Those Militant Catholic Bloggers October 25, 2010

Those Militant Catholic Bloggers

This is really what the Catholic Church needs right now: A group of people trying to make Catholicism even less inclusive.

The Associated Press reports that conservative Catholic bloggers are trying to hold the church more accountable:

Enraged by dissent that they believe has gone unchecked for decades, and unafraid to say so in the starkest language, these activists are naming names and unsettling the church.

Among [Michael Voris of RealCatholicTV.com’s] many media ventures is the CIA — the Catholic Investigative Agency — a program from RealCatholicTV to “bring to light the dark deeds of evil Catholics-in-name-only, who are hijacking the Church for their own ends, not the ends of Christ.”

In an episode called “Catholic Tea Party,” Voris said: “Catholics need to be aware and studied and knowledgeable enough about the faith to recognize a heretical nun or a traitorous priest or bishop when they see one — not so they can vote them out of office, but so they can pray for them, one, and alert as many other Catholics as possible to their treachery, two.”

Yes, it’s about time someone put a stop to those evil, evil nuns. Step number one: retroactively protest Sister Act.

Truth be told, I think I understand where they’re coming from.

If Catholicism teaches that abortion is a sin, what do you call someone who has an abortion and continues to call herself a Catholic?

If the Pope says something and you just dismiss it, how “Catholic” are you?

If you’re gay, should you really be receiving a Communion wafer in Church?

Obviously, it’s my hope that everyone (Catholics included) stop taking the Pope seriously. I want Catholics to leave the Church in droves and then drop their faith altogether. And I would hope these bloggers agree with me that it needs to become easier to take your name off the Church’s membership rolls if you have no business being in the Church. The fact that it’s so hard to leave just dilutes the church’s “purity.”

But if I were Catholic (and took it seriously), I’d be pissed off if people did exactly the opposite of what my church taught but still clung to the label.

The question I’d love for these Catholic activists — Catholictivists? — to answer is: Do you want to see a church that is growing and accepting of more people? Or a church that is far smaller, more “true” to the Church’s teachings, but possibly less influential as a result?

Side note: When reading an article about a new breed of Catholic activists, it’s pretty goddamn scary to see one of them brandishing a sword:

(Thanks to Richard for the link!)

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  • Dude! If I see an christian carring a sword on my direction, I’ll shot him on the spot!

    The hell I’ll let them make another inquisition!

  • Meanie

    this is where I think all devout followers must separate the religion from the institution. the Catholic *religion* may well be exactly what the activists say it is, and the church is moving away. What they fail to realize, though, is that the institution has evolved to have very little with the religion. The institution is about control and money – and to the extent that it meets those two objectives, putting butts in the seats (filling the pews). Actually, when it comes to Catholicism, the church has not “evolved” into what I stated. The institution of the church has always been about control and money (and power). It is just during the modern age that ordinary followers are able to ferret that out.

  • It is interesting to look at this post along with Richard’s post on being “unable” to leave the catholic church (cue “Hotel California”)

    If you want to leave they tell you it isn’t possible, and if you want to stay and hold a contrary opinion, they tell you that you have to shut up and only let the “good” catholics speak.

    Abusive relationship anyone?

    It would be great to see a series of ads with 5-6 “bad” catholics affirming themselve as pro-choice (or some other non-cathlic position) with the caption “6 votes for” and a picture of benny 16th with the caption “1 vote against-motion carried”.

    While it would do little to change the “minds” of folks like Highlander in the photo, more reasonable folks would start realizing that it is a matter of opinions.

    Once that happened, I’ll bet you a doughnut that the hierarchy would get some sort of “revelation” that there was a loophole to permanently sever people from the church. So either way, former catholics would win.

    Almost makes me want to join, so I can be a bad catholic, but the 2 year indoctrination is a bit much.

  • A little something to think about when you hear extremists wanting to purify their group:

    Evaporative Cooling of Group Beliefs

  • flawedprefect

    Strangely, I agree with believers and non-believers alike: if you’re not gonna play by the club rules, you don’t belong in the club. I not only won’t play by that club’s rules, I’m strongly against many of their rules! Make it easier for folks to leave the church – not just cos they’re dissatisfied with being Catholic, but if, like me, you just don’t buy the whole shtick anymore. I actively stopped going to church when, during the recital of the Nicean creed, I found myself thinking “I really don’t buy this! What the f___ am I doing here? It really doesn’t make any sense!”

