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In Dublin young families are inspired by august intellectuals who don’t mince their words

Parents hear talks by David Quinn on the crisis of the family and John Waters on finding religion (and learning to pray on his knees)

By on Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Cardinal Brady described the columnist John Waters as a 'great man' (Photo: IEC2012)

Cardinal Brady described the columnist John Waters as a 'great man' (Photo: IEC2012)

Young parents with several small kids running around their legs are dotted throughout the Royal Dublin Society (RDS). The stadium looks like it is hosting one big school day out – as schoolchildren and watchful teachers are mesmerised by the proceedings. One nine-year-old said to me, “everyone here is so happy”. This encounter with faith will have a direct impact on the standards of RE in Irish schools. In one sacramental preparation programme Jesus in the Eucharist is referred to as “bread man”. Today that will seem an inaccurately silly description to the children now that they are hearing that our beloved Pope asked people during Wednesday’s General Audience to “spiritually unite” themselves with the Christians at the Congress, that the Eucharist is Jesus’s “gift of Himself to us” and “the pulsating heart” of the Church.

I spoke to one young father of four children who gave witness of how the Eucharist healed his crippling depression. His life had been at a standstill until he went for a Youth 2000 weekend retreat where he found Christ’s love in the Eucharist. After two years of seeking the healing graces from the Eucharist, he got married and now has cherubic, blond curly-haired kids. I shared with this young father how attending Youth 2000 prayer groups got me into saying the rosary, which has drawn me into the lives of Jesus and Mary. The young father said that sometimes people challenge him for having had four children, that it’s more acceptable in Ireland to have a family half that size. He doesn’t let it bother him because, he says, “their words don’t get to me. I know the Eucharist is true. I’m here with my wife to bring our kids to Christ.”

Yesterday the Congress was devoted to marriage and the parallel between Christ giving Himself entirely for us in the Eucharist, and that the sacrament of marriage calls husband and wife to give themselves entirely to each other. Too often debate on the family happens in the absence of children. But here there was something wonderfully realistic when the intellectual luminaries spoke about marriage in the presence of many parents who are tired from energetic toddlers and bullied by an intolerant society that sticks its nose into their private affairs. This wasn’t a time for waffle; the speakers had to be sincere to resonate with the hardworking parents present.

David Quinn, who last year was invited over to London by Catholic Voices, where he explained how to argue against gay marriage, gave a feisty talk on the evolution of the Irish family. David didn’t mince his words; “The old norms around family life had to be cast aside in the name of sexual freedom. There has been a move from the time when marriage was the only acceptable form of family to changes in the name of choice and freedom. There was the justifiable removal of the weapon of stigma against unmarried mothers. But sundering all the old norms means that a growing number of adults feel under no obligation to raise their kids together. The culture is that if my personal happiness requires that I leave my wife for someone younger, then so be it. If my personal happiness requires that my girlfriend have an abortion, then so be it. But the big losers are the children who are either aborted or left orphaned by parents who seek their own personal fulfilment above anything else.”

Throughout my upbringing in Ireland, David Quinn was the intrepid journalist who unseated liberal commentators, who learned fast that trying to beat David in an argument was as pointless as trying to pick up mercury with a fork. Why? David takes matters to their full logical conclusion. In the face of prevarications from liberal law-makers, David has the guts to say that the maximisation of sexual immorality means the minimisation of the welfare of children, who must be eliminated in the womb or passed from pillar to post.

If I was edified by David Quinn’s ripostes to secular society, I was touched to my marrow by my time with John Waters. For some hours, I interviewed John about his new book Was It For This? How Ireland Lost The Plot, published in recent weeks by Transworld.

In his new book John compares the obsession with ridding society of the spiritual, to taking a chainsaw to the pole at the centre of a circus. “They think there will be so much room without the big pole, so they hack away at it, not realising that there will be nothing without it.” John does not see religion as separate, but that “religion is part of everything. It’s all there in the first question of the Catechism – who made the world? God made the world. If that is true then there is no reality without religion.”

I mention to John that my favourite prayer is the decade of The Finding of Our Lord in the Temple, and John says that his favourite prayer is the serenity prayer, “it defines for me the dilemma that faces me moment to moment; to accept the things that I cannot change. It defines a line in my own life of what I can do and what only God can do.”

