Stupidity from two Denominations

April 4th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

I’d rather not be taking a whack at two different Christian religions (one of them nominally my own) at Easter, but they set the timing.

First we have Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen saying:

RELIGIOUS leaders have used their Easter sermons and messages to condemn the rise of atheism, with Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen describing the philosophy as an “assault on God”.

“As we can see by the sheer passion and virulence of the atheist – they seem to hate the Christian God – we are not dealing here with cool philosophy up against faith without a brain,” Dr Jensen told worshippers.

“Atheism is every bit of a religious commitment as Christianity itself.

“It represents the latest version of the human assault on God, born out of resentment that we do not in fact rule the world and that God calls on us to submit our lives to him.

“It is a form of idolatry in which we worship ourselves.”

No, it isn’t and the Archbishop’s generalisations are as offensive as generalising about Christians.

But then to trump that, we have The Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, the Pope’s personal preacher:

Pope Benedict XVI’s personal preacher has likened accusations against the pope and the Catholic church in the sex abuse scandal to “collective violence” suffered by the Jews.

Yes blaming the Catholic Church for covering up child abuse, is just the same as the pogroms.

“They know from experience what it means to be victims of collective violence and also because of this they are quick to recognize the recurring symptoms,” the preacher said.

Quoting from the letter from the friend, who wasn’t identified by Cantalamessa, the preacher said that he was following ”’with indignation the violent and concentric attacks against the church, the pope and all the faithful of the whole world.”‘

“The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism,”‘ Cantalamessa said his friend wrote him.

as a whole of course have no responsibility or collective guilt over what a minority of priests did.

But that is different from the hierarchy of the church. In many countries, the hierarchy covered up the child abuse.  Priests were left free to abuse, and their crimes were not reported to authorities. Fot that there is a collective responsibility – not by all Catholics, but by the Church hierarchy which in almost every country reacted in the same way.

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130 Responses to “Stupidity from two Denominations”

  1. kiwitoffee (383 comments) says:

    Oh dear. You just can’t help yourself can you, David?

    I don’t know what it is but I often get a sense of the inevitable criticism when there’s Christianity in the news, usually for a bad reason.

    No Anglican myself, I think the Archbishop of Sydney is quite correct in his description of contemprary atheists. Virulent is a word that comes to mind, and one which Prof. Dawkins would appreciate.

    The media, and your blog is no exception, has a shallow and perverse view of Christianity, and more than a whiff of Godlessness about it.

    For Heaven’s sake, let’s have some recogonition of what Christianity is about – love, essentally, and all its implications – and the contribution it has made to the world we live in today.

    [DPF: O think Christianity overall has been a force for good. But the ArchBishop is effectively saying you can not be good if you an atheist and even you seem to be implying that love is the exclusive domain of people of faith]

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  2. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    If ever a country needed to revert back to its Christian principles its the land of the long black lie.
    How’s those child abuse stats going madman speaker?

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  3. cha (4,036 comments) says:

    And the latest outrage from the defenders.
    :
    Best New Catholic Church Defense: It’s Not Pedophilia If the Boys Were Post-Pubescent

    On Larry King Live last night, professional overzealous defender of the Catholic Church Bill Donohue explained to Sinead O’Connor that it’s not pedophilia if the victim is 12 or 13.

    See, if the kids were post-pubescent—12 or 13, according to Bill—then it’s not pedophilia anymore, it is homosexuality. And that means it’s not the fault of the church, it is the fault of Gays.

    Sinead was there because she wrote a very good editorial about abuses in Ireland that the Vatican was complicit in.

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  4. kiwitoffee (383 comments) says:

    Cha.

    Please. Nobody is defending the sexual abuse of children.

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  5. eszett (2,417 comments) says:

    # dad4justice (6176) Says:
    April 4th, 2010 at 8:19 am

    If ever a country needed to revert back to its Christian principles its the land of the long black lie.
    How’s those child abuse stats going madman speaker?

    Yep, the Catholic Church is surely an authority on child abuse.

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  6. calendar girl (1,241 comments) says:

    “In many countries, the hierarchy covered up the child abuse.”
    “… the Church hierarchy which in almost every country reacted in the same way.”

    Big generalisations, David. Care to put an estimate on the number of countries that you are referring to?

    There’s another current “religious hierarchy” story that probably deserves inclusion in your post – the apology of the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury for his bumbling and intemperate comments about catholicism in Ireland.

    [DPF: Not seen that story yet. As for what countries covered up - well so far seems to be them all. NZ did. Australia did. Ireland did. USA did. Germany did etc etc]

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  7. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    David, your condemnation of Peter Jensen is what I would expect from someone who regards a public profession of bisexuality by a Hollywood wannabe as ‘brave.’

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  8. cha (4,036 comments) says:

    Okay Kiwitoffe, I’ll try again.

    defenders apologists…

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  9. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    sounds suspiciously like the Brian Tamaki defence – the end days are here and the godless are assaulting us.

    and the church wonders why they are despised

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  10. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    I have to agree with Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen’s views as expressed above – and therefore disagree with you, DPF, in this regard.

    My personal belief is that ‘atheism’ and ‘humanism’ are pretty much interchangeable terms – both deny God exists and essentially deify man; ‘Man is the Lord of all he purveys’. It is one thing to be unsure of God’s existence, but atheists/humanists state that “God categorically does not exist” – no ifs, buts, or wherefores. And to make such a statement is ludicrous as it implies ‘all knowledge’ – a quality only God Himself exhibits.

    At least agnostics are intellectually honest in that they admit to needing to be convinced one way or the other.

    When the Archbishop states, “Atheism is every bit of a religious commitment as Christianity itself”, he is spot on in my book. And I know many other Christians who would agree with his comment, also.

    And while New Zealand, and much of the Western world, may be largely post Christian, I shudder at the thought of a society completely devoid of a Christian voice, and the values and morality it still brings to our society.

    On a more positive note, and in parting on this Easter Sunday morning, I would like to say:
    He arose! – Christ is indeed risen from the dead! Hallelujah.

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  11. reid (16,491 comments) says:

    “The media…has a shallow and perverse view of Christianity”

    Well said kt and add you could say the same about other important topics as well such as world affairs, business and domestic politics. The only thing it doesn’t have a shallow view on is sport, about which it is obsessed. Unfortunately.

    Sad isn’t it. I often wonder from whence it comes, journalists being less brain-dead than many other occupations. But that would get me into discussion about the fact this is Satan’s world and we can’t have that, can we. Not at Easter.

    DPF, I’m surprised you consider yourself a “nominal Christian,” I thought Judaism was a completely separate strand, just as Islam is.

    [DPF: I'm not Jewish. I just have Jewish ancestry. I was baptised Anglician, and went to Anglician Church for many years]

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  12. eszett (2,417 comments) says:

    No Anglican myself, I think the Archbishop of Sydney is quite correct in his description of contemprary atheists. Virulent is a word that comes to mind, and one which Prof. Dawkins would appreciate.

    I just love the notion that he is trying to describe atheists as a “religious commitment”. It’s a bizarre tactic, for the longest time they ignored atheists, now that the numbers are growing they are feeling a bit uneasy.

    Funnily enough there is no book of atheists, no churches, no single or multiple god to worship, no dogma of forcing others not to believe.

    All atheists do is question the religions about their beliefs and teachings and how they can be reconciled with reason, knowledge and science.

    But religions always had problems with people questioning them. In the past they would just simply burn the ‘heretics’, but in this day and age, they fortunately can’t.

    I’d say someone is feeling the heat.

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  13. kiwitoffee (383 comments) says:

    Cha.

    I think the first public statement made by Pope Benedict on this subject was essentially an apology.

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  14. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    eszett 8:52 am,

    I’d say someone is feeling the heat.

    Do you see the irony in that statement?

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  15. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    Kris K (1930) Says:

    April 4th, 2010 at 8:47 am
    I have to agree with Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen’s views as expressed above – and therefore disagree with you, DPF, in this regard.

