almost certainly obscene) amounts of wealth and yet gladly leaches from its unfortunate followers on a daily basis, gives it bonus points in my book!

    1. ZankerH

      I would have stopped at "totally irrational and unfounded belief", since all the "worldly" transgressions of religious institutions really originate from that fundamental requirement to convince yourself you believe something which can't be justified with factual evidence or the rational thought process.

    2. Ralthor


      You are welcome to your scepticism about religion, a scepticism I share by the way. However pushing it onto others is not so welcome. The fact that you and I dont believe in god doesn't mean we have the right to mock others who do so.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        the right to mock

        Nobody has the "right" to be free from mockery for two main reasons:

        1. This stifles legitimate criticism

        2. This stifles the individual right to free speech

        3. This tacitly sanctifies certain opinions, whilst leaving other rational, evidentially based opinions as fair game.

        1. Jedit

          Nobody has the "right" to be free from mockery

          Especially anonymous cowards who evidently can't count to three.

          1. Eddie Edwards

            He didn't expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Who's mocking?

        I wasn't mocking anyone. I actually find the need of some people to hold such strange beliefs rather sad and pitiful.

        And until someone actually provides any evidence of this God character, I have nothing to be skeptic of.

        1. steward

          I have no evidence...

          that any Anonymous Coward is anything other than a poor attempt at a Turing machine.

          1. mark 63 Silver badge

            Anonymous tards

            The anonymity offered by the internet really brings out the worst in people. They just run around on a verbal 'shooting spree' .

            I was horrified this morning at the torrent of racial abuse commented on a particular video on youtube showing some indian chappies . I know thats where you find the worst kind of dickheads but i really was surprised by the vehemence , vulgarity and the quantity of racist remarks.

            (i'm white btw)

            These were people just hiding behind their youtube Nicks, The Reg seems to go a step further and offer this extra layer of "anonymous coward"

            is there no accountability in the world?

      3. Beelzeebub

        Quite so. I don't believe in me either, but I don't go around telling others they shouldn't.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE opinion

        I agree pushing your own beliefs on to others is clearly wrong, like those calling door to door pushing bibles, or standing in centre of town with loud speaker forcing everyone to hear your fire and brimstone hate speech (yes happens most Saturdays where I live), or forcing schools to indoctrinate blantant lies to vulnerable young children on a daily basis. (Though schools in NI do not need to be forced, but rather use the religious curriculum as excuse to make imposing religious belief the no 1 priority in a supposedly secular state funded school.)

        The hacker here was clearly wrong to hack the server and also wrong to force others to hear his point of view. While the organisation he targetted engages in forcing their vile malicious beliefs onto others I understand but do not condone his actions.

        He might have been correct in what he said it, but not in the way he said it. Two wrongs do not make a right so he should be prosecuted if caught.

        As to not having a right to mock other beliefs, well no one has the right to not be offended. Such a right would end freedom of speech.

        And if it is okay for them to say that others deserve to burn in agonising pain for all eternity (as Christians have said to me directly is what I deserve for not being a Christian) then they would be right hypocrites to object to some mocking said in return. Freedom of speech works both ways. And any mocking I have heard pales into insignificance compared to the hate speech I have heard Christians direct at others.

      5. Dagg


        I might agree with you if the bloody religious were not only pushing but forcing religion on to everyone. I remember the "good old days" where you were forced into religious studies and punished if you refused. I even got the cane because I refused to pray. So I will take great pleasure in mocking and causing as much pain to all forms of religion!

    3. pr9000

      "in the public interest to inform those that hold a totally irrational and unfounded belief"

      How many people do you supposed changed their beliefs as a result of this juvenile prank?

    4. Ru

      There's no evidence it is atheistic

      It could easily have been some other Christian sect.

      Have a look at Jack Chick's tract on Catholicism. Oh you wacky protestants, what will you think of next?

    5. Martin Yirrell


      The church of Atheism is pushing it's irrational belief again I see.

  3. Turtle

    False hope.

    The real "false hope" - in fact, the real delusion - is that the world would be better if everyone was an atheist.

    1. Phil Standen


      I don't think anyone thinks it would, just that you would have to take personal accountability for your actions.

      Probably just as bad/good, but a little more accountable.

      1. Denarius Silver badge

        how is that again ?


        so the humanist push of the last century that everything anyone does is due to "sex, not enough sex, unconsious mind, mummy, lack of self confidence, lack of daddy, daddy, bad day, angry, capitalism, add your favourite excuse" ?

