If you’ve been reading this blog since about this time last year, you’ll know that one of my personal heroes is Tim Minchin and that I love his Christmas song, White Wine in the Sun. It is my favourite Christmas song, bar none.
This year it’s been freely given to an Australian Christmas compilation CD, with proceeds due to go to the Salvation Army. Whatever your opinion of the homophobic proselytising paramilitary religious organisation, they have stunned most observers by complaining publicly that the song does not meet with their ideals. Apparently they’ve chosen to put their proselytising above their charity work. It beggars belief, if you’ll excuse the pun.
Here’s an excerpt from an interview that Tim gave recently on the matter that I thought worth sharing:
Your song “White Wine in the Sun”, which includes lyrics critical of Christianity, caused controversy last week in Australia when it was used on an album of Christmas songs sold to raise money for the Salvation Army. What’s your take on the fuss?
I think the Salvos are idiots. I didn’t know they would benefit from the CD, but by the time I found out I didn’t want to make too much of a fuss. So I gave my song free, then they turn around and say that they don’t agree with the sentiment of the song. Obviously, they are talking about how I think Jesus is not magic. Part of me is hugely outraged by what imbeciles they are, to bite the hand that feeds them and put their proselytising above charity.
It’s a terrible paradox that most charities are driven by religious belief. I believe very strongly in giving only to secular charities, because I don’t think there should be a back end to altruism. I won’t make this mistake again. I tweeted that if people want to buy my version of the song independently, I’ll give the proceeds away, as I did last year, to the Autism Trust, a non-proselytising charity.
Christmas means much to billions of people who don’t believe in Jesus, and if you think that Christmas without Jesus is not Christmas, then you’re out of touch, and if you think altruism without Jesus is not altruism, then you’re a dick.
This is the version that will be on the CD, sung by Kate Miller-Heidke:
A beautiful version, isn’t it?
Here is the tweet that Tim talks about in the interview above. From 21-Nov to 1-Jan you can buy the song from iTunes for the princely sum of 79p (or equivalent) and proceeds will go to the National Autistic Society, following this recent update.
Today marks the start of the Pope’s bullet-proofed whistle-stop tour of the UK paid, without consent, by the British taxpayer. In an amusing turn of profiteering, the large open masses to be conducted will be charged an entrance fee (£25 or so per ticket). This has, as you might expect, disgusted many of the faithful who are now refusing to attend. Which, in turn, has prompted a sudden decision to truck busloads of Catholic school children to the masses to boost attendance.
Can’t have a Pay The Pope extravanganza with mostly empty seats, can we?
In the Pope’s opening speech at the Palace of Holyroodhouse today — in a predictable example of skewed logic, cherry-picking and outright falsehoods — he has managed to Godwin himself with little effort. It occurred during the part of his speech where he needs to show how the Vatican and Britain are age-old allies, having stood together against the madness of the war in Europe during World War 2, rather than as the fervent opponent of the laws, rights and customs of this country that he really is (emphasis mine):
Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews… As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the twentieth century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society…
Full speech: Papal Visit 2010: Pope’s Holyroodhouse speech (Catholic Herald)
Yes, he actually said the Nazis were atheists, and believes that their ‘atheist extremism’ was responsible for some of the worst horrors of the previous century.
Many people unburdened with the inconvenient weight of knowledge use the Nazis, Pol Pot and other awful regimes and events as examples of the ‘dangers of atheism’. Their argument is usually that such things were done in the name of atheism or that the absence of belief in a god let them do such horrible things — the unspoken implication being that faith would have naturally prevented them from doing such things.
Rubbish. Utter rubbish. More than that — it’s outright falsehood. As I have written previously, as have many others, all-but-one of the senior members of the Nazi Party were committed Christians, believing that what they were doing was for God’s glory. Removing God from society was the furthest thing from their minds. What’s more: they were Catholics. It has been documented and proven beyond refute, and the Vatican knows this. That the Pope would spew such demonstrable drivel is an indication of how little he respects the people he is addressing. If you are one of his faithful, that includes you.
That a despot may have been atheist does not mean his actions were done in the name of atheism any more than, say, Tony Blair decided to participate in the invasion and destruction of Iraq in the name of being British. It’s an artificial connection based upon preconceived biases: the Non-Sequitur logical fallacy.
I’m pleased that the British Humanist Association has taken the time to publish a response to the Pope’s speech:
The notion that it was the atheism of Nazis that led to their extremist and hateful views or that somehow fuels intolerance in Britain today is a terrible libel against those who do not believe in god. The notion that it is non-religious people in the UK today who want to force their views on others, coming from a man whose organisation exerts itself internationally to impose its narrow and exclusive form of morality and undermine the human rights of women, children, gay people and many others, is surreal.
Full text: BHA Reacts to Pope’s first remarks on state visit (BHA)
As I have mentioned before, Ratzinger has form as a reality bender, fixer and enforcer in his former role as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. That department used to be called the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition. Note that last word. That’s right: the Inquisition. The Pope used to run the very department that rained terror and torture down upon Europe for over 500 years, though now it seems to focus mainly on relocating paedophile priests to new hunting grounds to prevent prosecutions that would reflect badly on the Vatican.
With that background and proven willingness to do and say whatever is required to advance the Vatican, I expect the Pope’s further public utterances in this tour to be equally… interesting.
Normally I’m reluctant (believe it or not) to post blatantly antagonistic anti-theistic posts, but I do make the occasional exception, as I am both qualified to and normally only do so to make a point. This is one such example.
