My thoughts on the matter?
My thoughts on the matter? Well, that would be an ecumenical matter.
Pope Benedict announced his resignation today, becoming the first pope to relinquish the leadership of the Catholic Church in six centuries - and just months after becoming the first pontiff to join Twitter. The 85-year-old will step down at the end of the month, clearing the way for a conclave to elect his successor. He is …
Finally, he's going. My only hope is that he will be charged and stand trial for the crimes he has allegedly committed while in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. If he is innocent then he will finally have cleared his name over his alleged involvement in the harbouring of paedophiles. If not, he will be sent down and, upon his death, may he burn in hell. Either way, his continued occupation of the post has brought nothing but disgrace to the Catholic Church and undermined the good work done by those beneath it.
If he'd at least had the guts to say it was because of the cover-ups, he might have got some respect, but he's repeatedly refused to accept any real culpability.
"If not, he will be sent down and, upon his death, may he burn in hell."
Actually, is there not something in the Bible about those who are punished on Earth being let off the hook in the afterlife, and those who escape punishment on Earth being damned to eternal torment? Perhaps someone ought to remind him that the longer he denies any wrong-doing, the less time he's got to receive Earthly just before departing this mortal coil....
(These revelations were the straw that broke the back of my dwindling faith. Now totally definitely agnostic.)
Quite the opposite.
If I didn't have such a strong belief that there is no god, that book would have put me off atheism. Richard Dawkins comes across as an arrogant asshole. In fact, I describe him as a Fundamental Atheist - his way is the only way, and anyone with an opposite view is an idiot.
It is, but then Dawkins is rarely correct on matters scientific... it's probably one of the reasons he likes to keep to the unfalsifiable philosophical storytelling side, as real science rather inconveniently usually proves him wrong (note in particular his repeated attempts at proving "bad design" in biology.)
Eh? I've read a few of Dawkins' books - not many, so I may have missed something.
But surely one of his main points - indeed, one of the principles of evolution by natural selection - is that there is no design in nature, whether good, bad or indifferent.
Where does Dawkins try to "prove bad desigh"?
Actually, I agree about the arrogance, even though I'm on the side of rationality and science.
Whenever he's arguing, whether in print or on film, he always seems to descend to snide, smartarse comments that do his case no good whatsoever.
I jokingly used to say that I was on the "Richard Dawkins paramilitary wing of atheism", until he made such a tit of himself that it stopped being funny - if it ever was.
It's possible for a man to be arrogant and correct... though maybe not on the horrific rape, torture and murder of the medical student in Mumbai (Dawkins couldn’t see what the fuss was about).
If only “Pope” Dawkins had something to say on the “Humanist Delusion”
"It's possible for a man to be arrogant and correct."
However, it is usually impossible for an arrogant man to convince anyone else that he is correct. Dawkins is an expert at preaching to the choir such that the choir think he's actually said something meaningful, but his entire writing style is antagonistic, and no debate that starts with one party calling the other stupid ever bore fruit....
I've read Dawkin's God Delusion , I've also read the late great Chris Hitchen's God is not Great. In my case they're preaching to the already converted, I found both books enjoyable.
I guess to someone who has fully bought into the "I must have an explanation for everything, and fill it in with an intelligent creator where we don't have a full explanation" then Dawkin's and Hitchen's will come across as arrogant.
I honestly can't see how "The God Delusion" would put any atheist of atheism. I could see how it would antagonize The blindly faithful.
The blindly faithful seem to be very untrusting of atheists. Atheists like me have been persecuted by the theists for centuries, so if we are a bit argumentative then that is because we are trying to guard against what we class as the craziness, wishful thinking and tortured illogic of theology, and don't wish for them to get into positions of power, or to let their crazy ideas enter our heads.
Theocracy has to be the worst form of government I can think of, it not only has Big Brother / Daddy in the Sky, it is also detached from reality, and the people making its rules up don't even realise that humans are making the rules up , and say it is God's Law. That is crazy, and that is what we need to guard against.
Yeah I'm a fundamental atheist, and proud, and I don't want nutters running any country I live in.
I'd much rather have Richard Dawkin's in charge than true believer Tony Blair , The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Pope , or any other of the religiously deluded.