        Freud, Jung and assorted british Humanist association luminaries seemed to push the idea that science has shown humans are not capable of free will. Still going on if one bothers to read the ruins of New Scientist. Yet you say some religious push the idea they do not take responsibility for their actions.

        Odd, as all I ever heard was how humans are morally responsible and without excuse before the deity.

        The cynic in me remembers the number of times devout humanists excused the monstrosities of the USSR and its scientific atheism, the Year Zero of Pol Pot and various other dictatorships because they used the magic words "socialist, people and republic"

        Been reading the Gulag Archipeligo lately. Seems eerily close to suggestions of greens in Oz desiring a super government to enforce correct thinking and behaviour. Like GW Bush and his lackeys.

        ElReg needs an icon for Glass Houses.

        1. Shakje


          It depends on how you view free will, and I think that the way that religious people attack the idea that free will is an abstraction use mixed meanings to do so. By this I mean that on the one hand you treat free will as a veneer over thought processes in order to single out people who suggest we don't really have free will, but then you compare it in your head to automatons simply carrying out tasks, all the same. Personally, my own view of free will would be something along the lines of:

          Our brains are wonderfully complex organs. They take in information from a huge variety of inputs (memories, real world data), process it in the blink of an eye (based on brain structure from lifestyle, genetics, etc.), and then send off instructions wherever they need to go. If you have a panel with one button on it, and you press the button and a light comes on in a predictable manner, it's pretty easy to work out how it works behind the scenes. Now scale it up a bit, say you've got 100 switches that have to be pressed in order to turn the light on, can you work it out easily? Or how about 10,000? Or 1,000,000? There is so much that affects the processing of the brain that abstractions are built up around it. How would you *expect* to perceive the brain making decisions without free will? Abstract logic and "free will" (by this I mean the perception of making choices) is an artifact of brain activity, and this seems utterly clear.

          This leads onto the next point that you make about moral responsibility. There's two things that need to be said here:

          1) If that's the way it is, it doesn't matter if it raises difficult questions about society and morality, we have to work through them. It would be like choosing to believe that earthquakes don't happen because you don't want to think of the people who die in them.

          2) I've spent a long time wondering about this myself, because it seems clear to me that free will *is* a veneer, therefore I cannot ignore the question because it could affect my whole moral framework. Well the way that I resolve it is that, like quantum mechanics, while it may seem like a completely different world on the micro level that seems to invalidate everything that we know in the classical world, if you scale it up, you need another level of abstraction to cope with the complexity that *necessarily* must exist. Society and law appears to fulfill this role quite neatly. If anything, it's like a huge scaled up version of a brain, with parts of it being governed by remembered morality, parts of it governed by more primal urges, and parts of it governed by the need for communication, which all leads to societies which have worked out ways to function coherently, and as a result have survived. There's a big leap between the action of one neuron firing and a society meting out justice. In fact, my views on determinism are the main reason that I find capital punishment evil.

          The idea of being morally responsible before your deity is nicely sidestepped in the Catholic religion (as long as you avoid the mortal sins), and whenever something evil can be justified in terms of religion (when it is quite possibly against other views of morality), such as the killing of kuffirs, or the killing of babies in the Old Testament. When "absolute morality" can be changed so easily if it appears to be the will of your deity, or when it changes halfway through the book (i.e. treating the Bible as one book) and appears to align with iron age morality and discard anything from the last 2000 years of social thinking, I don't hold out much hope of it being a good guiding light.

          I don't think that's a fair comment as it has happened in exactly the same manner in religion. Catholicism's support of Hitler, monetary, and in mobilization of German Catholics, because, quite probably primarily, of anti-Semitism springs to mind. Or the support of Israel, sometimes unquestioningly in the US. People will justify the stupidest things in the name of clinging to their beliefs, whether those are stupid religionists or stupid atheists, and that says absolutely nothing about the truth or untruth of the beliefs, it's just a sad reflection on humanity.

          I haven't read it, but I automatically get my back up when people compare something relatively mild in a democratic setting with the USSR or DDR. Having visited the Stasi museums in Germany, and having a wife who is very knowledgeable in that research area, it's insulting to the people who have had their lives destroyed or seen their parents killed, or lived in a prison all day to compare it to something as petty and trivial. It's like saying that having your desk separators removed at work is like being in a concentration camp. You're an idiot if you really think there's a comparison, and if you'd heard the stories of some of these people, and heard them breaking down and crying, maybe you'd be a bit more reticent about making such comparisons.

