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Pope prays for victims of Norway massacre

By on Monday, 25 July 2011

A man prays near to flowers and candles in tribute to victims of the attacks (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

A man prays near to flowers and candles in tribute to victims of the attacks (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Pope Benedict XVI has offered his prayers and condolences to the families of the victims who died in Norway’s devastating terror attacks.

Anders Behring Breivik has admitted to carrying out a bombing in Norway’s capital Oslo and then committing a massacre at a youth camp, killing at least 93 people, many of whom children.

Pope Benedict referred to his “profound” sadness at the devastating loss off life and “senseless violence” committed in Norway on Friday. He sent a message of condolence to King Harald V of Norway, offering “fervent prayers for the victims and their families”, and hoping that “Norwegians would be spiritually united during their national grief in a determined resolve to reject the ways of hatred and conflict”.

Bishop Bernt Ivar Eidsvig of Oslo, meanwhile, said the massacre had “affected every one of us”.

He told Vatican Radio: “Despite political difference or other differences, this is a tragedy. We do not know anything like it in our history, that 100 people are killed in cold blood. So it is creating unity, and in spite of the grief, also strength.”

He said that in Catholic churches yesterday Requiem was celebrated, and prayers for the dead and mourning were said.

The bishop said that ideology was “not sufficient to explain” the massacre, saying: “In all countries, there are disturbed and misled persons. I am quite sure he is one of them.”

Members of the Catholic clergy in England and Wales have also expressed their shock and sadness.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster expressed his condolences to the people of Norway yesterday on the feast of the Scandinavian patron of Europe, St Bridget of Sweden.

The archbishop said: “My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Norway, especially those who have lost their lives, the injured and their loved ones.

“May God grant a merciful welcome into heaven for those who have died and grant strength and faith to those who are mourning and injured.”

He added: “I pray, too, that the people of Norway with be strong in the solidarity they show and resolute in their peaceful resistance to all violence.”

Yesterday Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham said: “I share the profound sense of shock and sadness felt by so many at the tragic and violent death of the young people in Norway and of those who lost their lives or were injured in Oslo.

“I pray especially for the families of those who have died and for all those who must comfort and support them at this time.” Archbishop Longley said that through such terrible events we are reminded of the “constant need to value and cherish the life of every individual because life is God’s gift”.

  • daniel

    Oslo is such a beautiful, peaceful city with friendly people. How could this have happened?
    My prayers are with the people of Norway and especially the bereaved.
    May God bless you all.

  • Brian A Cook

    I have made efforts to warn Catholics about right-wing extremism.  Now right-wing extremism is definitely staring at us in the face.  Yes, there are reports that the killer is a Mason.  Still, the bottom line is that he was motivated by extreme nationalist and anti-liberal ideas.  He viewed himself as fighting multiculturalism and “Cultural Marxism”on behalf of traditional European civilization.  Ultimately, though, we should pray for justice for the killer and healing for everyone he ruined.

  • Anonymous

    “In all countries, there are disturbed and misled persons”.

    Whatever the causes of irrationality within an individual, just how is prayer supposed to help?

    Religious indoctrination instils irrationality. Portraying religious faith as a virtue glorifies irrationality. Public prayer is a demonstration of irrationality that helps to sustain the idea that prayer is normal, not insane, behaviour…

    Do you think that irrationality in no way pushes some susceptible individuals to commit extreme acts (with possible knock-on effects)?

    There is no overriding advantage to irrationality. The overall cost to society (and, possibly, to life on earth) is not worth it. If you want to help, then do not contribute to it. Instead of praying, do something useful.

  • Anncouper-johnston

    That is why the Church teaches us the importance of Faith AND Reason.

  • Anonymous

    The Church does not properly teach the importance of reason. To magnanimously concede that reason is important is not the same as conveying the essence of reason. Not only does the Church not convey this essence, it goes out of its way to hide it, to discredit it, to obfuscate, to accuse reasoners of arrogance, even to suggest that reason is just another faith position on par with religious faith. That is how religion survives. The damage this causes is immense. (The victims include members of the Church.)

    Suppose you were the teacher of a child whose parents had convinced him that two plus two make five. You bring two pairs of sticks together and ask him to count them, and he thinks that you’ve hidden the fifth stick. You would not (I hope) dismiss his belief as just another valid world view. Neither would you compromise (that ‘reasonable’ sounding word) and agree the sum is four and a half, or can be anywhere between four and five. Not only is it not important that the child be allowed to continue with his belief, it is important try to dispel his delusion. It is not just a matter of what two plus two makes, but of all the other bending of reality that he would find necessary, and all the arguments he might have with others. This example is contrived, but I hope that you can see the parallel with other delusions.

  • ms catholic state

    The world will always be in a serious and perilous state without prayer.  As Faith and prayer have diminished in the 20th century….evil has risen like never before!  Faith is a virtue….and encourages a true and rational understanding of the world….for all reason tells us there is a God.

    Atheism causes extreme acts of violence ….as atheism knows no moral code.  Mind you…atheists do have a Bill of Rights….but no moral code.  That tells you all you need to know about atheism/secularism etc.

  • Anonymous

    I see you have still not followed up the links concerning critical thinking and fallacies that I recommended to you on another thread.