John Waters gave a talk called “Finding My Religion” and the hall was full to bursting. I was listening outside the door of the hall, cheek by jowl with a group of 50 other people who did not fit into the main hall. I saw a tall figure walk in who I recognised as Cardinal Brady. He was looking for a chair, and when I found him one, he closed his eyes and listened hard to John’s conversion story, after which the cardinal said, “ah sher he’s a great man”.

John did not have an easy route to belief in God. He was born to “very devout parents” in the 1950s, in the west of Ireland, but lost his faith in the 70s. He thought he could satisfy his desires in alcohol, but “where I ended up was not what I was promised”. When he was recovering from alcohol abuse, he heard “the God word” a lot in AA. He was invited to pray on his knees, which he first thought was a “horrific idea”, and he could not make his knees bend. Someone suggested he take off his shoes, throw them under the bed and then pray after he had knelt to find his shoes.

John described a very heart-rending moment in his own life when he was beginning to believe more in God, and was caring for his baby daughter Róisín on his own. He put her to sleep in her cot, and watched her fall asleep, but stayed and kept his eyes on her, for fear that anything would happen. He couldn’t leave her side until he had entrusted her to the care of “the One who made her”.

  • theroadmaster

    The Eucharistic Congress is like an oasis in the middle of what increasing looks like a spiritual desert. The daily reports from Dublin by correspondent, Mary O’ Regan provide much welcome spiritual comfort as well as profound food for thought   The time has arrived when Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular,, has to be lived by adherents as a genuine lifestyle choice rather than as an act of social conformity.  

  • Oconnord

    I’m sorry sound cynical, but it’s best to be realistic.

    If you mention the Congress to most Irish people they have no clue. You have to say, that religion thing in the RDS that’s on the news. Then you get a response of “Oh yeah, that”. Even the article by the same author yesterday described a Canadian women and an Englishman. If the Congress and general renewal were effective surely the story of an Irish “revert” would have been more apt.

    It is not a convincing reason for religion of any ilk to trot out two vulnerable people. “I found god to replace depression or alcoholism” is hardly a shining commendation. It would be refreshing to hear a story of someone who became an atheist, then reverted. An honest story, someone who rejected the existence of god for rational reasons, who then found themselves mistaken. Someone who wasn’t “trying to fill a god shaped hole in my heart”. 

    It can’t be too hard to find, a calm, rational person who can explain why they now believe in a god and why they didn’t before. (And if it’s the catholic version it would be a bonus).

  • teigitur

    For once, I agree with most of your posting. Just a tiny bone to pick.It is often the most vunerable, or the weakest of characters that are closest to The Lord. Twas ever thus, in fact the Christian story starts with poverty and vunerability.
     You would beg to differ of course, but its my belief that everyone has a God-shaped hole in their hearts, unfortunately its often filled with something, or indeed anything, else.

  • Nat_ons

    It says a lot for the state of the church catholic in Ireland when a Cardinal can perceive, understand and acknowledge the truth .. and yet not admit to himself that he (like his colleagues) have failed to witness it themselves. 

    Another great post from Mary O’Regan; lacking (my) spite, nonetheless presenting the dire state still prevailing while capturing the reality of hope.

    ‘The old norms around family life had to be cast aside in the name of sexual freedom ..’ the truth, Lord help us!

  • karlf

     All these annecdotes and views of spirituality and the reality of religion are also relayed by Muslims, with equal passion and conviction – people who you believe to be deluded.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    ‘All these anecdotes…’

    Muslims are of course well known for going around and proclaiming  that the Eucharist is Jesus’s “gift of Himself to us” and “the pulsating heart” of the Church.

  • karlf

     Well Lazarus, obviously one would need to replace certain names with Allah, Mohammed and the Koran where appropriate

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    Or Dawkins, Hitchens, Ayn Rand or whatever…

    Your point appears to be solely that people have lots of different beliefs. Very true. But it’s the content of those beliefs and the evidence and context within which they are held that’s important in the assessment of them.

    Catholics and Muslims and Dawkinsians have different beliefs. You can’t short circuit a careful assessment of them by noting that they are beliefs and people believe in them.

