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Let’s pray the Fortnight for Freedom helps Barack Obama change his mind about the contraceptive mandate

Pregnancy is not a disease, and the pill should not be a part of any health insurance policy

By on Monday, 25 June 2012

The opening Mass for the US bishops' Fortnight for Freedom at a basilica in Baltimore (CNS photo)

The opening Mass for the US bishops' Fortnight for Freedom at a basilica in Baltimore (CNS photo)

Thanks to all those supportive and positive posts in response to my last blog. It is also always heartening to read posts from non-Catholics and non-Christians who defend the right to freedom of conscience. I’ll ignore the “ad hominem” attacks. We Christians are commanded to love our enemies, after all; easier said than done, I’ll admit.

Following on from that blog, I note that the US Bishops’ Conference has called for a Fortnight for Freedom, starting last Thursday and ending on July 4 – Independence Day. Its website describes this fortnight as “a great hymn of prayer for our country” and refers to Ss Thomas More and John Fisher “who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power”. The bishops appeal: “Please join us in continuing to pray each day for our Church leaders, for our civic leaders… and for religious freedom.” Amen to all that.

On this subject I have also read a very good article in Mercator online magazine by Fr Michael Giesler, a priest in St Louis, Missouri, which gives the wider context for the US bishops’ decision that they are not able to come to an “accommodation” with President Obama over the contraceptive mandate. Fr Giesler pulls no punches, declaring that “the federal government has no right to mandate a drug that is not really a health benefit to anyone”. The pill, he points out, is quite different from cancer treatment as it is specifically designed to alter a human organ and to destroy its natural function. Also, other medicines are now just as effective in regularising women’s cycles.

Pregnancy, Fr Giesler, reminds us, is not a disease and contraceptives should not therefore be included in any insurance policy. Looking at the wider implications, he argues that a combination of abortion and contraception have helped to cripple the US economy: “Without young people there are neither consumers or a growing work force… We are left with an ageing population, with fewer and fewer young people to support it.” He also makes the point that I have never read in any literature put out by environmental pressure groups or the Greens (or in speeches by the Prince of Wales): that the earth’s water is being contaminated by chemicals contained in the pill.

Fr Giesler adds: “I doubt that any woman, deep in her heart, believes the pill is somehow ‘liberating’ her.” Actually, I’m inclined to add it is enslaving her: frustrating her body’s natural fertility and turning her into a sex object. All these arguments are worthwhile natural reasons against contraceptives. However, as Fr Giesler also makes clear, the Church is opposed to them for deeper, theological reasons: that to separate sex from its natural purpose – the union of a man and a woman in marriage, open to love and to life – undermines marriage, leading to a huge increase in divorce in the US in the past 50 years and, more recently, to a demand for same-sex marriage: the logical conclusion to the “sex for pleasure only” principle. The bishops need prayer to stay firm. The President needs prayer to alter his unnecessary hard-line stance. It’s all about religious freedom.

  • JByrne24

    Just a short “quickie” as this topic now seems out of steam: Yesterday, 28th June, we heard that the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the President’s health reforms are “not unconstitutional” and Obama sees these reforms going ahead as planned.

  • JessicaHof

    No, the honest position on Caesar is that the amount of evidence at our disposal is that we can be 100% certain he existed. We can’t prove it by your chosen method, which shows it is not the only one available; if you narrow your vision, you will see only what your blinkers allow.

    Now, where did I say that God knows when and how tsunamis wil happen, or that He can stop them? He has offered plenty of evidence that this is not how He works in the world; we don’t know why that is, but the evidence that He does not intervene in such matters in the normal course of events is plain; so plain, you think He doesn’t exist.

    My evidence, as I made clear last time, is the continuous experience of billions of Christians across two thousand years. As this fits into your narrow definition no more than does Caesar’s existence, you refuse to accept it as evidence, which simply shows how limited your methodology is. A methodology which dismisses the life experiences of billions and can, in public, say our only evidence is the NT, exposes only its limitations.

    On your methodology we’d have to conclude love didn’t exist, there’s no proof. Of course, to say that would be to be laughed out of court. Yet you do it with the religious experiences of myself and millions of others. If that makes you happy, I’d be surprised, if it develops your spiritual life, ditto. You remind me of a tone deaf man dismissing music because he has not the ear for it.