    “The world will always be in a serious and perilous state without prayer.”

    Maybe, but with prayer, the world is likely to be in an even worse state because of the number of people praying instead of doing something useful.

    “As Faith and prayer have diminished in the 20th century….evil has risen like never before!”

    Your assertion about evil rising may or may not be true – it depends on how you define and measure evil – but for the sake of argument, let us suppose that evil is rising. It is also true that the number of religious people in the world is rising (whatever proportion of the global population they might constitute), so I suppose that what you mean is that the average evil per capita is rising while the average faith and prayer per capita is falling. It is difficult to attribute this correlation to your implied causation because of other things that have changed at the same time, but I would accept that if it can be shown why lack of faith/prayer might result in evil, then it must contribute to the cause of the correlation.

    “Faith is a virtue….and encourages a true and rational understanding of the world….for all reason tells us there is a God.”

    How can a close-minded determination to believe in something for which there is absolutely no evidence (and against which there may be contrary evidence) be more virtuous than having the patience to wait for evidence on which to base a judgement? (Note that if there was supporting evidence, then the belief would no longer be religious faith. If there was no supporting evidence but strong contrary evidence, then the belief would be far from virtuous. If innocents are harmed as a result of religious faith, then this is evil.) Religious faith discourages a true and rational understanding of the world because it blocks the process by which an understanding might be gained. The scientific method encourages understanding. The religious method (making stuff up) does not advance understanding one iota.

    “Atheism causes extreme acts of violence ….as atheism knows no moral code.”

    You might just as well say that flower arranging causes extreme acts of violence as it knows no moral code.

    “Mind you…atheists do have a Bill of Rights….but no moral code.”

    Atheists, just like all humans, have human rights. Whether or not they have a written moral code, there is no reason to conclude that they, as a group, are immoral. Humans are social animals, and some behaviour stems from that. Humans are generally intelligent and capable of reasoning about what is right and what is wrong. (Religious organisations attempt to instill irrationality, thereby impairing this ability. Some religions go further and attempt to instill hatred of those of other religions and of no religion, and demand adherence to an inflexible written code of behaviour that, in some situations, is completely inappropriate.)

    “That tells you all you need to know about atheism/secularism etc.”

    What a nasty insinuation! And what’s with the “/secularism”? Are you suggesting that secularists are ‘guilty’ because they allow atheists equality with religites? I have linked to the defintion of secularism in other threads, but it seems that you have not followed that link either.

  • In Our Times

    I have long since wondered TP, whether Ms CS is merely winding people up. But then again maybe not. I happened upon a blog recently, called Unam Sanctam Catholicam (protecting the goodness, truth & beauty of Catholicism)… http://unamsanctamcatholicam.blogspot.com/ whereby in all seriousness we see such nuggets as “is Gandhi in Hell?” and extensive “Saved Through Childbearing” extrapolation. Clearly aesthetics are subjective.

  • Anonymous

    What an obvious and juvenile troll. You have stated your opinion (“religion” is “irrational”), yet simply expect people to agree with you without providing a shred of reason, evidence, or even definition of basic terms.

    Your way of speaking suggests a certain deficit of rationality on your own part. You are simply repeating atheistic talking-points, aping the usual suspects Dawkins, et al. You are not saying anything original, interesting, or intelligent. I would suggest finding a more rewarding hobby than trolling Catholic web sites .

    By the way, it’s in pretty bad taste to judge people who are merely expressing sorrow and solidarity in the face of tragedy. I can’t even imagine the kind of twisted thinking that could criticize a simple act of kindness, but I’m not surprised seeing it associated with atheism.

  • Anonymous

    Utter nonsense.

  • Anonymous

    Well that’s one (1) right-wing European terrorist in recent memory. Meanwhile, there have been over 40 Muslim terrorist attacks in the past two weeks alone. (http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/index.html#Attacks ) Islam kills as many people as Breivik did every single month.

  • Anonymous

    You are correct that I omitted definitions of ‘religion’ and ‘irrationality’. I had hoped that, since my post concerned prayer, it would be clear enough that I was using ‘religion’ in the sense of practices that include prayer to deities. By ‘irrationality’ I meant the sort of thinking that reaches conclusions without deduction.

    All attempts to deduce that deities exist fail. Observe, for example, the lack of logic in the attempts to prove the existence of ‘God’ listed on the GCSE religious studies revision notes on the BBC website. Given the extraordinary characteristics attributed to God, the chances of the notion of God coinciding with reality must be pretty small (zero, in fact, if those characteristics contradict each other). It follows that praying to God is irrational, since the chances of a response are so small. The ineffectiveness of prayer has been borne out by experiment. In saying this, I am not saying that all those who pray do not have good intentions.

    It is true that I may not be saying anything original, interesting, or particularly intelligent. I say it, nevertheless, because the delusions persist. I would not mind if it was not for the harm caused by irrationality. This is not a hobby. I rarely enjoy writing comments as I am not good at it. Concern regarding global overpopulation, and anger at the way I have been ostracized (for decades) for not ‘getting’ religion, are probably my two greatest motivations. I realise that I may upset well-meaning people, but I regard the need for action regarding population levels and child abuse as urgent.

