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Distressed by the atheist onslaught? Get a grip of yourself

This is how things are meant to be: get used to it

By on Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Distressed by the atheist onslaught? Get a grip of yourself

When Cardinal Hume died, it was generally observed, in obituaries and other assessments of his achievements, that he had “normalised” Catholicism, removed the lingering hostility towards the Church still felt at the beginning of his time in Westminster. The Queen spoke of him approvingly as “my cardinal”. All seemed peaceful and unthreatening; we had finally settled in.

Some of us were not so sure; I, for one, felt that this “normalised” Catholicism had become acceptable because we were now thought to be harmless. I was not sure that this was such a good thing. It would be healthy, I thought, to have to face a little opposition: at least it would mean that we were taken seriously.

One should always, the old saw goes, be careful what one wishes for; for one’s wish might be granted. What we were experiencing was the lull before the storm. The present wave of hostility directed towards the Pope and the Church may be utterly unreasonable; but its basis is a rejection of everything we stand for: and it is a rejection from which our culture had never really withdrawn.

It may all be unpleasant, even distressing; but difficult though it may be to realise it now, this present hostility is to be welcomed: it means that we are beginning once more to count for something.

The atheists’ utter loathing, all the same, is at times a little frightening in its sheer vicious irrationality. These people are in the grip of a barely restrained hysteria. Take the current issue of the New Humanist, subtitle: “Ideas for godless people”; this issue gives a good idea of what it must be like being godless, and at least it makes you grateful not to be godless yourself. “If you were invited to address Benedict XVI during his UK visit,” the New Humanist introduces its special issue, “what would you say to him? Richard Dawkins, Philip Pullman, Claire Rayner, Ben Goldacre and many more take part in our Pope quiz.”

Claire Rayner’s offering gives a good idea of the tone and the rational level at which these contributions are conducted: “I have no language with which to adequately describe Joseph Alois Ratzinger, AKA the Pope. In all my years as a campaigner I have never felt such animus against any individual as I do against this creature. His views are so disgusting, so repellent and so hugely damaging to the rest of us, that the only thing to do is to get rid of him.” (What that means is not explained).

This is all horrible for anyone who regards Pope Benedict with the admiration and love most Catholics feel for him; and I find myself almost wishing that the decision had been taken to beatify Cardinal Newman in St Peter’s Square and not a muddy field, and for the Pope to be spared this dreadful business of a state visit.

But things are as they should be. As I remarked in my last post, nobody said that being a Catholic was easy. And when the Church is being faithful to her mission, this is how the world will regard her. Oh, and this has nothing whatever to do with child abuse; our enemies know that the evidence is that we are no worse than representative of society as a whole (shameful enough though that is) – see my previous post.

When things get rough, as they will, first say a quick prayer for the Holy Father, then say to yourself the magic words “Luke 6: 22”; or, if you have time, the whole verse: “Blessed are you, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.” You might add (verse 26): “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets.”

That’s the deal. Get used to it.

  • Ratbag

    If you had your way, Persil, religion would be banned!

  • Ratbag

    I'll think about it, Ariel – NOT!

  • Ratbag

    I don't long for the good old days of rack stretching, thumbscrews et al. Nor the beheading, hanging, drawing and quartering of my ancestors because they begged to differ with tyrant kings and queens, French revolutionaries or that ilk. What was done and is being done to us in India (which does not hit the world news) isn't very Christ-like either – but suffering for the faith is Christ like! Taking your manure is also Christ like.

  • Ratbag

    1. Aw… diddums! Trying to reach us? At the end of the day, it is a futile endeavour. I admire your entrails (not sure if they are guts) but, hey, nice try, nice try. No cigar, no goldfish. Keep trying…and trying…and trying… ad infinitum…

    The truth is, it is an endeavour like an untrained human would attempt to blow up a hot water bottle with his own breath – or urinating in a hurricane! Do you use your real name because, if you succeed in reaching the Catholic Church you want to go down in history as the 'Man who reached Catholics other Atheists can't reach'.

    Sorry, mate, Darwin, Dawkins, Dan Brown and Hitchens have beaten you to it. Your place in history has been occupied and these persons and they will not give up their gilded seats easily for you!

    2. I need your pity like I need a boil on my butt. I'm called Ratbag because, in this so-called free world, I can call myself anything I choose for reasons that are purely my business. What it says about me? I don't not give a flying fudge cake!

