Monday, September 30, 2013

Disembowelling Bambi



Here we go again.  Another atheist is bashing the bejesus out of the saintly Mother Teresa.  
The beatified Nobel Laureate, Mother Teresa
 Atheists have made a habit of bashing Teresa.  The late Christopher Hitchins wrote a book objecting to her raising money without scruples, consorting with dictators and spivs, providing appalling care in her institutions and a lack of transparency in her accounts. Since that pioneering work, there has been a conga line of atheists being mean to a woman who is a Nobel Laureate and has been beatified (the third stage before sainthood).  In her life she was an apparent paragon of virtue who was to be sucked up to by any world leader in search of a photo opportunity. 
Atheists take aim for she not only she is an archetype of the supposed uplifting attributes of faith but is open to criticism as a self promoter rather than a saint.  The latest to deflate the personality cult are a Canadian trio who repeat, extend and document the main Hitch assertions. 
So is it fruitful grail for the knights of godlessness to quest for?  Or is it a risk that we look churlish?  Is the dead nun a legitimate target or should she be left in peace to pick up post mortal rewards like sainthood and global brand status?
I would argue that now is the time, with some exception, to stop demonising the Catholic equivalent of Bambi.  I think it sometimes demeans us.  For all her faults, she was utterly amazing.  But there are a couple of her beliefs that need to be mentioned and opposed.  They are her views on poverty and suffering.
Suffering and putting suffering into a context is a central theme of religious life.  Suffering is perhaps best summarised in the crucifixion.  The most central image of the Christian faith is someone being tortured to death.  Suffering can be so central that some beliefs perversely glorify suffering and venerate self harm. Where a faith links suffering to post mortal rewards, then happiness can be linked to guilt and self deprivation is elevated to an art form.  There are countless martyrs who have, under the devotion to faith, embraced death, pain and starvation.  These are deemed worthy of emulation.  The Almost Saint Teresa had a view of suffering that elevated it to a height of devotion which I think is very dangerous.  Suffering is awful not noble.  Suffering and poverty ought not to be endured but avoided.  Suffering as a precursor to Paradise is a fine opiate but is not believable by most in the West.  Linking suffering with guilt leads to an ascetic life where sex, material comfort and absence of pain are somehow bad.
I can see how the veneration of suffering gives comfort.  It demonstrates to those who are in anguish or agony that their faith empathises.  Their faith offers a post mortal reward.  Suffering is all good.  Torment is fine.  Let us all join in an embrace torment and fear fun.  As an exemplar of the problems with this ideology is the documented evidence that the life for patients in Teresa’s hospices, short as it was, was pretty grim.  Pain relief and medical resources were thin on the ground, even during the good times, when Teresa was pulling in the big bucks from donors.
Having said all of this, it must be conceded the godless have NO consolation or comfort for those who suffer distress.  There is no atheistic framework for understanding and dealing with misery and distress.  While we godless can criticise the Christian approach, we must confess that we have nothing to contribute to our unbelievers in pain.
My other gripe is that Teresa's views blunt political and social action.  India, at the time Almost Saint Teresa was there, endured extreme poverty exacerbated by Soviet style central economic planning.  The best thing for India was not her flawed palliative care but political and economic reform. Almost Saint Teresa eschewed such political action and in doing so contributed to the continuation of suffering.  I’m not saying that she had a vested interest in suffering (although she did). I’m saying that her focus on palliative care and her views on the dignity of poverty got in the way of reform and the alleviation of the said poverty.
In our code of footy there is the phrase, “Going the man not the ball” which is generalised to indicate personal, ad hominem attacks are to be deplored.  So it is with Almost Saint Teresa.  Let us praise the little Albanian for the amazing person that she was. Let us be inspired by her global brand and her devotion to duty.  Her achievements were legion.  But let not that veneration blind us the stupidity of her views on suffering and poverty.
What is your view?
Do you agree that it is time to move on from just knocking the woman? 
What do you think of her views on suffering and poverty?
How should the godless comfort those who suffer? Whilst Christians are wrong, we godless are a vacuum on the question of assisting our flock deal with their torment.  What should we do about this?
Over to you guys...


 

185 comments:

  1. "Having said all of this, it must be conceded the godless have NO consolation or comfort for those who suffer distress..."

    Bullshit. Counseling, life-line, health care, welfare (Mal would rather they starve if they can't work), support groups etc etc.

    "What do you think of her views on suffering and poverty?"

    Stupid and dangerous.

    "How should the godless comfort those who suffer?"

    With compassion, knowledge of how the mind works and reality.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS8:36 PM

      "Mal would rather they starve if they can't work"

      Liar.

      You are a thug and favour government forced expropriation.

      I favour private voluntary charity.

      Delete
    2. I favour private voluntary charity.

      liar

      You are a thug and favour government forced expropriation.

      http://godlessgross.blogspot.co.nz/2013/05/so-lesbians-cannot-love-their-children.html?showComment=1370102667695#c1076716411233276017

      See.
      Ya cant fool me dumbass ;)

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS11:43 PM

      idiotcat: "Ya[sic] cant[sic] fool me dumbass"

      On the contrary.

      You demonstrate your dumbass foolery with regular monotony.

      Delete
    4. WTF? Dont look at me

      I'm not the one who thinks "existence exists and that's all you can say about it"

      Such an odd foolosophy for a tug..

      err I mean thug... ;)

      Delete
    5. MalcolmS1:14 AM

      idiotcat: "existence exists"

      So... what else can you say about it?

      Delete
    6. Dear Everyone,
      As you know I don't moderate this blog so everything goes. But could I plea for a bit more love? I hate to think that I have triggered the dissemination of hatred and bile. What do you reckon??
      Dick "love is splendid"Gross

      Delete
    7. You demonstrate your dumbass foolery with regular monotony.

      So... what else can you say about it?

      Uh uh toolie. No changee subjectee

      You are a thug and favour government forced expropriation.

      http://godlessgross.blogspot.co.nz/2013/05/so-lesbians-cannot-love-their-children.html?showComment=1370102667695#c1076716411233276017

      In that regard you're no different from the other collectivists.

      Where you differ is that you just don't want to pay the subsequent bill. What all your nonsensical blather about Harry Potter capitalism boils down to is that you expect me to pick up the cheque for your social engineering

      Screw you ya bludger. Get a job.

      Delete
    8. ...could I plea for a bit more love?

      http://www.lovecalculator.com/love.php?name1=billy&name2=toolie

      We can but try Richard ... ;)

      Delete
    9. " I hate to think that I have triggered the dissemination of hatred and bile. "

      Nah it's not your fault Dick.

      Delete
    10. RalphH 02/104:51 PM

      “Dear Everyone, 
As you know I don't moderate this blog so everything goes. But could I plea for a bit more love? I hate to think that I have triggered the dissemination of hatred and bile. What do you reckon??
Dick "love is splendid"Gross” (Dick Gross4:40 AM)

      Good idea Dick. My take is (not surprisingly) that ‘God is love’ so when God is consciously excluded where is the love going to come from. It can only inadvertently squeeze through the cracks when the guard (against acknowledging God/good) is down.

      A principle I’ve been taught (from my religion) is to look for the good/positive in others and try to disregard the trash/negative. It can be difficult at times when we violently disagree and are fired up by emotion but it’s worth the effort and there are less regrets in the aftermath.

      Delete
    11. MalcolmS5:48 PM

      On the status of 'love' in contemporary thought:

      "To love is to value. The man who tells you that it is possible to value without values, to love those whom you appraise as worthless, is the man who tells you that it is possible to grow rich by consuming without producing and that paper money is as valuable as gold . . . . When it comes to love, the highest of emotions, you permit them to shriek at you accusingly that you are a moral delinquent if you’re incapable of feeling causeless love. When a man feels fear without reason, you call him to the attention of a psychiatrist; you are not so careful to protect the meaning, the nature and the dignity of love."

      "Love is the expression of one’s values, the greatest reward you can earn for the moral qualities you have achieved in your character and person, the emotional price paid by one man for the joy he receives from the virtues of another. Your morality demands that you divorce your love from values and hand it down to any vagrant, not as response to his worth, but as response to his need, not as reward, but as alms, not as a payment for virtues, but as a blank check on vices. Your morality tells you that the purpose of love is to set you free of the bonds of morality, that love is superior to moral judgment, that true love transcends, forgives and survives every manner of evil in its object, and the greater the love the greater the depravity it permits to the loved. To love a man for his virtues is paltry and human, it tells you; to love him for his flaws is divine. To love those who are worthy of it is self-interest; to love the unworthy is sacrifice. You owe your love to those who don’t deserve it, and the less they deserve it, the more love you owe them - the more loathsome the object, the nobler your love - the more unfastidious your love, the greater your virtue - and if you can bring your soul to the state of a dump heap that welcomes anything on equal terms, if you can cease to value moral values, you have achieved the state of moral perfection."

      From Galt’s Speech, Atlas Shrugged

      Delete
    12. Thank you, Mal. So beautiful. So moving. I had such a lovely movement.

      Love, Terry.

      Delete
    13. Ralph:

      God is love, and in his absence love 'squeezes through the cracks'. What beautiful imagery. Thank you so much for that.

      Love, Terry.

      Delete
    14. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    15. MalcolmS11:05 PM

      Terry: "This comment has been removed by the author"

      Ah... the nihilist strikes again :<}

      Delete
    16. RalphH 02/1011:33 PM

      “God is love, and in his absence love 'squeezes through the cracks'. What beautiful imagery. Thank you so much for that.” (Terry7:06 PM)

      Why thank me Terry, you’re the one who twisted my statement. I wonder if you would recognise “beautiful imagery” if it crossed your path!

      Delete
    17. Good Ralph: A principle I’ve been taught (from my religion) is to look for the good/positive in others and try to disregard the trash/negative.

      Bad Ralph: I wonder if you would recognise “beautiful imagery” if it crossed your path!

      I think you might want to amend that first statement to: "A principle I've been taught [but to no avail] is..."

      Delete
    18. Mal: Ah... the nihilist strikes again :<}

      Yeah, I'm a regular Bazarov, aren't I?

      Love, Terry.