    My personal belief is that ‘atheism’ and ‘humanism’ are pretty much interchangeable terms – both deny God exists and essentially deify man; ‘Man is the Lord of all he purveys’. It is one thing to be unsure of God’s existence, but atheists/humanists state that “God categorically does not exist” – no ifs, buts, or wherefores. And to make such a statement is ludicrous as it implies ‘all knowledge’ – a quality only God Himself exhibits.

    So where does that leave those such as yourself who emphatically and dogmatically, in the face of all eveidence to the contrary, insist god DOES exist? Are you not claiming to be all knowing?

    On a more positive note, and in parting on this Easter Sunday morning, I would like to say:
    He arose! – Christ is indeed risen from the dead! Hallelujah.

    HA! You don’t know where or when he was born; you don’t know when he died. And yet you reckon he rose from the dead. Is it any wonder we find your beliefs risible?

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  16. David in Chch (519 comments) says:

    Actually, DPF, as an agnostic and I would hope a humanist, I agree that with the Archbishop of Sydney that atheism is a belief. I disagree with him that they are all virulent, but I do acknowledge that many are.

    As for no atheist dogma, I would disagree with eszett. There is a dogma – there is NO god/deity/call it what you will. That’s why I am an agnostic, literally I cannot know. I disagree that they would claim that man is lord. Most I know would say that Nature was in charge.

    I do agree about the comments surrounding the Catholic Church, and the link provided by cha to Sinead O’Connor’s comments was interesting.

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  17. eszett (2,417 comments) says:

    On a more positive note, and in parting on this Easter Sunday morning, I would like to say:
    He arose! – Christ is indeed risen from the dead! Hallelujah.

    And I thought we were celebrating the Easter Bunny and Eggs.
    Aren’t pagan rituals just wonderful?

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  18. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    LeftRightOut 8:58 am,

    Are you not claiming to be all knowing?

    No, myself and other Christians just claim to know the One who is all knowing.
    The One who rose from the dead, and through whom we have our sins forgiven and eternal life.

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  19. reid (16,491 comments) says:

    I just love the notion that he is trying to describe atheists as a “religious commitment”. It’s a bizarre tactic…All atheists do is question the religions about their beliefs and teachings and how they can be reconciled with reason, knowledge and science.

    An atheist adopts a position of faith just the same as does anyone else. A Christian places faith in both Jesus and YHWH, a Jew in YHWH alone, a Moslem in Mohammad and YHWH, an atheist in science.

    Who’s right? Who cares? Personally, until science explains precisely how the universe came into being with such fine tolerances as are necessary to explain everything we experience in it, on a purely random mathematical basis, with no guiding intelligence behind it, I think its illogical to place your faith in it.

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  20. Gulag1917 (928 comments) says:

    The Archbishop was speaking to the converted as atheist’s will often speak to the converted so what is the problem, not allowed to say what you believe?

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  21. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    An atheist adopts a position of faith just the same as does anyone else. A Christian places faith in both Jesus and YHWH, a Jew in YHWH alone, a Moslem in Mohammad and YHWH, an atheist in science.

    No, to be an atheist requires no faith, simply reason. As the coffee cup on my desk says “Reason saves, faith enslaves”.

    And sadly, there are atheists who reject science – such as the merchants of woo, homeopathy, herbalism, chiropractic, etc.

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  22. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    Kris K (1932) Says:

    April 4th, 2010 at 9:04 am
    LeftRightOut 8:58 am,

    Are you not claiming to be all knowing?

    No, myself and other Christians just claim to know the One who is all knowing.

    How can you live with such uncertainty in your life? on what rational basis is your claim grounded? And how can you “claim to know” without admitting there is bugger all evidence to support your claim?

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  23. bevanjs (34 comments) says:

    It’s all simply gang colours in another form. Many seem to need it. Daft though.

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  24. David in Chch (519 comments) says:

    LRO, as a scientist and an agnostic, I agree with those who are saying that atheism is also a matter of “faith”. I went through a period as a young man when I said I was an atheist, and stated there was no god. Then I realised that I actually could not _know_, that saying there was no god, which is what atheism is, both in my experience and according to the standard dictionary terms, was also a matter of “faith”.

    Reason is not involved in statements of whether or not there is a supreme being. The presence or absence of a deity is beyond the scope of reason, I would argue, because it can never be resolved, it can never really be “tested”.

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  25. eszett (2,417 comments) says:

    As for no atheist dogma, I would disagree with eszett. There is a dogma – there is NO god/deity/call it what you will.

    You kind of have it the wrong way, Dave. There is no such dogma and it wouldn’t make sense. It is impossible to prove the non-existence of things.

    The onus is on someone who says” There is a God” to prove it.

    As an atheists I cannot disprove the existence of God, but I can say that given the fact that there are so many to choose from (Allah, Odin, Zeus and Jupiter to name a few) it is highly unlikely that a God exists. The very same way I can say that it is highly unlikely that the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus exist.

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  26. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    The david, you are thoroughly confused.

    Where is the faith in knowing there is/are no god/gods? The evidence against god(s) is overwheling if you just look for it. It is in the plethora of gods man has invented. It is in the inconsistencies and plagiarism in the various religious texts. It is in the lack of a visible presence of the supposed god(s). Of course it can be tested, it has, many times, and each time the test comes to the same result. Zero for god(s).

    I do not need faith to know that something does not exist, faith is only required as the adult equivalent of blocking ears and yelling “lalalalallalalalalalalala” in the face of evidence.

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  27. David in Chch (519 comments) says:

    “It is impossible to prove the non-existence of things.”

    Exactly, eszett. Which is why atheism is as much of a faith as religious.

    We canNOT prove or DISprove the existence or non-existence of a deity.

    Hence I am an agnostic.

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  28. Gulag1917 (928 comments) says:

    If some of you guys only believed what you could see if you were born blind you would not believe anything.

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  29. David in Chch (519 comments) says:

    But LRO, those who believe will argue that the wonders of the world are evidence of a supreme being. My point is that we cannot KNOW, cannot prove or disprove, the existence or non-existence of a supreme being. It is beyond what science does.

    To say that a god does NOT exist is as much a statement of faith, because you say you KNOW that such a being does not exist. BUT that is not a definitive argument. It is a statement of faith, inasmuch as it is not based on any repeatable observations that can be tested.

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  30. David in Chch (519 comments) says:

    Gulag – we have 5 senses, not one. But using your argument, someone who was deaf, dumb, blind, had no taste, had no sense of touch – then yes, effectively such a person would have no knowledge and no way to know of anything beyond their existence.

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  31. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    LeftRightOut 9:11 am,

    How can you live with such uncertainty in your life? on what rational basis is your claim grounded? And how can you “claim to know” without admitting there is bugger all evidence to support your claim?

    On the same rational basis that behind every other relationship I may have is a real individual with whom I share personal exchanges. There is no uncertainty – and that is an honest statement from someone who has known God for over thirty years. And my relationship with Him has continued to deepen over that time. People have let me down, but God never has – He is always there; a true and trusted friend.

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  32. andrei (2,664 comments) says:

    Christ is Risen!

    Today is the most important day on the Christian Calendar and the self appointed elite want to take a giant dump on it – by not reporting the Joyous Celebration of the most significant event in human history but by parsing the words of religious leaders to sling barbs about what they said or left unsaid (according to the agendas of the critics).

    Billions of Christians rejoice in this day but those that think they are better and more enlightened than the rest of us, (they are not by the way) just want to rain on our parade.

    And the fools don’t realize as they do it that they are just indulging in trashy behavior.

    Truly he is Risen!

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  33. eszett (2,417 comments) says:

    # David in Chch (207) Says:
    April 4th, 2010 at 9:22 am

    “It is impossible to prove the non-existence of things.”

    Exactly, eszett. Which is why atheism is as much of a faith as religious.

    We canNOT prove or DISprove the existence or non-existence of a deity.

    Hence I am an agnostic.

    So you are agnostic towards the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus as well, then? And Allah, Odin, Zeus, Jupiter and the Spaghetti Monster?

    And why can we not prove the existence of God? We can surely put his words to the test, can’t we?

    It is very easy to convert an atheist. Provide proof.