  • Anonymous

    That page lists extreme simplifications of arguments that are subtle and complex. If you are Sincerely interested, I would recommend this book: http://undpress.nd.edu/book/P00848 , this http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/B/bo3750671.html (a Jewish perspective) or this one: http://undpress.nd.edu/book/P01080

    Just to take one example (it’s late and I don’t really want to get into a huge discussion), the chances of human life existing without a God are very small. The chances of there being a God is not something you can calculate in a statistically rigorous way .  Statistics is a helpful type of applied mathematics but it can’t answer every question in life.

  • Anonymous

    I would have liked to have argued that the statistical approach is one that we all pragmatically use everyday regarding other conjectures (including the existence of other gods), but since you are not looking for a discussion, I will just say thank you for those book recommendations…

    The first one looks interesting, but I am put off by reviews that say it assumes materialism is a mythology. (This reminds me of books that assume God exists and then use this premise to argue that God exists.) Not worth risking $30, but I might look for a library copy.
    The reviews in the page you link to put me off the second one. They are meant to be positive reviews, but they reek of Theologese to me (“reveals truths”, etc.).
    Even more so the $55 third. For example “Ashley’s work brings to a close the late modern involvement of Thomism as ‘Neothomism’ by opening the way to a postmodern era for philosophy and intellectual culture as a whole, an era within which we may expect to see yet another epoch of Thomistic development”. Reginald of Piperno quotes Thomas Aquinas as saying “all that I have written seems like straw to me”. I would agree from what little I have read of Aquinas, and staw is the stereotypical foundation for a postmodernist treatment.

    I may seem too cautious, but when I have read from books on theology, I have always felt cheated afterwards. But I appreciate your bringing those to my attention.

    If you have 20 minutes to spare, I would recommend the RSA lecture video linked to here.

  • Aisake

    The prayers we offer to  God has known by Him and He has the answer. This is what Christian do as the Lord has show us the way that through His struggle, nervous and eagerness to die He pray to the Father for strength and courage to go beyond the suffering that is ahead of Him. He pray on the night of his last supper and He gave Peter the key to Heaven and it is through our prayers. We are many parts but we are all one body and the gifts we have,  we are given to share, One the Love that we share, one the Hope in despair, one the Cross that we bear, so we are all scatter around the world through prayer we are united and when one of the Body is suffering  we are all suffering but prayers will comfort us and refocus our lives To Let Go. My condolences are going to the victims family, may the Lord comfort them in their time of sorrow, disappointed,sadness, questionable and suffering and through your suffering may their consolation in heaven. May the Lord have mercy on the murderer and forgive him. God Bless. May the Lord whom they Love, whom they Trust may grant them a place to His Heavenly Kingdom    

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OTCKAYXC6V65WVJUPZFYCCUEUU Lee

    Just to let people know, this disaster is starting to turn into a political master-stroke of the highest order for the ruling party in Norway. Having studied Scandinavian politics and history, what we see now is a flip of theological paradigms of the ‘Religion and Faith’ and laying it on top of an idolatrous pseudo-religious memoria and full indoctrination towards the Arbeidersparti ( Norway’s Labour equivalent surprise surprise). Like in Sweden but not so much in Denmark, this party has been trying and succeeding in silencing opposition and forcing immigration, increase in welfare state and most of all, becoming closer to EU to which Norwegians have steadfastly refused to join.

     The local elections are due soon but campaigning for them has been suspended out of due respect for what has happened. This however gives the Arbeidersparti time to get its troops and ‘new’ members now to ‘rally around the flag’, a well known political term which President Emeritus G.W. Bush used to chilling effect after 9/11 causing untold damage to the America image. The same is happening in Norway with the ruling elite cashing in you could say to divert Norwegians attentions from all sorts of unpopular things which are turning a once balanced country into a near copy of Sweden which is a utopian and hedonistic mess.

    Lastly, those who keep saying ‘this is a far-right problem’ truly do not know about political ideology or the philosophy thereof. Most Nationalist’ parties to which the proper label belongs, have a large inertia towards right-wing ideologies like free trade, globalisation but have no problem with the welfare state, nationalization and other left wing platforms. The only reason people seem to go about shouting fascism equates right wing is because of a sleight of hand which occurred after WWII wherein Fascism as a source of ideas became irreprehensible to common sensibilities and anything associated with it, whether good or bad, would only be shot down. Thus it took a concerted effort to throw the attention of what was inherently fascist and apply to right wing ideas. Welfare state, mass surveillance, highly centralised state: all left wing ideas. A book by Jonah Goldberg Liberal Fascism and the key book by Roger Griffin: Fascism are both perfect reads

    Lastly, May our prayers be out to those who died who have been caught up in a seriously frustrated person’s quest . May The Lord hear our prayers with the chorus of heaven always. Pax Vobiscum.P.S. Sorry for taking this space up with this but I felt it was prudent to do so.

  • Anonymous

    Even if you are not a believer, there is more in prayer than simply what you would think irrational behaviour.

    As a mechanism to express one’s grief, and as a way of bringing a hurt community together.