  • C_monsta

    As I quoted much earlier; “faith is pretending to know things that you don’t know”, which leads nicely to your claimed knowledge of God:
    You pick and choose what you want God to be responsible for, and what not, i.e. God is responsible for good things happening, but has no control over the bad (tsunamis etc.). God is the creator of the universe and lovely flowers, but had nothing to do with those horrible parasitic worms that burrow through human flesh – for instance. God is responsible for love and pretty rainbows, but not the day to day, extreme suffering of millions of children worldwide, today and all through human history.
    “My evidence, as I made clear last time, is the continuous experience of billions of Christians across two thousand years” – then you would dispute your own evidence, as you would dispute the exact same experiences of Muslims, for example.

  • paulsays

    I would argue that its middle, lower and even some higher income families that get a very raw deal out of US healthcare.

    After all the number one cause of bankruptcies in the US is actually do to healthcare costs, and even families that are very well off may well struggle with additional costs.

    Equally although medicaid does provide very good cover for the very poorest – it is often almost impossible to actually get any care do to state-by-state eligibilty criteria. So many very poor familes do not get coverage at all. The situation is so very bad that a charity founded to airdrop doctors and medicines into areas of the amazon rainforest – actaully decided its resources could be better used to give emergancy medical treatment to the poorest america citizens. Many insured, but with insurance that refuses to pay.

    Obama’s healthcare plan is far from perfect, but its purpose is to reduce costs and improve care. He has increased the reach of medicaid to cover more of the very poor, and has made it illegal for coverage to be refused to children, or those with pre-existing conditions.

    In the same way that you are legally obligued to buy car insurance for your car – you are now obliged to buy health insurance. This does reduce costs, as both the healthy and fit, and the old and ill are part of the scheme – this means that they high payouts to the ill and old are balanced by the lack of payments to the healthy and young. Its the way that insurance works best. Futhermore such a system has precedent – in Switzerland a similar system of mandated private care is how healthcare works. 

    Essentially the plan is a Republican plan, full of Republican ideas – it is very close in similarity with the plan from The Heritage Foundation (a right-wing advocacy group), and equally very close to the healthcare Romney instituted in Massachusetts as governor (and was very popular).

    Elements that i believe much improve the plan – which take away power from the insurance companies, and improve competition – have been stripped from the health-bill. (such as a government ‘public’ insurance option).  However,Obama cannot be blamed for this – as it is the Republican Party (in bed with insurance lobbyists) that forced these out of the bill.

    Regardless, although the health bill is by no means perfect, it is certainly better than the status quo (what could be worse?), and opens the road to more change in the future.

    Remember that no president has ever reformed healthcare – simply that fact that Obama has shown that Democracy has the power to do so – is a step in the right direction, to get HMOs to work for the American people – rather than towards their giant profits.

  • JessicaHof

    As I said earlier, your reductionist approach to faith means you understand as much about it as a tone deaf man does about music or a colour blind one does about colour.Billions of people have had religious experiences, you dismiss all this as pretence, in much the way as the tone deaf dismiss music as noise.
    The version of God you claim I believe in is, I am afraid, yet another construct of your limited imagination. God created us and He created the world; what we make of it, for good or ill is our business. You seem to have the usual crude atheist opinion that Christians believe the parody you’ve offered. If you would do even a little work of your own on finding out what Chrisitans believe, you would appear far less foolish when you post here.

  • C_monsta

    “Billions of people have had religious experiences, you dismiss all this as pretence” I would say they were deluded, rather than pretending, as I assume you do about the millions of Muslims who have the same relationship with God as you believe you have. How much do you need to know about Islam to know they are wrong – or any other religion for that matter??
    “He created the world; what we make of it, for good or ill is our business” – what influence can we have on natural disasters, the barbaric nature of the animal world or congenital disorders, for instance? It’s what we make of them? It is not a crude atheist opinion that you pick and choose what God is responsible for (the good things) and what he is not (bad things), it’s the truth – and I notice that you do not deny this, but avoid the issue by accusing me of ignorance of the details of the Christian faith. As with you and Islam, I don’t need to know the details to know it is mistaken.

  • JessicaHof

    Thank you for confirming that you do indeed dismiss the experiences of billions of people. Why do you expect such people to pay any heed to your experiences if you can’t even try to reciprocate?