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  34. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    It is a statement of faith, inasmuch as it is not based on any repeatable observations that can be tested.

    CRAP!

    Seen the scientific studies on the effect of prayer? No evidence of god there.

    Seen the religious claims for miracle cures? Everyone of them is of something that can either spontaneoulsy cure or that medecine can cure. Never anything truly miraculous, like regrowth of an amputated limb.

    Every day I look outside. No god(s) there.

    Next, you’ll be telling me you’re an agnostic about easter bunnny!

    For a supposed scientist, you seem pretty fucking dumb.

    those who believe will argue that the wonders of the world are evidence of a supreme being Which is a non argument as the existence of one thing does not prove the existence of another, unconnected thing. And why do they only claim god(s)’s responsible for the beauty, never the horror, the torment?

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  35. David in Chch (519 comments) says:

    eszett:
    We had this conversation before. I answered you then. We are all starting to repeat ourselves. As usual, no one is listening to or thinking much about what the others are saying, so it has reached a point of pointlessness :-). No one is going to convince or convert another. It’s time to do something else.

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  36. jcuknz (704 comments) says:

    Typical of how the church perverts christianity with its intolerance and inability to appreciate that God loves all, believers and athiests. I doubt if the Catholic Chruch is very much different in its behaviour than any other organisation but all are to be equally disaprroved of for their un christian behaviour, though very human.
    Of course all the gods exist, in the minds of those who believe in them just as I imagin the absence of belief in them in an athiests mind.

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  37. David in Chch (519 comments) says:

    “Seen the scientific studies on the effect of prayer? No evidence of god there.”

    I did, some years ago. Not surprisingly, it seemed to have a positive effect for those who believed, and no effect for those who didn’t. Having a hospital bed that faced a garden improved recovery. Having a bed that faced a parking lot did not. Having a positive attitude helped in recovery. Having a pessimistic attitude did not.

    As for f–ing dumb: I would turn that around and suggest you look in the mirror. I am actually _thinking_ about it and thinking it through instead of simply saying “There is no this or that”. You claim to KNOW that there is no god. So … prove it! You can’t. Not in any way that convinces those that believe there is. I am stepping BACK from that argument and saying “What CAN we demonstrate? What CAN we test?”

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  38. David in Chch (519 comments) says:

    Nicely stated, jcuknz.

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  39. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    truly andrei is ‘barking’..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  40. Gulag1917 (928 comments) says:

    “sheer passion and virulence of the atheist” Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen, no doubting that from some of them.

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  41. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    i think if you want ‘sheer passion and virulence’..look no further than the andreis’..eh..?

    he who is ‘better’ than the rest of us..

    (totally delusional..that one..)

    as i said:..’barking’..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  42. ZenTiger (435 comments) says:

    Cha, what is exactly your definition of pedophilia as far as the age goes? If an adult (18) touches a 15 year old, are they pedophiles? On one hand, we have a public perception that pedophilia is an adult interfering with young children (under 10, but pre-pubescent is as good a line as any) and on the other hand, the vast majority of cases of priest abuse concern much older age ranges. The nature of pedophilia is a vastly different condition than that of sexual desire towards young adults.

    So, given you seem to resent the quoted person pointing out a definition to enable accurate reporting, what is your age range? I suspect a lot of teachers also guilty of betraying a position of trust will suddenly become “pedophiles” by your definition.

    Note that this is not to excuse any betrayal of trust and minimizing the offense, but to clarify what the offenses are.

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  43. ZenTiger (435 comments) says:

    LRO said “Seen the religious claims for miracle cures? Everyone of them is of something that can either spontaneously cure or that medicine can cure. Never anything truly miraculous, like regrowth of an amputated limb.

    There are many, many claims of miracles, of varying degrees as one would expect. Some actually do involve documented evidence of bone and tissue regrowth where it would not be otherwise possible. Genuine miracles even by your standards.

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  44. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    In short, God doesn’t exist. People exist.

    When people hurt other people because of belief in a non-existent god, this understandably irks atheists.

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  45. ZenTiger (435 comments) says:

    Jcuknz, God does indeed love all, atheists and faithful alike. That has nothing to do with pointing out that some people are actively putting the boot in. That is not behaviour worthy of God’s mercy.

    Phil U, there is no virulence at all in Andrei’s words. Saying so makes it seem like you have an agenda.

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  46. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    Kris K (1933) Says:

    April 4th, 2010 at 9:29 am
    LeftRightOut 9:11 am,

    How can you live with such uncertainty in your life? on what rational basis is your claim grounded? And how can you “claim to know” without admitting there is bugger all evidence to support your claim?

    On the same rational basis that behind every other relationship I may have is a real individual with whom I share personal exchanges. There is no uncertainty – and that is an honest statement from someone who has known God for over thirty years.

    But at 9:04 you said you simply “claimed” to know god, you denied the absolute certainty. Now, once again, you are claiming absolute ceetainty, something you prevu=ioulsy said was reserved for god.

    Anyway, where can I meet this god, shake his hand, by him a beer? I can’t, because he exists solely in your head.

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  47. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    ZenTiger (251) Says:

    April 4th, 2010 at 9:53 am
    LRO said “Seen the religious claims for miracle cures? Everyone of them is of something that can either spontaneously cure or that medicine can cure. Never anything truly miraculous, like regrowth of an amputated limb.

    There are many, many claims of miracles, of varying degrees as one would expect. Some actually do involve documented evidence of bone and tissue regrowth where it would not be otherwise possible. Genuine miracles even by your standards.

    Citations, please.

    And while you’re at it, remind me again of the success rate of Lourdes. 0.000000001%, IIRC.

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  48. Viking2 (11,484 comments) says:

    DPF; did you really need to start this flame war on a nice quiet peaceful(or was ) Sunday.

    You’ve curdled our easter eggs.

    Now I will just have to go to work. No rest for the wicked you see, and neither for the good buggers among us. Ha

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  49. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..it seem like you have an agenda.”

    the only agenda i have is the agenda of ‘the church of the vegan jesus’..

    ..eh..?

    two commandments only:..

    harm/eat no animals..

    and..

    love/protect thy brother/sister/fellow creatures..

    wanna join..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  50. vibenna (305 comments) says:

    You know, before the Enlightment people were executed for being atheists. Peter Jensen might wish for the good old days, but as far as I am concerned he is simply spreading the hate and intolerance that has been rejected by western socieites, and which brought modern churches to their knees.

    And it’s not Christian. What’s he going to do next? Issue a fatwa against Atheists?

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  51. eszett (2,417 comments) says:

    # Kris K (1933) Says:
    April 4th, 2010 at 8:57 am

    eszett 8:52 am,

    I’d say someone is feeling the heat.

    Do you see the irony in that statement?

    Good one ;-)

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  52. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    ZenTiger@9:53 am
    “”There are many, many claims of miracles, of varying degrees as one would expect. Some actually do involve documented evidence of bone and tissue regrowth where it would not be otherwise possible. Genuine miracles even by your standards.””

    That of Winston Peters being rezarected on Q+A this morning…

    and Maori and National singing from the same song sheet.

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  53. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    and the new ‘inclusive’ don brash..

    (did someone slip him an ‘e’..?..or something..?..

    for a minute there..

    ..i thought he was going to spotaneously hug matt mccarten..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  54. Bob (497 comments) says:

    The religious refuse to believe that atheism is simply a disbelief in gods. Claiming atheism is a religion in itself puts it on an equal footing with them. They can then claim their religion is as good as ours if not better. Their arguments are rarely logical based on facts. If all religions discarded belief and relied on facts and evidence like science religion would quickly be in trouble.

    As for Cantalamessa the Catholic Church is unused to criticism. It is an authoritive organisation which sends decisions and pronouncements down but doesn’t accept them coming up. It can’t handle being caught up in a worldly turmoil. It had better get used to it because it no longer controls society the way it used to nor does it have the unconditional respect it used to.

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  55. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    My religious mother in law would tell my kids… God created the trees: God created the clouds etc..”
    then my kids asked her who created God?” They were all under age 5 at the time. I knew from that day forward my kids were no sheep.