      Delete
    19. MalcolmS12:41 AM

      I wouldn't go that far.

      Bazarov could read and write.

      Delete
    20. Mal:

      On a wittiness scale of juvenile to adult, I'd put that quip of yours about me not being able to read and write at around the foetus mark. Well done, old boy. I'll bet the folk in your retirement village fall over themselves to invite you to their dinner parties.

      Delete
    21. MalcolmS4:44 AM

      A foetus in a retirement village?

      LOL

      Didn't your father tell you about the birds and the bees?

      Don't give up the government job junior.

      Delete
    22. MalcolmS4:48 AM

      And what made you think I was trying to be witty?

      Delete
    23. RalphH 02/107:07 AM

      “Bad Ralph: I wonder if you would recognise “beautiful imagery” if it crossed your path!

I think you might want to amend that first statement to: "A principle I've been taught [but to no avail] is..." “ (Terry12:16 AM)

      Did you notice the “I wonder ....” Terry?

      Delete
    24. "Love is the expression of one’s values"

      No it isn't.

      Delete
    25. Ralph: Did you notice the “I wonder ....” Terry?

      Don’t be a fool. Your intention was quite clear. You were trying to put me down. And that right after you’d declared that your religion makes you look always for the good in people. But don’t worry about it. I expect it of you.

      Delete
    26. Mal: And what made you think I was trying to be witty?

      I didn’t think you were trying to be witty. Why would you? Even you must be aware that you’re not capable of it.

      Delete
    27. MalcolmS7:23 PM

      Terry: "I didn’t think you were trying to be witty"

      Then why did you claim: "Mal: On a wittiness scale of juvenile to adult..."

      Beware: government jobs addle the brain :)

      Delete
    28. Mal: Then why did you claim: "Mal: On a wittiness scale of juvenile to adult..."

      To insult you.

      Love, Terry.

      Delete
    29. MalcolmS8:45 PM

      ROFLMAO

      I rest my case!

      Delete
    30. Mal: I rest my case!

      If only you that were true.

      Delete
  2. Dear Stranger,

    Thanks for your comment. My response would be as follows. The counseling techniques that you mention are available to and provided also by those of faith. They are not a godless monopoly.
    May I offer two observations. Atheism does not have the organisational infrastructure to provide these sort of services. We have very little infrastructure or organisation at all to speak of. Secondly, we do not provide an overarching narrative about suffering. Essentially shit happens. Those narratives provided by faiths might be untrue but as the old saying goes, "The truth, though interesting is beside the point.".
    Thanks again.
    Dick

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The counseling techniques that you mention are available to and provided also by those of faith. They are not a godless monopoly."

      I never said they were, you were trying to say they didn't exist outside of religions.

      ". Atheism does not have the organisational infrastructure to provide these sort of services"

      Atheism doesn't have to, it's a belief, not an organisation of any sort, governments and other organisations provide that sort of thing.

      "Secondly, we do not provide an overarching narrative about suffering."

      Why does there need to be one?

      "Those narratives provided by faiths might be untrue but as the old saying goes, "The truth, though interesting is beside the point."."

      Old saying aren't necessarily correct.

      Delete
  3. Over to you guys...

    Perhaps you could have phrased that a little more accurately Richard.

    "Bring on the wacky-do" seems apropos ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Zed Man, Wacky-do being??? Details please. Ricardo

      Delete
    2. Please see below...........

      oh.. and above ;)

      Delete
  4. MalcolmS11:51 PM

    zedinhisbigloonyflyingtoolshead: ""Bring on the wacky-do" seems apropos"

    No, it doesn't :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. MalcolmS1:03 AM

    Dick, apart from a few points, I really enjoyed that post. Your discussion of suffering, self deprivation, poverty, etc was excellent [and I thought you were a altruist :)].

    In fact it reminded me of a passage in Ayn Rand's famous [or infamous to some] Playboy interview of 1964.


    PLAYBOY: You have said you are opposed to faith. Do you believe in God?

    RAND: Certainly not.

    PLAYBOY: You've been quoted as saying "The cross is the symbol of torture, of the sacrifice of the ideal to the nonideal. I prefer the dollar sign." Do you truly feel that two thousand years of Christianity can be summed up with the word "torture"?

    RAND: To begin with, I never said that. It's not my style. Neither literarily nor intellectually. I don't say I prefer the dollar sign -- that is cheap nonsense, and please leave this in your copy...

    Now you want me to speak about the cross. What is correct is that I do regard the cross as the symbol of the sacrifice of the ideal to the nonideal. Isn't that what it does mean? Christ, in terms of the Christian philosophy, is the human ideal. He personifies that which men should strive to emulate. Yet, according to the Christian mythology, he died on the cross not for his own sins but for the sins of the nonideal people. In other words, a man of perfect virtue was sacrificed for men who are vicious and who are expected or supposed to accept that sacrifice. If I were a Christian, nothing could make me more indignant than that: the notion of sacrificing the ideal to the non-ideal, or virtue to vice. And it is in the name of that symbol that men are asked to sacrifice themselves for their inferiors. That is precisely how the symbolism is used. That is torture.

    http://ellensplace.net/ar_pboy.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear MalcolmS - Thanks for the Rand quotation. There is someone who could write/think. Dick

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS5:52 AM

      "There is someone who could write/think"

      Yes, the last intellectual from the 'age of reason'!

      Or the first of their return.

      Delete
    3. Dick: Thanks for the Rand quotation. There is someone who could write/think.

      You didn’t finish your sentence. You left ‘bullshit’ off the end of it. Unless you actually believe there was anything profound in those words. Perhaps you could tell us. All I saw was an opinion of about the same value as any you'd get from the mouth of a barfly at your local RSL.

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS5:08 PM

      "All I saw was an opinion of about the same value as any you'd get from the mouth of a barfly at your local RSL"

      I don't doubt you walk and talk with barflies.

      Delete
    5. Mal: I don't doubt you walk and talk with barflies.

      Perhaps I should follow your example and seek to improve my mind reading Playboy on the toilet. You dirty old bugger.


      Delete
    6. MalcolmS6:08 PM

      Terry: "Perhaps I should... seek to improve my mind reading Playboy on the toilet"

      Ah.. so not just a barfly.. you think sex is dirty as well!

      Delete
    7. Where's the love, Mal?

      Delete
    8. MalcolmS7:16 PM

      Terry: "Where's the love, Mal?"

      In your case barfly? - nowhere!

      Your desire for unearned love precedes you.

      Delete
    9. Mal: Your desire for unearned love precedes you.

      Maybe so. But didn’t Ayn say ‘to love a man for his flaws is divine’? Don’t you want to be divine, poppit? Don’t you want to ‘achieve a state of moral perfection’? I know I do. That’s why I’ve decided to love you. That’s right. I love you. Warts, wrinkles and nose hairs.

      There. I feel divine already. I feel perfection coming on. It feels good, old top. Go on. Try it.

      Delete
    10. MalcolmS10:34 PM

      Terry: "... didn’t Ayn say ‘to love a man for his flaws is divine’?"

      No, she didn't!

      Galt said *your morality*[of the religious] says that!

      Comprehension of ideas is not your strongpoint is it?

      Delete
    11. Mal: Galt said *your morality*[of the religious] says that!

      Oh, sorry, my bad. So what was she/he banging on about then? As riveting as it all was, I must have dozed off before I got to that part.

      Does this mean I can take back what I said? I don't have to love you?

      Delete
    12. MalcolmS12:45 AM

      It means you should refrain from commenting on that of which you know nothing.

      Delete
    13. "It means you should refrain from commenting on that of which you know nothing."

      The irony is obviously lost on you.

      Delete
  6. MalcolmS1:07 AM

    Dick: "I can see how the veneration of suffering gives comfort. It demonstrates to those who are in anguish or agony that their faith empathises. Their faith offers a post mortal reward. Suffering is all good. Torment is fine. Let us all join in an embrace torment and fear fun. As an exemplar of the problems with this ideology is the documented evidence that the life of those, short as it was, for patients in Teresa’s hospices was pretty grim. Pain relief and medical resources were thin on the ground, even during the good times, when Teresa was pulling in the big bucks from donors"

    Yes, but that was Hitchen's point as I remember it.

    Teresa's facility had the money, medicos and knowledge to cure many of her patients' disease but refrained from doing so as *suffering* is such a supreme Christian virtue!

    Better they suffer in the "veil of tears" which is this Earthly existence so that they can attain Eternal Life in the Other!

    It was all quite disgusting really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Teresa's facility had the money, medicos and knowledge to cure many of her patients' disease but refrained from doing so as *suffering* is such a supreme Christian virtue!"

      if peopel can't afford health care you'd let them suffer as governments shouldn't provide health care according to you.

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS5:45 AM

      "if peopel[sic] can't afford health care you'd let them suffer as governments shouldn't provide health care according to you"

      Still lying I see.

      You pretend that the government is the legitimate and only provider of health care.

      It's neither.

      Delete
    3. "You pretend that the government is the legitimate and only provider of health care."

      No I don't. Your views on what government should be doing is well known.

      Delete
  7. I have no problem with reviewing Mother Teresa's achievements, or lack of them, and don't think the fact that she's dead should prevent anyone analysising her or her foundation.

    Certainly for atheists MT makes a great punching bag - some of which can be attributed to a response to her own comments. Her comments about poverty and suffering would be fine if people chose poverty and suffering as a way of life; but I think it's safe to say that most don't and that her comments should raise the bile of anyone who gives a toss about others.

    But MT wasn't a humanist; she was a staunch Catholic and they don't ascribe to the same views as humanists and just like the Catholic church she gathered vast amounts of money and refused to use it to do anyone any good, so there is also an element of "should we really be surprised"?

    No loving god would really expect his worshipers to suffer, but we all know the Christian/Catholic god is a disengaged, uninvolved, egotistical prick that wouldn't know love if it was served up to him in a soup bowl.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS10:56 PM

      "No loving god would really expect his worshipers to suffer"

      The Christian God does.. er.. but only in this life!

      In the grave you can fly around, wear white robes and learn to play the harp :)

      Delete
    2. Dear Kate,
      Love the last para! I would hate to be in your bad books!!!
      Dick

      Delete
    3. Ah Dick, you have no cause for fear; only the intolerant are in my bad books and, naturally, that includes the Christian god.