  • karlf

    “But it’s the content of those beliefs and the evidence and context
    within which they are held that’s important in the assessment of them” Exactly! So who is the odd one out; the Catholic, the Muslim or the geologist?

    And as you mention Dawkins, perhaps you could answer this:
    If a child is raised to live out their life believing that Allah is
    monitoring their every thought and deed – that they have to live by the
    teachings and laws of the Koran, what sort of freedom is this? Where is
    their mental freedom? Don’t you agree that this is a terrible affliction
    for so many millions of people?

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    ‘what sort of freedom is this?’

    Let’s take an analogy. Teaching a child that cars are dangerous, that unicorns don’t exist, that the Battle of Hastings was in 1066: teaching these things, because they are facts and help a child navigate herself around the world autonomously, increases that child’s freedom.

    So the very fact that a child is taught to believe certain things (rather than being left to work out these things for herself) is not a limitation of freedom but may be an increase in freedom.

    Turn back to your example. Of course, a child who is brought up with the correct view of the world -that of the Catholic Church- would be far more free because their beliefs would be more accurate. But a child who was brought up as a Muslim might well have a more accurate view of the world than someone who was left to sort things out for herself. She would, for example, know that there was an omnipotent, benevolent God, that marriage was between men and women, that Jesus was sent by God etc. To that extent, she would be more free than someone who was brought up in ignorance of these important facts.

     

  • karlf

    ” To that extent, she would be more free than someone who was brought up in ignorance of these important facts”  – but those unreligious, who do not believe in such a God have only one step to make, whereas the Muslim has a whole mass of indoctrinated nonsense to overcome – a whole lifetime of deep and heartfelt belief to dismiss as such.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    ‘the Muslim has a whole mass of indoctrinated nonsense to overcome’
    Perhaps. But if you compare that Muslim with someone who has been brought up to believe in the sort of philosophically crude materialism you find in Dawkins, it might be much easier for such a Muslim to achieve Catholic truth (and that’s much more than one step -more like a lifetime of patient exploration) than for a child who has had the misfortune to be brought up in Dawkinsianism. If nothing else, they would have been spared the vice of Promethean arrogance displayed by Dawkins and his ilk.

    But certainly, I’d agree with you that it would be very much better for all concerned if children were properly brought up in Catholicism rather than subjected to any other erroneous belief system, however well meant.

  • Los Leandros

    Listening to the infantile level of debate in the Irish media ( the usual liberal/feminist/sceptical dross ) and among the Irish chattering classes over the last 20/30 years, made one ashamed to be Irish. Thankfully intellectuals like David Quinn and John Waters have restored my belief in my country. But the liberal lunatics are still very much in control of censoring dissenting opinion etc. 

  • Los Leandros

    John Waters was virulently anti-religious at one stage. David Quinn also went through his adolescent rebellion againt religion ; they were both intellectually convinced by the superiority of Catholicism. I am a recovering atheist. I also came to the belief that atheism was intellectually unconvincing – essentially an ideology for pimpled adolescents & nutty professors. Catholicism is an ideology for grown up’s & intellectuals.

  • karlf

    But unfortunately most children are brought up within the other erroneous belief systems, and have been throughout known history.

    A Muslim is so unlikely to become a Catholic for the exact same reasons that you are so unlikely to become a Muslim. Both of you feel the authenticity of your Gods and religions in the very same ways – do you see how this may give rise to scepticism within the mind of a crude materialist non believer?

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    Well, as someone who was brought up as a crude materialist non-believer but managed to think himself out of it, I have great hope that reason can triumph over even the most invincible ignorance.

    Clearly, there’s a certain inertia about all human belief. I’ve no doubt that it’s difficult for everyone to think themselves out of the belief systems they’re brought up in. Where you’re going wrong I suspect -and doubtless displaying a version of this inertia yourself- is in the assumption that Dawkinsism and similar belief systems are inherently more rational than religions, and that religions are all equally irrational.

    That may be true -I’m pretty certain it isn’t- but in any case it’s something you have to show by argument rather than assume. My own view -and that of orthodox Catholicism- is that Catholicism is more rational than other forms of religion and atheistic materialism.