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  56. ropata (117 comments) says:

    DPF,
    The only stupidity is media attempts to stir up trouble with a few isolated quotes. Try this instead

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  57. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    RKBee, a tried-and-tested guilt-trip about Jesus dying for their sins followed up by the threat of going to hell would have sorted out that 5 year-old insurrection :-)

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  58. Gulag1917 (928 comments) says:

    The sweeping generalisations “You know, before the Enlightment people were executed for being atheists. Peter Jensen might wish for the good old days” Doubt very much Mr Jensen would advocate that. Generalise at own peril.

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  59. vibenna (305 comments) says:

    Gulag – quite right, he wouldn’t want that. But he clearly would like to move backwards towards a similar culture of intolerance and oppression.

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  60. jims_whare (403 comments) says:

    Hmmmm for someone who is a great believer in free speech DPF you seem awfully keen to have a dig at the Christian religion as a whole when ever you can. If its something to do with Moslem’s you are always careful to differentiate between extremists and moderates and we never hear a peep from you in relation to other religions.
    This would be normal par for the course except to bring this up on Easter Sunday, the most special religious day for Christians of the year seems to smack more of bias than anything else.
    I have never seen a post from you on the first day of Ramadan mocking moslems for wanting to kill the infidel and the great ‘satan’ America……no when you post about moslems you always treat them with a decorum of respect and aim your comments at the minority of nutters causing the stirring of the day.

    As for the specific comments you are posting on today – the comments about the atheists are not really anything out of the ordinary as many motivated atheists do rise against any mention of God – think ACLU and their many lawsuits to force any mention of God out of public life in America. I think the Bishop does make a point for when people refuse to acknowledge God they are saying that people are the pinnacle of evolution and that there is no one or nothing higher, and that therefore the rules and philosophies to live by must come from man – in a sense man worshiping himself.

    The comments by the pope’s preacher do deserve some derision as the catholic church has dealt with child abuse very badly (and still is). However I would have thought any other day other than Easter Sunday would have been more appropriate.

    (Yeah I know I can always piss off and read someone else’s blog….I know…I know!)

    [DPF: I did the post on Easter Day, because it was the day after the stupid comments were made. Blame them, not me for the timing.

    I have no idea when Ramadan is but would certainly never let that stop me from criticising something stupid said or done by a Muslim leader - and I have done scores and scores of posts on things Islam.

    Yes I differentiate between all Muslims and extreme Islamists, but likewise I differentiated between all Catholics and the Church hierarchy.

    As for other religions I have a go at Scientologists quite often. I think the Dalai Llama is quite dodgy also.]

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  61. kiwitoffee (383 comments) says:

    I suggest that anyone doubting the existence of God might like to have a listen to the music of Arvo Part.

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  62. OliverI (112 comments) says:

    I’m a Christian and I am proud to say it. I hope everyone can stop squabbling, spend time with their families, and have a Happy Easter :)

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  63. fatman43us (166 comments) says:

    I never cease to be amazed at the erergy atheists are prepared to expend to talk away the possibility of the existence of He whom they Deny. If there is no God as you claim, you have won. Why waste energy on trying to convince others to that which you believe is the only truth? If you are right, your truth will in time be seen by all.

    But if as I suspect you are wrong, then maybe there is a need to talk up your position…

    Have a Joyous Holy Day!

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  64. Repton (769 comments) says:

    Cha, what is exactly your definition of pedophilia as far as the age goes?

    I have read that paedophilia is originally a psychiatric term meaning “sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children”. The term for the next age-group up is ephebophilia.

    However, I should add a disclaimer that I read this on a webpage somewhere, so I have no idea to what extent it corresponds to reality.

    At any rate, I’m fairly sure there is no crime of paedophilia: we call it “statutory rape” and the cut-off age is 16.

    And a linguist might note that meaning is defined by common usage, and most people would probably call it paedophilia up to age 15, or maybe even beyond, unless the elder partner was close in age.

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  65. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    The reality is that both the Christians and atheists have it wrong, they should in fact be uneasy “friends”. They both claim more than most other western groups to be the gatekeepers of absolute truth, the Christians with the teachings of Christ, the atheists with the worship of logic.
    This was born out with the “science wars” that the likes of Dawkins engaged in against certain people from certain scientific fields that held to a more “relative truth” or post modernist belief.
    These beliefs that Dawkins and co were fighting against are potentially of far greater concern to humanity than religion ever could be, and Christians are in fact an ally of atheists in this regard.
    The behaviour of both sides of this Christian vs atheist debate has been appalling at times and is the source of all this pathetic tit for tat crap that is going on.
    In reality, as uncomfortable as it seems, atheists and Christians are actually occupying the same general territory in a societal sense.
    Time to wise up to the real threats facing our world me thinks and stop all the petty bull shit.

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  66. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    kiwitoffee (353) Says:

    April 4th, 2010 at 11:52 am
    I suggest that anyone doubting the existence of God might like to have a listen to the music of Arvo Part.

    wHICH PROVES WAHT, EXACTLY?

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  67. OliverI (112 comments) says:

    Just a thought… what is the probability that we are here and exists through chance verses what is the probability that DNA evidence is inaccurate?

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  68. Fletch (6,407 comments) says:

    I also agree with the Anglican Bishop’s statement about Atheism. It pretty much is a religion. I have a guy on my facebook who is a professed Atheist, and he often seems to be posting stuff on Dawkins or the atheist bus campaign or similar topics, so much so that some of his other friends are beginning to question him. Heck, he does more proselytizing of his “faith” than I do!

    There are people like Dawkins who just can’t stand the idea of someone believing in God and expend all their energy in an effort to get people to believe in…….nothing.

    How sad.

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  69. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    What’s your definition of religion then, Fletch? Being enthusiantic about a subject doesn’t make a religion.

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  70. Fletch (6,407 comments) says:

    Oliver, DNA is so complex really that there is no way it could have come about by chance. It has a code, not binary (two bits) but with four bits of information. The human genome is a code with 3.1 billion letters of information. Francis Collins, the scientist who headed the Human Genome Project and helped to decode it, is a Christian and sees no conflict between science and faith.

    Has there ever been a case of the resulting object or system coming into existence before the code that created it? No. The code is always written first. If not, it would be like the Windows Operating System just came into being out of nothing then examining it’s coding and saying that it just happened to be there and that no one wrote it – and human DNA is far more complex than computer binary code.

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  71. Fletch (6,407 comments) says:

    Oliver, DNA is so complex that it couldn’t have come about by chance. It is an actual code with 3.1 billion bits of information and not programmed in binary (two bits), but with 4 bits of information. Francis Collins who led the Human Genome Project and helped to decode it is a Christian and sees no conflict between science and faith.

    The code always comes first, and then the system or design, otherwise it would be like believing that the Windows Xp Operating System just came into being (having evolved from the simplest program, PRINT “HELLO WORLD”) and then examining it’s code and coming to the conclusion that is just happened to be there. And DNA is way more complex than binary computer code.

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  72. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    I have sorted it out…

    God did not create man Lucifer did.

    The closest thing to God is nature not churches or religion.

    If you work with nature you are working with God, if you are working against nature then you are working against God.

    Man has constantly worked against nature as would Lucifer.

    All the problems with the world today… is because of man.

    If one subscibe to Lucifer creating man not God then the world and why man is destroying it all makes a lot more sense.

    But of course the bibles state otherwise.. but then again who wrote the bibles.

    Blar Blar Blar….

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  73. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    Fletch (939) Says:

    April 4th, 2010 at 12:57 pm
    Oliver, DNA is so complex that it couldn’t have come about by chance.
    Proof?

    Complexity is neither proof god(s) or a designer, aka god(s).

    There are many excellent texts on evolutionary theory, not all of them writen by Darwin by the way.

    If DNA is too complex to have evolved, how did it come about? God? But that then leaves you with the qustion of how god, being far more complex than DNA, came about purely by chance.

    Or are you one of the “Elephants all the way down” people?