      Delete
    4. RalphH 04/107:00 PM

      “Ah Dick, you have no cause for fear; only the intolerant are in my bad books and, naturally, that includes the Christian god.” (Kate 3:26 PM)

      Kind of sad that you think that way Kate. There is no “Christian god” per se there is only God (who can be seen from a Christian perspective). Are you saying that Christ was intolerant or are you referring back to the OT (the Jewish concept) where God is at times displayed as intolerant? What you believe to be intolerant depends on your perspective and your understanding.

      In my understanding there is not and cannot possibly be any intolerance in God because God is (is defined as) Love - not a ordinary being who loves but the Being and Source of all love. God is so tolerant that (He) tolerates evil (so that people can see the damage and distress caused by it and freely choose to desist).

      God is so loving that (He) reaches out to save the evil (those addicted to evil) as much as (He) reaches out to maintain the good (those who are already making good choices) from falling into evil or becoming arrogant and self-righteous.

      MT, being human, obviously had faults, weaknesses and inadequacies but I don’t believe any person thinking objectively and impartially could deny that she was the vehicle for a lot of good - ministering to the physical and spiritual lot of many people.

      Christopher Hitchens (this new trio seems to be merely reiterating him), who is coming from an atheist perspective that denies an afterlife, seems to very grudgingly admit this but suggests that had he been in a similar position he would have done things so much better.

      I disagree, I can’t see CH ministering to anyone’s spiritual needs and I’m not aware that he made any effort to minister to others physical needs either. I remember CH as a very sad person who may have started out idealistically but lost the plot somewhere along the way, stubbornly dug in his heels and and eventually refused to think outside his narrow prejudice/perspective. I would describe him as very intolerant.

      Delete
    5. Don't be sad Ralph, I'm not.

      Sure there's a Christian god - or have you sneakily been worshipping Ganesh all this time?

      Your god created evil so of course he tolerates his own creations! What a funny chap he is.

      MT allowed people to suffer physically in horrendous ways, when she didn't have to - she chose to let that happen. How were they helped by that? What "person thinking objectively and impartially" could approve of that?

      Your comments about CH do nothing but display what a fine set of prejudices you have. Why would CH minister to anyone's spiritual needs when he didn't believe we have a spirit? I'm not aware that he was medically trained, so why would he minister anyone's physical needs - would it not have been dangerous if he did? Do you ever stop to ask yourself why you ask such moronic and loaded questions?

      Your memory of CH is a convenient one for you, like your belief that my thinking is sad - it just serves to prop up your own beliefs - but it's not fact (I know facts are scary things for you and you don't like to deal with them).

      You have repeatedly "refused to think outside his [your] narrow prejudice/perspective" - that you accuse someone else of this just hilarious. I would describe you as very intolerant.

      Delete
    6. MalcolmS7:32 PM

      "Ah Dick, you have no cause for fear; only the intolerant are in my bad books and, naturally, that includes the Christian god"

      You have no cause for concern, Kate, since the "Christian god" doesn't exist.

      But surely those who are intolerant of evil aren't in your bad books?!

      Delete
    7. Malcolm, I struggle with the term evil. I'm not convinced it exists (except in Ralph's mind). I think there are good people who do shitty things and shitty people who do shitty things - perhaps that's evil or perhaps those people are victims themselves of circumstance, lack of education, mental illness, etc and know no better. I dunno, but like you I do know (99.99999% certain) that there is no god - Christian or otherwise.

      Delete
    8. MalcolmS8:37 PM

      "I struggle with the term evil"

      Kate, it was your use of the term 'intolerant' to which I was objecting. Doesn't tolerance mean to be "moderately respectful”?

      What would it mean to be “moderately respectful” of practices such as, say, teaching children that Jews are dogs and pigs or that reason is the devil’s whore or that man is a blight on nature? There are people and groups who teach such evil. Should we be “moderately respectful” of them or their practices? How would that differ from withholding moral judgment?

      Isn't Ralph just stating what he considers to be evil? He is certainly wrong but aren't you being intolerant towards his views?

      I think *intolerance* is the wrong concept for your purpose.

      Delete
    9. I'm frequently wrong Malcolm. If I am also wrong on this occasion then perhaps you could instruct me on which word would be more appropriate.

      I freely admit to being intolerant of the intolerant. In the case you provided, I wouldn't tolerate those beliefs or those teachings because they are based on intolerance so your point isn't very well constructed, but my initial point wasn't very well worded - perhaps that is where the confusion lies.

      I also don't believe all beliefs deserve respect. The beliefs in your example are a good point. They are beliefs based on religion and ignorance - why would I respect (moderately or otherwise) that? I abhor religion and religious beliefs.

      I'm still not convinced about the existence of evil, but I will continue to think on it.

      Delete
    10. MalcolmS11:03 PM

      Kate: "which word would be more appropriate"

      "Tolerance" as used today is an anti-concept. The concept of “tolerance” - when posited as a virtue - is a package deal which packages together “respecting rights” with “refusing to judge people” and thus treats them as the same thing. This package dupes people into accepting the idea that tolerance is a virtue (because the word allegedly means respect for rights) and thus renders them unable to pass moral judgment (because it actually means refusal to judge).

      So the antidote, in my opinion, is to judge and prepare to be judged. [which is the opposite of the Christian "judge not less you be judged"]

      "I freely admit to being intolerant of the intolerant"

      Which is meaningless and circular.

      "I'm still not convinced about the existence of evil"

      It's easy. Take religion out of the equation and the *good* is that which furthers your life and the *evil* is that which diminishes, or destroys it.

      Moral concepts are about living your life on Earth. Not about *life after death* - which is a contradiction in terms.

      Delete
    11. I have no problem with being judged or judging others - we all do it - especially Ralph, though he claims he doesn't it's just one more thing he's delusional about. I don't think we have to tolerate every idea and certainly not every behaviour. In many ways tolerance is a virtue but I suppose it can also be a hindrance, on an individual and societal level. Do we tolerate those who think sex with children is natural and doesn't harm the child? Not many people would.

      In being intolerant of the intolerant I can certainly pass moral judgement and have done so on this blog many times. I don't care if it's meaningless to you - I know I mean; I have never professed to have any great eloquence. Does it circle back to me? Of course it does; my ideas should be held to account too. I don't imagine I'm outside any judgement that I impose on others. I frequently have to remind myself not to believe everything I think.

      I agree with your last paragraph.

      Delete
    12. RalphH 05/107:37 AM

      “Don't be sad Ralph, I'm not.” (Kate7:29 PM)

      Could have something to do with the blissfulness of ignorance I guess Kate. 

“Sure there's a Christian god - or have you sneakily been worshipping Ganesh all this time?”

      Why “sure” when it makes no sense for there to be more than one God.

“Your god created evil so of course he tolerates his own creations! What a funny chap he is.”

      The only “god” that could ‘create evil‘ is a man-made god (which, of course, isn’t the real thing). Mankind creates evil - by rejecting and/or twisting good possibly by using the excuse of a man-made god.

“MT allowed people to suffer physically in horrendous ways, when she didn't have to - she chose to let that happen. How were they helped by that? What "person thinking objectively and impartially" could approve of that?”

      MT took people off the streets and did not leave them to suffer alone. Whether she could have done more is a matter of conjecture. At least she did something - from a good heart. Did her critics do anything? 

      “Why would CH minister to anyone's spiritual needs when he didn't believe we have a spirit?”

      I didn’t suggest that he ‘should’; I pointed out that he didn’t - he was too busy intellectualising his prejudices and critising those who did. For someone who didn’t believe in a spirit, he made some pretty spirited attacks on religion and the religious.

      “Do you ever stop to ask yourself why you ask such moronic and loaded questions?”

      I don’t believe I do “ask such ..... questions” so the answer’s, “No”!

“Your memory of CH is a convenient one for you, like your belief that my thinking is sad “

      What I think is sad Kate is illogical thinking - thinking that is full of contradiction and doesn’t make sense.

      “- it just serves to prop up your own beliefs - but it's not fact (I know facts are scary things for you and you don't like to deal with them).”

      It’s not always easy to determine what are true facts. If one begins with a false premise, even though the reasoning may be impeccable, the conclusion will be false. 

“You have repeatedly "refused to think outside his [your] narrow prejudice/perspective" - that you accuse someone else of this just hilarious.”

      Belief in God is a far broader prejudice/perspective than disbelief. Voltaire famously said, “*"If God did not exist, he would have to be invented." But all nature cries aloud that he does exist: that there is a supreme intelligence, an immense power, an admirable order, and everything teaches us our own dependence on it.*” Whether or not it is a true one is another matter.

      “I would describe you as very intolerant.”

      Well, I don’t claim to be “intolerant of the intolerant” as you have on two recent occasions. Which, I believe, would make me more tolerant than you.

      Delete
    13. RalphH 05/108:56 AM

      “ "Tolerance" as used today is an anti-concept. The concept of “tolerance” - when posited as a virtue - is a package deal which packages together “respecting rights” with “refusing to judge people” and thus treats them as the same thing. This package dupes people into accepting the idea that tolerance is a virtue (because the word allegedly means respect for rights) and thus renders them unable to pass moral judgment (because it actually means refusal to judge).” (MalcolmS11:03 PM)

      I think you’re confused Malcolm, tolerance IS a virtue but it is also wrong to “judge people”, hence Christ’s words, “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37).

      However it is not wrong to judge behaviour. Christ also said, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)

      The appearance is that the person who does evil, is evil but that may not be the case. Only God who reads the heart (1 Kings 8:39)/knows and understands the motivation and hence knows if a person is truly, irredeemably evil.

      

“*"I'm still not convinced about the existence of evil"* (Kate)

      

It’s easy. Take religion out of the equation and the *good* is that which furthers your life and the *evil* is that which diminishes, or destroys it.”

      (True) religion is that which objectively explains what is “good” in contradistinction to what, from subjective, sensual experience appears to be good i.e. that which favours and panders primarily to self.

      This latter is evil because genuine good looks to and includes the good of all, i.e. the common good.