I've read many (most?) of his books, and whilst it was a breath of fresh air after (catholic) high school, the more preachy books are becoming a bit cringe-worthy - I agree with many of his views, but not with the way he presents them - in many cases deliberately antagonistic, and seems to be happy to abandon the moral high ground and stoop to the level of the right wing hardliner religious set. I believe the moral high ground is worth a lot more than that.
The books on evolution are a different story - he waffles on a bit, but The Selfish Gene among others is what sparked an interest in evolution, and an appreciation of the natural world for me. I'm sure there are some who disagree with his scientific views as well, but that's what science is all about.
Whilst i agree that fanatics of any religion (or any fanatics) should never be in a position of power, I do believe that your postulation is flawed as highlighted in your following statement:
"or to let their crazy ideas enter our heads."
You state that you believe in a more scientific view of life, (which I would agree with), but a proper scientist does not dismiss any idea or theory until proven false, (no matter how crazy). Sorry to burst your bubble, but writing books about God not existing does not prove the theory either way.
I choose to keep an open mind about everything.
"a proper scientist does not dismiss any idea or theory until proven false, (no matter how crazy). Sorry to burst your bubble, but writing books about God not existing does not prove the theory either way.
A proper scientist dismisses explanations that don't fit the evidence, e.g. fairies, gnomes, werewolves, trolls, yetis, gods etc. In this way they do not waste their time on nonsense.
I choose to keep an open mind about everything."
It's been said before bue bears repeating: By all means keep an open mind, but not so open that your brain falls out.
Expecting people to respect ideas with no demonstrable basis in reality is what's truly crazy.
"A proper scientist dismisses explanations that don't fit the evidence"
No. NO. NO. That's not science. A proper scientist does not dismiss anything, he rather proposes a hypothesis that fits the current empirical evidence and then devises tests to disprove it with the hope of popping up new evidence for or against the particular hypothesis in the process. He never dismisses an explanation. In science, no explanation is ever accepted as 100% immutable truth because new and peculiar things crop up all the time, therefore no explanation can truly be rejected. They are simply demonstrated to be very unlikely.
It has been the case that explanations that didn't fit the current evidence later became accepted as valid when new evidence was brought to light after prediction by hypothesis. The theory of continental drift, for instance, did not fit "the current evidence" because nobody had yet discovered a viable mechanism, and it was thus rejected by the narrow-minded souls who you seem to evince as "proper scientists". It didn't fit the evidence, you see.
Argue all you want about the existence of gods, or lack thereof, but get your bloody definitions right first otherwise you're just mouthing off without any basis in reality.
Just one question.
You talk about those preaching to already converts.
But then you say
"I guess to someone who has fully bought into the "I must have an explanation for everything, and fill it in with an intelligent creator where we don't have a full explanation" then Dawkin's and Hitchen's will come across as arrogant."
In what way aren't you one of the already converts. Why is it always assumed that a full explanation is only correct if there is no trace of creator/designer?
And just because religion has gone all wrong, I agree with you on that part. Does not mean that the other extremity is all right and well. In fact it's fundamentalism just as the other is fundamentalism.
Don't be blinded by others blindness. Hawing Dawkin's as your Pope would be no better. In fact it could become "nazi germany" all over again just other victims. Stop and think for your self instead and don't follow the blind leaders independent what type of leader they are.
There are a few countries that have been run by atheists, and it's no more beautiful story than compared with the fundamentalistic theist ruler-ships. I can name a few from both sides, can you?
"There are a few countries that have been run by atheists, and it's no more beautiful story than compared with the fundamentalistic theist ruler-ships. I can name a few from both sides, can you?"
Please do. And then please go onto explain how it is in any way sensible to lump in all people who are essentially only bound together by one philosophical statement - which is in essence a rejection of another one - as being in any way comparable to those who identify themselves as ascribing to a complete set of philosophical statements.
Because if you want to argue Hitler was an athiest (when the story is far more complex than that) in the same way Richard Dawkins is an atheist and hence if Richard Dawkins was Pope there would be a Holocaust you are so missing the point your target might as well be in a parallel reality.
Otherwise please continue on how the assertion "dieties don't exist," has any inductive logical outcomes on matters of morality, economics or politics that would be germain to the direction a country would take under the leadership of someone who held that particular assertion to be true.