    Your prejudices once again betray you, I am afraid. I do not think billions of Muslims deluded. I take the view which the Catholic Church takes – and I will leave you do some homework, as self-education is often the most effective way of learning.
    I have not said that God is responsible for the good things and not for the bad, and your repeating it for at least the third time does not make it so. I have, and do deny holding or expressing any such crude nonsense; examine our posts and see who has been writing this.

    Yet another prejudice about myself and my attirude to Islam. I happen to have two very good friends who are converts to Islam, I often discuss their faith with them, and it is because I have studied and discussed it that I do not hold the crude caricature you mistakenly attribute to me.

    Have you actually ever read a Christian book on the Faith? I ask because your attitudes come straight from atheism 101 – or 101 things which people who know nothing about Christianity think Christians believe.

  • C_monsta

    I don’t dismiss their experiences, but believe they are experiencing deluded fantasies –as you must also about your Muslim friends’ relationships with God. Do you tell them how you believe the Koran is a bogus invention, as that is what you believe, is it not? (or is that yet another of the things people erroneously think Christians believe).
    So, either you believe the Koran is the word of God, and so Muslims are not deluded, or you are not being honest with me. Which is it?

  • JessicaHof

    If saying someone is deluded and having fantasies is not your idea of being dismissive, I’d hate to hear you when you were trying to be dismissive :)

    Seriously though, no, I don’t dismiss what my friends tell me, or think they are deluded. You seem to be seeing things in extraordinarily black and white terms, so yes, I am afraid it is another error on your part to think that all Christians simply dismiss the Koran.

    Muslims believe, on their experience, that the Koran is the revealed word of God. I think they are mistaken, and I have a set of reasons why I think that, which I share with my friends. They share their views with me. We explore why we think what we do – we don;t go about dismissing the experiences of others as a fantasy and a delusion. How do you know that you are not deluded thinking there is no God? You might, for all you know, be like a deaf man in a concert hall wondering why everyone seemed to be looking at the stage.

  • C_monsta

    I don’t disagree that I might be deluded on many issues, as I certainly have been before. How about you? Saying I think Muslims are deluded is my honest opinion. What’s the point in blurring that opinion with disingenuous waffle?
    You agree that the Koran is merely a bogus book, pretending to be the word of God, but then say you don’t dismiss it as such. If you believe Muslims are mistaken on the authenticity of the Koran, then you believe they are deluded – why are you being so disingenuous (which is a polite way of saying it)?

  • JessicaHof

    There you go again. Anyone seeing any shade of grey in your black and white world is uttering ‘disingenuous waffle’; I guess you don’t think that is dismissing wide ranges of philosophy, religion, art history and theology, either. I hate to break it to you, but am going to have to, there are many shades of grey in real life.
    No, I don’t agree that the Koran is ‘merely a bogus book’, and that would be why I don’t dismiss it as such.
    I believe that their Prophet did indeed have visions, and that what he records in the Koran is what the visions told him to record. Did he correctly understand them? Did those who recorded them do so accurately (we have no actual original texts of the Koran), and did they understand what they read?
    There is a whole host of options before being rude and dismissing people’s beliefs as deluded. Admittedly, this means you have to do some work and try to understand why others believe and what it is they believe. This is much harder than simply uttering one’s prejudices, and probably less fun for some people. it is, however, intellectually more profitable.

  • C_monsta

    It seems I need to be even more black and white for you to admit your dishonesty:
    You do not believe the Koran to be the word of God do you? You say that you do not. So it follows that you believe Muslims are deluded for believing that it is. This is not my prejudices, but the truth of the matter.

  • JessicaHof

    It seems I need to be even more patient with your rudeness to help you through your difficulties; so be it.
    I do not believe the Koran is the word of God; why does it follow from that that I believe Muslims are deluded? I could believe them simply mistaken; I could believe that the Koran has not been properly recorded and that it contains much that is the word of God, but not the fullness of God’s truth; or I could believe that Muslims are sincerely mistaken and have got hold of the wrong end of the stick; and then again, if I were a rude person, I could call them deluded and say they believed in a sky fairy.

    Options 1-3 make me a rational human being with a genuine intellectual interest in discovering what other people believe; option 4 makes me an ignorant yahoo.