    3. Silly names? Aw, don't you like being called ducky, or lovey? Tch! How sad. Would you prefer it if I, instead, called you the sort of names that use asterisks in front of the letters F, B and C that other saddos use on various other sites, like Youtube, if no-one agrees with them? I bet you are sorry you haven't succeeded. Wow! That would float your rubber duck, wouldn't it? It hasn't happened and it won't!

    4. I'm certainly NOT desperate for you to be Irish! You flatter yourself, pal (sorry for calling you pal).

  • Ratbag

    You should go on the telly programme, 'Who Do You Think You Are?'

  • Ratbag

    Hi, there, Cruella deVil!

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    Wrong. Most people in the world who want to ban religion tend to add the phrase “except mine” to the end of the sentence.

  • catholic woman

    Ratbag
    The Goa Inquisition in India rivaled that of Europe for horrifying cruelty, inhumanity and barabarity.

    Christians – Protestants and Catholics – gave India a lasting lesson in how Christ-like Christians really are when in a position of power during the days of empire.

    The continued interference of European “missionaries” especially ones funded from the US in recent years have contribute to much of the recent backlash by fundamentalist Hindus (also funded by their compatriots in the US ironically enough!).

  • catholic woman

    HI!

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    No one is trying to teach you anything, Ratty. We are here to reply to the ludicrous accusations of Dr Oddie, who thinks that verbal criticism of obvious injustice amounts to 'barely restrained hysteria.'

    To coin a phrase, “that's the deal. Get used to it!”

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    Tried what?

    Legalising what people think? Yep, but if that's what you mean I have no idea what point you're trying to make.

    Atheism? We've covered that ground already on this thread.

  • Ratbag

    Bwaj, you are absolutely spot on with the Nazi agenda of eugenics and their origins. There is a famous case in the USA from around the '20's and '30's of a supposedly 'feeble minded' woman who was raped, gave birth to a baby and it was then taken away from her. She fought several legal battles to get the baby back. A film was made about it and it was pretty heart wrenching stuff. It made me angry because, if we are not careful and don't speak out strongly against these evils then eugenics will make a serious comeback with hard-line atheists/humanists will be shouting hip-hip-hooray!

    Thank you for your well-researched TRUTH about The Holy Father. Hitler Youth was compulsory for young people but Joseph Ratzinger avoided their meetings like the plague. There's just his name to go on and nothing else. I'd say there are several Germans of his generation who just had their names down on the list and they didn't turn up either!

    As much as the media and newsrags have dug in vain for years, there is neither a photograph or film footage of a teenage Joseph Ratzinger wearing the distinctive uniform of the Hitler Youth nor of him taking part in their various parades or filmed doing some of their activities. No doubt, if there were, it would have been splashed across the internet, television and world press by now … and the 'owner' of the 'evidence' retiring on a few quid!

    Thee only photo is of him is as a conscript who, as you stated, helped with the anti-aircraft ack-ack guns. It wouldn't surprise me if, when he fired the guns, he'd deliberately missed the Allied planes by several feet!

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    Not that it's really pertinent to this thread, but Queen Elizabeth I's policy toward Catholics at the start of her reign was one of tolerance, as far as the political realities of the time would allow (not far, I'll admit, but she tried). Various Catholic plots against her life and throne were what led to the later persecutions. I'm not saying they were totally justified, or that the tarring with one brush of all Catholics was fair, but that's what lead to the deaths and exiles.

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    Think of it as evolution in action. Who's more likely to get eaten by a lion, by that reasoning, you or me?

  • Ratbag

    OK, sorry about that, catholic (lower case c) woman…

    It's just that it's so see through that I mistook it for a crystal ball.

    And I didn't think for one moment that you bought it in the pound shop rather than be 'born' with it!

  • Ratbag

    Sorry, what was that?

    Argument? I thought it was a discussion…

    … I wish you'd make your mind up, too!

  • Ratbag

    You have to ask the 'common or garden' Catholics yourself, Surf, or better still get an education with Bwaj's reply to your pertinent question.

  • Ratbag

    Muslims issue Fatwahs, not the Catholic Church.

    It was not the Catholic Church that issued a Fatwah against Salman Rushdie and The Satanic Verses. Ah, I see where you are getting the word from, riding on the tails of a liberal use of the word by the media when Muslims were baying for Salman's blood. The head of the Roman Catholic Church is called The Pope – not Ayatollah.

    Please get something right… for once!

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    That's a given. Lack of ability.

    Would you like to make a point at some time, or are you just making silly comments?

  • Mamasnookems

    what is a cradle catholic?