He's lasted 7 years. In industry, what CEO presiding over falling customer numbers, reduced income, and general staff dissatisfaction, would have lasted so long? Especially as his recipe for fixing the problems as "OK, let's do things like we did last century. Or preferably the one before."
Even his takeover bid for the right wing of the Church of England was a dreadful flop.
The Roman Catholic Church needs to get the headhunters in. Richard Branson might demand more changes than they liked before accepting the job ("Stuff celibacy and let's move to my private island"), Larry Ellison might feel Papal infallibility didn't go far enough, but surely there's someone out there with a good track record?
Ah. Mark Zuckerberg. The very person.
He's only just got the job. Give him a chance to get in McKinsey and decide what to do with underperforming subsidiaries. Given that the Africans are net recipients of money and the Episcopalians and the Anglicans are cash generators, I think we can guess where this might end up.
"Cant be Rupert Murdoch. I think he is a Jew!"
Murdoch? offer him enough money and he will embrace Buddhism and become the next Dalai Lama. Turning him into a Christian should be cheaper, as Christianity is just another Judaic sect.
'He's lasted 7 years. In industry, what CEO presiding over falling customer numbers, reduced income, and general staff dissatisfaction, would have lasted so long? Especially as his recipe for fixing the problems as "OK, let's do things like we did last century. Or preferably the one before."'
We have all been wondering what it would take for Ballmer to step down from Microsoft.
I'm not convinced the ability to use Latin is a sign of intelligence; just a sign of training (or of having a team of translators on standby).
Perhaps he'd appreciate a farewell gift: maybe one of those t-shirts with the inscription 'Stand back: I'm going to try science.'
A great man, in my opinion, wouldn't completely condemn others for their belief or what they stand for. Which is exactly what the pope has done regarding certain groups. Also the way he dealt with the whole pedophile incident was in my opinion hardly as great as it could have been.
When looking back I'd say that his predecessor has accomplished a whole lot more during his 'reign'.
Yeah. I don't agree with him on... well much of anything. But ideology aside, his stepping down might be one of the most progressive things a pope has done in a long time. Reading between the lines--the reference to "today's world", etc.--it sounds like he intends to suggest that not just for himself, but in general, having popes stick around until they literally drop dead is not the way forward.
In many walks of life when someone reaches the top of ambition's greasy pole - then sometimes they finally reveal a long-hidden reforming streak. Anyone Machiavellian enough to get to the top of such a powerful political organisation is equally capable of an apparently damascene conversion once they hold the reins themselves.
The world isn't overcrowded. It only looks overcrowded if you live in a heavily urbanised and crowded area. The entire population of the world could comfortably fit in western europe with a couple of acres apiece and still have room left over.
Though that's something of a silly thought experiment...
The actual problems with world population are down to one thing: lack of proper food storage. Approximately a third of the food produced today is lost to lack of storage. An entire third of the food we produce just left to rot because it can't be kept chilled or frozen.
We already produce more food on less land than we did 50 years ago. If we crack that single problem of storage we could feed the entire world with food to spare, without adding a single acre to our productive farmland. We could even dial it back a bit and let more go back to a wild state. Oh but installing refrigeration and letting people live their lives just doesn't have the same impact as "we need to reduce the population somehow!" does it?
Without immigration from the developing world, the developed world's population growth would be negative. Given, therefore, that the majority of population growth occurs almost entirely in the developing world, whenever I hear someone whining about the world being overpopulated I can't help but wonder if they have some deep-seated compulsion to prevent those awful darkies from breeding and are disguising their desire for ethnic cleansing as the noble pursuit of "saving the planet".
"and are disguising their desire for ethnic cleansing"
Africa is becoming more and more urbanised. Farmers either grow cash crops for export or can't compete against the low local prices generated by food aid. Forests are stripped for fuel, and water used, in non-sustaining ways. Aid funding for any purpose is liable to disappear into the pockets of corrupt officials and rulers.
The western world also had booming populations even in the early 20th century - when poor health care, social need, and little birth control resulted in uncontrolled family sizes often in double figures.
It isn't a question of feeding the world's population from available produce - that will be a moving target like the Hare and Tortoise. The need is to stabilise the population so that everyone has the chance of a decent life. That's achieved by good governance, education, and reliable birth control.