  • C_monsta

    “I do not believe the Koran is the word of God; why does it follow from that that I believe Muslims are deluded?”
    You believe Muslims are deluded because you believe they mistakenly think the Koran is the word of God, and spend their lives believing that and adhering to its instruction, and raising their children to do likewise.
    Do you know what the word ‘deluded’ means? If you choose a more polite, but less appropriate term it does not change the truth of the matter, which is the fact that you consider Muslims deluded.
    You are calling me ignorant for saying something that you believe but refuse to admit, and no amount of smoke screen waffling will get you away from this position.

  • JessicaHof

    Has it ever occurred to you to wonder why the English language is so rich? Has it ever occurred to you to ask why your use of it is so limited, and so often to rather crude expressions of it? When you ponder these questions, and assuming you can actually come up with the answer, you’ll see why I think you are ignorant. If you can’t do that, I am sorry to say that is evidence of your ignorance.
    I made my meaning perfectly plain last time. I am sorry your elementary understanding of the richness of the English language allows you no access to my meaning, but I ceased educating primary school pupils last year, and don’t want to start again with you.

  • C_monsta

    Well I suppose I’m prompted to say that I’m glad you weren’t educating my kids.

    You accuse me of being rude while barraging me with such unwarranted insults.
    As for the use of English:
    if I happened to see a bird fly across my view and recognise it as a pigeon, when in fact it was actually a cuckoo, I would be mistaken. If however, I was raised to believe the Koran was the word of God and so lived my life by its laws and teachings, believing that a better understanding of the Koran brought me closer to God, I would be deluded. How can you possibly deny this? Insulting me will not make it any less true.

  • JessicaHof

    If you insult me, as you have been doing, don’t whine when I make comments about you; if you don’t want to take it, don’t dish it out and then cry.

    If ‘deluded’ meant the same as ‘mistaken’, no one would have bothered to invent a second word for the same concept. I do not think that people who are mistaken are necessarily deluded, and that is because I believe one should use words with care.

  • C_monsta

    Don’t you think there is a difference between blatant and contrived insults, and offending someone with sincerely held opinion? But I’m not bothered about your insults for their intended offence, but because you use them as a counter to being honest with me.
    I just gave you an example of why ‘deluded’ is a much more appropriate word to use when referring to your position on Muslims, but again, your patronising sympathy towards them doesn’t negate your dishonesty.

  • JessicaHof

    You insist in calling me dishonest and then complain when I tell you that to think that deluded and mistaken are necessarily synonyms is a sign of an incomplete grasp of the complexity of the English language. Then you do it again. If you are trying to prove my point, you have done so already.

  • C_monsta

    From your position as a Christian, and my position as a fellow non believer in the Muslim God, if someone tells us that they have a personal relationship with the Allah of the Koran, ‘mistaken’ would not be the most appropriate term to use when describing these beliefs. This, as I’m sure you are already well aware, is the point I’ve been trying to get across to you.

  • JessicaHof

    And the point I have been trying to get across to you is that I think it is. Perhaps you do not have daily contact with Muslims, or perhaps you have no dear friends who are Muslims, or perhaps you really think it appropriate to write things you would not say to the faces of such people. Perhaps, even, you would really be that rude. I cannot answer for you, your manners or your attitudes, only for myself. And I disdain to write what I would not say. I wrote what I have often said to two friends, and what they have said to me.

  • C_monsta

    If someone has been indoctrinated since birth to live their lives under the instruction of a false god, I think that is quite a terrible thing to happen to them. If you do not feel this is worth acting against, then it would follow that you dismiss their right to freedom for your own self interest.

  • JessicaHof

    If you look again,you will see that I have written that I often discuss these matters with my friends and seek to persuade them. I should not even get to do that were I to treat them as though they were ‘deluded’. To proceed from that place would be to render myself helpless with regard to this.

  • C_monsta

    And how shallow your relationship with your Muslim friends must be. You each consider the other’s religion to be a false and their relationship with their Gods to be imaginary, but avoid discussing these issues? These are not minor issues, but fundamental to the ways you live your lives and experience life. But you enjoy discussing the experience of religion and faith in God with Muslims because you share the same experiences.
    Again: To be raised with the indoctrination to believe that the Koran is the word of God – a God who monitors your every thought and deed, and you must pray and worship that God daily and obey his laws, and believe that he awaits you after your death to judge you – to say this is merely a case of being ‘mistaken’ would be a blatant lie by anyone with a basic understanding of the English language, as obviously you must be aware.

