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Thread: K-Punk and the Catholics

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by echo-friendly
    One could then consider oneself as a true believer whose faith is demonstrated precisely through opposition to the corruption of the religious bureacracy, e.g. the pope and his lot. It's hardly uncommon.
    And 'the pope and his lot' call you a bad Catholic, which was my original point.

    Unless you understand that the core of being a member of a given religion X consists of nothing more than a willingness to say "I am a member of X" you really don't understand religion.
    Either that or you have a very smug and dismissive attitude to people's religious experiences and the way in which the core tenets of their churches give them shape and meaning. Is it really possible to be a Christian (or whatever) simply by announcing the fact without any form of belief to back it up?

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    Quote Originally Posted by johneffay
    And 'the pope and his lot' call you a bad Catholic, which was my original point.
    Yes, but why should that matter to somebody who thinks the papal authority is bollox?

    Quote Originally Posted by johneffay
    Either that or you have a very smug and dismissive attitude to people's religious experiences and the way in which the core tenets of their churches give them shape and meaning. Is it really possible to be a Christian (or whatever) simply by announcing the fact without any form of belief to back it up?
    I do in fact "have a very smug and dismissive attitude to people's religious experiences". It is clearly possible to be a Christian (or whatever) simply by announcing the fact without any form of belief to back it up. The other day I asked somebody whose public demeanor was signalling "conservtive muslim" about the meaning of ramadan. His answer: "I don't know. But my cousin does."

    Here's a little experiment that you may want to do: Ask church-going christians to tell you all ten commandments. I'm willing to bet a lot of money that the majority can't, let alone know that there's not ten. Be honest: can you? If there's any candidate for a christian set of core doctrines, what would it be but the commandments? I don't think that's a coincidence. I do believe that the core mechanism of religion is essentially mindless copying of one's peers, i.e. religion is a fashion phenomenon. In order for religions to fulfil their social functions, believers should not know about or be interested in key doctrines.

    Anybody who has in fact read the bible would presumably agree that it's a pretty horrific piece of work that essentially presents a god who asks for/institutes the persecution and murder of other ethnic and religious groups, rape, child murder and genozid. Now if there's such a gap between what the core book of doctrines contains and what followers of the associated religions say it is about, the best hypothesis is that they have not actually read it.

  3. #33
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    What I don't understand is that given the institutionalized hierarchy headed up by an infallible pontiff which constitutes the backbone of the RCC, how can you possibly divorce that from the Roman Catholic faith?

    as an atheist with a certain amount of respect for others' right to practise any faith they choose, i have no problem addressing aspects of any religious doctrine that i find objectionable without wholesale panning the entire belief system.

  4. #34
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    How many commandments are there and what are they?

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by echo-friendly
    If there's any candidate for a christian set of core doctrines, what would it be but the commandments?
    The core Christian doctrines are salvation via the Word of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died for our sins; some form of Baptism, and some form of Eucharist. Ask any self-professed Christian and they will know this. Biblical exegesis and the stress thereon varies wildly between Churches.

    Various Christian churches also have other core doctrines. A core Roman Catholic doctrine is Papal Infallibility. Ask any self-professed Roman Catholic and they will know this (although, I admit that they might be a bit hazier on things such as transubstantiation). Should they disagree, then in the eyes of their Church leaders, the College of bishops, they are in the wrong.

    As for your point about religion as mind control: This is all self-evident and not very interesting. You can say the same thing about most social groups. The things that I find interesting about religions are:

    1. The religious experience itself.

    2. The way specific church doctrines are deployed within the political arena.
    Last edited by johneffay; 26-10-2004 at 10:33 AM.

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    I wrote:
    [I dislike] atheists because of their smug positivism, about which they often know little

    and echo-friendly wrote back: what do they not know much about? and why are they positivists, smug ones at that?

    Well, it strikes me that the default position for many people these days is a kind of lazy atheism, in that they assume that science has somehow done all the work for them in disproving the existence of God (either evolutionary theory or work on the origins of the universe). So they feel justified in dismissing all religion and all religious people as superstitious or foolish or immature, but often without knowing much about the implicit reasons they rely on to back their 'scientific' argument up (we are talking about atheists here, not agnostics). Thus they are positivists (they reject theology and rely only on scientific observation), and they are smug (because they often resort to a kind of ambient and unthinking dismissal of religion without understanding anything about it or the science they depend upon to make strong claims against it).
    This argument sometimes takes the form: 'well, I'm doing alright, and I never believed in God. Therefore God doesn't exist' (cf. the Jonathan Miller school of exceptionally smug atheism).