    I’m not surprised tho, that they are making it impossible to leave. If it were easy enough to do, while I don’t think it would be completely depleted of followers, it would be damaged enough to lose quite a bit of government compensation worldwide, and it would go under because of financial issues first.

  • A Portlander

    Alenonimo,

    Christian groups troll this site in more than one sense of the word, so let’s let the knife-to-a-gun-fight metaphors speak for themselves.

    Speaking as a historical fencer, I do have to say that mop-headed tool looks laughable with his absurd, mirror-polished phallic surrogate. Is that supposed to be some kind of gladius? What the hell is on the hilt, a brass-plated sunflower? Jughead’s hat? Asshat should learn to hand his wallet to his wife when they go to the gun show.

  • Boz

    Jesus allegedly said: “I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword”, so the sword is quite fitting. 🙂

  • I made a comment on a RealCatholicTV episode that was posted on YouTube, about a year ago now, concerning President Obama’s appointment of a Catholic lesbian to a committee on public health – her appointment being strictly in an ADVISORY capacity, based on her years working in the health sector. Mr Voris was positively INCENSED about her appointment, seeing it as evidence of Obama’s ‘cronyism’ with the gays, and of Catholic leaders’ failings to ‘weed out’ seditious elements.

    I merely asked what the lady in question’s Catholicism, or indeed her lesbianism, had to do with her ability to advise the president on public health issues, I didn’t word it strongly or make any insinuations about Mr Voris or the channel moderators, it was a simple question.

    The channel moderators must have looked at my own channel, with my perhaps two or three videos that dealt with my atheism and pro-LGBT sympathies, they practically ripped my head off for daring to ‘challenge’ them, they called me a bunch of names and blocked me from leaving any further response – their unkind comments about me remaining visible for all to see. Unable to post any sort of response on their channel, I wrote a short, mildly worded response on my own channel, something to the effect of ‘Well, that wasn’t very mature now, was it?’

    And because I hadn’t followed their example and blocked them from posting comments on my channel, they promptly left a number of callous and condescending insults on my page, most of which claimed THEY were the ones being victimised and harrassed, and threatening to have my channel suspended. Basically because I was an outsider and I’d had the nerve to politely question ONE thing that Mr Voris had said. Now, I don’t know whether the channel moderators speak for Mr Voris or not, but all I can say is, if THAT’s their idea of discourse, they won’t be making too many converts from outside of their faith.

  • Conservative extremists wanting to purify their group? Sounds like the Catholics have their own branch of the Tea-Party! What’ll be the next target for these jackaroos? Sexual positions (none other than missionary, and only for purposes of impregnation)? Automobile transmissions (manual only, because ‘automatic’ promotes sloth and laziness)? Ebook Readers (because books should come with the latent potential of causing paper cuts)?

  • bLaKouT

    “If Catholicism teaches that abortion is a sin, what do you call someone who has an abortion and continues to call herself a Catholic?” – I’d call them a Catholic who has sinned. And who amongst you has not sinned? “For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God”. If these Christians followed the teachings of Christ, they would understand that. But who really expects Christians to understand Christianity?

  • Actually, the church pretty much summarily excommunicates people for having/performing abortions.

  • Cheryl

    Need to tell my non-practicing Catholic BFF about this. He’s been coming over to our side more and more since I’ve known him.

  • muggle

    Got to say that they’re less hypocritical than all those trying to change the Church and disagree with the supposedly infallible church.

    I read this article in Time on women claiming they are legitimately ordained preists complaining that the Church won’t recgonize them.

    All I could think was, yeah, hon, they’re misogynistic but shouldn’t that give you a clue. Buy a vowel, Vanna, and leave the mother-fucking church, you idiot. I did not have much sympathy. She wanted to be a Catholic preist but not go by the rules of Catholism? WTF!

    However, that said, I prefer hypocrites like so-called women preists who pick and choose a more feel-good faith to the true believers even though I agree his sword-wielding is comical (though I also agree with the first comment that if he’s coming my way with it, I’m gonna drop him first and ask questions later). Those fanatics are the ones you have to look out for. Even if they do have to get the big boys to fight their battles for them. The alarming thing is that he obviously knows the pen is mightier than the sword and that’s why he’s wielding the pen in earnest and only playing at wielding the sword.