    These are the human (not spiritual) benefits to prayer, and I see only help, and very little damage in the practise – either speaking from a humanist or Christian standpoint.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I agree to some extent. I wish that alternative mechanisms for fulfilling those needs were more popular; mechanisms that did not have the supernatural baggage. Such alternatives are not going to be promoted by religious organisations keen to refresh belief in the supernatural as frequently as possible.

    It is true that there is little damage when the average adult worshipper prays. But when I read “Pope Benedict XVI has offered his prayers and condolences to the families of the victims who died in Norway’s devastating terror attacks“, my understanding is that the Pope, who seems to lack real compassion, is trying to maintain the momentum of irrational thinking in the interests of the Church even when the catastrophic results of irrational thought have just been so horribly demonstrated. We are encouraged to think that prayer, suggestions that loved ones are in heaven, etc. are proper. Such encouragement is sinister.

    Breivik claims to believe in God and an afterlife, and believed what he planned was just. With the flexibility of irrationality, some people seriously believe that some of worst verses in the Old Testament (such as Deuteronomy 7:2) are justified. I am not saying that religion is necessary for such insanity, but it can contribute.

  • Anonymous

    I fail to see how you come to the assumption that the Pope lacks real compassion? He is expressing his compassion for the victims of the attack, and promising to pray for the families.

    That you don’t believe in the effectiveness of prayer does not mean that we have reason to question his motives. Are you referring to another reason for questioning his compassion towards the Norwegan people?

    I would argue with your assurtion that it is ‘irrationality’ (in terms of supernatural belief), that has lead to tradgedy. Surely that is a giant leap to take.
    I believe many problems come to the fore in Breivik’s mind before we look to religion.

    Right wing militancy, racism, nazism, mental disorder, all are much more important.

    A religious element may have been the catalist that may have helped in rationalise parts of this man’s twisted ideolody – but would find very little in common with the beliefs (which is separate from the Bible text itself) of the average Christian.

  • Anonymous

    I fail to see how someone who, by his ‘off-stage’ actions, condones child abuse (physical, sexual, intellectual, and psychological), condones the abuse of women (the stealing of their children, the encouragement to have too many children, the favouring of the foetus over the life of the mother, etc.), and the denigration of non-Catholics (especially people like me whom he compares to Nazis) can have much compassion. His ‘show’ of condolence not only has the advantage of presenting a front that seems compassionate, but is also an opportunity to continue the lifelong process of subtle reinforcement of religion. I suspect the Pope knows that prayer is not effective, but he also thinks that he must continue to lie for what he perceives is the good of the Church. The Cloyne report shows just how comfortable the Vatican is with lying.

    I was not equating irrationality with supernatural belief, only citing supernatural belief as one anchor for irrationality. For all I know, Breivik’s actions may have been entirely due to mental disorder. That does not excuse the deliberate instillation of irrational thought by religious indoctrination, nor attempts to mainain that irrationality.

    Breivik is not a Christian by any definition of the term, and I am not aware that he claims to be, so I am not sure why you refer to the ‘average Christian’. But his claim to believe in God must have a root.

  • AnAnonymousCoward

    Yes, instead be like Che Guevara, Pol Pot, Lawrenti Beria and other practical rational thinkers. You are so right except that science is starting to disprove this thing called ‘rationality’.

  • AnAnonymousCoward

    Please show me using the scientific method, that the scientific method is the only way to know anything for sure.

     I suggest visiting this site and reading of the posts, to help your understanding of the fallacies of the philosophical positions of scientism and materialsm: edwardfeser.blogspot.com

  • AnAnonymousCoward

    But you are an atheist and irrational in asserting scientism. You refute your own position. If religion makes people irrational, so does atheism. Besides didn’t you get the memo, it’s the era of post modernism and a time when free will has been found not to exist. We are even starting to doubt that rationalism even exists.

  • AnAnonymousCoward

    Fail on your argument. Arithmetic follows from the necessary truths of Peano’s Axioms.
    http://mathworld.wolfram.com/PeanosAxioms.html

  • AnAnonymousCoward

    But Timothy McVeigh did not believe in God and he killed more people…. oh boy.
    And the Commies killed as many as 100 million people, they had no belief in supernatural and were all rational thinkers. Besides Breivik doubted God exists and could be seen as an agnostic not a die-hard believer.

  • AnAnonymousCoward

    Here’s some more nuggets for ya:
    http://funnyatheists.wordpress.com/

    Enjoy :)

  • AnAnonymousCoward

    Aquinas is difficult to grasp. Don’t worry if you fail initially. Go to the Edwardfeser.blogspot.com site.

  • AnAnonymousCoward

    Don’t forget atheists such as the the Finnish school shooter, Timothy McVeigh and Columbine Killers in America.

  • AnAnonymousCoward

    I had an atheist PhD explain to me the basis of natural atheist morality.

    You see we’re moral because we want to avoid discomfort. We know that unhappy others may target us with their issues (directly or indirectly). Hence we are moral by keeping people happy when interacting with them to avoid conflict with them. Now it doesn’t matter how you do that, but as long as you keep up the appearances of being good and kind, and keep them happy in their relationship with you, they will not bother you negatively. So an atheist may feel genuine positive feelings for another person and make them feel happy, but failing that he needs to pretend to have genuine positive feelings for the other person. We in turn never know if the atheist is sincere or just putting on a show.