          ElReg needs an icon for People Who Don't Actually Know What They're Talking About But Think They Know All The Arguments.

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Yes indeed; atheists are evil witches and spread their words directly from the Devil. I am from the one true god, and he says that we must find all those non-believers and burn them. We will call it the great inquisition. I will be starting my crusade to other lands to ensure that only the truth is known, and kill those who stand in the way of it.

      All hail the followers of the loving god and the world will be a better place.


    3. James Hughes 1

      In your opinion. Any evidence to back it up?

    4. Willington

      As opposed to everyone being, say, a Christian or a Muslim? It's hard for people who don't believe in anything to invent divisions on which to draw battle lines but religions will always manage it. If god didn't exist as a concept (he doesn't exist as anything else) then there would certainly be a lot less for us mortals to argue about so the world would indeed be better.

      1. <shakes head>

        not so much

        non religious divisions - socialism communism capitalism consumerism anarchist

    5. ZankerH

      Would it immediately solve all of the world's problems? Nope. Would the human condition be fundamentally improved if the majority of mankind stopped blindly believing in unprovable hypotheses? You bet.

      1. Jim 59

        Atheist Utopia

        Doubtful. The USSR was officialy atheist, and the most aggressive and oppressive state in history. It was born out of history's greatest pogrom with religion-hating Stalin killing over 40 million people after the revolution.

        1. GitMeMyShootinIrons


          The USSR carried much more baggage than mere atheism - if it had money, was Jewish, was pro monarchy or had a 'face that didn't fit', it was up against the wall.

          It would be interesting to compare the numbers (as compared to the populations) who died in the Crusades or during the Inquisition, or perhaps the Conquistadors tour of South and Central America?

          Most Nazis were also somewhat religious - Hitler was a fair-weather Catholic and was opposed to state Atheism.

          You need to consider what the motivator for a regime is. In both Hitler and Stalin's case, religion was not really that important to them - threats to the power base and a means to feed it were.

          In the Inquisition, religion was the exact reason for the fun and frolics. The Crusades and the Conquistadors used the 'legitimacy' of religious support for slaughter, warfare and all that good stuff.

          Personally, I think of religion is an interesting, eccentric hobby that can be misused, a bit like supporting a football team can become hooliganism. If people want to pursue it, it's their choice - so long as they don't bother me.

          1. Jim 59

            Atheism was a central part of Soviet ideology, as was the supression of any opposing viewpoint. Nazis were not religious. They had a policy of "cleansing" hyms and religious songs, removing from them any traditional Christian meaning. (I want to Google this but it might look dodgy searching on those terms from work!)

            The Crusades, the Inquisition - I am pretty ignorant of these matters, but I agree the West has wronged the world many times, eg. the Irish famine of the 1840s, the Indian uprising, etc. etc. And the Church has done bad things in both ancient and modern times.

        2. stu 4
          Thumb Down

          cause and affect

          Don't forget vegetarianism - we'd all be murdering jews if we stopped eating meat, what with hitler being a veggie, etc....... jeez.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Live and let live

      I'm an atheist but just becuase I hold no truck with religion doesn't mean I would stop others. If they wish to practise their religion, don't preach to me and it helps them through their day, then good luck to them.

      The second athiests demand that others come around to their way fo thinking, they are no better than those religious zealots and Android/iPhone fanbois they wish to decry. Inform others if they ask you but don't go preaching.

      1. Guido Esperanto

        totally agree

        Atheism is a state of mind, not a fanclub.

      2. Oninoshiko

        Re: live and let live


        Evangelical atheists give the real atheists a bad name.

    7. skeptical i
      Thumb Up

      If the world believed that there /IS/ no Guy in the Sky, we'd have to solve all our problems ...

      ... ourselves instead of leaving them to the Big Fixer to sort out, right? There could be no "chosen" people, so we'd all have to learn to get along, right? Sorry, I'm not seeing a downside here.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Looks like Drupal

    This definately is a Drupal site. I am curious about which version it is. Looks like a standard Drupal 6 install to me... Anyone?

    1. L1feless


      I'm thinking it was a multi-site D6 install likely without the patches up-to-date.

    2. Greg J Preece

      I agree

      I'm fairly certain that's either Drupal 5 or 6.

  5. theBatman

    False Religion?!