    I think it's important to think that it's actually very hard to be 1. a fully consistent atheist and 2. a fully consistent believer. It strikes me that working out that both of these positions are extraordinarily difficult is the first step to taking them both seriously.....

  7. #37
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    ten commandments. they all differ slightly in translation between the hebrew and the king james post reformation version and slightly more from the catholic version.

    One thing bears on me is the way christian dogmatists especially the US right always quote the old testament to back up all their most henious plans against other people, surely the way Christ behaved towards his fellows should have shown the way,Christianity in practice seems to me that it should be a more open discursive process, the new testament has it's scholars like Paul in the same way islam has its, but these guys systematically quote from the old testament to back up their violence. That's that, no room for discussion. It's irrelevant that they are religious in a way, god has to agree with them on a non-negotiable basis, they basically hi jack any semblance of democracy this way, this is where i see the fascism seeping in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mms
    surely the way Christ behaved towards his fellows should have shown the way,
    Hehehe, you are proving my point exactly. it seems pretty clear that you have not read the bible, given that it's desciption of Jesus Christ is of a rather unpleasant, which is why they say, when in doubt ask yourself, what Jesus would do ... and then do the opposite. For your perusal, I'll add some choice quotes from the bible.

    For example, when the villages Chorazin, Kapharnaum and Bethsaida don't take his ramblings seriously, he disses them:
    "11:20Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: 11:21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
    11:22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
    11:23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
    11:24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee."
    He doesn't treat animals and plands any better:
    21:18Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 21:19Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered.
    21:20When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" they asked.
    21:21Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. 22If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
    LK 8:32 Now there was there a herd of many pigs feeding on the mountain, and they begged him that he would allow them to enter into those. He allowed them.
    LK 8:33 The demons came out from the man, and entered into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake, and were drowned.
    LK 8:34 When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled, and told it in the city and in the country.
    LK 8:35 People went out to see what had happened. They came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus' feet, clothed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.
    LK 8:36 Those who saw it told them how he who had been possessed by demons was healed.
    LK 8:37 All the people of the surrounding country of the Gadarenes asked him to depart from them, for they were very much afraid. He entered into the boat, and returned.
    He's very agressive towards the rich (Lk 6.24), the poor (Mt 25:29), temple servants
    (Mt 7:6), women from Kanaan (Mt 15:25), his mother (Jh 2:4), Petrus (Mt 16:23).
    Or what about this:
    (Lk 14:26)
    If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
    Lk 12:51Do you think that I have come to give peace in the earth? I tell you, no, but rather division.
    LK 12:52 For from now on, there will be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
    LK 12:53 They will be divided, father against son, and son against father; mother against daughter, and daughter against her mother; mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."
    Quote Originally Posted by mms
    Ch, hristianity in practice seems to me that it should be a more open discursive process, the new testament has it's scholars like Paul in the same way islam has its, but these guys systematically quote from the old testament to back up their violence. That's that, no room for discussion. It's irrelevant that they are religious in a way, god has to agree with them on a non-negotiable basis, they basically hi jack any semblance of democracy this way, this is where i see the fascism seeping in.
    I'd say both, old and new testament are full of awful behaviour and the taliban christians currently running the US/World understand the bible very well.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by infinite thought
    I wrote:
    Well, it strikes me that the default position for many people these days is a kind of lazy atheism, in that they assume that science has somehow done all the work for them in disproving the existence of God (either evolutionary theory or work on the origins of the universe). So they feel justified in dismissing all religion and all religious people as superstitious or foolish or immature, )

    personally i find the idea of reducing belief down to scientific theory, or scientific theories hideous, the whole idea that religiousity can be reduced to a kind of by product of generation reproduction is grim.


    also the widespread belief that because it's science, it's apolitical is just wrong.
    research is often state funded .
    It's no coincidence that in the US, there is a rise in creation science being taught in schools, a massive reduction in funding for things the current gov don't agree on etc.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by johneffay
    The core Christian doctrines are salvation via the Word of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died for our sins; some form of Baptism, and some form of Eucharist. Ask any self-professed Christian and they will know this. Biblical exegesis and the stress thereon varies wildly between Churches.
    I contend that the majority of Christians, when asked, would give different replies.
    In fact, I have never heard anyone but a church bureaucrat speak in those term.

    A core Roman Catholic doctrine is Papal Infallibility.
    All practising catholics of my acquaintance think Papal Infallibility is bollox,
    including a HIGH ranking catholic official. Pope John Paul II has stated, in jest
    to be sure, but nevertheless in front of 100000s: "Even a Pope is fallible, at least
    when it comes to the weather".