  • Speaking as a historical fencer, I do have to say that mop-headed tool looks laughable with his absurd, mirror-polished phallic surrogate. Is that supposed to be some kind of gladius? What the hell is on the hilt, a brass-plated sunflower? Jughead’s hat? Asshat should learn to hand his wallet to his wife when they go to the gun show.

    Don’t you see? That sword is a perfect metaphor for religion.
    It looks kinda pretty, and makes him feel like he has a sword, but really all he has is something that will not withstand scrutiny, and that, when tested, won’t actually solve any sword-appropriate problems. So he has basically taken a crappy sword-shaped object, and added enough decoration to distract him from the fact that it would not compare with the actual function of something from, say, Albion Swords.

  • Darwin’s Dagger

    Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

  • Jamssx

    Mel Gibson and his dad. Need I say more?

  • Menchii

    They HAD to be from Michigan, Didn’t they?

  • Denis Robert

    This guy goes far beyond a simple purity test for Catholics. He is explicitly calling for the takeover of America by the Vatican (a “Catholic Government”, as he calls it). Because the Vatican asserts secular authority over Catholics (through Canon Law), and because the Vatican considers itself to be a foreign power (that is the argument they are currently using to claim immunity from prosecution in the various scandals around the world), this guy’s call for a “Catholic Government” fits the legal definition of Treason. The word is brandied about far too easily, but it’s hard not to see its application in this case.

    And we all know what the penalty for Treason is.

    (18 U.S.C. § 2381).

    Note that treason need not be associated with an actual state of war, nor with an explicit violent act. Adam Gadahn was indicted for Treason not for any violent act, but for material support for Al Qaeda (making videos threatening the US). There is no state of War between the US and Al Qaeda, and Gadahn has never been implicated in a direct action against the US. This man is talking about the overthrow of the US Government, the subversion of its constitution, and the installation of a puppet government controlled by the Vatican. I can’t imagine a clearer case…

  • Kristina

    Just a comment on the side note. Ferndale, MI (I live near there) is known as a very gay friendly city and hosts a gay pride festival every summer. My local Grassroots Atheism group had a tent there for this year’s festival.

    I had no idea that RealCatholicTV’s studio was there, too. That might explain why he feels so much like he has to defend himself 😉

  • Bob

    Ideological purity is not faith.

    It’s an attempt to impose some kind of empirical certainty on a belief system that routinely thumbs its nose at science and the scientific method.

    Shorter Voris: “How dare you believe in evolution! I shall smite thee with yon Sword of Righteous Catholickyness! Recant, heretic!”

    Actually, given the Catholic Church’s molestation problems, perhaps there’s a bit too much ‘playing with swords’ all around.

  • Ben

    Right Winged Catholic = Fascism….Franco, Milosevic, Mussolini, Hitler. Nuff said.

  • The message I’m getting from Voris: being a decent Catholic and being a decent person are opposed to each other. Um. Well. If he says so.

  • Because the Catholic Church has absolutely no history whatsoever of dealing with dissidents in its ranks and of dealing with heretics. Trust in the infallible Pontiff young Catholic Blogger. Trust in his infinite child molester protecting wisdom and all will be well.

  • JD

    If they were truly honest with themselves, covering up child molesting priests and allowing them to continue practicing and molest is also supposed to be against Catholic tenets. Heck, some of the New Testament references against homosexuality was really condemning the practice of keeping young boys as sex partners. But I really doubt this little group is going to deal with that pesky little problem, cognitive dissonance isn’t a problem for people like this.

  • A Portlander

    Aaron,

    There’s that metaphor, but what I mainly took away (besides revulsion at the general tackiness of the thing) was amusement that his pointy little piece of heretic-hunting wish-fulfillment is a Roman legionnaire’s sidearm instead of, say, a Crusader broadsword. Talk about being your own worst enemy.

    Well met.

  • A Portlander

    Ack, there’s that internet text tone problem. What I should have said is, yes, that metaphor also occurred to me, but I appreciate the way you articulated it. My personal reaction had more to do with the depths of his historical/symbolic obliviousness. /Salute

  • Blak Thundar

    Carrying a sword makes him look scary? I think it makes him look like more of a tool, which I didn’t think was possible.