  • Oconnord

    As I am an atheist and you were one, please tell me about this “atheist ideology”. 
    I haven’t heard of any, in fact I disagree with most atheists I meet on a large number of subjects. I only really agree with them one subject, hardly the basis for an ideology.

    Being anti-religious does not mean you are an atheist, just as being an atheist doesn’t mean you are anti-religion. It is very often true but they are different things. Ireland (the subject of the article) has lots of theists who are anti religion.

    But most important of all you neglected to mention the evidence you discovered which proved god’s existence. You simply said you find catholic ideology more convincing than a non existent atheist ideology. If you were one of those people with the “god shaped hole” and the catholic god was the right shape to fill that hole, well fair enough.
    But it in no way addresses my final point…..

    “It can’t be too hard to find, a calm, rational person who can explain why they now believe in a god and why they didn’t before”

  • Oconnord

    Promethean arrogance displayed by Dawkins and his ilk.”

    What can be more arrogant than claiming that the creator of the universe takes an interest in your life and listens when you talk to “Him”?

  • Padraig

    Blessed Leandros, martyr to faith and all things and people TRULY Irish, ora pro nobis. 
     
    Tiocfaidh ar la.  

    Padraig

  • Oconnord

    Good choice of words… we differ rather than disagree on this one I think. I think the hole is only “god shaped” shaped in some people. And sometimes filling that hole with god is not always the right thing, as in the case of fundamentalists, or other people who just god as excuse to do or believe horrific things.

  • Oconnord

    But a child who was “brought up” (indoctrinated) as a muslim might well believe that her testimony was worth half that of a man’s, that adulterers, apostates and homosexuals should be killed, thieves should have their hands removed and that non-muslims (kafirs) should have to pay protection money to muslims (jizya). Would that be an accurate view of the world, as they are all proper islamic teachings.

    Or what about this little shia teaching…..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WT3cnFCPKxY&feature=channel&list=UL

    Would she be more free than someone who was brought up in ignorance of these important facts?

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    Believing in Oconnord but not in God.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    I’m certainly not going to defend every teaching of every Muslim sect: I’m a Catholic, not a Muslim.

    But, in general terms, is a thoughtful pious Muslim in a better position than the sort of angry materialist who trolls Catholic sites, convinced of their own intellectual and moral superiority…

    Not sure. What do you think?

  • BTyler

    I was brought up in an atheist environment. I studied zoology to PhD level, read all the atheist literature. For over thirty years I went with this inculcated and erroneous belief system.
    I was baptised this year. I think you’ll find this story isn’t unique.

  • Daniel_Borsell

    I think that most of us non believers are genuinely fascinated by those who believe in the supernatural, and have a sincere desire to understand how they justify those beliefs to themselves. It’s not about being angry, or achieving a sense of superiority – At least, on my part it isn’t.

    It is intriguing how the religious hit back at the non believers by falsely accusing them of sharing their own behavioural characteristics of following ‘faith’, and imaginary belief systems, such as ‘Dawkinsism’.

  • Guest

     What convinced you of the legitimacy of the Catholic religion?
    Have you experienced  any problems with dink, drugs or mental illness

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    Hi Daniel

    Don’t think I’ve ever ‘engaged’ with you before, so please don’t take any of the above exchanges personally: I hope you do stick around and engage in productive discussions.

    On your general point, the observation that there is some sort of cultural fashion (call it ‘Dawkinsism, call it ‘New Atheism’ whatever) which does display aspects of cult like behaviour strikes me as completely accurate. I’m sure that members of this cult don’t see it that way, but a lot of their activities (eg ‘witnessing’ by coming onto a Catholic site and expecting a few platitudes to convert well-educated Catholics) do bear a striking analogy to traditional Protestant sects. Undoubtedly a character fault, but many of us find it hard not to tease them: bit like  playing with angry kittens!

    Finally, although you’ll pick up some of the human detail of what and how Catholics believe from combox debates, to discover the intellectual substance of how Catholics understand and accept their beliefs, you should read proper books, not comboxes. (But if you want a quick answer, in essence, it’s because the intellectual, artistic and moral depths offered by Catholicism blow everything else out of the water.)

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    1) Patient intellectual exploration.

    2) No. (Although I’m a bit worried about ‘dink’.)

