Just a Little Common Sense

For a life based on reason, ethics, literature and art.

Posts Tagged ‘Criticism

Are You Sure  You’re Not Catholic?

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The question sounds silly only as long as you don’t know about the weird policy the church has regarding whom they consider to be a member. Essentially, once you’ve been baptized they regard you as a member for life – it doesn’t matter whether you actually believe in any of their doctrine, attend service, or belong to any community. Once a member, always a member, like it or not.
There are only two ways to end your membership in the Roman Catholic Church (and, by the way, most other churches too): Through either excommunication or formal defection.

Why is this important?
So if you have ever been baptized, by default you should assume that you are a member. Now before I tell you how to put an end to that sorry state, let’s discuss what reasons there are for withdrawing your membership. It’s quite simple: As most of us live in democracies, the churches’ claim to power is the number of people it represents, or claims to represent. Large membership numbers give them a kind of we-are-the-people-authority. Ending your membership is the most direct and effective way of diminishing the churches political power.
You don’t need to be an atheist to withdraw your membership, either. I think even believers should consider quitting the church; it seems quite obvious to me that if there was a god, this corporation organization of child-molesting, genocidal, chauvinist virgins is probably the one organization furthest away from representing his views. The structural problems and the political agenda that organization has by far outweigh any possible benefits that being a member could possibly have – Read the bible if you must, follow Jesus if you like, but please maintain enough of a link to reality to understand that the “Holy See” is pretty much the definition of evil, that condoms are a good thing, that stem-cell research saves lives without harming anyone, and that a woman’s interest in determining the course of her own life exceeds the imaginary right of a small, unfeeling, unconscious clot of cells to survive. You are perfectly free to believe in a higher being, and worship it by whatever name, but you should be awake enough to realize that the church is a political organization that represents views that, throughout history, have clearly shown to be extremely damaging to society.
So now that established the reasons to end your membership, how do you go about it? As I’ve said before, there are two ways: Excommunication and formal defection. Let’s take a look at both.

Excommunication
It’s the unlikely option. Excommunication means that you do something so horrible that the church herself will take action to end your membership, or as they put it, “deprive you of the privileges of being a member”.
You may think that in an organization as conservative as the catholic church it should be pretty easy to shock them enough to kick you out, and you’d be wrong. As recent history has shown, being excommunicated turns out to be rather hard. Apparently, things like genocide or the molestation and rape of over 200 deaf boys just don’t seem to be enough. Covering up all those crimes doesn’t do the trick, either. Well, you might always try to do one of those really revolting, unforgivable things, like getting divorced. That worked pretty well back in the 16th century, but recently the church seems to be loosening up on that one.

Formal Defection
Formal defection definitely is the more workable solution. Write a letter to your local bishop or parish priest. Here is a beautiful example of what that might look like:

Cardinal Francis George
c/o Archdiocese of Chicago
835 N. Rush St.
Chicago, IL 60611-2030

Declaration of Defection from the Roman Catholic Church

I, ——–, do hereby give formal notice of my defection from the Roman Catholic Church. I do not consider myself part of the church, and I have not attended or donated to any church since 2004. I do not believe in God, the divinity or resurrection of Jesus, the immaculate conception or assumption of Mary, or the Holy Ghost. I am an atheist and have been working to promote skepticism of religion since 2008.
I am especially repulsed by the church’s teachings regarding homosexuality. I reject the notion that homosexual desires or the expression of these desires are in any way sinful, disordered, or an “intrinsic moral evil.” On the contrary, the church’s continual mistreatment of gay people is the true moral evil at work here.

Make sure your defection gets noted in your baptismal register, though that should happen more or less automatically. Bureaucratic stuff like that is one area the church is actually good at. It might be of interest to you that defecting from the church does not actually undo your baptism. According to the laws of their weird twisted fantasy-land, the baptism is a mark that “is an ontological and permanent bond which is not lost by reason of any act or fact of defection”, meaning that although they recognize that you left the “earthly” organization of the RCC, they cannot change your underlying identity as a catholic, which results in your soul still being subject to all canon laws, whatever that means.
However, what the defection does  is stopping them to use you as a number in their statistic to justify their political power. And that makes it totally worth it.

PS: In some countries the process might be more complicated, namely when the state is involved in the administration of membership and church tax. I can’t tell you much about that, but I’m sure that in pretty much any country of this world there are secular organizations happy to provide you with all the information and help you might need. If you’re a German planning to leave the church, feel free to contact me. I’ll be glad to help out or put you in touch with organizations that will.