      “Moral concepts are about living your life on Earth. Not about *life after death* - which is a contradiction in terms.”

      “Life after death” is only a contradiction if it is misunderstood. (Light existing as waves and particles is also a contradiction until one understands that the paradox can be explained with more knowledge.)

      Knowing that there is life of the spirit after the death of the physical body removes the contradiction/paradox. From a religious perspective, moral concepts are about living your life on Earth but the purpose of life on Earth is, that by making wise choices (in concert with a higher than physical reality) one is choosing one’s eternal destiny.

      Delete
    14. Ralph displaying his ability to not judge as his religion taught him...
      "Which, I believe, would make me more tolerant than you."
      "Could have something to do with the blissfulness of ignorance I guess Kate."
      "Kind of sad that you think that way Kate."
      Your snide judgements are endless and they are cowardly. I may be direct, blunt and rude, but I don't hide behind bland insinuations and a manipulative argumentative style, like you do Ralph. If your god exists Ralph, he sees your under-handed judgemental ways - not that that is much of a skill - everyone can see them except you.

      Ralph, I am well aware of your brand of tolerance. You have tolerated and defended the Catholic Church in it's heinous dealing with the child sex offenders in its midst. You tolerate the idea that only heterosexual couples should have sex. You tolerate the hurt and great damage that you and others like you do to gay people when you deny them human rights and try to set them straight. You tolerate the great pain you cause to others by not learning about human sexuality and judging gay people based on nothing but your limited and distorted understanding of human sexual continuum. You tolerate your own judgemental comments, but criticise others. You tolerate your hypocrisy. You tolerate your pathetic, unfounded assertions that only people who have your god in their life can love and be a good person. You tolerate a god who is a vicious, murdering, raping bastard, by washing your hands of the OT and putting it down to " the Jewish concept". You tolerate the hypocrisy of MT. You tolerate you own snide comments and then when they are shown back to you, you pathetically deny your intent. You tolerate your own ignorance about atheists and ignore all the evidence that has been presented to you about atheism and atheists over the many years, by continuing to make false claims about our [in]ability to think and reason and our capacity for doing and being good. You tolerate your own marked ability to display sound reasoning. You tolerate your belief that anyone who doesn't agree with you is "emotional" or suffers from "thinking that is full of contradiction and doesn't make sense". Yes Ralph, you are far more tolerant than I am.

      Delete
    15. "It's easy. Take religion out of the equation and the *good* is that which furthers your life and the *evil* is that which diminishes, or destroys it."

      So if in furthering my life I steal and kill that's okay in your moral framework.

      Delete
    16. MalcolmS10:41 PM

      "So if in furthering my life I steal and kill that's okay in your moral framework"

      Andrew, you have not explained why murder and theft is in your rational, objective self-interest.

      It's not and, therefore, is evil.

      Delete
    17. "It's easy. Take religion out of the equation and the *good* is that which furthers your life and the *evil* is that which diminishes, or destroys it."

      So if in furthering my life I steal and kill that's okay in your moral framework.

      Andrew, you have not explained why murder and theft is in your rational, objective self-interest.

      Uh oh!

      Run Strangler run!! Its the nobjectivist hamster wheel!!!

      roflmao!

      Delete
    18. MalcolmS11:51 PM

      RalphH: ".. tolerance IS a virtue but it is also wrong to “judge people”"

      So, if the local amateur theatre group wanted to stage a play in your church hall and the local chapter of the Nazi Brownshirts wanted to hold their AGM there, you would *tolerate* them equally? After all, who are you to judge Ralph? No doubt you also believe that you should love Hitler as you love yourself. What a low opinion of yourself you have!

      What a foul worldview Christianity is!

      Delete
    19. MalcolmS1:02 AM

      As I pointed out to Kate, Ralph, *tolerance* MEANS not judging people!

      Which is why it's immoral.

      Delete
    20. Malcolm, you have given me much to think about on the whole issue of tolerance. I understand better your initial comments about this now and I must say, I find myself agreeing with you.

      Delete
    21. *tolerance* MEANS not judging people!

      No it doesn't ya busticket...

      Delete
    22. MalcolmS1:32 AM

      Thanks Kate.

      Delete
    23. RalphH 05/105:48 AM

      “So, if the local amateur theatre group wanted to stage a play in your church hall and the local chapter of the Nazi Brownshirts wanted to hold their AGM there, you would *tolerate* them equally? After all, who are you to judge Ralph? No doubt you also believe that you should love Hitler as you love yourself. What a low opinion of yourself you have!” (MalcolmS11:51 PM)

      Malcolm, if tolerance is non-virtuous then intolerance would be virtuous. Intolerant people can and do some pretty horrible things. If a supposed law-keeper is intolerant he will not dispense justice, he will indulge in revenge. Christ’s injunction to love others as oneself means that we are to will well to others, not agree with or aid their anti-social or evil behaviours.

      To will well to a person doing despicable things means to restrain or confound their evil. They are doing harm to themselves as well as others so it is an act of love (both to the intended victims and to the perpetrator) to prevent them.

      “What a foul worldview Christianity is!”

      On the contrary, what an enlightened view it is, encouraging people to act from justice rather than revenge or retaliation which can make them as bad as the original perpetrator. Revenge/retaliation or hate for hate results in an ongoing feud such as we have seen in the Middle East, Ireland and Bosnia.

      Delete
    24. "Andrew, you have not explained why murder and theft is in your rational, objective self-interest."

      If murder and theft further my life (which is what you stated, not objective self interest), then they are moral according to you.

      Delete
    25. RalphH 06/108:07 AM

      “As I pointed out to Kate, Ralph, *tolerance* MEANS not judging people!

Which is why it's immoral.” (MalcolmS1:02 AM)

      Yes Malcolm, it means not judging people but it does not (necessarily) mean not judging their behaviour. It’s important to distinguish between a person and their behaviour - any good parent or teacher will tell you that. Bad behaviour can be corrected and is best corrected by the person themselves. Self-compulsion is always more meaningful than external compulsion (or force).

      If the person is told that they are bad (or evil) the implication is that there is no hope of change or redemption - so they might as well (and have a great excuse) for staying as they have been stereotyped (by others and/or themselves).

      I say it’s immoral not to judge immoral behaviour for what it is but it is moral not to judge people and condemn them when little may be known of the pressures and motivations that exposed their weaknesses and brought them to that pass.

      Delete
    26. MalcolmS8:11 AM

      OK Andrew, so tell me how murder and theft further your life.

      Delete
    27. MalcolmS8:45 AM

      RalphH: "if tolerance is non-virtuous then intolerance would be virtuous"

      No, that does not follow at all. Which is why I said *tolerance* is used as an anti-concept. As a concept in morality it is useless.

      "Intolerant people can and do some pretty horrible things"

      As do those who tolerate murder, theft and rape.

      "If a supposed law-keeper is intolerant he will not dispense justice, he will indulge in revenge"

      Justice *is* revenge. It has no other meaning. Justice is the opposite of mercy which is what Christianity advocates.

      "Yes Malcolm, it means not judging people but it does not (necessarily) mean not judging their behaviour"

      Don't be so stupid Ralph. The volitional behaviour of people is precisely what should be judged. What else is there to judge.

      "If the person is told that they are bad (or evil) the implication is that there is no hope of change or redemption"

      What utter rot! There is no such implication! If a person is "bad (or evil)" or good that is the *only* thing they should be judged upon. As far as morality goes you need to return to your baby cot and start all over again!

      Delete

    28. The volitional behaviour of people is precisely what should be judged. What else is there to judge.[sic]

      But then:

      If a person is "bad (or evil)" or good that is the *only* thing they should be judged upon.

      roflmao @ attention monkey once again

      As far as morality goes you need to return to your baby cot and start all over again![sic]

      And as far as not continually contradicting yourself goes.... er ...

      Is there room in that cot for two? ;)

      Delete
    29. “As I pointed out to Kate, Ralph, *tolerance* MEANS not judging people!

Which is why it's immoral.” (MalcolmS1:02 AM)

      Yes Malcolm, it means not judging people ...


      No it doesn't. You're both as stupid as each other. "Judgement" is obviously a prerequisite for tolerance.

      But I'm curious now.
      So go on: get out your grandpa's dictionary and explain to me how an attitude of tolerance towards a person doesn't imply a pre-existing "negative" judgement.

      Delete
    30. "OK Andrew, so tell me how murder and theft further your life."

      You're supposed to be smart, can't you think of examples? I'll help you; having more money would further my life and one way of getting it is through theft.

      Delete
    31. "To will well to a person doing despicable things means to restrain or confound their evil"

      Why do you keep making things up Ralph?

      Delete
    32. RalphH 06/109:29 PM

      “RalphH: *"if tolerance is non-virtuous then intolerance would be virtuous"*

No, that does not follow at all. Which is why I said *tolerance* is used as an anti-concept. As a concept in morality it is useless.” (MalcolmS8:45 AM)

      Malcolm, you’re the one who said ‘tolerance is immoral’ (MalcolmS1:02 AM), I merely changed it to non-virtuous which is pretty much the same idea. Since tolerance and intolerance are direct opposites why does my reasoning not follow? What on earth is an “anti-concept”?

      
“As do those who tolerate murder, theft and rape.(do horrible things)”

      Tolerating these evils is not the same as doing them. It’s a sin of omission not volition. There can be a range of reasons for tolerating - from fear of reprisal to not caring to feeling inadequate and helpless to intervene.

      

“Justice *is* revenge. It has no other meaning.”

      This is a real clanger Malcolm - justice is driven by reason, revenge is driven by emotion. They are like ‘chalk and cheese’.

      Dispensing justice in a cool rational manner is the mark of a rational man/a human(e) being. The knee-jerk emotional reaction of revenge is the mark of an irrational, inhuman monster.

      
“Justice is the opposite of mercy which is what Christianity advocates.”

      Christianity advocates both justice and mercy. They are not mutually exclusive as Shakespere (via the character Portia) demonstrated in ‘The Merchant of Venice.’

      “Don't be so stupid Ralph. The volitional behaviour of people is precisely what should be judged. What else is there to judge.”

      The difference is between seeing people as inherently evil and inherently capable of evil. If people are inherently evil they cannot be changed, nor are they responsible for their actions.