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  74. Chuck Bird (4,895 comments) says:

    Cha, what is exactly your definition of pedophilia as far as the age goes?

    ZenTiger, what point are you trying to make?

    Bill Donohue, the head of the influential Catholic League says that the priest who allegedly sexually abused 200 deaf boys in Wisconsin did not engage in pedophilia because ‘the vast majority of the victims [were] post-pubescent.”

    http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0331/catholic-league-boys-pubescent/

    It sounds to like this creep is trying somehow trying to minimise or justify the actions of these sick priests.

    The exact medical term is not relevant. These scumbags were homosexual, paedophile priests.

    It should be clear that for a mature adult to have sex with someone under the age of 16 is clearly wrong and rightly a criminal offence. The law allows a defence if a person is under 21 and reasonable believes the other person is 16 or older.

    When the age difference is small the police sometimes are capable of using there discretion sensibly.

    Sometimes they are not capable.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10477075

    Do you think an adult say over 30 is less culpable if his victim is 12 or 13 rather than 10 or under. I am not saying you do. I am asking the question as I am puzzled by your post.

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  75. Biomag83 (94 comments) says:

    As a daily mass going Catholic I agree with what yiu said regarding the popes personal preacher, I dont agree with 90 percent of what you say regarding the church as I think you have a chip on your shoulder about it.
    However could you say why you disagree with the Anglican bishops sermon? Why is it “offensive”?

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  76. OliverI (112 comments) says:

    Oh Fletch, sorry, what I meant was what is the probability that someone else shares your DNA? a program I watched a few years ago illustrated it at something like 1 in a billion.

    I was contending that if people believe the chance of DNA evidence being wrong based on another person matching the DNA, then that 1 / billion constitutes fact for people.

    If 1 / billion probability can constitute fact, then surly the chance that we exists, are human and blogging online is even less likely to be 1 / billion (For arguments sake 1 / 10 ^ trillion or more). Yes I am throwing very very rough numbers out there.

    However, to say that there is a God, and we are here not by luck has a 1 / 1 chance for people of most religions. Which seems like a relatively logical conclusion.

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  77. Yvette (2,822 comments) says:

    A Christian would supposedly follow “Help the poor, support the weak, do ill to no one, and covet not that which you see belongeth to another. Show love, kindness, and respect to your mothers and wives, yet also your neighbour, and even your enemies. Works of love or piety should be done with an open heart and one’s actions should not be governed by calculation or the hope of gain for such action will not lead to salvation, but into a state of moral degradation.”

    An Atheist who follows the same actions may have as motivation a truer realisation of self in service of others, a greater sense of compassion because it is willed by his own being rather than an external theistic being, with a promise of reward?

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  78. real independent (30 comments) says:

    The priests and bishops should stick to what they’re good at- buggering altarboys.

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  79. Don the Kiwi (1,762 comments) says:

    But atheists do not utilise “logic” – they use empiricism.

    If they followed logic, they would arive at the existence of
    an intelligent uncreated being.

    Like this:

    – Matter exists. (just look around at this beautiful world we live in)

    – Matter cannot create itself ( laws of physics)

    – Therefore, for matter to exist, there must be an uncreated force to create it. That “force” has to have intelligence to make the decision to create.

    That “intelligent force” we call God.

    No bible, no “faith”, just simple logic, using the God given intelligence we all possess.

    So then the question is, how did/do we get to know this God – how did he reveal himself to us?

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  80. Gulag1917 (928 comments) says:

    vibenna – no doubt there are some that want to turn back the clock but others realise that belief and non belief have to somehow co-exist without hurting each other. Mr Jensen’s statement does not mean that he cannot tolerate atheism and will persecute it, he certainly disagrees with it and he has that right.

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  81. ZenTiger (435 comments) says:

    Chuck, in terms of the severity of a crime, I apply a simple test: how would I feel if it happened to my children? In that regard, I would likely be advocating for the death penalty for such crimes. Hopefully that puts my feelings on these crimes in perspective.

    I was wondering about what constituted pedophilia simply because pedophilia is rightly regarded as a horrible crime, and it has immediate connotations that help whip up a public frenzy. I note that there are many incidence of sexual offending reported that have nothing to do with priests, and they are rarely referred to as pedophilia unless they involve pre-pubescent children. I wonder why. For example, in NZ a 30 year old women shacked up with a 15 year old boy. The 15 year old boy killed her child (by another man). He goes to jail, New Zealand is outraged and she never once faced charges of pedophilia or was referred to in that way. The police couldn’t be bothered prosecuting apparently. In another NZ story, a 21 year old got a 13 year old girl pregnant. He had sexual relations since she was 11. Not considered a pedophile as far as the reporting was concerned, and no charges laid after police and CYFS investigate. Very strange. Just wondering therefore, what crosses the line for people in characterizing these issues. Probably a pointless question on this kind of thread.

    I’ll join the mob and suggest we re-institute the death penalty for pedophilia. There have been a series of cases of sexual abuse pushed through the NZ courts in the last couple of years relating to extensive abuse of children in state organisations over the 50’s to 80’s. Many cases were reported and never followed up. Some 10 million dollars in compensation has been paid out, and somehow the pedophiles have been hidden by the State from public scrutiny. No real investigation seems to be evident in examining if their supervisors ignored the issue and are guilty of cover-ups. Front page headlines could have blared “Is the Government making the same mistakes the Catholic Church did?” Have we learned nothing?

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  82. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    “If DNA is too complex to have evolved, how did it come about? God? But that then leaves you with the qustion of how god, being far more complex than DNA, came about purely by chance.

    Or are you one of the “Elephants all the way down” people?”

    Why do you limit a supposed creator God to the limits of the universe he created? Your logic is not superior, God is not limited by his creation any more than you have to be a pencil drawing if you draw a pencil drawing!!

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  83. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    If 1 / billion probability can constitute fact, then surly the chance that we exists, are human and blogging online is even less likely to be 1 / billion (For arguments sake 1 / 10 ^ trillion or more). Yes I am throwing very very rough numbers out there.

    Probability is only half of the picture. How many times are the dice rolled? The universe is very old.

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  84. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    Or are you one of the “Elephants all the way down” people?

    Don’t be silly. It’s turtles.

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  85. Rufus (667 comments) says:

    Vibenna 10:40

    Have you ever read anything Peter Jensen has written? Ever listened to him speak? No? I didn’t think so.

    You have no idea at all who you’re talking about. You don’t know the man.

    I have and I do. And he’s not anything like the caricature you or the media has made him out to be. Fools.

    Real Independent 1:27 – you’re a troll and a very abrasive one. By your logic: 1. school teachers should also stick to what they do best – abusing small children. 2. Politicians should lie/cheat/steal because that’s all they do. 3. A certain NZ ethnic group should bash and kill their kids – because that’s what they do best…

    You’re both rather pathetic.

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  86. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Religion is the reason the world goes round and round.. and round and round.
    Atheism say’s the world is round and round.. and round and round.
    So we all go.. round and round.. and round and round..
    In circles.

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  87. Puzzled in Ekatahuna (346 comments) says:

    Oliveri – arguments for “the chance that we exists, are human and blogging online is even less likely to be 1 / billion (For arguments sake 1 / 10 ^ trillion or more). …
    However, to say that there is a God, and we are here not by luck has a 1 / 1 chance for people of most religions.”

    Your 1 : 1 chance of a God means you are dismissing the independent evidence of evolution in terms of ice ages, conditions for life, simple life forms becoming more complex, discovery of agriculture and everything else. If God exists, he used evolution to create the world, otherwise you are back to wondering on which of the six days of creation did he hide all those prehistoric animal bones and fossils which keep being uncovered.

    [Hush my mouth, because last time that was mentioned, various commentators to this blog went ballistic]

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  88. Chuck Bird (4,895 comments) says:

    ZenTiger, thanks for your reply. I am off in a couple of minutes to a friend’s place. I will reply in more depth when I return later this evening.

    As you are probably aware there is not a crime of pedophilia like there is of rape. The crime is sex with a minor.
    It is am interesting topic. There are grey areas like which is worse a 21 year old having sex with a 13 year old or a 40 year old having sex with a 15 year old.