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    Let me try and answer the last sentence. (We can pretend for the moment that  I’m calm and rational!)

    You’re assuming there’s going to be a neat answer to this, perhaps analogous to a Damascene road like experience: ‘I hadn’t seen/known this before, but now I have, I believe.’ But that sort of experience is quite rare -and in any case, could only be subjectively convincing. (If there really was one piece of clearly objectively demonstrable evidence, the Church would be pumping it out.)

    At one level, there is a short answer: the existence of God and the Church’s teachings made more sense of the world than any alternative. But to unpack that would, of course, take a lifetime, tracing the way that this-or-that aspect of  its teaching makes sense; how one reacts to various objections etc.

    A great many atheists I know (and perhaps this was me for a long while) look on religion as being a bit like a search for the Loch Ness Monster: you keep looking and looking, and, after a while, you can be pretty sure it’s not there. Analogously, you keep looking and looking for God and, after a while, you can be pretty sure he’s not there. But this suggests that you’re looking for an object within the world, whilst traditional theology is quite clear that God doesn’t exist in that way. 

    Putting aside the obviously miraculous (and if you’d had experience of this, I presume you wouldn’t be asking this sort of question), when I point to God’s activity in the world, I’m going to be pointing to objects and aspects that you too can see, but which you will describe in different ways. And then we have to enter into a long conversation about which system of description is better than the other. 

    On a slightly different tack, I’d regard the testimonies we’re hearing at the IEC etc as akin to the observations of an art critic: ‘Have you noticed this bit of the painting?’ or ‘You need to pay attention to the way he develops the theme here’. They are not compelling in the way that, deductively say, from that particular observation, the truth of the Church follows immediately. But they are part of a reason giving practice in which, by highlighting this or that aspect of the world /piece of art, our vision of the whole can be transformed: we suddenly ‘get it’.

    So perhaps, for you, there is one observation or argument out there which will help you ‘get it’. Until that time, the only answer is one of patient exploration of whether orthodox Catholicism works better than the alternatives. But perhaps the first step is to realize that your impatience for a quick answer is part of the problem: to expect that is to misunderstand the nature of Catholicism and God. 

  • Daniel_Borsell

    Thanks for the invitation Lazarus. I certainly am interested in your views and comments and would be keen to hear more.
    My personal view is that ‘New Atheism’ is just a media style buzzword type of
    thing. The growing rejection of supernatural belief has been a steady process in recent centuries, and the idea that Richard Dawkins is the leader of some sort of cult is frankly laughable. Of course, there are cranks and fanatics in all areas of life, and humans are very excitable creatures.
    The human mind does have a strong propensity to fantasise, and I do recognise the tempting mirage that is ‘spirituality’, but what I cannot understand, for
    example, is  your acceptance of the
    validity of the Bible – where does the Bible contain anything that could not have been written by an archaic, middle eastern man at that time?

  • Daniel_Borsell

    Thanks for the invitation Lazarus. I certainly am interested in your views and comments and would be keen to hear more.
    My personal view is that ‘New Atheism’ is just a media style buzzword type of
    thing. The growing rejection of supernatural belief has been a steady process in recent centuries, and the idea that Richard Dawkins is the leader of some sort of cult is frankly laughable. Of course, there are cranks and fanatics in all areas of life, and humans are very excitable creatures.
    The human mind does have a strong propensity to fantasise, and I do recognise the tempting mirage that is ‘spirituality’, but what I cannot understand, for
    example, is  your acceptance of the
    validity of the Bible – where does the Bible contain anything that could not have been written by an archaic, middle eastern man at that time?

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    We’re about to get into the ‘Disqus’ single letter column -so I’ll have to be brief!

    1) Remember that for Catholics the Bible has to be seen as embedded in the Church: it isn’t a document that can be read as a freestanding authority, but is rather part of the Church’s authority.

    2) It was all written by archaic Middle Eastern men! But to note that is to miss the point. Cf: ‘What is there in Plato that couldn’t be written by an ancient Greek?’ Answer: nothing. But that doesn’t mean that Plato (or the Bible) doesn’t contain insights -even unique insights- into the human condition.