"Oh but installing refrigeration and letting people live their lives just doesn't have the same impact as "we need to reduce the population somehow!" does it?"
Let's put it more simply, then: the world is too full of humans who consume megatons of resources that either cannot be replaced fast enough or cannot be replaced at all.
I agree with you: overcrowding, like CO2, is a big fat juicy red herring.
But humans like pretending that reducing their numbers and/or not producing a colourless, odorless gas is somehow going to stop resource consumption.
As you say, they also like pretending that darkies need to stop having babies.
In terms of population and/or overcrowding, however, the real "criminals" are countries whose citizens consume at a fantastic rate AND who maintain high birth rates to make more of these citizens as fast as possible.
USA and UK, we're looking at you.
Correct, and the problems are because people choose to flock to cities. So what you got is overpopulated cities and underpopulated countrysides.
One more problem with food is greed. Here we had a couple of years when the grain price where so lwo that the farmers choose to burn it as fuel rather than sell or send it of as food.
There is enough food to feed the whole earths population many times over. But our lifestyle and greed simply won't allow food to all.
Those who think the world really is overpopulated simply don't have their facts straight.
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What sort of outfit lets their head honcho step down on less than 3 weeks' notice, without even having a successor or succession plan in place?
If he plays his cards right and negotiates well, he could probably hang on to that nice apartment in central Rome. He could hold out for the wine cellar, some of the jewels, and maybe a few nuns and/or Swiss Guards too.
Ask for the Michelangelo Pieta as a leaving present.
Although now he'll have to figure out what to do when everything is shut at Easter and Christmas...
the sort of organization that's lasted through centuries, wars and other pseudo intellects who believed they knew better perhaps?
or perhaps the sort of organization that's built schools, and hospitals in places where few would go and asking nothing in return. a damning statistic if ever on the Church's business acumen.
see son, for the pope to admit that he's no longer able to do justice to his job and retire takes a lot of brass. much more perhaps than it takes for a nitwit sitting in front of his keyboard taking cheap pot shots.
>that's lasted through the centuries
The egyptian pharaos lasted longer, so that's Ra 1 : JC 0
Even the original line-up, Yawheh 1.0, are doing pretty well despite 2000 years of the church trying to wipe them out.
>asking nothing in return
Other than would you mind transferring all your gold to Spain, converting to our new religion and giving us your continent.
funny i don't recall Mother Thresa doing this when caring for the sick and dying in India, most of whom were non catholics. I myself have worked with the nuns at a home dedicated to looking after children with defects abandoned by their parents. i've also visited and helped out in old age homes many of the residents of which are non catholics.
from my experience of actually being there as oppesed to reading stuff on the internet, i can tell you, no gold changed hands.
Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana is the bookies' hot favourite. He appears to have been groomed by the retiring Pope as the successor. In this unique situation the retiring Pope will obviously still wield some unofficial power over the convocation. A scriptural scholar with no change on the views of contraception or HIV/AIDS.
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"much to the chagrin of the smug leftie acktors "
When reading the new Testament it is striking that the teachings of Christ were, in modern terms, very left wing. What he preached against were: the Pharisees in positions of religious power; people who accumulated vast wealth; those who were intolerant of peopl's sexual activities.
The Roman Catholic Church hierarchy epitomises all that Christ preached against.
The RCC, and the CofE to a lesser extent, in their interference in UK politics have also forgotten the commandment to: "render up to Caesar that which is Caesar's - and to God that which is God's".
Actually that always struck me as odd. I do agree that the teachings of Christ were love and acceptance of all regardless of sexual orientation, race, colour and creed. And yet the Catholic Church is branded as being intolerant.
As a catholic, i've never seen or experienced this at church. i do read about it in the media though. but us catholcs are too dumb to believe everything we read. i mean it even appears on the internet so it must be true shouldn't it?
Indeed, as an alleged rape victim in Germany (!) discovered when the Catholic-run (and state-funded) clinic refused to give her the morning-after pill.
Joachim Meisner, Cardinal of Cologne, did say he was sorry afterwards though.
So that's OK then.
http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/inland/vergewaltigungsopfer-abgewiesen-kardinal-meisner-entschuldigt-sich-nach-koelner-klinikaffaere-12034419.html (in German)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/9811443/German-rape-victim-turned-away-by-Catholic-hospitals-over-pregnancy-fears.html (in English)
Right, let's put this to rest once and for all most Germans of his age were in the Hitler youth. You can't hold him responsible for that.