      To ‘judge people’ without differentiating their behaviour (as you have now done above) i.e. to equate the bad behaviour with the person simply because he/she willed it is to judge the person (as inherently evil) not the behaviour.

      As you will see if you look back at my post, this is the judgement that I said should not be made. This (‘non-judgement’ of the person) is tolerance. It enables the perpetrator ‘space‘ to take responsibility and fight against perpetuating the bad behaviour.

      “What utter rot! There is no such implication! If a person is "bad (or evil)" or good that is the *only* thing they should be judged upon.”

      Here you’ve reverted to the 'bad' person rather than bad behaviour - demonstrating your confusion.

      “ As far as morality goes you need to return to your baby cot and start all over again!”

      So you think I need to be ‘born again’ Malcolm? If I were wrong I would merely need to change my ideas, but I don’t think I am.

      Delete
    33. MalcolmS10:53 PM

      Stranger: ".. having more money would further my life and one way of getting it is through theft"

      You have just offered an open invitation to every looter in the world to steal your property! How does that further your life? What you have missed is that *furthering your life* involves acting on principle and "theft" is not one of them. In that sense theft is evil and anti-life. [although I'm sure Ralph and the idiotcat will "tolerate" you Andrew :)]

      Delete
    34. MalcolmS10:59 PM

      idiotcat: ""Judgement"[sic] is obviously a prerequisite for tolerance"

      No, you are quite wrong. "Tolerance" removes the necessity of judging. It places you in the turn-the-other-cheek company of Christians such as Ralph.

      The Christian invokes: judge not less you be judged, i.e., mercy and tolerance. [What else can he do as he regards us all as evil, rotten little sinners?]

      On the other hand, the moral person judges and is prepared to be judged, i.e., he practises the virtue of justice.

      The Christian invokes: love everyone as yourself, thereby promiscuously negating all values, including love.

      The moral person grants love, not promiscuously, but as *earned* and as an achievement.

      Delete
    35. "Tolerance" removes the necessity of judging.

      Oooooh! Lucky i had my spacesuit on.
      The atmosphere of planet dumbshit is toxic to humans....

      Pointless "conversation" now terminated.

      Delete
    36. MalcolmS1:10 AM

      idiotcat: "Pointless "conversation" now terminated"

      Er... conversation??

      What conversation? :)

      Delete
    37. RalphH 06/105:50 AM

      “idiotcat: ""Judgement"[sic] is obviously a prerequisite for tolerance"



      No, you are quite wrong. "Tolerance" removes the necessity of judging. It places you in the turn-the-other-cheek company of Christians such as Ralph.” (MalcolmS10:59 PM)

      I think you might have gotten that one wrong Malcolm. When have I ‘turned the other cheek‘ on this blog? I think I understand what Billycat is talking about. One must have made a ‘judgement call‘ of the situation (other than acceptance) to either reject or tolerate it. However, to tolerate involves a decision not to impose a punitive judgement i.e. not to prevent it (tolerance is a putting up with rather than acceptance).



      “The Christian invokes: judge not less you be judged, i.e., mercy and tolerance. [What else can he do as he regards us all as evil, rotten little sinners?]”

      I’ve explained this in a previous post ( 05/10 8:56 AM). The command to “judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24) is more applicable. What makes you think that I regard “all as evil, rotten little sinners?

      

“On the other hand, the moral person judges and is prepared to be judged, i.e., he practises the virtue of justice.”

      The purpose of a moral code is not so much to judge others (since there are no enforceable legal consequences) as it is to judge oneself. One can attempt to lead and educate others if it is deemed helpful or necessary but the only life they can control is their own.



      “The Christian invokes: love everyone as yourself, thereby promiscuously negating all values, including love.”

      Loving other as oneself does not have those consequences. It means being willing to give others a fair go - treating them the way oneself would like to be treated (the Golden Rule) in similar circumstances i.e. the right to be heard, the right to a fair trial.

      
“The moral person grants love, not promiscuously, but as *earned* and as an achievement.”

      Conditional ‘love’ is not really love - it’s a contract. Love is not about ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.” Love is given and received freely. Love is the greatest reward - to the receiver and the giver but if it is sought (or given) as a reward, it loses it’s efficacy. (see Luke 6:31-35)

      Delete
    38. RalphH 06/106:02 AM

      “Your snide judgements are endless and they are cowardly. I may be direct, blunt and rude, but I don't hide behind bland insinuations and a manipulative argumentative style, like you do Ralph. If your god exists Ralph, he sees your under-handed judgemental ways - not that that is much of a skill - everyone can see them except you.” (Kate4:42 PM)

      Wow! What a blast Kate! You’re certainly living up to your self-assessment (direct, blunt and rude). Not that that really worries me. I don’t mind people being straight talking. I wonder how you’d respond though if I did the same thing.

      I went to a bit of trouble refuting your multiple intolerance claims but ended up with almost 1000 words, most of it repeating things I’ve said before, so have decided not to post it. If you want to think that way, so be it.

      I will however apoligise for saying that I am more tolerant than you because I don’t really know that. I was actually just slinging off at/making a ‘snide judgement’ (if you like but I think that’s a bit tough) on your ‘intolerant of the intolerant’ remark.

      Delete
    39. MalcolmS6:22 AM

      RalphH: "Conditional ‘love’ is not really love - it’s a contract"

      Such twaddle. Only a person of self-esteem is capable of love because he is the only one capable of holding firm, consistent, uncompromising, unbetrayed values. The person who does not value himself cannot value anything or anyone.

      A person who loves another for their virtues *is* imposing conditions, Ralph, whether you see it or not. As distinct from one who loves a green tinged slut from the gutter. To love is to value. To disintegrate love from value/virtue is to destroy love. The alleged unconditional love of Jesus does exactly that.

      Delete
    40. I think I understand what Billycat is talking about.

      Not trying to nitpick here, but in the context of this discussion a more accurate way of putting that might be "I understand english words and phrases".

      By the way I apologise for suggesting you are as dumb as toolie.
      That was inaccurate and uncalled for.

      Delete
    41. You have just offered an open invitation to every looter in the world to steal your property!

      lol

      No he hasnt.

      What he has done is to quite clearly and succinctly point out the stupidity of your assertion

      Delete
    42. Ralph, as I have said "I have no problem with being judged..." and blasted you for your underhanded snide comments, I wonder why you "wonder how you’d respond though if I did the same thing." I would have thought it was quite clear that I welcome being honest and upfront, rather than hiding behind insinuations and claiming not to judge people, like you do.

      "I went to a bit of trouble refuting your multiple intolerance claims ..." What? I agreed with you, you are more tolerant than I am - feel free to collect your gold star. What disgusts me is what you choose to be tolerant about. You parade your ignorance as a virtue and then use your ignorance to judge people's sex lives - bloody pathetic. You tolerate and ignore the harm that does to people because you believe your bullshit, uninformed views trump their human rights.

      No need to apologise, it was the most honest you've ever been - you actually dared to say what you really thought and didn't hide behind your usual insinuations - it was brave; besides, your opinion of me is none of my business.

      Delete
    43. "You have just offered an open invitation to every looter in the world to steal your property!"

      No I haven't. Man you are dumb.

      " What you have missed is that *furthering your life* involves acting on principle and "theft" is not one of them"

      So now you have to invent a definition to make your bullshit seem valid.

      Delete
    44. MalcolmS7:01 PM

      idiotcat: "What he has done is to quite clearly and succinctly point out the stupidity of your assertion"

      What's this?

      Up for another "conversation" are we??

      No doubt brief and commensurate with your village idiot mentality. Don't forget the exercises!

      Delete
    45. MalcolmS7:03 PM

      Stranger: "So now you have to invent a definition to make your bullshit seem valid"

      I didn't invent any definition. I simply pointed out to the bog ignorant that such things as murder and theft do not *further their life.* Sorry to embarrass you.

      Delete
    46. "I didn't invent any definition."

      Yes you did.

      " I simply pointed out to the bog ignorant that such things as murder and theft do not *further their life.*"

      Except they can. You really are an embarrassment to yourself.

      Delete
    47. MalcolmS12:20 AM

      Er... and you are still bog ignorant :)

      Delete
    48. What you have missed is that *furthering your life* involves acting on principle and "theft" is not one of them"

      What an idiot

      Delete
    49. What an idiot

      Lol ... so true
      Just another stupid hippie

      Delete
    50. Napoleon Bonaparte8:01 AM

      Le buffoon

      roflmao

      Delete
    51. Don't be so hasty fella's. Check this out;

      the *good* is that which furthers your life and the *evil* is that which diminishes, or destroys it.”

      See? The nobjectivist isn't a complete moron after all.

      I'll take him home to my castle for a pet.
      He can do his attention monkey dance to his little hearts content .... in the basement.

      Delete
    52. RalphH 08/105:57 PM

      “RalphH: "Conditional ‘love’ is not really love - it’s a contract"



      Such twaddle. Only a person of self-esteem is capable of love because he is the only one capable of holding firm, consistent, uncompromising, unbetrayed values. The person who does not value himself cannot value anything or anyone.” (MalcolmS6:22 AM)

      A healthy self-esteem is obviously a very valuable asset. However, it’s not simply an on or off situation - everyone has a degree of self-esteem. Neither is it a deterministic situation - people have control or can learn to control how they feel about themselves.

      Some people have a problem with a too low self-esteem i.e. self-degradation, others have a problem with a too high self esteem i.e. self-righteousness/egomania. All people are capable of loving and being loved but those at the extremes will find this more difficult.

      “A person who loves another for their virtues *is* imposing conditions, Ralph, whether you see it or not. As distinct from one who loves a green tinged slut from the gutter.”

      Do I detect an attitude of superiority and self-righteousness Malcolm. Haven’t you ever heard the saying, “There, but for the grace of God, go I!” We never really know for sure what has brought another to a desperate situation. What about Fantine in ‘Les Miserables’ for example.)

      Instead of valuing someone for the virtues you see in them you could value them for their potential. That’s what we do with children isn’t it. Virtue has to be learned and developed. If a child goes off the rails, do you stop loving them. Even threatening to stop loving a child is psychologically damaging. One of the greatest stories in the Bible is the way a man never stopped loving his prodigal son who was thence enabled to recognise his error and reform.

