Does it bother you to read a news article about something controversial, and find the treatment by the press to be somewhat unsatisfactory?
I trust everyone had a wonderful, family-filled Christmas holiday, and that Santa was good to you. I was preoccupied with my family, so I didn’t post much, just an occasional comment here and there.
But I did hear the news over the weekend that the Pope, in his Christmas address, prayed for peace. It’s getting to be a cliché that the Pope prays for peace on the most solemn occasion of the Church’s most solemn ritual – Christmas Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. As far back as I can remember, whoever the Pope happened to be at the moment seemed to always pray for world peace. It’s actually gotten to be a joke, because he prays ad infinitum, ad nausem for world peace, and yet it never happens.
We have established that god hates figs, but it’s difficult to understand why god hates Haiti. To watch the Jobian tribulations being imposed on that poor country, someone with a religious bent would have to conclude that the Haitians did something to royally piss god off. First, a massive earthquake devastates the country earlier this year, leaving millions to live in conditions that most countries would find deplorable. Then cholera steps in to add insult to injury, possibly brought there by relief workers. Today Hurricane Tomas is dumping tons of water on the country, and whipping it into a froth with high winds. In a country where a corrugated sheet of metal is called home, this can only result in a disaster of major proportions.
Now here’s a topic near and dear to my past. As many of you know (or perhaps don’t), I’m a recovering Catholic of the Roman variety. When I was just a wee one, throughout my prepubescent years, I was indoctrinated, primarily by nuns, but often by priests, with the concept of the Society of Saints. Just about every day was dedicated to some Saint, and we were instructed to pray to that saint to intercede with God or Jesus or Mary or someone (never fully explained) to give us whatever it was that was that particular saint’s specialty.
A recent survey indicates that when it comes to religion, atheists and agnostics know more about the subject than do those that actually believe in the superstitions of their particular faith. What does that say about religion in general, and particularly about knowledge? Many atheists, especially those that regularly debate theists, find that the Christians’ understanding of their own scriptures are often quite deficient, sometimes bordering on the nonsensical. On the flip side, many an atheist will tell you that it was the Bible that caused their atheism; that a good, thorough reading of the Bible, with all its violence, immorality, and contradictions, is more than enough to turn anyone off of religion, especially Christianity. But in order to have the Bible spark such a response, one must be knowledgeable about the Bible in the first place.
A recent commenter here, Justin, got me to finally register with YouTube, though he won’t know it until he reads this. I clicked back on his name in my comments last week, and found he was in the process of an anticipated series of posts at his blog 100 Treatises, responding to a Christian YouTube video entitled, 5 Questions every intelligent atheist MUST answer. He’s completed them, addressing each question seriatum in five posts, in the process smashing the premise of the video to little tiny bits. Take a look at them here, here, here, here and here. As a read these, I thought “It would be so simple to create a video in response that asked 5 questions Christians MUST answer.” If only I had the technical capability. Then I looked in the list of suggested similar videos in the right column on YouTube, and saw that someone beat me to it. Not only that, but the response was 10 questions every intelligent Christian MUST answer.
A little piece in the “Faith and Reason” section of USA Today tries to report on attempts to reconcile various religions from a political perspective. One report indicates that of the 4 major Christian groups (comprising 75% of the country) – White Evangelicals, African-American Protestants, Mainline and Catholics – the majority in each group have a conciliatory approach to gay and lesbian issues.