    Should they disagree, then in the eyes of their Church leaders, the College of bishops, they are in the wrong.
    And exactly what makes you accept that "Church leaders, the College of bishops" are the
    infallible arbiters of what counts as catholic?

    As for your point about religion as mind control: This is all self-evident and not very interesting.
    You must confuse me with somebody else as I did not make such a point.

    You can say the same thing about most social groups.
    Incidentally, all organisations have a version of infallibility, their highest point
    authority of decision: if High Court judges decide in some legal matter, then that
    matter is fixed. End of story. They might not self-describe as "infallible", but for all
    intents and purposes, it's the same thing.

    If you have organisations, you have hierarchy. If you have hierarchy, you have a point
    were decisions are no longer challengable without abolishing the organisation.
    That's how I understand infallibility. In that sense, Tony Blair's decision about going
    to war in Irak was an infallible one.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by infinite thought
    I wrote:
    Well, it strikes me that the default position for many people these days is a kind of lazy atheism, in that they assume that science has somehow done all the work for them in disproving the existence of God (either evolutionary theory or work on the origins of the universe).
    Sciences have in fact, for ever phenomenon, a better explanations than the religions
    currently being marketed.

    I think it's important to think that it's actually very hard to be 1. a fully consistent atheist
    No, it's rather bloody simple.

  12. #42
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    One last go, then I'll give up.

    Quote Originally Posted by echo-friendly
    All practising catholics of my acquaintance think Papal Infallibility is bollox,
    including a HIGH ranking catholic official. Pope John Paul II has stated, in jest
    to be sure, but nevertheless in front of 100000s: "Even a Pope is fallible, at least
    when it comes to the weather".
    You clearly do not understand what Papal Infallibility means, let alone entails, or you would realize that the Pope is fallible when it comes to the weather.


    And exactly what makes you accept that "Church leaders, the College of bishops" are the
    infallible arbiters of what counts as catholic?
    The fact that it is a hierarchical organisation, with them at the head claiming to have infallibility when it comes to Christ's teachings conferred upon them by Christ Himself. This is why, unlike in the case of high court judges, there is no further court of appeal. Blair is not infallible and can theoretically be brought to task for his decisions. This is not the case with the leaders of the Catholic Church.

    Of course there are Catholics who do not agree with this, but my original point was I do not understand how they can remain Catholic rather than, for example, switching denominations.

    I also have problems understanding the Christians of your acquaitance who apparently give the primary tenets of their faith without reference to Christ.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by mms
    ten commandments.
    no. it's more complicated than that. The number 10 has no biblical necessity:

    http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/...wten01.htm#0A0

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by johneffay
    One last go, then I'll give up.
    The fact that it is a hierarchical organisation,
    You don't seem to get that I deny this claim. It is nothing more but YOUR description of what the catholic church is/should be. But this description is not accepted by everybody. It is like making a photocopy of a 50 note and then demanding the bank to accept it on the grounds that it is pretty similar to what the banks themselves understand as 50 notes. Basically you treat a religion like a simple static thing. But that ontologisation (or, if you prefer quaint Marxist terminology, fetishisation) does not work for socially constructed entities whose identity depends in part on self-description. Remember the Red Queen in "Alice in Wonderland"? "A word means what I want it to mean." This is a very fundamental insight. In that sense, The Catholic Church is what those who want to be Catholics want it to be. Hoplessly circular and hence all we can say is that there are inevitably conflicting accounts of what that church may be.


    This is why, unlike in the case of high court judges, there is no further court of appeal. Blair is not infallible and can theoretically be brought to task for his decisions. This is not the case with the leaders of the Catholic Church.
    Popes can be killed, replaced, put into prison, convert to Islam, have a wank ...

    Tony Blair: "I was right about Irak!"

    Pope: "I am infallible!"

    Where's the difference? Both use the rhetoric of an unchallengable insight into right or wrong.

    but my original point was I do not understand how they can remain Catholic rather than, for example, switching denominations.
    And my answer has been, that it is only a problem if you take belief in papal infallibility to be a necessary precondition to being a catholic.

    I also have problems understanding the Christians of your acquaitance who apparently give the primary tenets of their faith without reference to Christ.
    But why should they care about your problems?

  15. #45
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    yep there is the whole story of the first set of commandments being destroyed and rewritten after moses' fit of anger and rewriting them in exodus 34 as well.

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