      “To love is to value. To disintegrate love from value/virtue is to destroy love. “

      I think you could put that the other way round. If you don’t value, or cease to value someone you have ceased to love them as a person and completely identified them with what you see as offensive behaviour.


      “The alleged unconditional love of Jesus does exactly that.”

      The “unconditional love of Jesus” has inspired millions to try and do likewise. Some have unfortunately misunderstood it and love/d others ‘warts and all’ (which sustains and encourages the warts) where the objective is to love them despite the warts and to discourage or at least not encourage the warts.

      Delete
    53. MalcolmS6:05 PM

      Well done Führer toolshead!

      I can just see you with your kids explaining to them that the mass slaughtering ghouls who killed over 100 million people last century were only "furthering their lives."

      When it comes to making an ethical stand you are scum - a nihilistic psychopath - and that's being polite.

      Delete
    54. MalcolmS6:25 PM

      Thanks Ralph - you have certainly exposed your warts :)

      Delete
    55. MalcolmS12:17 AM

      RalphH: "The “unconditional love of Jesus” has inspired millions to try and do likewise"

      Now, let me make quite sure that I understand what you are claiming here!

      Are you saying that your alleged Almighty places no "conditions" on the attainment of eternal life?? That eternal life is "unconditional" for us all??

      Or are you, as usual, telling great big fat porkies??

      Delete
    56. "I can just see you with your kids explaining to them that the mass slaughtering ghouls who killed over 100 million people last century were only "furthering their lives.""

      You really do have a problem with context.

      Delete
    57. MalcolmS3:25 AM

      "You really do have a problem with context"

      You have a problem appeasing thugs. I was the one who set the context. Remember?

      Delete
    58. RalphH 09/106:25 AM

      “Thanks Ralph - you have certainly exposed your warts :)” (MalcolmS6:25 PM)

      The plan was to expose yours Malcolm. Guess we all either knowingly or unknowingly capitulate and expose ourselves to some extent just by contributing to this blog.

      Delete
    59. RalphH 09/106:37 AM

      “RalphH: "The “unconditional love of Jesus” has inspired millions to try and do likewise"

      

“Now, let me make quite sure that I understand what you are claiming here!

      

Are you saying that your alleged Almighty places no "conditions" on the attainment of eternal life?? That eternal life is "unconditional" for us all??” (MalcolmS12:17 AM)

      Firstly Malcolm, a definition of eternal life. All humans by nature have eternal existence (not the physical body of course but the real person who resides within the inner recesses of the mind). However, only those who choose to build their lives on eternal principles and hence allow those principles to be grafted onto their life, attain to eternal life.

      Life is not inherent any more than the heat of the body is inherent. It flows in from the eternal and is adapted by the form into which it flows. Life flowing into an animal enables an animal life according to the form of the animal. Life flowing into a human being enables a human life, the end quality of which depends on the quality of the principles one chooses to live by. By choosing to rule one’s life using good/eternal principles one attains a more abundant, more useful, more fulfilling, more alive life i.e. eternal life.

      IMO, the usual and biggest mistake made about eternal life is in thinking of it as a gratis reward whereas it’s actually a reward for/result of effort. If one wants to attain a goal or acquire a skill one has to follow a particular path. For example, by following the instructions on how to type, one is rewarded with the skill - it becomes a part of one’s nature. Likewise, by following the instructions on how to attain eternal life, one attains it.



      “Or are you, as usual, telling great big fat porkies??”

      I don’t tell “great big fat porkies”. I don’t even tell insignificant, small, thin porkies. Telling porkies is a ‘no! no! on the road to eternal life.

      Delete
    60. MalcolmS7:32 AM

      ".. the usual and biggest mistake made about eternal life is in thinking of it as a gratis reward whereas it’s actually a reward for/result of effort. If one wants to attain a goal or acquire a skill one has to follow a particular path"

      Er... so eternal life is, as I said, "conditional" Ralph?

      Answer the question. No more porkies please.

      Delete
    61. Well done Führer toolshead!

      Who?

      Are you possibly thinking of General der Kampfflieger Zedmeister IV instead? He's a real leader for sure.
      http://www.nationstates.net/nation=new_zedland/

      I can just see you with your kids explaining to them that the mass slaughtering ghouls who killed over 100 million people last century were only "furthering their lives."

      Well toolshed, despite your insincere "objections", according to your chimpanzee foolosophy, they were.

      So what I'm actually explaining to my kids is how they can disable an approaching monster with well crafted blows to its nearest available pressure points.

      Not that they'll ever have to use that in defence against you, since you obviously never leave your basement.

      But others of your ilk are all too common.

      There are no weaklings here. Best you go tickle a a baby's chin and make off with it's candy instead.

      Thats more youre style. Right?

      When it comes to making an ethical stand you are scum - a nihilistic psychopath - and that's being polite.

      pfft .. nobjockey

      It's been demonstrated repeatedly that politeness is completely wasted on you.
      So go suck balls you worthless lowlife.

      love and xxx's

      Billy

      Delete
    62. Napoleon Bonaparte9:25 AM

      So what I'm actually explaining to my kids is how they can disable an approaching monster with well crafted blows to its nearest available pressure points.

      Mon dieu!!!

      I am not going there!!
      Thees Beelly he ees no pushover!

      Best I invade Russia instead...

      Delete
    63. Mon dieu!!!

      I am not going there!!
      Thees Beelly he ees no pushover!

      Best I invade Russia instead...


      See? It works

      Delete
    64. RalphH 09/103:36 PM

      “Er... so eternal life is, as I said, "conditional" Ralph?

Answer the question. No more porkies please.” (MalcolmS7:32 AM)

      How can it be “conditional” Malcolm, of one choose it oneself? There are no external conditions or compulsions imposed. There are the free gifts of rationality and free-will (oh, and the instructions or roadmap i.e. scripture/revelation) and the rest is up to the individual. It's all up to self-compulsion - which is freedom.

      The only condition (if it could be called a ‘condition’) is to live within the bounds of reality (within which by the way there is endless scope for self-expression and fulfilment). If reality wasn’t exactly what it is, there would still have to be a reality circumscribed by certain laws (i.e. of Nature/the body and the spirit).

      What better reality could there be than one that enables people to feel as if they own their life and can choose their own destiny.

      Delete
    65. "The only condition (if it could be called a ‘condition’) is to live within the bounds of reality"

      When are you going to start?

      Delete
    66. " All humans by nature have eternal existence (not the physical body of course but the real person who resides within the inner recesses of the mind). "

      Made up bullshit.

      'Life is not inherent any more than the heat of the body is inherent. It flows in from the eternal and is adapted by the form into which it flows"

      More made up bullshit.

      ". Likewise, by following the instructions on how to attain eternal life, one attains it."

      Even more made up bullshit.

      "I don’t tell “great big fat porkies”. I don’t even tell insignificant, small, thin porkies. Telling porkies is a ‘no! no! on the road to eternal life."

      You do tell porkies Ralph, and you can't even admit it to yourself. No eternal life for you.

      Delete
    67. " I was the one who set the context. Remember?"

      Yes, which is why I made the statement. You really shouldn't talk about things you have no knowledge of.

      Delete
    68. Malcolms7:01 PM

      RalphH: "The only condition (if it could be called a ‘condition’) is to live within the bounds of reality (within which by the way there is endless scope for self-expression and fulfilment)"

      No Ralph. The "condition" which Christians must allegedly fulfill in order to obtain eternal life is to obey the will of God - whatever you happen to think that means.

      Which means that the alleged God's alleged *Love* is neither "unconditional" for all people nor eternal for sinners.

      Get it?

      Delete
  8. Malcolm, I just found this on the Atheist Foundation of Australia's Facebook page. I think it says more eloquently want I was trying to say - even though its more directed at blasphemy - but still applies to my thoughts.

    "People have rights. Ideas don’t have rights. Every ideology must be subjected to open, free discussion in regard to its value or otherwise, without fear of reprisal. No exceptions. “Islamophobia” is not racism, any more than “Communistophobia” or “Facistophobia” would be, because Islam is an idea, not a race. In civilised society, no idea – religious, political or philosophical – can claim any special treatment, or be set beyond the reach of empirical evidence."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS11:07 PM

      How about misogyny and homophobia in the context of our "anti-vilification" laws? Or Bolt being charged over his position on aborigines?

      [More on 'tolerance' above]

      Delete
    2. Sorry Malcolm, I don't understand what you're asking. What about them? I don't know enough about the Bolt case to comment - I stay as far away from him and his writing as I can.

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS11:41 PM

      Briefly, Bolt was charged with *villification* by implying that white aborigines aren't "real" aborigines.

      According to our laws he could be imprisoned for so saying.

      Should Bolt's opinion be "tolerated"? Or not?

      Delete
    4. Malcolm, I won't be drawn into providing an opinion on Bolt. As I said I don't know enough about it and I have a very strong bias against the man.

      What I will say is that I don't think it's up to Bolt or anyone to decide who's a real aborigine or not. I'm second generation Australian and only one of my grandparents was Scottish, but I like to think I'm Scottish. Isn't it up to the individual to decide what part of their heritage they feel most aligned to?

      Delete
    5. MalcolmS12:30 AM

      I asked for an opinion on whether Bolt is entitled to speak his mind.

      Not on whether you agree with him.

      Or do you think that the modern equivalent of Ralph's Inquisitors have the right to decide? :)

      But don't bother with a reply - I can draw the necessary conclusion.

      Delete
    6. Sorry Malcolm, I didn't realise I was obliged to write responses that suited you, but lovely to see you hypocrisy on display yet again - the man who never answers anyone else's questions demanding an answer to his.

      Ok, yes Bolt, enormous dickhead that he is, can say whatever he likes. However, if he gets his facts wrong then people have the right to challenge him on that, if he defames people they have the right to sue him, people also have the right to object to his vile, hate-filled and ignorant opinions by voicing their own opinions. What was your point?

      I don't know enough about the law so I can't respond to your comment "According to our laws he could be imprisoned for so saying."