  • JessicaHof

    Does your judgemental attitude exist in real life too, or do you reserve it for these threads? Fortunately my girl-friends and I do not take such a shallow attitude to faith or to our relationships.
    Had you been paying more attention and doing less judging, you’d recall that I wrote that my friends are converts, so your comments about being raised with ‘indoctrination’ are as wide of the mark as your facile comments about our relationships.
    I am often amused at how people who know nothing about a situation feel able to pronounce about it with such supreme confidence.
    I don’t really think you understand anything about the Christian God if you think He is as you describe Him. He is love, and He wants us to come to Him through that love – your own conception appears to be based on goodness knows what. If you want to know more, do visit my blog here:
    http://jessicahof.wordpress.com/

  • C_monsta

    I don’t remember you mentioning that your Muslim friends are converts, but I can simply edit my statement to fit, like so:
    In a world full of knowledge and information, your friends, as adults, chose to commit to believing that the Koran (a ‘holy’ book that we both clearly recognise as a fabrication) is the word of God – a God who monitors your every thought and deed, and you must pray and worship that God daily and obey his laws, and believe that he awaits you after your death to judge you – to say this is merely a case of being ‘mistaken’ would be a blatant lie by anyone with a basic understanding of the English language, as obviously you must be aware.
    Now you can divert attention by calling me ignorant, shallow, rude or whatever, but ultimately your refusal to concede on this is simply dishonest.

  • JessicaHof

    The shallowness of your understanding is not an insult, it is an attempt to help you realise how very superficial your understanding of God is. We are told that ‘God is love’. That word, that concept is totally missing from your thumb-nail sketch. The God you trace out sounds like a guard in a 24/7/365 maximum security prison. Where do you get the odd notion that God monitors our every thought and deed from? Where do you get the idea that we ‘must’ pray to God every day? Which part of free-will do you begin to understand?
    Have you ever actually read any Christian books on the Faith? I ask because your comments read like those made by someone who has the most cursory acquaintanceship with the richness of Christian thought.
    That you fail to understand very much about the Christian Faith is what makes you imagine that things I say which you don’t get to first base on are ‘dishonest’. What is ‘dishonest’ is to come to a Christian website and not admit you don’t know what you are talking about. In my book that is called ‘ignorance’. If you are not ignorant of the Faith, you have shown no proof of that.
    I did, indeed, mention that my friends were converts. You again, in worst reductionist mode, go for the pejorative ‘fabrication’ as a description of the Koran. If you think that that is a good starting place for dialogue with a Muslim, I revert to my earlier point, you either have no Muslim friends or have never tried to talk with a Muslim about her faith.
    You remind me, I am afraid, of the worst sort of Fundamentalist: your way or the highway; reductionist rhetoric, all combined with no understanding of what it is you are actually writing about.
    If my purpose in talking with my girl-friends is to convince them of the error of my ways, how far do you suppose I’d get using your techniques?

  • C_monsta

    “If you think that that is a good starting place for dialogue with a Muslim” – I don’t, as they would probably get angry, but you are a Christian aren’t you? Did I say that Christians had to pray every day? No, as I was talking about Muslims, but oddly you apply this to yourself.
    If you agree that the Koran is not the word of God, as Muslims profess it to be, then it can only be a fabrication, even if it does contain elements of truth. What else can it be? I’m not suggesting you tell your friends that this is what you believe, but to deny you believe this is dishonest.
    “Where do you get the odd notion that God monitors our every thought and deed from?” Again, I was clearly talking about Allah, not you and your God . How can Allah make the judgements if he has not been monitoring the thoughts and deeds of the individual?
    I think you need to learn to tell the difference between reductionism and editing out the waffle and fudge.

  • JessicaHof

    You ask in your last post: ‘Did I say that Christians had to pray every day?’. In your previous post you wrote: ‘ you must pray and worship that God daily’. That could be where I got the idea. Where did you get the idea you had not written it?