  • teigitur

    Oh, that hole can never be filled, properly, except by God. The rest, some of which you describe, come from a bloated sense of self, or Satan, or an unholy alliance of both.

  • Daniel_Borsell

    This is a reply to your comment below (as the columnspace was running thin):

    Yes, the insight of the ancient Greeks is astounding, but they
    did not claim to be quoting God, unlike the Bible, in which we can read all manner of very unconvincing lines for an alleged creator of life and the universe to say i.e. in the Old Testament God lacks any credibility as being a ‘God’, and it reads very much like all the other ‘holy’ books, which we know to be false.

  • karlf

     No. Oconnord wouldn’t be arrogant for trying to identify that what he experiences as reality.
    But believing that “creator of the universe takes an interest in your life and listens when you talk” is a sheer masterpiece of human arrogance!

  • karlf

     I’m not convinced at all by your dubious story. All the atheist literature?? What belief system?

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    1) Plato does claim divine inspiration at various points. Eg: see Socrates in the Apology.

    2) Well, I wouldn’t see the OT in that way! Remember, the Church doesn’t suggest you can simply lift off the meaning from the text: it requires interpretation, particularly in the light of Christ’s revelation. But in general the OT portrays human grappling and development of the understanding of God: that grappling is -by dint of its being a grappling rather than a comprehension- imperfect. Perhaps the strongest developing element in the OT is that of a moral and comprehensible heart to the universe: the development of the Jewish understanding that their tribal god is not just a big man, but Goodness, Beauty and Truth.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    Do you have any arguments to support your view that turning one individual into the final judge of everything isn’t the height of arrogance?

  • karlf

    That is so twisted! Don’t you decide what, and what not to believe? Otherwise who does that for you?

  • BTyler

    Not convinced? That’s your call! I’d be happy to talk you through it. Surely I don’t have to spell out what ‘Atheist literature’ might be? Use your imagination. Likewise if you don’t know what atheism is about then I suggest you look it up.

  • karlf

    Atheism is not a belief system – if your story was true you would know this already

  • Daniel_Borsell

    So the Old Testament is not a record of real events, but more like Aesop’s fables?

  • BTyler

    Is it not true that atheism is a belief system, in that from
    the initial stance of ‘there is/are no God/gods’, many connected beliefs follow?
    About the origins and purpose of the Universe, life on Earth, the meaning of human
    relationships, the structure of society etc. Or is atheism just a blank, an empty
    negation offering precisely nothing? Enlighten me, please…

    As regards my ‘story’ – what could I do to convince you? 

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    No. It is a collection of literature in various genres all of which need careful interpretation. (Even an historical book cannot be always read as straightforwardhistory.)

    I know you’d like a shortcut here: either a liberal ‘it’s all myth’ or a fundamentalist’every word is literally true’. But that’s never been how the Bible has functioned in the Catholic Church: it’s never stood on its own, but has always been part of the teaching authority of the Church as interpreter.

  • karlf

    Not believing in your God is as much a belief system as not believing in Allah, Hera or Thor is a belief system. You don’t believe in every god ever thought up apart from one – as well as not believing in fairies, unicorns, ghosts, or alien abductions. How can not believing in Ra or Isis or Athena be a belief system??

  • Daniel_Borsell

    Of course it is. That’s how you can wriggle out of any challenges made against the Bible.

  • Hildegard von Bingen

     The notion of David Quinn and John Waters as ‘intellectuals’ is laughable.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    Not every challenge. Merely ill informed ones.

  • Oconnord

    That would only work if I thought I was a god… then I’d be more arrogant than you. But of course I know I’m not a god, nor do I think I can  communicate with one, so I’m less arrogant than you.

  • Oconnord

    I think you are using a bad argument to try to bolster a point you’ve lost. Comparing a “thoughtful” and “pious” muslim with an angry, materialist, arrogant and out-spoken non- believer is setting up a strawman. 

    A pious muslim would believe in all the tenets I set out as they are standard islamic teachings, as you well know. A thoughtful muslim may well ignore them if they had the luxury of living in a secular country.

    As to an angry, arrogant and convinced atheist trolling a site? Well I’d much rather that than a religionist with the same characteristics who’ll strap on a suicide vest “knowing” they’ll go to paradise.