      Delete
    7. Malcolm, not tolerating something someone says doesn't automatically equate to a wish to silence that person. I'm an ardent supporter of freedom of speech - hence the bit I quoted from the AFA and the right to speak out against religion. Blasphemy is a bullshit idea and a bullshit law.

      Bolt, utters truly revolting comment about people and willingly spreads misinformation, but in one way he serves a good purpose - he reminds us of how low a human being can sink and that it's best to strive for something better than his kind of nastiness and narrow-mindedness.

      Delete
    8. MalcolmS12:59 AM

      Kate, the "hypocrisy on display" is the hypocrisy of those who advocate *tolerance* except for those with whom they disagree.

      Thanks for the demonstration.

      Er... and so does Galileo :)

      Delete
    9. Uh? How have I demonstrated that?

      Delete
    10. MalcolmS1:06 AM

      "Malcolm, I won't be drawn into providing an opinion on Bolt"

      That didn't last long Kate :)

      Delete
    11. No, I was giving you want you wanted - silly of me, wasn't it?

      Delete
    12. MalcolmS1:55 AM

      Kate: "I'm an ardent supporter of freedom of speech"

      Strange?!

      That was that horrid Mr Bolt's position.

      And Galileo's. And Ralph's. And mine.

      So where does *tolerance* fit in? :)

      Delete
    13. What's strange? Where have I ever said people should be silenced? I didn't even say Bolt should be silenced - I said quite the opposite. I said "Ok, yes Bolt, enormous dickhead that he is, can say whatever he likes." Just because I don't agree with what people say doesn't mean they don't have the right to say it. I think I've been very very clear on that - not sure why your big brain has failed to comprehend that point.

      Who said tolerance had to 'fit in'?

      Delete
    14. MalcolmS4:11 AM

      "Who said tolerance had to 'fit in'?"

      Tolerance was where this thread started, Kate, and your knowledge should be integrated.

      Delete
    15. Tolerate
      1. Allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference.
      2. Accept or endure (someone or something unpleasant or disliked) with forbearance.

      I think I have repeatedly displayed my tolerance for Bolt, by tolerating his right to say whatever nasty, uninformed crap he likes.

      Malcolm, are you sure you're not a Christian? You can cherry-pick with the best of them!

      Delete
    16. MalcolmS10:14 PM

      Kate: "I think I have repeatedly displayed my tolerance for Bolt, by tolerating his right to say whatever nasty, uninformed crap he likes"

      This is like extracting teeth from a chook!

      So, you are in favour of abolishing anti-vilification legislation??

      Delete
    17. "This is like extracting teeth from a chook!" Yes, I know what you mean, so I'll say it again. I don't know enough about the law to comment. I have never studied law and I know nothing about the anti-vilification law, but I do support freedom of speech. I've been very very clear about that. Make up your own mind Malcolm; you always do, whether you have the facts or not - it is odd too how you relish in assuming the worst of people on this site. Have you ever wondered why you do?

      Delete
    18. He's cuckoo darls.

      Funny though

      Delete
    19. MalcolmS11:44 PM

      Kate: "I don't know enough about the law to comment. I have never studied law and I know nothing about the anti-vilification law, but I do support freedom of speech"

      You know sufficient to grasp that anti-vilification law contradicts the right to freedom of speech.

      Your obfuscation is sufficient - I know where you stand.

      Delete
    20. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    21. MalcolmS12:00 AM

      It's easy Kate! When you go by principle!

      Delete
    22. MalcolmS12:03 AM

      LOL Too quick for you Kate?

      Delete
    23. Excellent work Malcolm, don't ever let it be said that you are any other than predictable.

      Why is so difficult for you to understand the possibility of not having an opinion on something due to lack of knowledge? I have shared my beliefs on freedom of speech and on anti-blasphemy laws; it is quite likely that, if I knew more about the anti-vilification laws I might oppose them. But as I don't know what is contained in those laws I can't make a comment. Would you prefer people made up their mind about issues from a position of ignorance?

      "I know where you stand." You wouldn't have a clue about me or anyone because you're too busy jumping to your nasty assumptions about everyone than ever bothering to try and understand them. I don't know where I stand on many issues - this is just one more. Is your arrogance so magnificent that you really believe you know my thoughts better than I know them myself?

      A person wouldn't have to be on this blog for long to know that when I have a definitive opinion on an issue, I don't hold back, I don't obfuscate; I say exactly what I think. That you don't know that is rather sad - we've been on this blog together for years and yet your assumptions about me are so wrong.

      Delete
    24. "Too quick for you Kate?" Quite probably Malcolm, I'm neither a fast thinker nor typist.

      Delete
    25. MalcolmS12:15 AM

      "we've been on this blog together for years and yet your assumptions about me are so wrong"

      And what are they Kate?

      Delete
    26. Malcolm, of me you have claimed:
      "I know where you stand." Interesting, seeing I don't know that myself.
      "I can draw the necessary conclusion." Good for you - can you let me what my conclusion is? Thanks.

      Still cherry-picking I see.

      Delete
    27. Forgot these...
      "You know sufficient to grasp ..." Do I?
      "Your obfuscation..." No, not my style.

      Delete
    28. MalcolmS12:56 AM

      On those my assumptions are correct

      Delete
    29. I'm sure you think so Malcolm.

      Delete
  9. Me dear Dickster,
    As you know I don't believe in censorship, but let me stress, the inability of some to debate in an adult manner is in no way your fault. Some of the smart arse replies to your request for “love’ saddened me. Some have chosen to use the lack of censorship in a childlike, at times quite nasty, manner. When others try to make intelligent contributions, they appear to be hounded by some who have a dysfunctional need to appear clever? To win in some manner? I see something happening and yet I don't understand and find I can't define it.

    I looked forward to each new blog, yes there was always a bit of argy-bargy, but there was also a sense of camaraderie - atheists supporting bigbird, in his marathons - sharing our love of works of art - music - poetry. We cared when changebroker’s son was unwell, people showed empathy and kindness when I shared my grief, Martin C wrote his clever overview of the blog and its participants, Kate's tea snorting moments always brought a smile. The Pirate's wit is still alive and well, but he's no longer a frequent contributor. I hesitate to engage these days.

    My mind was once stimulated by the debate. When I shared my lack of understanding on some issues people didn't belittle me as some are now belittled, they kindly suggested books for me to read. Yes, there were times I became angry and frustrated but I had my say and moved on. The anger and name calling were just a part of the blog. Sadly they, along with a large helping of sarcasm, seem to be becoming the raison de'etre for many participants.

    I had a real fondness for our disparate group and enjoyed both the camaraderie and the dummy spits, but what seems to be occurring now is to my mind vastly different.

    In the hope of reminding some who seem to have forgotten what 'The Godless Gross Gang' once shared, I'm reprinting Martin C’s wonderful poem, I'll print the Marin's poem separately as it's quite long.
    Take care Dickster
    Tricia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What do you expect?
      Its a religious blog Trish.

      Delete
    2. Zed, I was under the impression it was an atheist blog - Godless Gross - where atheists and believers debated their diverse viewpoints. I'm not seeing a lot of debate these days, more one line put downs, some very nasty, dogged determination to be right and a plethora of snide remarks.
      What I expect, would like to return to, is more debate less one-upmanship.

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS4:43 AM

      You tell him Tricia :)

      Delete
    4. I was under the impression it was an atheist blog

      Check the list of topics Tricia.
      90% or more relate to religion?
      So the evidence suggests otherwise


      ▼ September (4)
      Disembowelling Bambi
      Oh Hail the Chief!
      How Kevin could have given a less absurd concessio...
      Christian Lobby and the Pious Poll
      ▼ August (2)
      A more godless Pontiff or a more guilty one?
      Commemorating the Death of a Woman
      ▼ July (4)
      Death of a woman
      Did Peter Jensen Save the Global Anglican Communio...
      John Paul II Diminishes the saintly exchange rate
      Jumping Ship - A Time of Transition
      ▼ June (6)
      Resurrection makes the Government more Godly
      Fundamentalism and Container Deposits
      Blokes are bad! The evidence mounts
      Mind, Body, Spirit Morons
      My Christian Experience Continues
      Life, death and everything
      ▼ May (4)
      So Lesbians Cannot Love their Children?
      Racist Taunts and Adam Goodes
      Venting Rage
      The Opera Pimp on Prostitution
      ▼ April (2)
      ANZAC Day and the Morality of Invasion
      Easter Triple Bill No. 3 - What About The Empty To...
      ▼ March (6)
      Easter Triple Bill no 2 – Why was Jesus killed?
      The Easter Triple Feature – No. 1 Jesus, Passover ...
      A TRINITY OF CHURCH BIG WIGS
      Papa Frank – A Godless Assessment
      Papal Bull*
      A New Godless World

      Delete
  10. The Godless Gross Gang

    Every Monday on the Fairfax webpages
    A ritual begins that has passed down the ages.
    Dick Gross prepares his latest piece
    And with editor's assent, gives it release
    To the blogosphere and an eager world
    The banner of secularity unfurled
    A godless man in a god-ridden zone
    An atheist with a pulpit all his own.

    The strange thing is that Dick enjoys
    Playing with religious toys
    A hymn, a ritual, a mourning rite
    Will fill him with a strange delight
    And yet he's careful to insist
    He's still quite sure God doesn't exist.
    (I wonder if he buys Fantales packs,
    Then reads the wrappers, and dumps the snacks?)

    This is the famous Godless Gross
    Who every Monday provides a dose
    Of words on an atheistic theme
    He then sits back and watches a stream
    Of posters supplying their two cents worth
    On how this roiling and troubled earth
    Would benefit from application
    Of secular remedy or divine salvation.

    Whatever ideas Dick has chosen to post
    Are explored at length by this eager host
    Of commenters, both bright and dim
    And Dick responds to what interests him
    But then the main thread starts to drift off-topic
    And as the ship of Theme sails across the tropic
    To a sargasso of silence: like birds of prey
    The regular denizens come out to play.

    Pen's an atheist who will lash with glee
    Any who dare to disagree.
    'It's all a scam!' he grimly teases
    And he won't ever call Jesus Jesus.
    "It's Yeshua!" - he's in no doubt
    And then he'll happily parcel out
    A sermon we have all been fearing
    From the Gospel of St. Barbara Thiering.

