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Between Monster and Saint

11 May, 2010

It is a harsh world, indescribably cruel.

It is a gentle world, unbelievably beautiful.

It is a world that can make us bitter, hateful, rabid, destroyers of joy.

It is a world that can draw forth tenderness from us, as we lean towards one another over broken gates.

It is a world of monsters and saints, a mutilated world, but it is the only one we have been given.

We should let it shock us not into hatred or anxiety but into unconditional love.

– Richard Holloway: ‘Between the Monster and the Saint’


A small victory for common sense

29 April, 2010

BBC News reports that the UK High Court has disallowed a man the right to challenge his sacking for refusing to give sex therapy to gay couples. He had claimed that his Christian beliefs did not allow him to deal with gay couples.

However, Lord Justice Laws said legislation for the protection of views held purely on religious grounds cannot be justified. He said it was irrational and “also divisive, capricious and arbitrary”.

Are we finally beginning to understand that so-called ‘religious beliefs’ are just that: beliefs and opinions?  

They can’t be used as a kind of trump card to allow us to stay outside laws that apply to the rest of society.

“I hope the wretched organisation will vanish entirely”

19 April, 2010

This from an interesting interview with Phillip Pullman in the Guardian:

The other subject of his vitriol is the Catholic church. “It’s been caught with its trousers down, in many different ways, hasn’t it?” he says of the recent abuse scandals. “They didn’t expect this sort of thing to happen, this sort of thing to come out; they didn’t expect to have to account for themselves in the way that they’ve had to. But this is what happens, always, when you have an organisation whose authority derives from something that may not be questioned.

“Now,” he continues, “when you get that sort of authority, in any set-up, the potential for corruption is wide open. And when it comes to looking after children or people who are incapable or helpless, well human beings are tempted. And of course part of the reason it happens is priestly celibacy. They’ll deny it and say it’s nothing to do with that, but of course it is, of course it is. That’s not to say that married men are free from temptation or never given way to it, because of course they have, but the level of frustration and unhappiness and unfulfillment that must build up in a man who’s denied one of the most important aspects of his humanity, it’ll get bad.”

I ask him if he thinks the scandal will change the Catholic church. “I hope so,” he says quickly, and then draws back. “Well why do I hope so? In one way, I hope the wretched organisation will vanish entirely. So I’m looking on with a degree of dispassionate interest.” He does not, at this moment, seem so dispassionate.

Sharing the blame..

16 April, 2010

So, now we know: according to the Pope, it’s all Christians who have to do penance because of the child abuse committed by priests and the cover-ups by the male hierarchy.

“I must say, we Christians, even in recent times, have often avoided the word ‘repent’, which seemed too tough,” he said. But now, under attack from the world which talks to us of our sins, we can see that being able to do penance is a grace and we see how necessary it is to do penance and thus recognise what is wrong in our lives.”

 Talk about trying to spread the blame …

Death Anxiety

27 March, 2010

On my ‘to read’ list:

In ‘Staring at the Sun’, Irvin Yalom asserts that the fear of death is at the heart of much of our anxiety. Once we confront our own mortality, he believes, we are inspired to rearrange our priorities, communicate more deeply with those we love, appreciate more keenly the beauty of life, and increase our willingness to take the risks necessary for personal fulfillment.

Well, if these are the benefits, it’s gotta be worth a try, I guess.

We’ll see…

Organised religions – why not just disband them?

24 March, 2010

Pope unable to understand pain of flock at instutionalised widespread child abuse.

Why? What’s so hard to get?

Church connives with child abusers in order to maintain power, therefore people feel let down.

Church not practicing what Jesus preached…

Church seen to be hypocritical.

Church seen to be out of touch both with its ‘founder’ and with its flock.

Why not just disband? People will somehow cope without the hypocritical, duplicitous, power-mad male hierarchy.

No doubt at all!

4 January, 2010

Thanks to NSS for this information about the increasing number of Britons who see religion as irrelevant…

New research from the National Centre for Social Research shows that:

  • over the last 2 decades the number of people describing themselves as atheist or agnostic has risen to 37%, while those identifying themselves as Christian has dropped from 66% to 50%. (but there has been an increase from 2% to 7% in non-Christian religious affiliation due to immigration and population growth amongst ethnic minorities. )
  • in 1983, 40% of people described themselves as Anglicans, now only 23% do so; (among these, not even a fifth attend church as much as once a month, and half never go at all.)
  • 43% of people do not feel they belong to any particular religion, up from 31% in 1983.
  • 62% of people in Britain never attend religious services;
  • 67% think religious leaders should not try to influence Government decision-making;
  • 73% think people with strong religious beliefs are often too intolerant of others.

What’s REALLY scary, though, is this:

  • 17% of Britons are completely without doubt about the existence of God (17% too many, but OK …)
  • BUT in the USA, a MASSIVE 61% of people say they have no doubt that God exists.

Two thirds of people have no doubts, at all? … what are they ON?