    I don't believe it! ;)

  6. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down


    Firstly - "Atheist"

    Secondly - what suggests that it was atheist hackers, anyway? I initially assumed it was somebody who follows another religion, maybe protestants.

  7. Charles Calthrop

    good old drupal

    that is a garland drupal page - custom theme flaw or old vuln?

  8. Anonymous Coward 15

    So if some skiddie hacks the Government

    they should be locked up, but if they hack a religious site, that's OK?

    Where was it I read about stuff like "judge not lest ye be judged" and "turn the other cheek"?

    1. jonathan1

      Nope its not. Everything should be equal in the eyes of the law regardless of content.

      Yes I know its naive....

    2. hplasm Silver badge

      Oo- I know!

      The Life of Brian!

  9. Jim 59


    Are these proper atheists - ie. the thoughtful, intelligent sort, or just the bafoons who think they are cleverer than everybody else ? Judging from the vandal's comments it would seem the latter.

  10. ratfox Silver badge

    False religion...

    As opposed to...?

    1. Paul RND*1000

      Apple, duh.

  11. ZankerH


    I can't believe nobody pointed this out yet. I guess the skiddie kit didn't come with a spell checker?

    1. Armando 123

      Didn't the CIA and FBI do something like this years ago to trace leaks? You know, intentional misspellings to trace who might be the security risk.

  12. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge


    Why is it when I read the defacement page all I register is the fact that they spelt believing wrong.

  13. Seanie Ryan

    2 faced??

    While I myself think that the RC Faith is a bunch of nonsense, this hacker has demonstrated that he is no better than a persecutor of others based on their beliefs.

    Everyone is entitled to their beliefs and his/her actions only show an intolerance of this.

    This Hackers actions are in principal (not magnitude) the same as the Crusades or Terrorist Bombing. Thought process stems from the the same initial basis.

    Maybe the hacker might benefit from a bit of teaching about respect for fellow man and living your life to the best of your ability without causing distress to others.

    Ironic isnt it????

    1. ZankerH

      Everyone is entitled to their beliefs. Everyone with ridiculous, irrational beliefs they're incapable of evaluating critically is entitled to get laughed at.

      1. Paul RND*1000

        You rather missed the point., ZankerH

        Which was that those atheists who would force-feed their belief to everyone are no better than the religious types who do likewise.

        Different dogma, same pain in the ass.

    2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Defacing a web site

      is no more terrorism than teaching children that they'll burn in hell if they think "bad" thoughts.

      Oh wait. I think I'll need to adjust my analogy.

  14. Anonymous Cowerd


    All religions are false.

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. HaplessPoet


    to be sure, I'm not beliveing it either!

  17. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @Atheist Utopia

    Stalin opposed religion, Stalin was bad

    Therefore opposing religion is bad

    Therefore religion is good

    Therefore we should all worship the flying spaghetti monster. Isn't logic wonderful ?

    1. cyborg


      All beliefs are false to a greater or lesser degree.

  18. Stefan

    Python Moment

    Meaning of Life anyone:-- "Well, it's nothing very special. Uh, try and be nice to people. Avoid eating fat. Read a good book every now and then. Get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations."

    I try to live by this code (except for the fat bit)... though I did cringe slightly when I walked around my sons school to be met with a cabinet of fossils and other prehistoric paraphanelia... labelled "The wonders of creation"!

    Live and let live...

    1. cyborg

      The thing is that doesn't have to be a religiously loaded term - as in it doesn't have to mean creation by a god or other personification of the natural/supernatural.

      Creationists have given creation a bad name.

  19. Sean Baggaley 1

    Atheism != Anti-religion

    Religions have clearly done such a bang-up job of bringing love, light and peace to humanity these past few thousand years, the real miracle is that anyone still believes in any of them.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What do you call someone

    who places himself in a position of authority, commanding that everyone must agree with his point of view and stating that anyone who doesn't is blind and lacking in reason?

    Yup, it's an Internet Atheist.

    1. Seanie Ryan

      modern day word for that is "Blogger" ... get with it !!!

    2. Winkypop Silver badge
      Thumb Down


      The same statement could be applied to many religious types.

      Atheists don't command.

      Quite simply, atheists just don't care!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What do you call someone (2)

    What do you call someone who has no valid argument against someone's point of view but wants to oppose it anyway so they attack the person not the argument.

    Yup its an internet anti-atheist.

    An atheist does not claim they should have position of authority simply for being atheist, it is the religious that claim they have authority simply be for being religious. (Any moral issue, place in house of lords etc.)