  • GaR

    I must say, the toy sword isn’t exactly scary…

  • Stan

    Very few people hate the Roman Catholic Church for what it really is, but they do hate it for what they think it is. No other organization does more to help the poor and the oppressed in our world than the Catholic Church. A bad priest, bishop, nun, pope, or layperson injures the Body of Christ but he/she does not destroy it. To speak the truth with love (as the Church does) is not a popular thing to do especially in a world where most people do not believe that such a thing as absolute truth exists (or should be allowed to exist). If you truly want to know what the Church teaches and encourages all Catholics to practice please pick up a copy of the Catechism and take some time to study it.

  • Stan, the Catholic Church does not speak the truth with love. It speaks Catholic dogma with what the dogma says is love. Take off the blinkers and really look at it.

  • Stan

    Mike,

    Jesus said there are none so blind as those who will not see. Sin blinds us all to a certain extent, but Jesus left His Church guided by the Holy Spirit to lead us to all a fuller understanding of the Father’s will. For 2,000 years the Church has spoken the truth and helped to bring people to Jesus. He came to call sinners, not the righteous. People who are well do not need a doctor. On Sunday morning if you walk into any church you will see a group of sinners worshipping a merciful, just, compassionate, loving God. The fact that we do not live up to our calling at all times is a sign of our sinful weakness not any shortcomings in God. If the Catechism is too much of a challenge at this time may I recommend C.S Lewis’s “Mere Christianity”.

    You are in my prayers.

    Stan

  • On Sunday morning if you walk into any church you will see a group of sinners worshipping a merciful, just, compassionate, loving God. The fact that we do not live up to our calling at all times is a sign of our sinful weakness not any shortcomings in God.

    Yikes. Whenever I read things like this, I wonder about the self-esteem of the people involved. Do they really believe such awful things about themselves?

    If the Catechism is too much of a challenge at this time may I recommend C.S Lewis’s “Mere Christianity”.

    Stan, I think you’ll find that most people here are well acquainted with both C.S. Lewis and the Bible. Here’s a little something that sums up my reaction to Mere Christianity.

  • Stan

    Anna,

    We live in a world full of evil. It seems that to be intellectually honest one must admit to that. Christians admit it and also admit that inside each person there is a desire to be selfish which leads to the evil we see in the world, in our neghborhoods, in our families. You sound as if you want to be intellectually honest in regards to this matter, so do you admit that there is evil in the world and it is caused for the most part by human pride and greed (among other faults)?

  • Stan, what does that have to do with the religious concept of “sin?” It’s my understanding that “sin” is anything that supposedly offends a god. It has nothing to do with real-world consequences.

    I take exception to the idea that human beings are inherently worthless, broken, weak or selfish. I do not believe we have “sinful” natures and are thus in need of redemption by some kind of supernatural entity.

    The whole thing strikes me as some kind of twisted relationship, people groveling to a supernatural totalitarian dictator/abusive parent. It’s just strange and sick. I can’t believe people really believe such awful things about themselves. It does make me wonder about their self esteem.

  • Stan

    Anna, what does evil have to do with the religious concept of sin? Everything. If you don’t believe we have sinful natures please explain to me what you believe to be the cause of evil. Real world consequences? Have you noticed the damage that greed has done to people lately? Have you read about how power struggles have created genocide in Darfur? Human trafficking? Child abuse? etc., etc.

    I have three awesome daughters who I love dearly. To love them did not mean that I was going to have little or no expectations regarding their behaviors, attitudes, and character. To be a loving father means in part that you will have high expectations of your children. We are God’s children and He loves us beyond measure so surely he wants us to be perfect, not so He can punish us when we are not, but so that we can be truly at peace.

    I said earlier that I believed you were trying to be intellectually honest, but I’m not sure now. Does it bother you that a person would recognize their faults and failings and ask for help?

  • Robert W.

    Anna,

    The concept of sin is like missing the mark. God has set out standards to live by. For example the ten commandments include that shall not murder. Jesus took that a step further and said it is a sin to think about murdering someone else. In essence we are falling short of the glory of God. We all sin and fall short of this glory.