Top Ten Signs You’re a Fundamentalist Christian
10. You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
9. You feel insulted and “dehumanised” when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
8. You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
7. Your face turns purple when you hear of the “atrocities” attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in Exodus and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in Joshua including women, children, and trees!
6. You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
5. You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
4. You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs — though excluding those in all rival sects — will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most “tolerant” and “loving.”
3. While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in “tongues” may be all the evidence you need to “prove” Christianity.
2. You define 0.01% as a “high success rate” when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% failure was simply the will of God.
1. You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history — but still call yourself a Christian.
/ Hat tip to EvilBible.com.
I think I’ve made it pretty clear throughout this blog that I respect humanity, but I have no respect whatsoever for humanity’s religions. Beliefs have no automatic correlation with reality (experience has shown me they’re often in opposition to it), but beliefs do encroach upon reality in the actions of believers, giving us subjugation, torture, and wars all in the name of a name in a book. And it’s nearly always the name and book most popular in the country in which your parents were born. Your god smiles upon the arbitrarily accidental location of your birth! What a happy, joyous coincidence! Divine serendipity!
That’s not to say that some religions have no redeeming qualities — such as social cohesion, charity, comfort and a sense of purpose — but none of those positive qualities are unique to religion. (Unfortunately for humanity, the negative results mentioned in the previous paragraph aren’t unique to religion, either, though the justification is).
If you’ve ever wondered why I think this way, I think this quote sums it up perfectly:
“I like to point out how irrational it is to have any reverence for religion at all. We look at the ancient Greeks with their gods on a mountaintop throwing lightning bolts and say, ‘Those ancient Greeks. They were so silly. So primitive and naive. Not like our religions. We have burning bushes talking to people and guys walking on water. We’re… sophisticated.'” —Paul Provenza
It goes hand in hand with this equally excellent quote:
“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” —Stephen Roberts
Such words are doubtless confrontational to believers in any deity but, in the absence of evidence for any religious text or doctrine being ‘real’ or ‘true’, they do serve to illustrate the logical chasm that exists in people who contend that their god(s) is real and that your god(s) is clearly an imposter or a delusion (they think you’re mentally abnormal). And with the latter quote, once you’ve excluded all other gods but your own, it’s really only a small step to freedom.
I don’t expect you to agree, but I do expect you to think about it. As I have probably done for your religion (as explained in earlier posts).
Hat tip: LOLgod
Okay, let’s not. Yet still I wait for the furiously-typed refutations to come: typed on keyboards attached to computers, powered by electricity from power plants transmitted from miles away via the Internet over telecommunications infrastructure, by people who managed to avoid the above tragedies, whether by medical advancement or due to vaccinations that provided herd immunity.
Hmm, there’s a theme in the italicised terms. I wonder what it could be? Wait, don’t tell me…
That’s it: SCIENCE! From the Latin word scientia, meaning ‘knowledge.’ (Not ‘anti-religion’ as much church-/temple-/mosque-/Murdoch-sourced propaganda would have you believe).
Hat tip: LOLgod
Following on from my previous post about the Pope’s apparent direct involvement in covering up the illegal sexual activities of some Catholic church staff, here’s something that illustrates how old this so-called “new problem” really is:
Two thousand years of sweet fuck-all being done about this problem strongly suggests that exactly the same will continue to be done about it unless the public makes it happen. The right-leaning religiosity of most modern Western governments almost guarantees they won’t be doing anything about it anytime soon.
However, as pointed out by Jack of Kent recently, care does need to be taken to determine whether crimes have actually been committed by Ratzinger. Particularly when you’re looking an international borders and legal differences.
Hat tip: PodBlack Cat
How appalling is this situation that there are even jokes about it?
If you’re unaware of the context: a Catholic bishop is on record using the same disgusting argument that rapists throughout history have used in their own defence: these children were asking for it, so it’s their fault. This is piled on top of the other crap they’ve been spewing about the issue, such as claiming that the voice of thousands of victims now coming forward about their own abuse is just petty gossip or that it’s a Jewish conspiracy (also called “the God-killing Joos done it!” gambit). Today’s latest is that the Pope “forgives” the Beatles.
None of these amateurish attempts at deflection or distraction hides the fact that for centuries, little boys (and girls) placed in the care of authoritarian father figures have not only been getting raped by the people who were supposed to care for them and show them the love and peace of their god, but that the organisation recruiting these monsters actively protects and shields these pederasts from justice by moving them away from one legal jurisdiction and into new predatory hunting grounds. And to add the final insult to that injury, it was The Pope Formerly Known As Ratzinger (TPFKAR) himself who appears to have been directly behind it for quite some time in his role as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It was in this role that he earned the telling nicknames of God’s Rottweiler and Pope’s Enforcer — neither have positive connotations.
It is to all our shame that we, as a society, have allowed the status quo to remain. And it is to the worldwide Catholic community’s shame that they elected such a man to be the representative of their god on Earth. As Christopher Hitchens said on Real Time with Bill Maher last month: the act that all levels of society and nearly all cultures consider to be one of the most heinous of crimes is the very one on which the Church wants some wiggle room:
Are we going to say these people are above our law. I appeal to people. I mean, that’s what’s being asked for. If you’re a clergyman, you’re not liable to the laws… Don’t let’s call it child abuse. It’s the rape and torture of children.
I wish success upon the campaign to arrest Ratzinger on his upcoming visit to the UK in September, using the same legal principle that caught Augusto Pinochet in 1998. At the very least, where the will of the majority has not been successful in preventing it, this threat may dissuade him from visiting at a cost of £20M to the taxpayer.
What odds will you give me that, at the last minute, Ratzinger will have to cancel his trip due to “unforeseen circumstances”?
Hat tip: LOLgod