    Besides this fails when issues of resources and hierarchy come in play for there is no reason to even pretend to be nice to people below you if doing so costs you too much. Utilitarianism all the way.

    There is a cute review by PZ Myer’s daughter of Sam Harris book The Moral Landscape which is also funny to read.

  • Anonymous

    McVeigh identified himself as a Christian according to the article linked to here. The impression I get from Breivik’s ‘manifesto’ is that his support for Christendom (and not atheism) implies belief in God. But even if neither of them believed in God, it would not have affected my basic argument. If they were touched at all by the lunacy typically woven into a child’s upbringing, or even just denied tuition in how to think rationally, then that may have contributed to later irrational actions.

    Your statement that ‘Commies’ were all rational thinkers is unsupportable.

  • Religion is Stupidity

    Atheism knows no moral code you son of a bitch ?
    You say you get your morals from the bible?
    Ok then, I can’t possibly state ALL of you morals, so I’ll just be lazy and copy and paste this wonderful article:
    **** ****YOU ask me what I would “substitute for the Bible as a moral guide.”I know that many people regard the Bible as the only moral guide and believe that in that book only can be found the true and perfect standard of morality.There are many good precepts, many wise sayings and many good regulations and laws in the Bible, and these are mingled with bad precepts, with foolish sayings, with absurd rules and cruel laws.But we must remember that the Bible is a collection of many books written centuries apart, and that it in part represents the growth and tells in part the history of a people. We must also remember. that the writers treat of many subjects. Many of these writers have nothing to say about right or wrong, about vice or virtue.The book of Genesis has nothing about morality. There is not a line in it calculated to shed light on the path of conduct. No one can call that book a moral guide. It is made up of myth and miracle, of tradition and legend.In Exodus we have an account of the manner in which Jehovah delivered the Jews from Egyptian bondage.We now know that the Jews were never enslaved by the Egyptians; that the entire story is a fiction. We know this, because there is not found in Hebrew a word of Egyptian origin, and there is not found in the language of the Egyptians a word of Hebrew origin. This being so, we know that the Hebrews and Egyptians could not have lived together for hundreds of years.Certainly Exodus was not written to teach morality. In that book you cannot find one word against human slavery. As a matter of fact, Jehovah was a believer in that institution.The killing of cattle with disease and hail, the murder of the first-born, so that in every house was death, because the king refused to let the Hebrews go, certainly was not moral; it was fiendish. The writer of that book regarded all the people of Egypt, their children, their flocks and herds, as the property of Pharaoh, and these people and these cattle were killed, not because they had done anything wrong, but simply for the purpose of punishing the king. Is it possible to get any morality out of this history?All the laws found in Exodus, including the Ten Commandments, so far as they are really good and sensible, were at that time in force among all the peoples of the world.Murder is, and always was, a crime, and always will be, as long as a majority of people object to being murdered.Industry always has been and always will be the enemy of larceny.The nature of man is such that he admires the teller of truth and despises the liar. Among all tribes, among all people, truth- telling has been considered a virtue and false swearing or false speaking a vice.The love of parents for children is natural, and this love is found among all the animals that live. So the love of children for parents is natural, and was not and cannot be created by law. Love does not spring from a sense of duty, nor does it bow in obedience to commands.So men and women are not virtuous because of anything in books or creeds.All the Ten Commandments that are good were old, were the result of experience. The commandments that were original with Jehovah were foolish.The worship of “any other God” could not have been worse than the worship of Jehovah, and nothing could have been more absurd than the sacredness of the Sabbath.If commandments had been given against slavery and polygamy, against wars of invasion and extermination, against religious persecution in all its forms, so that the world could be free, so that the brain might be developed and the heart civilized, then we might, with propriety, call such commandments a moral guide.Before we can truthfully say that the Ten Commandments constitute a moral guide, we must add and subtract. We must throw away some, and write others in their places.The commandments that have a known application here, in this world, and treat of human obligations are good, the others have no basis in fact, or experience.Many of the regulations found in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, are good. Many are absurd and cruel.The entire ceremonial of worship is insane.Most of the punishment for violations of laws are unphilosophic and brutal. . . . The fact is that the Pentateuch upholds nearly all crimes, and to call it a moral guide is as absurd as to say that it is merciful or true.Nothing of a moral nature can be found in Joshua or Judges. These books are filled with crimes, with massacres and murders. They are about the same as the real history of the Apache Indians.The story of Ruth is not particularly moral.In first and second Samuel there is not one word calculated to develop the brain or conscience.Jehovah murdered seventy thousand Jews because David took a census of the people. David, according to the account, was the guilty one, but only the innocent were killed.In first and second Kings can be found nothing of ethical value. All the kings who refused to obey the priests were denounced, and all the crowned wretches who assisted the priests, were declared to be the favorites of Jehovah. In these books there cannot be found one word in favor of liberty.There are some good Psalms, and there are some that are infamous. Most of these Psalms are selfish. Many of them are passionate appeals for revenge.The story of Job shocks the heart of every good man. In this book there is some poetry, some pathos, and some philosophy, but the story of this drama called Job, is heart-less to the last degree. The children of Job are murdered to settle a little wager between God and the Devil. Afterward, Job having remained firm, other children are given in the place of the murdered ones. Nothing, however, is