    These are not arbitrary rules from God. they are designed to allow us to live in peace with each other.So they have real life consequences.

    But if you think this leads to bad self esteem then you are only thinking of half of the story. You must include the grace of Jesus Christ to complete it.

    I don’t know if you have read mere Christianity or just the blog you linked. I read both. the blog does not do that book justice in the slightest.

    For a great book on the Grace of Jesus
    I would suggest Max Lucado’s He Chose the Nails.

  • Stan,

    Anna, what does evil have to do with the religious concept of sin? Everything.

    From what I know of Christian theology, anything that supposedly offends your deity is a sin. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with how it affects other people. For example, Catholics believe that birth control and homosexuality are sins. Nonsensical from my point of view, but there you have it.

    If you don’t believe we have sinful natures please explain to me what you believe to be the cause of evil.

    “Sin” is a religious concept. I don’t know what it means to have a “sinful nature,” but I certainly don’t believe people are born bad. We all have the capacity to perform actions that benefit others or actions that hurt others. The vast majority of people experience empathy, which goes a long way towards preventing them from carrying out actions that hurt others. There are circumstances (abusive childhood, extreme poverty, religious indoctrination, etc.) that often cause people to lose their sense of empathy. That doesn’t make them inherently bad. It means they have made poor choices because of hurt, anger, desperation, etc.

    Real world consequences? Have you noticed the damage that greed has done to people lately? Have you read about how power struggles have created genocide in Darfur? Human trafficking? Child abuse? etc., etc.

    As I said before, not everything that is considered a “sin” hurts other people. Same-sex marriage? In-vitro fertilization? Those don’t hurt people. The definition of “sin” is that it supposedly offends a (IMO, non-existent) deity, not that it hurts other people. What “sin” (a completely religious concept) has to do with child abuse or genocide or human trafficking is beyond me. We should be more than capable of talking about criminal actions without resorting to terms that have supernatural connotations.

    I have three awesome daughters who I love dearly. To love them did not mean that I was going to have little or no expectations regarding their behaviors, attitudes, and character. To be a loving father means in part that you will have high expectations of your children. We are God’s children and He loves us beyond measure so surely he wants us to be perfect, not so He can punish us when we are not, but so that we can be truly at peace.

    I’m sure you love your daughters, but the analogy doesn’t hold water. You are not describing a loving parent/child relationship. You are describing a relationship where the father tells his children that they are inherently inferior/broken/weak and need the father to redeem them. Therefore, the children must spend their entire existence groveling to the father and placating him and repenting for every perceived offense, even “thought-crime” and actions that don’t affect the father in the slightest. To me, this relationship is extremely dysfunctional, strange, and sick. I stand by my earlier statements.

    I said earlier that I believed you were trying to be intellectually honest, but I’m not sure now. Does it bother you that a person would recognize their faults and failings and ask for help?

    I don’t know why you think I’m not being honest. Everyone has faults and failings. I simply see no need to promote the idea that we are inclined towards performing actions that hurt others rather than help others. I don’t think it’s true. It’s certainly never been true in my life. I think it’s wrong to teach children that they are inherently bad. Nothing is wrong with “asking for help” to overcome problems, but not everything that is pegged as “sin” is a problem from my perspective, and the person you’re asking for help does not even, IMO, exist.

  • Robert,

    The concept of sin is like missing the mark. God has set out standards to live by. For example the ten commandments include that shall not murder. Jesus took that a step further and said it is a sin to think about murdering someone else. In essence we are falling short of the glory of God. We all sin and fall short of this glory.

    Yes, I know this is what fundamentalist Christians believe, and I could not disagree more with the above statement. I think it’s a horrible belief, and the whole notion of “sin” is a large part of why I see your form of Christianity as harmful and immoral.

    These are not arbitrary rules from God. they are designed to allow us to live in peace with each other.So they have real life consequences.

    According to you. I don’t believe in your god, and I do not see positive “real life consequences” to teaching children that they are guilty of thought crime (it’s a sin even to think of certain things) and scaring/guilting children with vile beliefs like sin and hell. There are consequences all right, but they’re negative, ie: the recent spate of suicides. I find the sexism, homophobia and concept of salvation/damnation in your religion utterly abhorrent. By the way, there are plenty of societies that don’t believe in your god and don’t follow your particular rules that get along just fine.