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  89. OliverI (112 comments) says:

    Puzzled – I disagree with your conclusion, and of course support evolution. All I am suggesting is that on a mathematical level, the combination of chances coming together, of earth being the correct distance from the sun, rotating at the right speed, containing all essential elements for life etc is minuscule as a pure probability in itself. – Most people either side of the debate would agree.

    All probabilities have inverse variables In this case “luck” and “not luck” and inverse probabilities, in this case 0.000..etc..001 and 0.999…etc…999

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  90. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Puzzled in Ekatahuna 3:09 pm,

    [In similarly hushed tones - Don't mention the Flood of Noah shhh]

    By the way: Had a wonderful challenging/encouraging morning service. While Christ may not reign the earth (yet), I know He reigns in my heart. Many others here can likewise attest to this fact – Hallelujah.

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  91. Yvette (2,822 comments) says:

    Not mentioning the Flood.

    Kris, you before have said this occurred – what we are not mentioning – about 1500 years before the birth of Christ, so where do the Egyptian dynasties fit in : Narmer 1st dynasty 3100 BC down to the Last Great Pharaoh, Ramesses III 1187-1156 BC ?

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  92. Puzzled in Ekatahuna (346 comments) says:

    One factor in ‘evolution’ would appear to be the amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere from fossilised krill, their trillions of bodies having sunk to the sea floors, moved with tectonic plates, and buried to emerge through volcanic action.
    The chances of the elements of the most basic animo acid flipping into place seems infinitely more simple than the chance chain actions involving the disposition of sea temperatures, krill populations, tectonic plate movement and over-riding plates to volcanic eruptions.

    Some chances in evolution are described as 1 : 0 heading the first page of an average paperback and printed only with following zeroes through every page of that paperback and 999 more paperbacks.
    The throw of the dice here could be second if not first toss, but for the multiple factors involved, how often can that happen? And how many turns do you loose if one factor is your krill, tectonic plate to volcanic eruption time line before other factors should take a turn again?

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  93. kiwitoffee (383 comments) says:

    Leftrightout at 12.08

    Sorry about the delay in responding.

    What Arvo Part’s music proves to me and, I suspect, to many others is the existence of God. Exactly that.

    And it’s something far more beautiful, wonderful, truthful and hopeful than anything people such as Prof. Dawkins have got to say.

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  94. JiveKitty (778 comments) says:

    “Why do you limit a supposed creator God to the limits of the universe he created? Your logic is not superior, God is not limited by his creation any more than you have to be a pencil drawing if you draw a pencil drawing!!”

    Shunda Burunda: The logic is superior if, and I stress the “if”, the person is using the complexity of the universe to explain why there MUST be an intelligent creator, as by this they typically infer that only out of the greater complexity of an intelligent creator could the complexity of the universe arise. This ignores the problem of how the even more complex intelligent creator arose.

    As for those arguing that agnosticism is not complementary with atheism, you’re being disingenuous in using a very specific choice of definition and suggesting that other definitions are not particularly common. It is, for example, commonly considered to be “a lack of belief in the existence of God or gods”. Agnosticism can fit into this category. Whether it does depends upon how you’re choosing to set your terms.

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  95. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    Sorry, toffee, but I don’t see how Arvo Part’s music proves god anymore than Metallica proves the devil. Music is music and can be enjoyed, or not, without the need for god(s). I can feel moved by a greta performance of religious music, not because of the reiligious message, but by the beauty of the compositiion and the performance, both human endeavours. I can also be moved by a bloody good rock band.

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  96. kiwitoffee (383 comments) says:

    ‘I can also be moved by a bloody good rock band.’

    Me too. And I don’t mean Cliff Richard.

    Interesting that Metallica et. al. use God or anti-God imagery.

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  97. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    Puzzled in Ekatahuna, I am puzzled as to exactly what point you are trying to make.
    Are you sure Co2 all comes from tectonically displaced dead krill ejected out of volcanoes?

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  98. Yvette (2,822 comments) says:

    Puzzled in Ekatahuna – plankton, not krill

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  99. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    billyborker speaking of moving rock bands how about thanking God for Pink Floyd -Brain Damage;

    The lunatic is on the grass.
    The lunatic is on the grass.
    Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs.
    Got to keep the loonies on the path.

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  100. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    “It is, for example, commonly considered to be “a lack of belief in the existence of God or gods”. Agnosticism can fit into this category. Whether it does depends upon how you’re choosing to set your terms.”

    Bullshit, they are terms to describe a particular intellectual position on the existence or not of a supernatural cause to the universe, they are not interchangeable any more than light or dark are.
    This is a typical attitude of the intellectual elite to redefine their argument when it is shown to have a weakness, Richard Dawkins is a shameless user of such tactics.
    Choosing “your set of terms” indeed, sounds like the “God of the gaps” in atheist form to me.

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  101. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    OK toffee, we agree tha mmusic has the power to move, now where is the proof that Arvo Part demonstrates god(s) existence? God is not necessary for beauty.

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  102. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    “Sorry, toffee, but I don’t see how Arvo Part’s music proves god anymore than Metallica proves the devil. ”

    Metallica have some interesting lyrics, don’t think they are overly devil worshipping, in fact some of their music is kind of the opposite.
    Anti the crap from organised religion more likely.

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  103. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    “OK toffee, we agree tha mmusic has the power to move, now where is the proof that Arvo Part demonstrates god(s) existence? God is not necessary for beauty.”

    What is the evolutionary purpose of Music LRO?

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  104. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    Peter Burns, speaking from his arse, doesn’t even know who’s in the conversation, but that wouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been in the courts lately.

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  105. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    Shunda barunda (1032) Says:

    April 4th, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    What is the evolutionary purpose of Music LRO?

    Why does everything need to have an “evolutionary purpose”? It doesn’t. Evolution may be the menas that bgot us here, but it is not the sum of us.

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  106. JiveKitty (778 comments) says:

    Call bullshit all you want. I backed up my point with an easily findable and commonly accepted definition. Just stick “define: atheism” into Google and you’ll find how you want to define atheism as well as the definition I gave. Note also that “common definition” and “commonly accepted” do not mean “only”. They mean that many accept the definition as given.

    I do accept, however, that even amongst atheists, this idea contested, but as I said, it comes down to how you want to define your terms. Words do have somewhat variable definitions, and atheists have different perspectives on atheism, strange as those ideas may be to you, Shunda. Much like someone like Redbaiter will likely have a different idea of what it is to be conservative than say, David Cameron, despite both (I think? Sorry if I’ve got this wrong, Redbaiter) being conservatives, there are different perspectives within atheism about what atheism means. Accepting this reality is not some shameless tactic of an intellectual elite, it’s an understanding and acceptance that things often aren’t as simple as some would like.

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  107. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    “Why does everything need to have an “evolutionary purpose”? It doesn’t. Evolution may be the menas that bgot us here, but it is not the sum of us.”

    Still odd don’t you think?
    We discover and develop the means to make sound sound like something that creates an emotional reaction so strong that all humans are affected by it.
    We discover that certain frequencies of sound can be strung together like a universal language that can only be understood and appreciated by intelligent beings.
    Sounds like music is a gift from somewhere, perhaps an interaction with an intelligence beyond our own comprehension in a way that transcends human language.

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  108. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    “it’s an understanding and acceptance that things often aren’t as simple as some would like”

    No it isn’t, it is as stupid as arguing that black is now white if YOU really feel it is.

    Arguing that a term to describe a position of “don’t know” actually means “do know” is a dishonest attempt at redefining the debate to favour your position.
    Are you one of those post modernists I mentioned earlier?

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  109. JiveKitty (778 comments) says:

    Shunda, not knowing doesn’t rule out not believing. Consider it dishonest and tar me with names of things you apparently don’t look fondly upon if you feel like it. It doesn’t do anything to invalidate my point.

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  110. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    In all of this we have seemingly forgotten that the person who is, according to the Catholic Church, God’s representative on earth, who is blessed with Papal infallibility, has been found to be implicit in the covering up of the worst sort of conduct by those who also call themselves men of god.