done for the children who were murdered.The book of Esther is utterly absurd, and the only redeeming feature in the book is that the name of Jehovah is not mentioned.I like the Song of Solomon because it tells of human love, and that is something I can understand. That book in my judgment is worth all the ones that go before it, and is a far better moral guide.There are some wise and merciful Proverbs. Some are selfish and some are flat and commonplace.I like the book of Ecclesiastes because there you find some sense, some poetry, and some philosophy. Take away the interpolations and it is a good book.Of course there is nothing in Nehemiah or Ezra to make men better, nothing in Jeremiah or Lamentations calculated to lessen vice, and only a few passages in Isaiah that can be used in a good cause.In Ezekiel and Daniel we find only ravings of the insane.In some of the minor prophets there is now and then a good verse, now and then an elevated thought.You can, by selecting passages from different books, make a very good creed, and by selecting passages from different books, you can make a very bad creed.The trouble is that the spirit of the Old Testament, its disposition, its temperament, is bad, selfish and cruel. The most fiendish things are commanded, commended and applauded.The stories that are told of Joseph, of Elisha, of Daniel and Gideon, and of many others, are hideous; hellish.On the whole, the Old Testament cannot be considered a moral guide.Jehovah was not a moral God. He had all the vices, and he lacked all the virtues. He generally carried out his threats, but he never faithfully kept a promise.At the same time, we must remember that the Old Testament is a natural production, that it was written by savages who were slowly crawling toward the light. We must give them credit for the noble things they said, and we must be charitable enough to excuse their faults and even their crimes.I know that many Christians regard the Old Testament as the foundation and the New as the superstructure, and while many admit that there are faults and mistakes in the Old Testament, they insist that the New is the flower and perfect fruit.I admit that there are many good things in the New Testament, and if we take from that book the dogmas, of eternal pain, of infinite revenge, of the atonement, of human sacrifice, of the necessity of shedding blood; if we throw away the doctrine of non-resistance, of loving enemies, the idea that prosperity is the result of wickedness, that Poverty is a preparation for Paradise, if we throw all these away and take the good, sensible passages, applicable to conduct, then we can make a fairly good moral guide, — narrow, but moral.Of course, many important things would be left out. You would have nothing about human rights, nothing in favor of the family, nothing for education, nothing for investigation, for thought and reason, but still you would have a fairly good moral guide.On the other hand, if you would take the foolish passages, the extreme ones, you could make a creed that would satisfy an insane asylum.If you take the cruel passages, the verses that inculcate eternal hatred, verses that writhe and hiss like serpents, you can make a creed that would shock the heart of a hyena.It may be that no book contains better passages than the New Testament, but certainly no book contains worse.Below the blossom of love you find the thorn of hatred; on the lips that kiss, you find the poison of the cobra.The Bible is not a moral guide.Any man who follows faithfully all its teachings is an enemy of society and will probably end his days in a prison or an asylum.What is morality?In this world we need certain things. We have many wants. We are exposed to many dangers. We need food, fuel, raiment and shelter, and besides these wants, there is, what may be called, the hunger of the mind.We are conditioned beings, and our happiness depends upon conditions. There are certain things that diminish, certain things that increase, well-being. There are certain things that destroy and there are others that preserve.Happiness, including its highest forms, is after all the only good, and everything, the result of which is to produce or secure happiness, is good, that is to say, moral. Everything that destroys or diminishes well-being is bad, that is to say, immoral. In other words, all that is good is moral, and all that is bad is immoral.What then is, or can be called, a moral guide? The shortest possible answer is one word: Intelligence.We want the experience of mankind, the true history of the race. We want the history of intellectual development, of the growth of the ethical, of the idea of justice, of conscience, of charity, of self-denial. We want to know the paths and roads that have been traveled by the human mind.These facts in general, these histories in outline, the results reached, the conclusions formed, the principles evolved, taken together, would form the best conceivable moral guide.We cannot depend on what are called “inspired books,” or the religions of the world. These religions are based on the supernatural, and according to them we are under obligation to worship and obey some supernatural being, or beings. All these religions are inconsistent with intellectual liberty. They are the enemies of thought, of investigation, of mental honesty. They destroy the manliness of man. They promise eternal rewards for belief, for credulity, for what they call faith.These religions teach the slave virtues. They make inanimate things holy, and falsehoods sacred. They create artificial crimes. To eat meat on Friday, to enjoy yourself on Sunday, to eat on fast-days, to be happy in Lent, to dispute a priest, to ask for evidence, to deny a creed, to express your sincere thought, all these acts are sins, crimes against some god, To give your honest opinion about Jehovah, Mohammed or Christ, is far worse than to maliciously slander your neighbor. To question or doubt miracles. is far worse than to deny known facts. Only the obedient, the credulous, the cringers, the kneelers, the meek, the unquestioning, the true believers, are regarded as moral, as virtuous. It is not enough to be honest, generous and useful; not enough to be governed by evidence, by facts. In addition to this, you must believe. These things are the foes of morality. They subvert all natural conceptions of virtue.All “inspired books,” teaching that what the supernatural commands is right, and right because commanded, and that what the supernatural prohibits is wrong, and wrong because prohibited, are absurdly unphilosophic.And all “inspired books,” teaching that only those who obey the commands of the supernatural are, or can be, truly virtuous, and that unquestioning faith will be rewarded with eternal joy, are grossly immoral.Again I say: Intelligence is the only moral guide.