  • Ratbag

    Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh, dear! Your sore points need first aid! The schoolyard comebacks, eh? Well, if the cap fits, Asda's Own With Essential Oils! And you are all grown up and mature with your 'well researched' points of view and asking me if my mumsy knows if I'm using her computer? Call that mature? I've heard more intelligently put points of view in a pub after the bell goes!

    Materialistic? Supposedly spiritual? They are cheaper shots than anything I've seen at a small park fun fair! Laughable, really. I cut my cloth accordingly and, for what is essential and necessary, it is true I have to shell out more when its components ticks all my boxes. I don't spend money I don't have. Even an unspiritual person knows that much.

    I hope you find some peace in your life after the hurt that has been done to you. That's all I can say to you right here and now.

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    Eugenics was a perversion of science, just like the rack and the thumbscrew.

    I'm glad to see that you take your history seriously, by citing films. It does wonders for my appreciation of your subtle debating style and insight.

    Please note that Shaun also mentioned that Ratzinger joined the HY under duress. I mention this as his honesty makes a nice comparison to your insinuation that all atheists would love nothing more than to 'splash a picture' of him in HY uniform all over the web.

    To put your mind at ease, there's a pretty good chance that he would never have fired the guns himself anyway. Flack guns had quite large crews compared to normal artillery guns, and most of the troops would likely never have actually fired them.

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    Argument meaning 1: A heated discussion

    Argument meaning 2 (the one being used here): A point to be made in a discussion.

  • Ratbag

    There you go again, invalidating me. That is sooooooo typical of you… and people like you!

    Why should I expect anything different at this moment in time.

    Enjoy your holiday!

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    I saw, Bwaj's reply, thank you, and replied to it. Bwaj, like most fundies, thinks that reams of bible citations can take the place of debate. He is wrong. He also appears to be ragingly homophobic and egocentric with no sense of reality—also like most fundies.

    Unlike most fundies, once he found out he was talking to (shock horror!) atheists, who might not be relied on to treat everything the pope says as if it was a revelation from on high, he ran away in a dudgeon.

  • Ratbag

    Complete bull droppings!

  • Ratbag

    How about “Did St Paul Get Jesus Right?” by David Wenham, a scholar and theologian.

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    Brought up in the faith from infancy, I assume.

  • Ratbag

    Peter Tatchell and his ilk have the habit of invading religious ceremonies to put forward their twisted views. Look what he did with the Archbishop of Canterbury that time. The pastoral part of the Pope's visit is being paid for by the Catholic Church as is part of the security costs. The security measures which will be in place for the visit of The Holy Father is necessary because the police and HM Government would not put it past persons like Mr Tatchell to make exhibitions of themselves in front of The Pope – that is what is pumping up the taxpayer's money! I hope these humanists are looking forward to the 2012 London Olympic Games when more than one Head of State will be coming – they will need rings of steel security around them too. How many schools and hospitals and emergency services will all that taxpayer's money be the equivallent of? Will you nay-sayers be bellyaching about taxpayer's money being spent on that 10 day spectacle? The expense of the Holy Father's visit will be a mere passing thought by then…

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    I've about given up trying to make proper debate with you. You apparently deliberately misconstrue points made to you (a habit usually seen with protestant evangelist types, btw), ignore points that you can't answer, and make cheap shots, as well as a couple of comments that I considered sexist, but that's up to the person they were addressed to to decide. Well if I can't beat you, I'll most certainly join you. I've had lots of practice with Ken Ham groupies and the like.

    Cheaper shots than “I've got a more expensive computer than you”?

    The soap name thing btw. I heard them all before I was six; these days I just reflect on the idiocy of people who assume they'll rile me.

    I have peace in my life, but thank you for the thought. My point was that you comparing a domestic situation, where it's understandable that people don't report the offender because they think it's normal behaviour, to a non-domestic situation where it's reported to an adult who then does nothing, or even covers it up and threatens the victim into secrecy, was basically sick and contemptible.

  • Ratbag

    The books you quote are indeed recommended reading for anyone who wishes to see the bigger picture about the Roman Catholic Church. I, for one, truly appreciate your forum posts.

    The stubborn, as is evident, don't.

  • Ratbag

    Mr Oddie is far from feeling threatened.

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    “Legislating.” My day for bad typing, methinks. I seem to be doing nowt but correct myself

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    Not read it, but I'm always looking for a new read. The Ehman one isn't about Jesus so much as the various versions, translations and so forth of the books.