    You continue with your reductionism, despite the fact that by now it must be clear that it is both unappealing and appallingly crude as a method of thinking about faith?

    Your view seems to be that if it is not’x’ then it must be ‘y’, and that anyone who does not think in such crude terms is dishonest. My view is that if it is not ‘x’, it might be ‘y’, but it might equally be ‘x+1′ or ‘y+1′, or even ‘z’, and that anyone who cannot envisage a range of answers and insists that anyone who can is ‘dishonest’ comes pretty close to being stupid.

    I think it would be useful if you told us all, on the nth time of asking, whether you have actually read any Christian books on the faith, as it is clear from your caricature of Allah that you’ve read no Muslim ones.
    I think you need to learn to tell the difference between an ill-informed prejudice of your own and an argument based on study and knowledge.

  • C_monsta

    Try reading the line in context:
    “In a world full of knowledge and information, your friends, as adults, chose to commit to believing that the Koran (a ‘holy’ book that we both clearly recognise as a fabrication) is the word of God – a God who monitors your every thought and deed, and you must pray and worship that God daily and obey his laws, and believe that he awaits you after your death to judge you – to say this is merely a case of being ‘mistaken’ would be a blatant lie by anyone with a basic understanding of the English language.”
    Clearly “you must pray and worship that God daily” refers to the Muslims.
    As for my appallingly crude reductionism, I am simply saying that if you believe that the Koran is not the word of God as Muslims, and the book itself, professes to be, then however you think this state of affairs might have arisen, you have to believe the book to be a fabrication by the very definition of the word. Even if have a numerous, varied opinions on the Koran, it doesn’t change the fact that it is fabricated.
    since you ask, I did once read a book about faith before my C of E confirmation at the age of 15 – and I went to a Catholic junior school. I now work in West London with colleagues of many different faiths and backgrounds – some are African Christians who believe in Adam and Eve and reject the fact that we evolved from apes, and think homosexuals are evil. There is also much passionate homophobia and sexism amongst people of other faiths, which I tend not to tackle.

  • JessicaHof

    Thanks for clarifying; I clearly misread what you said as applying to the Christian God. However, from my own reading of the Koran, and from talking to my friends, I remain unconvinced that your description of Allah the all-merciful applies to him either; are you sure you are not projecting your own views here?

    I am not sure that I do believe anything as simple as you do. Parts of it do seem to me to incorporate genuine insights into the will of God, which is hardly surprising, considering the milieu in which it was written. There are considerable elements of Docetic and Nestorian theology in it, and whilst both these are considered as heresies by the Church, neither of them is entirely devoid of insight. It is for this sort of reason that I cannot find myself with a simplistic idea that it is not, in some respects, the word of God.

    ‘Fabricated’, to me implies something done with deliberate attempt to deceive. I lack your insight into Mohammed’s motives. Is ‘deluded’ a synonym for ‘fabrication’ in your lexicon? That Mohammed claims to have had visions is plain, and that he did not have them is not clear. So, what was going on? The honest answer for me is that I don’t know. The even more honest one is that since I don’t know, and that since millions of people find the Koran a source of inspiration, and since Islam has given rise to some great civilizations, to dismiss it as being based on ‘deluded’ ‘fabrications’ is a tad reductionist as a way of describing it.

    It really does help if one reads more than one book, even at 15. I have no doubt that many people with a faith, and without one, suffer from homophobia and racism, even as I have no doubt there are many people of faith and without who suffer from neither.

  • C_monsta

    The ancient Egyptians also created great civilisations, but does that mean that Osiris and Anubis are any more real because of it? From the way you appear to think, I suppose you would say it did.
    The Koran is not the description of some vague vision or hallucination, but direct, precise statements and instructions by Allah the all-merciful (not the most accurate label is it?). At some point in history these specific quotes were being made by someone who was either deceitful or deluded. Can you think of an alternative?

  • JessicaHof

    But we are not talking about ancient Egypt, and I have no conversations with friends who believe in Osiris and company. But if I did, I hope that I would have more respect for them than to imagine they were silly enough to believe some delusion or fabrication.

    You say the Koran was ‘being made up’. That is one possibility. Another is that Mohammed had real visions and that he thought they were from God. A third is that he put together material some of which was from Christian sources, and therefore is the word of God, and some is not.