    This begs the question, to what end?

    Where did it profit the catholic church to systematically conceal these issues? Did they so believe in the power of the position they granted themselves that they felt immune from the repercussions of their actions?

    In doing so, have they failed to understand the humanity of those they had irrecoverably wronged?

    Atheism has, in existing, allowed us to openly challenge those who have claimed divine authority over the masses, and in a small percentage of cases, abused that authority. That the church did not adequately deal with these issues at the time, is it’s own failure. To compare the current scandal with the worst of anti-semitism, is yet another black mark.

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  111. kiwitoffee (383 comments) says:

    Happy Easter to one and all, and thank you for your thoughtful points. (I’m off for a cuppa and to make dinner for my son)

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  112. JiveKitty (778 comments) says:

    @slightlyrighty: Papal infallibility in only very few circumstances.

    As to why the abuse was covered up, perhaps it was because of a short-sighted belief that it would not eventually be uncovered and tarnish the reputation of the Church. I am of the opinion though, that the Catholic Church is more about retaining power and influence than helping people.

    Oh, and happy Easter to you too kiwitoffee.

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  113. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    leftywrongbout – was your 5.17pm stupid comment the fugley or billyborker side of your personality disorder?

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  114. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    “Consider it dishonest and tar me with names of things you apparently don’t look fondly upon if you feel like it. It doesn’t do anything to invalidate my point.”

    And what is your point? That the changing nature of the english language somehow validates your belief that agnosticism and atheism are now interchangeable?
    One is simply morphing into the other if that is the case, why don’t we just agree to call it “Dawkinism”, it would be more honest than hijacking yet another word for use by the social elite.

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  115. big bruv (13,923 comments) says:

    “was your 5.17pm stupid comment the fugley or billyborker side of your personality disorder?”

    Lol…Pot, kettle, black..

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  116. Fletch (6,407 comments) says:

    In all of this we have seemingly forgotten that the person who is, according to the Catholic Church, God’s representative on earth, who is blessed with Papal infallibility, has been found to be implicit in the covering up of the worst sort of conduct by those who also call themselves men of god.

    Actually that is total bollocks, as this articleby the judge who actually tried the case against Father Murphy writes.

    Some snippets –

    Since my name and comments in the matter of the Father Murphy case have been liberally and often inaccurately quoted in the New York Times and in more than 100 other newspapers and on-line periodicals, I feel a freedom to tell part of the story of Father Murphy’s trial from ground zero.

    As I have found that the reporting on this issue has been inaccurate and poor in terms of the facts, I am also writing out of a sense of duty to the truth. The fact that I presided over this trial and have never once been contacted by any news organization for comment speaks for itself.

    [One of my intents is] to assert that Pope Benedict XVI has done more than any other pope or bishop in history to rid the Catholic Church of the scourge of child sexual abuse and provide for those who have been injured;

    To set the record straight with regards to the efforts made by the church to heal the wounds caused by clergy sexual misconduct. The Catholic Church is probably the safest place for children at this point in history.

    In the summer of 1998, I ordered Father Murphy to be present at a deposition at the chancery in Milwaukee. I received, soon after, a letter from his doctor that he was in frail health and could travel not more than 20 miles (Boulder Junction to Milwaukee would be about 276 miles). A week later, Father Murphy died of natural causes in a location about 100 miles from his home

    With regard to the inaccurate reporting on behalf of the New York Times, the Associated Press, and those that utilized these resources, first of all, I was never contacted by any of these news agencies but they felt free to quote me. Almost all of my quotes are from a document that can be found online with the correspondence between the Holy See and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. In an October 31, 1997 handwritten document, I am quoted as saying ‘odds are that this situation may very well be the most horrendous, number wise, and especially because these are physically challenged , vulnerable people. “ Also quoted is this: “Children were approached within the confessional where the question of circumcision began the solicitation.”

    The problem with these statements attributed to me is that they were handwritten. The documents were not written by me and do not resemble my handwriting. The syntax is similar to what I might have said but I have no idea who wrote these statements, yet I am credited as stating them. As a college freshman at the Marquette University School of Journalism, we were told to check, recheck, and triple check our quotes if necessary. I was never contacted by anyone on this document, written by an unknown source to me. Discerning truth takes time and it is apparent that the New York Times, the Associated Press and others did not take the time to get the facts correct.

    In the documentation in a letter from Archbishop Weakland to then-secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone on August 19, 1998, Archbishop Weakland stated that he had instructed me to abate the proceedings against Father Murphy. Father Murphy, however, died only two days later and

    the fact is that on the day he died, he was still the defendant in a church criminal trial. No one seems to be aware of this.

    Second, with regard to the role of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), in this matter, I have no reason to believe that he was involved at all. Placing this matter at his doorstep is a huge leap of logic and information.

    OK, so Father Murphy, according to the judge that presided over the case, was still a defendant in a criminal trial on the day he died. So much for his having been pardoned by then Cardinal Ratzinger.
    It’s a beat-up by the media pure and simple. And why?

    To discredit the public moral witness of the Church, that “inconvenient voice” of truth in our time.

    Elizabeth Lev writes –

    The salacious reporting on clerical sex abuse ( as if it were limited to only Roman Catholic clergy) has been given a prominence greater than the massacres of Christians happening right now in India and Iraq. Moreover, the term “clerical sex abuse” is often misleadingly equated with “pedophilia” to whip up even more public outrage. It doesn’t take the political acumen of an Edmund Burke to wonder why the Catholic Church has been singled out for this treatment.

    While no one denies the wrongdoing and the harm caused by a small minority of priests, their misconduct has been used to undermine the reputations of the overwhelming majority of clergy who live holy quiet lives in their parishes, tending to their flocks. These good men have been smeared with the same poisonous ink.

    The brutal reality is that there are an estimated 39 million victims of childhood sexual abuse in the United States today. Of these, between 40 and 60 percent were abused by a family member (for the most part uncles, cousins, stepfathers and live-in boyfriends). Carol Shakeshaft and Audrey Cohan have produced a study showing that 5 percent were molested by school teachers, while the New York Times published a survey showing that fewer than 2% of the offenders were Catholic priests. But to read the papers, it would seem that Catholic clergy hold a monopoly in child molestation.

    Burke’s explanation for the furious anti-clericalism of yore could have been written today: The denigration of the clergy was “to teach them [the people] to persecute their own pastors….by raising a disgust and horror of the clergy.”
    If Burke were alive today, he would perhaps discern another motive behind the selective assaults on Catholic clergy, besides designs on Church property: namely to destroy the credibility of a powerful moral voice in public debate. The most recent example concerns the heated battle over the health care reform bill.

    The vocal opposition of the United States Bishops’ conference (particularly in regard to tax-payer -funded abortion) has proved especially annoying to the proponents of the legislation. As the final vote approaches, the clerical sex abuse drumbeat has risen to a frenzy.

    Very good article.

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  117. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    Thank you big blouse your 6.52pm comment just won me $100 bucks. Your pathological hatred of me is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo predicable.Hi coward still a yellowback loon with a huge d4j problem. What a deranged and sad creep. Take Tuffy for a walk.

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  118. big bruv (13,923 comments) says:

    D4J

    There are many thing that I dislike in this world but you are not one that I give a lot of thought to, I could not be bothered wasting the time and energy working up a pathological hatred.

    As far as I am concerned you are a oxygen thief and one who gives men a bad name.

    All I want you to do is answer two little questions without threats of violence (I can see why restraining orders were needed)

    1. Do you think that the state should have to carry the can for dead beat dads who do not pay child maintenance

    2 Who is funding your ill advised legal battle?

    Answer those questions and I promise to ignore you for the rest of your miserable life.

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  119. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    Go away big blouse you insane cowardly troll. Your family must be disgusted of you. Gawd I am sick of you.

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  120. kiki (425 comments) says:

    So should someone who knew child abuse was going on be held accountable if they don’t report them to the police and stop the abuse? Like we question those who knew about Nia or the Kahui twins.

