Losing My Religion
There's buzz today about a Pew Research Center survey that suggests the more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists. I'd file this one under D for "Duh!".
As others have pointed out, the concept of Hell is pretty much based on the threat of torture. Religious people are bred to accept torture as a way of life.... errr, I mean, death.
Growing up, my grandmother used to say "bless us and save us from the fires of Hell". That's some scary shit for a kid to hear. The entire concept of Hell is so frightful and hateful it's the absolute last thing I'd want to put in my kids' minds. To Hell with Hell!
I hate the Roman Catholic stance on birth control. It's irresponsible and incredibly dangerous. Back in the day, when I'd go off on Pope John Paul II for forcing me away from the church, it was the church's views on birth control that really exposed the institution as irrelevant and without a clue.
With Pope Benedict XVI, it's much of the same. Pope Benny is in Africa where the AIDS epidemic has orphaned 11.6 million children. Over 5% of adults there live with HIV/AIDS, and with many converting to Catholicism, Pope Benny could have made a difference. He could have promoted condoms as the best way for the sexually active to prevent spreading of this deadly disease. Instead, he did his best to dissuade Africans from using condoms.
The pope began his first visit as pontiff to the AIDS-ravaged continent on Tuesday, telling reporters that AIDS was a tragedy "that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems."
The solution lies in a "spiritual and human awakening" and "friendship for those who suffer," he added.
This is tantamount to manslaughter. The idea that distributing condoms in Africa will make the epidemic worse is entirely outdated and out of touch with reality. Newsflash Benny, people are having sex. Abstinence doesn't fly. Teaching abstinence as the only way to prevent AIDs is as misdirected as teaching abstinence as the only way to prevent pregnancy.
Toronto Mike sez use a condom.
Even though we've advanced in leaps and bounds over the past couple of decades, and much of what religion represents has been exposed as a cover for corruption, greed and much too often sexual assault, Religulous is valuable in the sense that it gives the "other side" equal time.
As Maher points out in the movie, the idea of Santa Claus visiting every house on earth in one evening is ridiculous, but the thought of one man having the capability of controlling the earth and being privy to all our thoughts is widely accepted.
How screwed is that?
I've got an entire category devoted to my struggles with Catholicism. As youngsters, we are groomed to believe that which our parents believe. As adults, it's difficult for many to reach a different conclusion. Many continue to blindly believe without questioning a thing.
As expected, Fred's entry ignited quite the debate in the comments. When one believes in their religion and/or their God, it's a sin to doubt and even the most sensible, rational argument will fall on deaf ears.
This is the argument you simply can't win. It's not even worth having it.
I awoke to hear the news that George Carlin is gone. He was one funny sonofabitch. His edgy humour always struck a chord with me and he'll be missed.
I could bury you in YouTubery but I thought I'd stick with three Carlin gems. He really was more than just "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television," but you can't ignore that slice of brilliance. You have to hear his thoughts on religion and the planet to truly appreciate him.
Religion is Bullshit
Saving the Planet
For the Bible Tells Me So is a 2007 documentary directed by Daniel G. Karslake. A MetaFilter FPP linked to the entire doc on Google Video. Over the past couple of days, I watched all 1 hour and 39 minutes and it's extremely good.
For The Bible Tells Me So is about homosexuality and its perceived conflict with religion. I touched upon these themes over four years ago in God Hates Shrimp. If you want to upset me, share with me clips of religious leaders using the Bible to promote hatred. Everyone has their hot buttons, and the use of the Bible as a weapon is one of mine.
I realize it's a lot to ask, but if you have an hour and 39 minutes click here and check out a great doc that puts it all together. If you're a parent, you likely know the power of unconditional love, and this will strike a chord.
I have no idea what my six year old son or three year old daughter's sexual preference will be, and I'm proud to say it doesn't matter. The love I have for them, far too strong for words to adequately describe, is most definitely unconditional. It is without conditions or limitations.
Here's the trailer for For The Bible Tells Me So.
I have an important message for my Roman Catholic friends, especially my Roman Catholic friends across Latin America. I just got off the phone with Pope Benny, and he told me something I have to share with you all. He says it's okay to use condoms.
I realize the official stance out of the Vatican is that all forms of contraception are bad, but that's a rule meant to be broken. Benny realizes abstinence isn't realistic and that 1.7 million people across Latin America are infected with the HIV virus or full-blown AIDS, and he thinks that sucks. Condoms protect against the HIV virus and if used in all relationships will fix this epidemic good. Benny wants that for you. He just told me so.
You won't read this in the mainstream press, as this was an exclusive Toronto Mike chat with the Popester, but you can trust me. Condoms are A-OK. Use them, screw like rabbits and enjoy life. You're still a good Catholic.
Buffalo Boy sent me a link to a story about a creationism museum opening in Petersburg, Kentucky. The 60,000 square foot facility was designed to refute evolution. It shows humans and dinosaurs co-existing and explains that earth was created by God only 6,000 years ago.
I've written about creationism before and I could write a lengthy diatribe about how silly and unfounded it all is, but I won't. You see, it's too easy. Picking on creationists and pointing out that the bible can still be relevant to believers even if not taken completely literally isn't much of a challenge.
It really is like shooting fish in a barrel, and there's not much fun in that.
When losing your religion, they say you go through five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. This final stage is the best!
Pope Benedict XVI is pissed at us. With seven Ontario bishops in attendance, Pope Benny let them know Canadian laws supporting same-sex marriage and abortion has excluded "God from the public sphere". He's also pissed at Catholic politicians here in Canada who are apparently ignoring the values of their religion, yielding to "ephemeral social trends and the spurious demands of opinion polls."
On a more positive note, Pope Benny admits we're a tolerent, freedom loving country. “In the name of tolerance your country has had to endure the folly of the redefinition of spouse, and in the name of freedom of choice it is confronted with the daily destruction of unborn children,” he said.
It's more of the same old, same old, and hardly newsworthy. Pope Benny wants control of our legislature so he can push his intolerent agenda while taking away rightful freedoms from many Canadian citizens. Here's hoping Bill C-38 holds up during a free vote in Parliament this fall. Then, Pope Benny can stick both our tolerance and freedom in his pipe and smoke 'em both.
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