  • Religion is Stupidity

    Atheism knows no moral code you son of a bitch ?
    You say you get your morals from the bible?
    Ok then, I can’t possibly state ALL of you morals, so I’ll just be lazy and copy and paste this wonderful article:
    **** ****YOU ask me what I would “substitute for the Bible as a moral guide.”I know that many people regard the Bible as the only moral guide and believe that in that book only can be found the true and perfect standard of morality.There are many good precepts, many wise sayings and many good regulations and laws in the Bible, and these are mingled with bad precepts, with foolish sayings, with absurd rules and cruel laws.But we must remember that the Bible is a collection of many books written centuries apart, and that it in part represents the growth and tells in part the history of a people. We must also remember. that the writers treat of many subjects. Many of these writers have nothing to say about right or wrong, about vice or virtue.The book of Genesis has nothing about morality. There is not a line in it calculated to shed light on the path of conduct. No one can call that book a moral guide. It is made up of myth and miracle, of tradition and legend.In Exodus we have an account of the manner in which Jehovah delivered the Jews from Egyptian bondage.We now know that the Jews were never enslaved by the Egyptians; that the entire story is a fiction. We know this, because there is not found in Hebrew a word of Egyptian origin, and there is not found in the language of the Egyptians a word of Hebrew origin. This being so, we know that the Hebrews and Egyptians could not have lived together for hundreds of years.Certainly Exodus was not written to teach morality. In that book you cannot find one word against human slavery. As a matter of fact, Jehovah was a believer in that institution.The killing of cattle with disease and hail, the murder of the first-born, so that in every house was death, because the king refused to let the Hebrews go, certainly was not moral; it was fiendish. The writer of that book regarded all the people of Egypt, their children, their flocks and herds, as the property of Pharaoh, and these people and these cattle were killed, not because they had done anything wrong, but simply for the purpose of punishing the king. Is it possible to get any morality out of this history?All the laws found in Exodus, including the Ten Commandments, so far as they are really good and sensible, were at that time in force among all the peoples of the world.Murder is, and always was, a crime, and always will be, as long as a majority of people object to being murdered.Industry always has been and always will be the enemy of larceny.The nature of man is such that he admires the teller of truth and despises the liar. Among all tribes, among all people, truth- telling has been considered a virtue and false swearing or false speaking a vice.The love of parents for children is natural, and this love is found among all the animals that live. So the love of children for parents is natural, and was not and cannot be created by law. Love does not spring from a sense of duty, nor does it bow in obedience to commands.So men and women are not virtuous because of anything in books or creeds.All the Ten Commandments that are good were old, were the result of experience. The commandments that were original with Jehovah were foolish.The worship of “any other God” could not have been worse than the worship of Jehovah, and nothing could have been more absurd than the sacredness of the Sabbath.If commandments had been given against slavery and polygamy, against wars of invasion and extermination, against religious persecution in all its forms, so that the world could be free, so that the brain might be developed and the heart civilized, then we might, with propriety, call such commandments a moral guide.Before we can truthfully say that the Ten Commandments constitute a moral guide, we must add and subtract. We must throw away some, and write others in their places.The commandments that have a known application here, in this world, and treat of human obligations are good, the others have no basis in fact, or experience.Many of the regulations found in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, are good. Many are absurd and cruel.The entire ceremonial of worship is insane.Most of the punishment for violations of laws are unphilosophic and brutal. . . . The fact is that the Pentateuch upholds nearly all crimes, and to call it a moral guide is as absurd as to say that it is merciful or true.Nothing of a moral nature can be found in Joshua or Judges. These books are filled with crimes, with massacres and murders. They are about the same as the real history of the Apache Indians.The story of Ruth is not particularly moral.In first and second Samuel there is not one word calculated to develop the brain or conscience.Jehovah murdered seventy thousand Jews because David took a census of the people. David, according to the account, was the guilty one, but only the innocent were killed.In first and second Kings can be found nothing of ethical value. All the kings who refused to obey the priests were denounced, and all the crowned wretches who assisted the priests, were declared to be the favorites of Jehovah. In these books there cannot be found one word in favor of liberty.There are some good Psalms, and there are some that are infamous. Most of these Psalms are selfish. Many of them are passionate appeals for revenge.The story of Job shocks the heart of every good man. In this book there is some poetry, some pathos, and some philosophy, but the story of this drama called Job, is heart-less to the last degree. The children of Job are murdered to settle a little wager between God and the Devil. Afterward, Job having remained firm, other children are given in the place of the murdered ones. Nothing, however, is done for the children who were murdered.The book of Esther is utterly absurd, and the only redeeming feature in the book is that the name of Jehovah is not mentioned.I like the Song of Solomon because it tells of human love, and that is something I can understand. That book in my judgment is worth all the ones that go before it, and is a far better moral guide.There are some wise and merciful Proverbs. Some are selfish and some are flat and commonplace.I