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If you’re athiest or agnostic, you are not alone. Especially in America (in comparrison to places like Western Europe and Japan where athiests are almost as common as thiests), it seems athiests can become very isolated because it is taboo to discuss atheism. Many people don’t even know that there is an option to be an athiest. They just assume that they are Christian because their family and all their friends are (or appear to be), even if they never really pray or attend church.
Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author, are seeking advice from human rights lawyers as to what legal action can be taken against the pope over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church.
It emerged this weekend that in 1985 when he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases, the pope signed a letter arguing that the “good of the universal church” should be considered against the defrocking of an American priest who committed sex offences against two boys.
Dawkin and Hitchens believe he should face criminal proceedings because his “first instinct” was to protect the church rather than the children in its care.
They are hoping to exploit the same legal principle used to arrest Augusto Pinochet, the late Chilean dictator, on a Spanish warrant when he visited Britain in 1998.
The Pope will be visit London, Glasgow and Coventry, during his time in the UK between September 16 and 19.
“This is a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence,” Dawkins, who wrote The God Delusion, said.
“This man is not above or outside the law. The institutionalised concealment of child rape is a crime under any law and demands not private ceremonies of repentance or church-funded payoffs, but justice and punishment,” Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great, said.
Their lawyers, barrister Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens, a solicitor, believe they can ask the Crown prosecution Service and that Pope Benedict will not be able to claim diplomatic immunity since he is not the head of a state recognised by the United Nations.
“There is every possibility of legal action against the Pope occurring,” said Stephens. “Geoffrey and I have both come to the view that the Vatican is not actually a state in international law. It is not recognised by the UN, it does not have borders that are policed and its relations are not of a full diplomatic nature.”
I was very glad to see this article in the Telegraph online today. From what I’ve read it seems that the Pope is prioritising the appearances of the church over justice for a human rights infringement. We will have to wait and see if the Pope will find an excuse not to visit the UK in September to avoid being arrested. Whatever the case, I’m so glad Richard Dawkins is pursuing the matter.
In a similar case to the one cited above, over 200 deaf boys, at a school for deaf children were molested or raped by a priest who had direct contact with the Pope, before he became Pope. It is especially disgusting because these boys were obviously so vulnerable and would literally not have been able to speak up for themselves. This was only one of many cases the Pope has been related to. And to think people take moral guidance from this sick old man. If he takes advice directly from God, then what kind of god are people worshiping?
I hope he does time in prison and gets treated like any other paedophile.
Religious ideas are brainwashed into children at a young age. By the time they are old enough to question the religion that has been forced upon them, they are already surrounded by friends and family and whole communities with the same false beliefs. To question their beliefs would be to question almost everyone who loves them – and that would be very hard for most people to do.
That’s part of the reason religion works. What struck me when I was younger, growing up in a multicultural society, was that all the children – almost automatically, had the same religion as their parents. It was as if the eye colour, the hair type, the skin colour and height were just as predictably passed on as the (clearly non-genetic) religion. But in a rational world, this should not be the case with religion.
Religion, an idea, a meme, should be questioned before it is accepted by anyone. But children rarely question the existence of fairies, Santa, or ghosts. Parents will even go out of their way to explain to their children that these things are not really real (especially monsters under the bed) – yet they promote the idea of hell, an imaginary place where bad people go when they die to be eternally tortured, and heaven, and imaginary place where good people go when they die to be happy for eternity.
Oh, and I almost forgot, the gods and goddesses of various religions who are present everywhere, but invisible. They can often read your mind and they have shape shifting abilities.
The Christian god is supposed to be omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent (everywhere at the same time, all-powerful, all-knowing, good willing). If this was the case, there would be no need to fear this god, nor to fear hell since being all-powerful, and good willing he would banish hell and save everyone from it. If there is an omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient god in this world, he certainly isn’t benevolent. Of course, I’m not the first one to have realised this.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God? – Epicurus
Most religious people are hopelessly stupid. They use circular logic. They say things like, “You cannot disprove God, so he must exist.” And of course, if you ask a religious person to prove God’s existence he will tell you that the Bible/Quran/other religious book forbids him to question any part of his religion. Surprize surprize.
Anyone who questions any religion on earth using basic logic will easily come to the conclusion that it is total and utter BS. It is no coincidence that all surviving religions on Earth forbid their followers on pain of angering their all-powerful deitie(s) from questioning the religion in any way.
Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea. – Anonymous
Julian Baggini defines militant atheism as “Atheism which is actively hostile to religion”, which “requires more than strong disagreement with religion — it requires something verging on hatred and is characterised by a desire to wipe out all forms of religious belief. Militant atheists tend to make one or both of two claims that moderate atheists do not. The first is that religion is demonstrably false or nonsense and the second is that it is usually or always harmful.” – Wiki
Hatred sounds like a strong word to describe how I feel about religion. But, I guess it is the same type of hatred that I feel towards stupidity. I don’t feel it towards particular people. I feel it towards the memes themselves (cultural ideas that spread and infect people like viruses).