    An atheist does not command people, they just give their opinion, it is religions that command that their point it accepted as true. (And leads to things like Bishops threatening Scottish MPs to control the laws they make)

    As to pointing out the religious are lacking in reason, well I suppose some do that, but then can you think of any logical reason for believing a religion. (I can think of illogical reasons for believing and logical reasons for pretending to believe, but logical reasons to actually believe, nope never encountered any.)

    But hey, thats just my opinion, not claiming it is some god given absolute truth.

    1. Silvensis

      "Yup its an internet anti-atheist."

      It is - when they do it. Or it's an "internet atheist" when *they* do.

      "An atheist does not claim they should have position of authority simply for being atheist..."

      Damn right! Except when they do.

      " is the religious that claim they have authority simply be for being religious."

      Absolutely! Except when they don't.

      "An atheist does not command people, they just give their opinion..."

      Some do. Sometimes quite forcefully. Sometimes so forcefully it borders on... what do you call it... oh yes: command.

      " is religions that command that their point it accepted as true."

      Amen! Except those that don't, of course.

      Wait: I'm starting to sense a pattern here...

  22. Simon2

    Nice one!

    Religion is stupid!

  23. Winkypop Silver badge

    I believed in god once

    But then I grew up.

  24. Archimedes_Circle

    Where do we draw the conclusion this was done by an atheist from. Calling it a class religion really only means the bugger wasn't trying to appear Catholic.

  25. Silvensis

    Science Vesus Religion Again

    I agree that the implications made by this article are based on no evidence. Which is kind of ironic. There's nothing here to say this is the work of atheists, or of an opposing religious group. We can infer (only) that the person responsible doesn't share the faith held by those who run the website - but it's only an inference, though I can't see a reason why someone sympathetic to their beliefs would vandalise the site.

    But, back to religion. Yes, it's a topic of interest for me, as it clearly is for many of you, and for the Reg.

    I'm a pagan, which means I'm a nature-worshipper of sorts. Not that I actively offer prayers to the trees, or anything like that, and nor do I cavort nekkid in the bushes at midsummer, despite the Daily Mail's insistence. And, in case you do get your opinions from that revolting rag, I don't spend my time 'casting spells' instead of working for a living, either.

    Like many pagans, I simply perceive a certain divine quality in the natural world around me - including humanity (although that bit does take some determined effort, I admit). 'Religion' - which I take to mean the acknowledgement of divinity rather than simply 'Christianity and Islam' - is a purely aesthetic matter. Like 'good' art, you either see it in something, or you don't. It's not something you *choose* - you can't persuade or coerce someone to see something they don't see; or not see something they do. Don't get me wrong: people *do* fall out of, and into, religion, or switch from one religious path to another - but this is rarely because they've sat down and drawn up the pros and cons, with tables and flowcharts and such. It's because of what they feel, not what they calculate.

    And the same tired arguments are being trotted out in this comments section: "Stalin was an atheist, therefore atheism is bad." That's irrational. But similarly: "the Inquisition was about religion, therefore religion is bad." That's also irrational. Atheists assert an intellectual justification for their derision of the religious, saying it's a social good to highlight the 'dangers' of 'irrational beliefs'. Likewise, the religious claim spiritual justification for deriding the atheist, saying it's all about 'saving their soul'. In both cases, I suspect the truth is far less elevated. Some people just enjoy attacking people who are different. Double-standards and logical fallacies are the hallmarks of this entire contrived argument - contrived because there's nothing, anywhere, that says you cannot be perfectly rational about the world around you and still see that world from a religious perspective.

    For what it's worth, speaking personally, I don't expect universal respect for my beliefs; I don't expect people to refrain from subjecting me to abuse and mockery if it makes them feel good about themselves. But I would consider it a demonstration of integrity and intelligence if they would find out precisely what I believe before they start, then articulate good, logical arguments as to why I shouldn't believe it.

    Now: is there some IT news around, at all?

  26. This post has been deleted by its author

  27. stu 4


    just to get your back up... they have posters on my way to the station now..

    and a junior 'wing'... FFS... legalised child abuse imho.

    Sorry, but I do see fighting religion as a battle - I'm an anti-theist rather than atheist.

    If they just 'believed stuff' I wouldn't give a shit. They indoctrinate children, kill, oppress and abuse it the name if it, and through government try to force their beliefs on others.

    fuck em all.

    1. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

      Posters indeed! How very dare they!

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