like the book of Ecclesiastes because there you find some sense, some poetry, and some philosophy. Take away the interpolations and it is a good book.Of course there is nothing in Nehemiah or Ezra to make men better, nothing in Jeremiah or Lamentations calculated to lessen vice, and only a few passages in Isaiah that can be used in a good cause.In Ezekiel and Daniel we find only ravings of the insane.In some of the minor prophets there is now and then a good verse, now and then an elevated thought.You can, by selecting passages from different books, make a very good creed, and by selecting passages from different books, you can make a very bad creed.The trouble is that the spirit of the Old Testament, its disposition, its temperament, is bad, selfish and cruel. The most fiendish things are commanded, commended and applauded.The stories that are told of Joseph, of Elisha, of Daniel and Gideon, and of many others, are hideous; hellish.On the whole, the Old Testament cannot be considered a moral guide.Jehovah was not a moral God. He had all the vices, and he lacked all the virtues. He generally carried out his threats, but he never faithfully kept a promise.At the same time, we must remember that the Old Testament is a natural production, that it was written by savages who were slowly crawling toward the light. We must give them credit for the noble things they said, and we must be charitable enough to excuse their faults and even their crimes.I know that many Christians regard the Old Testament as the foundation and the New as the superstructure, and while many admit that there are faults and mistakes in the Old Testament, they insist that the New is the flower and perfect fruit.I admit that there are many good things in the New Testament, and if we take from that book the dogmas, of eternal pain, of infinite revenge, of the atonement, of human sacrifice, of the necessity of shedding blood; if we throw away the doctrine of non-resistance, of loving enemies, the idea that prosperity is the result of wickedness, that Poverty is a preparation for Paradise, if we throw all these away and take the good, sensible passages, applicable to conduct, then we can make a fairly good moral guide, — narrow, but moral.Of course, many important things would be left out. You would have nothing about human rights, nothing in favor of the family, nothing for education, nothing for investigation, for thought and reason, but still you would have a fairly good moral guide.On the other hand, if you would take the foolish passages, the extreme ones, you could make a creed that would satisfy an insane asylum.If you take the cruel passages, the verses that inculcate eternal hatred, verses that writhe and hiss like serpents, you can make a creed that would shock the heart of a hyena.It may be that no book contains better passages than the New Testament, but certainly no book contains worse.Below the blossom of love you find the thorn of hatred; on the lips that kiss, you find the poison of the cobra.The Bible is not a moral guide.Any man who follows faithfully all its teachings is an enemy of society and will probably end his days in a prison or an asylum.What is morality?In this world we need certain things. We have many wants. We are exposed to many dangers. We need food, fuel, raiment and shelter, and besides these wants, there is, what may be called, the hunger of the mind.We are conditioned beings, and our happiness depends upon conditions. There are certain things that diminish, certain things that increase, well-being. There are certain things that destroy and there are others that preserve.Happiness, including its highest forms, is after all the only good, and everything, the result of which is to produce or secure happiness, is good, that is to say, moral. Everything that destroys or diminishes well-being is bad, that is to say, immoral. In other words, all that is good is moral, and all that is bad is immoral.What then is, or can be called, a moral guide? The shortest possible answer is one word: Intelligence.We want the experience of mankind, the true history of the race. We want the history of intellectual development, of the growth of the ethical, of the idea of justice, of conscience, of charity, of self-denial. We want to know the paths and roads that have been traveled by the human mind.These facts in general, these histories in outline, the results reached, the conclusions formed, the principles evolved, taken together, would form the best conceivable moral guide.We cannot depend on what are called “inspired books,” or the religions of the world. These religions are based on the supernatural, and according to them we are under obligation to worship and obey some supernatural being, or beings. All these religions are inconsistent with intellectual liberty. They are the enemies of thought, of investigation, of mental honesty. They destroy the manliness of man. They promise eternal rewards for belief, for credulity, for what they call faith.These religions teach the slave virtues. They make inanimate things holy, and falsehoods sacred. They create artificial crimes. To eat meat on Friday, to enjoy yourself on Sunday, to eat on fast-days, to be happy in Lent, to dispute a priest, to ask for evidence, to deny a creed, to express your sincere thought, all these acts are sins, crimes against some god, To give your honest opinion about Jehovah, Mohammed or Christ, is far worse than to maliciously slander your neighbor. To question or doubt miracles. is far worse than to deny known facts. Only the obedient, the credulous, the cringers, the kneelers, the meek, the unquestioning, the true believers, are regarded as moral, as virtuous. It is not enough to be honest, generous and useful; not enough to be governed by evidence, by facts. In addition to this, you must believe. These things are the foes of morality. They subvert all natural conceptions of virtue.All “inspired books,” teaching that what the supernatural commands is right, and right because commanded, and that what the supernatural prohibits is wrong, and wrong because prohibited, are absurdly unphilosophic.And all “inspired books,” teaching that only those who obey the commands of the supernatural are, or can be, truly virtuous, and that unquestioning faith will be rewarded with eternal joy, are grossly immoral.Again I say: Intelligence is the only moral guide.