    But if you think this leads to bad self esteem then you are only thinking of half of the story. You must include the grace of Jesus Christ to complete it.

    I don’t find the complete story any more moral than half of the story.

    I don’t know if you have read mere Christianity or just the blog you linked. I read both. the blog does not do that book justice in the slightest.

    Yes, I have read Mere Christianity. I wouldn’t have linked to the blog if I hadn’t. Even excusing the sexism and homophobia (not atypical of the times, of course) I did not find anything Lewis said even remotely convincing. His arguments were quite weak, and the whole book is obviously only geared towards people who already accept his premise.

    For a great book on the Grace of Jesus I would suggest Max Lucado’s He Chose the Nails.

    Thank you, but I think I’ll pass on that. I am already quite familiar with Christian theology. I see nothing logical or moral about substitutionary atonement, and of course such books do absolutely nothing towards convincing me of the existence of the supernatural.

  • Stan

    Anna,

    Let’s begin again. Please just answer one question: What is the cause of evil in the world?

    By the way, your definition of sin is incorrect. Jesus taught us to love God and our neighbor – that God expects us to love one another. There are numerous examples of that in the New Testament – you might start with the Good Samaritan and Matthew 25:31-46 (Whatsoever you do to the least of these you do unto me). Sin always impacts someone other than God.

  • Stan,

    Let’s begin again. Please just answer one question: What is the cause of evil in the world?

    I already answered you. The only cause of “evil” (a term which I think has unnecessary supernatural connotations) is the actions of human beings. That’s it. There’s nothing mystical about it. People choose to perform actions that harm other people for many reasons, though I suspect lack of empathy is chief among them. Animals and nature (weather, disease, etc.) can also cause harm, of course, but not intentional harm of the sort that can be evaluated and judged by human beings.

    By the way, your definition of sin is incorrect. Jesus taught us to love God and our neighbor – that God expects us to love one another. There are numerous examples of that in the New Testament – you might start with the Good Samaritan and Matthew 25:31-46 (Whatsoever you do to the least of these you do unto me). Sin always impacts someone other than God.

    Well, that’s plainly not true in the case of thought crime, or in other perceived “sins” like using condoms to prevent pregnancy. The dictionary does not agree with your definition, either.

    Sin 1 (sn)
    n.
    1. A transgression of a religious or moral law, especially when deliberate.
    2. Theology
    a. Deliberate disobedience to the known will of God.
    b. A condition of estrangement from God resulting from such disobedience.
    3. Something regarded as being shameful, deplorable, or utterly wrong.
    intr.v. sinned, sin·ning, sins
    1. To violate a religious or moral law.
    2. To commit an offense or violation.

    If it’s against the “will of God,” then it’s a sin no matter how it does (or doesn’t) affect other people. Thus you have ridiculous examples like various churches considering masturbation, same-sex marriage, or in-vitro fertilization sins.

  • Stan

    Anna,

    What term would you like to use instead of evil? Immoral, depraved, unacceptable, anti-social, etc.? You choose. However we cut it there is some moral standard out there that we are using as a reference point otherwise all actions are just a matter of opinion. For Christians, not living as God wants us to is a sin and therefore impacts our relationship with God and our fellow creatures. It harms my relationship with God so therefore it harms me as well as others. If it is a private sin I am still harmed because of my choice to remove myself from a loving relationship with God. Most decisions to act outside of the will of God are not private sins and impact other human beings. Therefore, for Christians our reference point is God. Atheists on the other hand do not believe (from what I have been able to discern)that actions can be judged as moral or immoral according to any external standard. It is up to each individual to determine for himself whether an action is right or wrong. Am I correct in saying this?

    If I am correct in saying this than I will pray that our nation continues to be populated with people who have a guide for knowing what is right and wrong. Otherwise, moral behavior becomes a matter of public opinion and we enter into the nightmare where “might makes right”. If I don’t agree with you then all I have to do is get the most guns and my way is the right way. Look very closely at the 20th Century to see what happens when all of those “nice” atheists who only want what’s best for everyone finally take over i.e. Nazi Germany, Soviet Union, Communist China, etc.