    I don’t find mono causal explanations especially convincing, or particularly useful.

  • C_monsta

    You know very well that my reference to the ancient Egyptians was to show that those who believe in imaginary Gods are quite capable of creating civilisations. We both know that they did believe in imaginary Gods, and obviously they can’t have all been silly, could they?
    “You say the Koran was ‘being made up’. That is one possibility” – which is deceitful
    “Another is that Mohammed had real visions and that he thought they were from God.” – which is delusionary (psychotic)
    “A third is that he put together material some of which was from Christian sources, and therefore is the word of God, and some is not.” – this again is deceitful, as it is mainly ‘made up’ while claiming to be the word of God.

  • JessicaHof

    Deceit speaks to motive, surely? On the whole it is best not to assume bad motives unless one has evidence. Do you have such evidence?

  • C_monsta

    Astonishing!
    So, even if Mohammed was trying to help his people by inventing fake instructions from God, that would not be deceitful? Pretending to be God??? What more evidence do I need? It’s all there!

  • JessicaHof

    Your proof that he was faking it would be what? Before you can accuse someone of deceit you need evidence – or don’t you?

  • C_monsta

    Well, if he wasn’t faking that means you ought to convert to Islam right away! So what is it to be?

  • JessicaHof

    What is to be done is to enquire into his thinking and teaching, and to see, as I have, whether it seems to complete the revelation which God began with Abraham. In my opinion it does not. My opinion is not, whoever, grounds to accuse someone of being deluded or fabricating things. Do you not see that your black and white method is, yet again, shown to be unfit for purpose?

  • C_monsta

    We’ve been through this already. It’s not your opinion, as you know the Catholic church is right and therefore Islam is wrong. It is black and white according to the Catholic church, even if islam does contain some “truths” (what doesn’t?)

  • JessicaHof

    I think if you examine what the Church says here: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10424a.htm and here: http://www.sierraf.org/articles/Renard.pdf, you will see that black and white are not the only colours.

  • C_monsta

    Sorry, but I have to say that was a tedious heap of apologetic waffle. If the Church thought that the Koran was valid it would follow God’s/Allah’s instructructions therein.

  • JessicaHof

    Alas for you, no one died and made you either Pope or head of the CDF, and the Church, unlike you, can think in terms of intelligent dialogue. This one will really baffle you:
    http://www.tabahfoundation.org/research/pdfs/Tabah_Research_papers_en_002.pdf

  • C_monsta

    Yes it does baffle me as to how these folk summon up the energy to devote to a project such as that. This camaraderie of opposing faiths does seem a little desperate – it’s a good job that the Osiris and his friends aren’t still being worshipped!
    It seems that as reasoned thinking continues to debunk more and more of these supernatural fantasies, the stubborn theists wallow deeper in this faux intellectual mire.

  • C_monsta

    Yes it does baffle me as to how these folk summon up the energy to devote to a project such as that. This camaraderie of opposing faiths does seem a little desperate – it’s a good job that the Osiris and his friends aren’t still being worshipped!
    It seems that as reasoned thinking continues to debunk more and more of these supernatural fantasies, the stubborn theists wallow deeper in this faux intellectual mire.

  • JessicaHof

    Does that mean you can’t cope with the fact that religious people can construct arguments you can’t cope with? That is the usual meaning when atheists are confronted with evidence that religious people actually think rather more seriously than themselves. Dimply dismissing something as faux is usually a sign that one is a little faux oneself. If you have an actual argument lurking, do feel free to use it. Do remember, black and white are not the only colours, even if they seem to be the only ones on your palette.

  • JessicaHof

    Hate to break this to you, there is a very easy way to ensure one does not have a child which does not involve placing chemicals into a woman’s body, or using other artificial means. It is one which seems unknown to some people – it is called self-control.

  • JessicaHof

    I am unclear what your objections are, except you don’t understand. Do often atheists like to pose as though they are brighter than Christians. When confronted with evidence that Christians do a lot of thinking, they often can’t cope. If you have some objections, fell free to share them, but if it faux smart simply to dismiss something out of hand like that.

  • JessicaHof

    Do you have any reasoned thinking to contribute, or is your personal and unsupported opinion sufficient?

  • C_monsta

    Do you think this message came from God?: “Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand”
    No. So your belief supports my opinion.