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Catholic Child Abuse: The Media are Understating the Situation

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There is a serious structural problem in the Roman Catholic Church, and I am tired of it being referred to as “the paedophilia problem” or “child rape”. Neither are the main problem here.
First, not many of the cases of sexual abuse do actually have anything to do with paedophilia. Children are often mere substitute-objects. The perpetrators aren’t necessarily paedophiles, they simply use children because they happen to be around, are easy to control and intimidate, and most importantly they don’t put up much of a fight.

  • Regressive Type: His primary sexual preference are adults, though he can be sexually aroused by children. Due to the easy availability of children, to nonsexual problems, and to problems with adult sex partners, he falls back on children to satisfy his sexual needs. One can speak of a substitute-object culprit [Ger.: Ersatzobjekttäter]
  • Fixated Type: His primary sexual preference are children. He can hardly or not at all be sexually aroused by adults. A classic paedophile.
  • Sociopathic Type: He is characterized by a lack of empathy for his victims and sometimes has sadistic tendencies. Sexuality is not used to satisfy sexual needs, but as a means of opression. This is also commonly called a sadistic type.

Read the rest of this entry »

Germanys Foreign Minister: FHM’s #2 Unsexiest Woman 2010

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Guido Westerwelle

Schwesterwelle: Makes a Very Unsexy Woman

Meet Guido Westerwelle. He is Germany’s current minister of foreign affairs, the sate’s chief air-head, and general moron. I was delighted to find out that he almost won the title of this years unsexiest woman, an annual prize which is awarded by the men’s lifestyle magazine FHM. He is not the first male to be placed on that list, but he’s the first to get so close to the top of it.

This is not the first time Westerwelle has been target of ridicule due to his rather female demeanour – He has been given the nickname ‘Schwesterwelle’ (“Sisterwelle”) long before his official coming out in 2004.
Don’t get me wrong; I know very well it is a cheap shot to vote a gay man onto the list of the 100 unsexiest woman, but he deserves the ridicule. Not because he’s gay, not because of his pathetically squeaky voice, not because his demeanour. No, he deserves ridicule because he’s a moron that maintains but the weakest of links to reality. Read the rest of this entry »

About ‘Everybody Draw Muhammad Day’

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Afghan depiction of Muhammad, 1436

Afghan depiction of Muhammad, 1436

I’m all for free speech, but I think Draw Muhammad Day is a silly idea. I think so because all it does is to play into the hands of hate-mongerers on both sides. My problem here is not that it does antagonize, but that it doesn’t do anything but antagonize.The one thing that criticism of Islam always has to be careful about is not to be hijacked by xenophobes. It is too easy to get pushed into the ‘ignorant-racist-redneck-corner’, and once in there, it’s hard to get out. Criticism of Islam needs to distinguish itself from islamophobic propaganda and racist hate-mongering. We are not Islamophobes, we are rational people standing up for our rights and against censorship.
Draw Muhammad Day is sending out all the wrong signals. What it really does is to play into the hands of the more moronic fractions on both sides. On the Muslim side we will have extremists using this to demonize us in the eyes of new recruits: ‘Those westerners, look at how hatefull they are and how they lack the slightest respect!’ On our side, we will have the racists using it for the same thing: ‘Oh, look at those evil freedom-hating muslims: they already shut down Facebook to censor a few cartoons, I wonder when they will burn the next embassy?’ Both these groups will welcome Draw Muhammad Day. It is oil to their fires. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Phil

May 19, 2010 at 18:36

Hell’s Angel: Mother Teresa

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For decades now Mother Teresa has been one of the favourite and most successful PR-tools of the catholic church and Christianity in general. For her “humanitarian work” and “spiritual inspiration” she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Her name became a synonym of goodness around the world, although few people know what her work consists of, and even fewer have actually seen it. Those who did are usually rather shocked. Read, for example the account of Hemley Gonzalez, founder of the Facebook page STOP The Missionaries of Charity:

I worked as a volunteer in one of Mother Teresa’s homes in Calcutta, India, for a period of two months at the end of 2008. It was during this time that I was shocked to discover the horrific and negligent manner in which this charity operates and the direct contradiction of the public’s general understanding of their work. […]

Workers washing needles under tap water only to be reused again. Medicine and other vital items being stored for months on end, expiring and eventually still applied sporadically to patients. Volunteers with little or no training carrying out dangerous work on patients with highly contagious cases of Tuberculosis, leprosy and other life threatening illnesses, while the workers of the charity patently refuse to accept and implement machinery and equipment that would safely automate processes and save lives.

Few voices are brave enough to criticize the religious icon that is Mother Teresa so bluntly. The most famous criticism so far stems from the pen of Christopher Hitchens, Read the rest of this entry »

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