    BigMac's considered posts report
    On theist, ethical and moral thought.
    (Which makes it one of his oddest features
    That he likes to shoot God's fluffy creatures).
    With argument deft and research strong
    BigMac can sometimes prove Pen wrong
    The steam that rises from poor old Pen
    Could nicely cook fish for five thousand men.

    Andrew R will blaze away
    At theists with a scathing spray
    The vitriol he's sometimes spewed
    Nears the line of being rude.
    Readers realise only later
    That the dread words 'edited by moderator'
    Are the only (rather subtle) sign
    That Andrew R has crossed the line.

    Paddy Owen's even more rude:
    He says (with bristling attitude)
    That atheism must surely foretell
    Of a hedonistic selfish hell.
    Four-fifths of Swedes don't believe in God
    So Paddy Owen must find it odd
    That with rampant atheism ever-present
    The Swedes seem happy, generous and pleasant.

    Geoff of Melbourne, truth to tell
    Wears his 'veneer of false atheism' well.
    His replies to Paddy Owen's vents
    Sound eerily like common sense.
    And I often find that when I'm readin'
    Some thoughtful post from boof of sweden
    I tip a metaphorical hat
    And think "Damn! Wish I'D thought of that!"

    Ralph's a reader, to give him credit
    If it praises God, he's probably read it.
    But he often finds that his Christian vision
    Is treated largely with derision.
    The audience here is not as forgiving
    As the churchy folk with whom he's living
    He writes 'God is Love' and then he sees
    Twenty responses saying 'evidence, please!'

    Long John Silver's rapier wit
    Is a favourite of mine, I must admit
    He signs off all his observations
    With hilarious ever-changing locations
    He recently managed to entertain us
    With tales of spirits from Uranus
    And I don't know precisely if or when
    I'll view honey badgers quite the same again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Billy puts his magic sausage in
      to the goofy cult - nobjectivism
      and when tooly spouts the nonsense funky
      billy calls him the attention monkey!

      Delete
    2. Could anyone tell me what this has to do with Martin's poem, the current blog, or even what it means?

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS4:31 AM

      I sing a song of idiotcats,
      And toolshead dwellers such as that,
      Is that the magic sausage you are flashing?
      Midget fool you are in for such a thrashing.

      Delete
    4. Again I ask - could anyone tell me what this has to do with Martin's poem, the current blog, or even what it means?

      Delete
    5. I sing a song of idiotcats,[sic]

      What would you do,
      if I walked out on you,
      Would you stand up and sing out of tune?

      rofl

      Delete
    6. MalcolmS9:40 PM

      Nope, but perhaps Dick would write an article entitled 'disembowelling idiotcats' :)

      Delete
    7. attention monkey!

      lol ;)

      Delete
    8. MalcolmS8:33 PM

      It's easy to get "attention" when you have something to say idiotcat.

      Try it sometime!

      Delete
    9. Looks like "someone" wants a banana...

      rofl ;)

      Delete
  11. Praising God is alpha's pigeon
    'All that's good comes from religion'
    And if something holy isn't good
    Well then we haven't understood
    That if something evil has a holy face
    Then it wasn't holy in the first damn place.
    (Throughout the highlands sounds the lilt
    Of Scotsmen who don't wear a kilt.)

    Dr. Kiwi's quite terrific
    On any matter scientific
    Paully puts his two cents in
    On Catholics, paedophiles and sin.
    Terry has been heard to say
    He wishes religion would go away
    Buzz Moonman supports S.H. L. S. D.:
    Secular Humanist Liberal Social Democracy.

    Contributors from the distaff side
    Don't span the theist/atheist divide
    The wish to post comes apparently
    From an exclusively godless sorority.
    Kate of Bruthen, who can resist her?
    She's like everyone's little sister
    And we often see a witty pearl
    From the pen of paddy_irish_girl

    It's said that whom the gods would destroy
    They first make mad, so Donny Joy
    Tried to convince a religious nut
    To worship at Baba Yaga's hut.
    It all went over the poor guy's head
    He worshipped the Shroud of Turin instead
    Despite disavowal by a strange alliance
    Of the Catholic Church and mainstream science.

    changebroker's another Thieringite
    Always ready to fight the fight
    And show why your opinion's toast
    In a thirty-seven-part multi-post.
    Tricia Bertram uses, to explore the abyss
    Poems deeper, darker and better than this.
    All godless girls going straight to Hades:
    Where are all the theist ladies?

    hubris was first to get his kicks
    From trying to write Post 666.
    And he won (we playfully assumed) as well
    An all-expense-paid trip to hell.
    (No-one really thinks that's true
    But I've noticed - as I sometimes do -
    That when the 660s come around
    The theists seem to quieten down).

    bigbird acts as attorney-at-large
    To defend God's Passover murder charge.
    "My client DID commit genocide
    Yet I contend he cannot be tried
    By any court overseen by man
    And anyway, he's changed his plan - "
    (He says, with exculpatory intent)
    "God's given up genocide for Lent."

    The subtle distinction between brain and mind
    Sees ordinary English words redefined
    When they are passed through the Randian prism
    Of Malcolm S's Objectivism.
    We wish he'd speak the way we do
    But then again, I suppose it's true
    That he no doubt has a well-formed wish
    That we would all speak Malcolmish.

    Some words go in, different words come out
    To cries of 'what are you on about?'
    Unruffled, he'll continue his screed
    With which no-one at all has ever agreed.
    O theists, seeking signs ablaze
    Of the coming of the End Of Days:
    The last trump sounds, it is my guess
    When someone agrees with Malcolm S.

    So here we are, our little group
    A fractious but entertaining troop
    When the Fairfax opinion spots are bleak
    We're good for 600 posts a week.
    From furious dot-points short on grammar
    But long on atheistic clamour
    Subsiding to a background noise
    Of snarky posts about priests and boys

    The straw men come, the straw men go
    Bearing labels we all know
    Depending on your disposition
    'Stalin' or 'Spanish Inquisition'
    Another ever-running sore
    is the incidence of Godwin's Law
    (When ideologues on both sides cried:
    "That Hitler guy is on YOUR side!")

    We see full many an angry word
    That might have been better left unheard
    But despite the wrath and dissent unceasing
    The blog's surprisingly quite self-policing
    There's wit, there's humour, there's deep analysis
    Of topics from 'death' to 'institutional paralysis'
    But there's also warmth and fellow feeling
    And poems and jokes and smiles and healing

    For bigbird's New York marathon
    Theist and atheist cheered him on
    And raised some funds without much fuss
    For those less fortunate than us.
    For here's a place where we all belong
    It's something bigger, something strong
    This odd little online community
    Observed by yours faithfully, Martin C

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS8:50 AM

      Terrific poem Martin.

      Delete
    2. Dear Tricia, Rhyme! I have to go to the doctor now but will respond later. Dick

      Delete
    3. Dick me dear - you missed the intro comment. The poem was written by Martin C and posted on the blog a couple of years ago. It's his work, not mine. I reposted the poem because I miss how the blog used to be. Also if you read the final line - Observed faithfully by Martin C. - you'll realise it's not my work.

      I sincerely hope no one else is under this misapprehension. I would never claim another poet's work as my own. I tried to remove it yesterday because I hadn't asked Martin's permission to reproduce it, and because some people have put asinine comments in the middle of the poem (not the done thing - ruins the flow) Because of the length I had to print it in two parts. Being the computer doofus I am I can't figure out how to remove it. Dick I'd be grateful if you'd remove it from the blog for me so there can be no further misunderstanding.

      Hope things went well at the doctor.
      Tricia

      Delete
  12. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76_qL6fiyDw

    On the topic of the blog, I agree with Hitch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS10:37 PM

      Yes, so do I.

      She's a "fanatic and a zealot."

      After watching that I'm glad I didn't donate to bigbird's Haiti racket.

      Delete
  13. Although I agree with Hitch on the issue of Teresa, I happily continue to donate to some of bigbird's fundraisers, even though I don't share his belief. I see him as a man of integrity. They are building libraries in 3rd world countries, and no, not all the books are religious based.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS11:58 PM

      In the case of Haiti I'm more concerned about money ending up in the hands of dictators and their lackeys.

      Delete
    2. Tricia: ... I happily continue to donate to some of bigbird's fundraisers ...

      ‘Happily’ is a well chosen word. Like sex and chocolates, giving to charity appears to activate the dopamine reward pathways in our brains. It literally does make us happy. Which begs the question of who we really do it for.

      If you want to know more: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-compass-pleasure/201108/is-your-brain-charitable-giving.

      Delete
    3. Thinking about it, if sex and charity produce the same biochemical effect, it would explain how people like Mother Teresa stay celibate.

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS11:18 PM

      Terry: "If you want to know more"

      Actually, your link names three theories and provides no proof of any. Needless to say no mention is made of the *values* of the donor/s which are certainly relevant.

      Personally, I prefer the injunction: 'as cold as charity' - except the ARI of course. Values?? Yes, that could have something to do with it!

      I love sex and chocolate but not necessarily together :)

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    5. MalcolmS11:28 PM

      BTW Terry, what makes you think Teresa is celibate? She's a phony on everything else.

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    6. Mal: Actually, your link names three theories and provides no proof of any.

      That’s because there is no proof. These are models which are being and will continue to be tested, and in time some will be thrown out, others will be modified and new ones will be found. That’s how the game works.

      In any case, the point of the article was interest, not proof. It is interesting that giving to charity stimulates our neural pleasure circuits in the same way that sex and chocolates do. It is interesting that giving money away is more pleasurable than receiving money.

      It is interesting to think about why this might be so. Is it an evolutionary adaptation? If so, how and why did it come about? It is interesting to wonder how much of charitable inclinations are mediated by biochemistry. And it is interesting to know that there is something you can do which is at the same time pleasurable and good for your health.

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    7. It is interesting that giving to charity stimulates our neural pleasure circuits in the same way that sex and chocolates do.

      I just gave away some chocolate sex toys and my balls exploded.

      Am I Mother Teresa?

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    8. MalcolmS7:46 PM

      No... but you certainly have no balls.

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