  • Mamasnookems

    The body of Christ is the body of true believer who rely on Christ alone for salvation,not works, not a church or traditions, will those get anyone to heaven? I was a catholic till God opened my eyes and showed me the truth, i always relied on purgatory till i saw that there is no such place, it was made up. Only by the blood of Jesus, and we know that He is the Son of God and trust in Him ALONE, we will be saved. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, noone comes to the Father except through Me” John 14:6, there are many verses in the King James bible in the book of John that tells us plainly how we have a eternal life.

  • Shaundenney

    So why are you supporting this loon who thinks christianity should do the same (again)?

  • Shaundenney

    What would an Irishman be doing in the FBI?

  • Shaundenney

    In that case, be my guest and go nail yourself to a cross, if it makes you feel any better.

  • catholic woman

    Excommunication = Fatwah. Pope = Ayatollah

  • Bwaj

    The Catholic Church does not have a problem with 'paedophiles' – that is a lie of the secular press covering up their pro-gay agenda – most of those abused were male and aged 11-17 (pubescent and post-pubescent not pre-pubescent). Secondly, only 1% – 2% of Catholic clergy worldwide have been guilty of abuse (far too many I admit) but less than Protestant Churches and the secular world whose members would tell you to get lost if you harassed them like you do Catholics. Thirdly, the Holy Father is not a child abuser nor a protector of abusers. Before 2001 it was the duty of bishops to deal with this matter – they sought advice from psychologists and psychiatrists who up until 1991 stupidly believed those who were attracted to minors (paedophilia or ephebophilia) could be cured: only from 1991 they decided it is incurable. So start pestering the psychologists and psychiatrists who said priests were safe to send back to their parishes.

  • Shaundenney

    Yes, I know people like you are impervious to reason, however you are only a representative of the immature fringe of catholicism.

    As for names – if names are unimportant, why did you object to me calling Oddie “Stimpy”? I didn't object to your name-calling, merely your inconsistency.

    My ethnicity is irrelevant. You assumed from my name that I am Irish. I corrected you. You came back with baseless assertions about my character, predicated upon your mistaken opinion that I have two Irish names and must therefore be Irish. Personally I don't care whether I'm Irish or not, but you have displayed an unhealthy attachment to the idea.

    Now, since you have shown no inclination to debate in a reasonable manner, I can only assume you are an idiot, or a troll. I shan't be wasting any more time on you either way.

  • Bwaj

    The Catholic Church does not shelter rapists – how many times do you fools need telling?

  • Bwaj

    You can stop yapping about homophobia – God has already said men may not sodomize one another and people of the same gender may not marry. This is why you are really attacking the Holy Father because he does God's will and opposes these evils. It is because we are in the Last Days that governments believe they can challenge God's laws but they will be cast into hellfire for doing so. As for AIDS. Only gay sex spreads AIDS.

  • Shaundenney

    Why? It looks like it would be a terribly dull episode.

  • Shaundenney

    It's forgivable, given the high concentration of stupid on this blog 8-)

  • Bwaj

    Geoffrey Robertson QC defended issue 28 of 'Oz' magazine in 1971 which tried to pervert children and young people with porn, homosexuality, lesbianism and sadism. I am therefore in my rights to say I want him arrested am I not? The difference is what I've said is true – what Robertson says is not. The Vatican is a state and the Pope has never covered up child abuse.

  • Shaundenney

    [python]No it isn't![/python]

  • Chris Morris

    To Nameless Cynic:

    “I'm sorry you believe that you automatically deserve respect merely for your strange beliefs”

    Firstly Britain is a multicultural society with many different beliefs and therefore all beliefs should be respected both relligious and non-religious.

    Secondly with regards to the Pope's teaching on birth control, yes it is a tough teaching but at the same time the Pope is not saying that those infected with HIV have to have sex. The fact is by promoting a way of life where you only have one sexual partner (through marraige), the Pope is helping the fight against HIV. Also condoms can fail so to call someone inhumane because they teach a different way of life is narrow minded and strikes me as someone who can't stand their way of life to be challenged.

    With regards to justifying abortion to protect the mother, if you think that in modern medicine that is still a scenario, then your knowledge is out of date.

    I'm not saying you have to agree with what he (the Pope) says but when phrases such as “I'm sorry you believe that you automatically deserve respect” start coming out of people's mouths then I worry about how you look at other people who don't agree with you.

  • Bwaj

    Roy, while I understand your disgust at the abuse crisis – perhaps you should research your facts. Pope Benedict is the only Pope who has dealt with this matter head-on.

  • Bwaj

    No it can not.