But most Germans of his age haven't knowingly aided and abetted paedophiles in their evasion of justice. You can hold him responsible for that.
" or risk being given a bad reference."
It would be interesting to hear the conversation when he finally meets his venerable predecessor St Peter at the Pearly Gates - the Highest Court. Scoring all the boxes - and then it gets to "little children" and Peter repeats the Lord's criteria:
"But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
I'm not religious, and I certainly never was a big fan of this Pope (I never cared really, since I'm convinced universe was created by a couple of dices thrown). But geez, get the negationists back in church, for Pete's sake !
However, I think the guy needs our hats off for having the courage to resign, as this is not really the fashion of the company. I can imagine all the court faces around him when he announced that ...
I'm sure I would do the same if being forced to do my current job, when I'm 85 ...
So long mate, have a deserved rest !
Some of my best friends are Catholics. I know what topics cause them grief and avoid raising them. Like all such organisations one reserves appropriate criticism for the leaders - not the infantry. I still remember the anguish of friends in the 1970s who had expected their use of artificial contraception to be approved as part of the modernisation.
The recent vitriolic campaign against same-sex Civil Marriage did the Church no favours in English public opinion. Especially when Jacob Rees-Mogg MP in a radio interview starts by saying that in matters like this "I take my whip from the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church". Private conscience is one thing - blind obedience to a foreign state is something else.
I've always thought that particular phrase makes it sound like the whole 'love thy neighbour' thing is a bit too difficult and just doesn't come naturally, so you really have to work at it...
I gave up on the whole thing after noticing that some Catholics still weren't particularly nice people after 30, 40 or even 50+ years of "Practising"!
Yes, but more than that, I am now completely sure that I can never be anything other than completely unsure as to the nature of life, the universe and everything? (I'm also completely sure that I don't use the "Oxford comma" -- I'm not from Oxford!)
I was mostly agnostic when I was Catholic, because I accepted on a fundamental level that even the most unshakeable faith is not "certainty", merely "faith".
Well the voting panel has already been rigged so that no matter who wins - they will be singing off the same hymn sheet as the retiring Pope.
1) the Roman Catholic Church will split along liberal and conservative lines. The former will be in the developed western countries - the latter in Asia, Africa, and South America. Once again the prospect of two, or more, Popes leading the separate groups.
2) the Anglican Communion will split along liberal and conservative lines. The former will be in the developed western countries - the latter mostly in Asia, Africa, and South America.
3) the liberal groups will form an alliance to try to benefit the poor and downtrodden. The conservative groups will enter a state of war, figurative or literal - sacrificing their followers in trying to prove which is the most fundamental in their biblical adherence.
"Why would the conservatives be in South America, where Liberation Theology got started?"
It started there - but I seem to remember the Vatican stamping heavily on those priests who sided with the peasants. The same can be seen in the USA today with the Vatican's disbanding of nuns' "feminist" groups.
There was also the case of a mother and doctor who were excommunicated by Brazilian bishops. Their religious sin was a legal abortion on a 9 year old girl who had been raped - and was pregnant with twins. Her attacker was not excommunicated.
In recent years the Vatican has lost its hold on the congregations in USA, Ireland, Spain, Germany, and Italy - to name a few. It damaged itself badly in the UK recently by trying to order its congregations, including school children, to sign petitions against several civil law changes.
Pope Benedict has reversed several liberalising trends. His new cardinal appointments, over half of those eligible to vote, all appear aimed at producing a conservative successor.
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The Italian bloc at the Vatican Casino have had enough of him. He's failed to whitewash their dodgy property dealings, relentless banking irregularities, child molesting, right wing and mob connections, and general medieval hysteria.
He had them by the balls as Torquemada-in-Chief, but as a titular head of state, he's a toothless figurehead who can't say anything about the crooks around him without toppling the house of cards that keeps his saggy arse in the clouds.
They deliberately promoted him to a position beyond his competence to get him off their backs. In the same way our glorious despotic rulers throw a Chief Whip into the role of Party Chairman when he's getting too big for his boots. Plus ca change.
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