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  121. eszett (2,417 comments) says:

    Fletch,

    you may want to do some more research:

    Father Brundage, who is now working in the Archdiocese of Anchorage, posted an essay this week saying he was never informed that the trial of Father Murphy had been halted.

    He also said that he had been misquoted in both The New York Times and The Associated Press. In an interview on Wednesday, Father Brundage acknowledged that he had never been quoted in any Times articles about the Murphy case — and the paper did not misquote him. He said he was misquoted in an Associated Press article that was posted temporarily on the Times Web site, and he mistakenly attributed that to The Times.

    He said the documents show that the Vatican had encouraged the Milwaukee Archdiocese to halt the trial, but they did not use strong language and actually order a halt. He said that he never saw the letter from Archbishop Weakland abating the trial until it appeared on the Times Web site last week.

    “The only possible explanation I can come up with is that Archbishop Weakland withheld the letter, knowing the reaction I would have had,” Father Brundage said.

    Father Brundage said he would have been appalled because he was absolutely convinced that Father Murphy should be put on trial, because, “This was a horrendous case.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/01/us/01chrono.html?scp=1&sq=THOMAS%20BRUNDAGE&st=cse

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  122. JiveKitty (778 comments) says:

    Shunda: “And what is your point? That the changing nature of the english language somehow validates your belief that agnosticism and atheism are now interchangeable?
    One is simply morphing into the other if that is the case, why don’t we just agree to call it “Dawkinism”, it would be more honest than hijacking yet another word for use by the social elite.”

    Never said they were interchangeable. I believe one comes under the definition of the other. You can be an atheist and not agnostic, but you cannot be an agnostic and not atheist. Agnosticism would hold you can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God, a god or gods. As such, an agnostic does not believe in God, a god or gods. Hence atheist: “a lack of belief in the existence of God or gods”. A “lack of belief in the existence of God or gods” does not necessarily imply that the atheist believes there is no God or gods. See the logic? These are not mutually incompatible terms.

    If you want to bitch about my use of language, consider where the term atheist comes from. It comes from the Greek “atheos”, which means “without gods”. This term does not imply one believes there are no gods. It implies a lack of gods/lack of belief in gods. Subtle distinction.

    As for calling it Dawkinism, I don’t think that would be appropriate as Dawkins is not representative of all atheists. He espouses a view many may hold, but it is a specific view coming from a specific strand of atheist thought.

    I am not saying, however, that there are atheists who do not believe there is no God, a god or gods, as this is not the case. The atheists who believe this, however, believe this because they believe the onus of proof for the existence of God, a god or gods is on those who believe. Where there is a lack of evidence for a belief, there is reason to disbelieve and no reason to believe.

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  123. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    Fletch.

    If a teacher is caught molesting their charges, that person is held to account by the system.

    Catholic Priests, who have taken vows of celebacy, have been protected by the organision that gave them the power over their victims, when they should have been working for the victims.

    Clergy who molest children are not limited to the catholic church. Grahem Capill for example. But the piety put forward in defence of the action taken by the church then does ring somewhat hollow now, especially as the catholic church does not have the stranglehold in certain countries it once had, such as Ireland.

    It is the hypocrisy of the issue at hand, when those who fervently preach “Thou Shalt Not……” in the name of the church and God, stoop to the lowest standard of behaviour, and destroy the lives of those they vowed to help.

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  124. Chuck Bird (4,895 comments) says:

    ZenTiger, I was late getting back last night so I will address you points now.

    I am not anti-Catholic or anti-Christian. I think modern Christianity does more good than harm be a considerable degree. However, I was appalled by comments from Bill Donohue, the head of the influential Catholic League. He stated that the priest who allegedly sexually abused 200 deaf boys in Wisconsin did not engage in pedophilia because ‘the vast majority of the victims [were] post-pubescent.”
    http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0331/catholic-league-boys-pubescent/
    As I said in my earlier post it sounds to like this creep is trying somehow trying to minimise or justify the actions of these sick priests. A mature adult initiating sex with children under 16 it morally wrong and a criminal offence no matter what the perversion is called.
    You state, ‘Front page headlines could have blared “Is the Government making the same mistakes the Catholic Church did?” Have we learned nothing?’

    You point to a couple of cases where the police have failed to use discretion properly. The first case got a lot of publicity. Anne Tolley, then Opposition MP tried to draw attention to the case. I disgusted that the Commissioner for Children, Cindy Kiro supported the police. I cannot recall the second case you mention. It is only in the last few years that it has become a criminal offence for an adult woman to have sex with an underage boy. So if the event happened a long time ago there would be nothing the police could have done.

    As I said I am not anti Catholic but the cover up of sexual abuse by people very high up in the Catholic was and is very wrong. Many Catholics are the ones protesting.

    Attempts to minimise the cover up or make comparisons such as you make or the comparison to “collective violence” suffered by the Jews probably harm the Catholic Church.

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  125. GJ (329 comments) says:

    Athiesm must be a Religion as we have their own day set aside for them on the calender! April Fools Day! as the bible says the fool in his heart says there is no God!

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  126. ZenTiger (435 comments) says:

    Chuck, here’s a link to the second case I mentioned, it happens to be a Kiwiblog thread in 2007 that you commented on: NZ doesn’t care about protecting children.

    I could equally point to several NZ cases where sexual abuse by State run facilities also indicate cover-ups and protection of the offender at the expense of the victim. Even so, there appear to be many “out of court settlements” that seem to bypass media scrutiny, no doubt to minimise publicity for the victim, but has the unfortunate side effect of hiding the problem. I’ll save it for another time, as it is not appropriate in this thread.

    What perhaps is interesting to understand in the Fr Murphy case is why the police and prosecutors failed to act when this was reported to them in the 50’s, when the abuse started. I’ve seen reference to this, but then no explanation on why they did nothing.

    Also, I point to similar cases in NZ, and you say “the police failed to use discretion properly”. No kidding!

    You then say: The first case got a lot of publicity. Anne Tolley, then Opposition MP tried to draw attention to the case. I disgusted that the Commissioner for Children, Cindy Kiro supported the police.

    It seems like as long as the public is outraged, even without action, we can let it slide? Well, the Catholic Church is getting a lot of publicity for failing to bring Fr Murphy to trial (overwhelming evidence apparently), and the secular authorities have a free pass for failing to act on reports of sexual abuse (insufficient evidence perhaps?). Letting one slide and not the other appears hypocritical.

    Also, I don’t think Donahue is trying to minimise the crime – we all know the crime and we all agree it is terrible. His statement was partly motivated by the media attempting to sensationalize all aspects of the issue. I guess he’s also convinced it is an issue of homosexuality. Some are convinced it’s caused by celibacy. Stating that opinion does not minimise the case, surely? Are you saying people that put down the sexual abuse by Priests as caused by celibacy as making disgusting comments that minimise the crime?

    On the other hand, people who classify it Pedophilia may not care if it doesn’t actually conform to the medical definition of pedophilia. This term suits the sensationalism of the papers, because it instantly signifies a terrible crime.

    You may not care what the name of the crime is, but the homosexual lobby do not want the American public to label predator priests as “homosexual priests”, as it would do damage to their brand. This is why such topics get so well flogged in the media. The Vatican looked at 3000 serious cases of priest abuse, spanning a 50 year period and discovered 10% of the cases could be properly classed pedophilia, and 60% were homosexual relations with teen age boys (leaving 30% being heterosexual contact). Perhaps Donahue was reacting to those statistics?

    Personally, I’m tending to side with you – the crime is abhorrent no matter the “category” it falls into, and the key issue is simply “child abuse” being anyone under the age of consent. Around those issues are the betrayal of trust implicit in a position of authority and the culture of ignoring the crime and/or failing to report it to the secular authorities. I note there has been much progress in the Church over ensuring this does not happen again – I hope the cases the media continue to thrust in the limelight continue to be years old. However, I see new cases making the paper all the time now for secular institutions. They would do well to ensure the lessons learned from the Catholic Church are applied to themselves as well, after all, this has to primarily be around protecting our future children because the past cannot be undone.

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