    It is not just for “supernatural reasons” that I believe evil exists Anna and must be defined as such according to an immutable and eternal standard. It is so that people like you and me can live our lives on this earth without being exterminated because we find ourselves on the wrong side of someone else’s “might”.

  • Stan,

    What term would you like to use instead of evil? Immoral, depraved, unacceptable, anti-social, etc.? You choose.

    Yes, any one of those is fine. Given that people speaking of “evil” often invoke the supernatural (such as demons and devils), I prefer to use words that don’t conjure up images like that. It’s like using the word “sinful.” Unless you’re talking about the religious concept, it simply makes more sense to stick to words that don’t have a supernatural connotation.

    However we cut it there is some moral standard out there that we are using as a reference point otherwise all actions are just a matter of opinion. For Christians, not living as God wants us to is a sin and therefore impacts our relationship with God and our fellow creatures. It harms my relationship with God so therefore it harms me as well as others. If it is a private sin I am still harmed because of my choice to remove myself from a loving relationship with God. Most decisions to act outside of the will of God are not private sins and impact other human beings. Therefore, for Christians our reference point is God.

    Fine. I understand that. But I’m saying that many things that are pegged as “sins” from the Christian perspective make no sense outside of a religious context. As I’ve mentioned, things like same-sex marriage, in-vitro fertilization, and masturbation are all considered “sins,” yet they don’t hurt other people. Obviously, atheists do not believe that they harm anyone’s “relationship with God” because we don’t believe in gods in the first place, and we don’t think that people can have relationships with things that do not exist.

    Atheists on the other hand do not believe (from what I have been able to discern)that actions can be judged as moral or immoral according to any external standard. It is up to each individual to determine for himself whether an action is right or wrong. Am I correct in saying this?

    No, you’re not correct. Atheists believe all sorts of different things about morality. The only thing we have in common is that we lack belief in gods. That’s it. You might want to do some reading if you seriously are not aware of this fact. I recommend What Is Atheism? by Douglas Krueger. It’s short and will address any questions you might have.

    If I am correct in saying this than I will pray that our nation continues to be populated with people who have a guide for knowing what is right and wrong. Otherwise, moral behavior becomes a matter of public opinion and we enter into the nightmare where “might makes right”. If I don’t agree with you then all I have to do is get the most guns and my way is the right way. Look very closely at the 20th Century to see what happens when all of those “nice” atheists who only want what’s best for everyone finally take over i.e. Nazi Germany, Soviet Union, Communist China, etc.

    Are you being serious here, or are you trolling? I want to take your comments as legitimate curiosity, but it’s hardly easy to do when you invoke such stereotypes. Nazi Germany? Really? Surely you know that Hitler was no atheist, and that Communist totalitarian dictators killed in the name of Communism, not atheism. There have been many more hideous and brutal dictators who believed in gods and the supernatural. Sociopaths come in all stripes.

    It is not just for “supernatural reasons” that I believe evil exists Anna and must be defined as such according to an immutable and eternal standard. It is so that people like you and me can live our lives on this earth without being exterminated because we find ourselves on the wrong side of someone else’s “might”.

    I lack belief in the supernatural entirely, which is why I mentioned supernatural reasons. I see no reason to invoke the supernatural when talking about morality. And, I hate to break it to you, but you’re much more in danger of being exterminated by your fellow believers in the supernatural than you are by any atheists. Who are the ones perpetrating terrorist actions all over the world at the moment? It’s people who are devout believers in the supernatural.

  • Do you want to see a church that is growing and accepting of more people? Or a church that is far smaller, more “true” to the Church’s teachings, but possibly less influential as a result?

    I know this is a pretty dead post, but anyway…I don’t think the majority of Catholic activists want the Church to grow bigger just for the sake of it growing bigger. Most of us want to evangelize others so that they may see God as we see Him. Of course, the more the merrier. But if all we want is to have as many people to label themselves as “Catholics” without really undergoing a true conversion, then it really defeats the purpose. So, yes, we’d probably want a smaller but truer Church, but in the end, we really want a Church with more genuine Catholics.

    Side note: Michael Voris is kind of a dork and he uses unconventional ways to get his message across. He’s probably using St. Paul’s symbol of the sword, the Sword of the Spirit…and not meaning to incite hatred and violence.