Should Catholics Praise Nelson Mandela?

Should Catholics Praise Nelson Mandela?

Nelson Mandela’s death on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, at age 95, triggered a tsunami of praise and accolades across the world — from politicians, the media, Hollywood, and even the Pope.

In a telegram to South African President Jacob Zuma, Pope Francis paid tribute to Nelson Mandela, praising Mandela for his “steadfast commitment … in promoting the human dignity of all the nation’s citizens and in forging a new South Africa built on the firm foundations of non-violence, reconciliation and truth”.

Alas, the unborn are not included in “all the citizens” of South Africa whose “human dignity” Mandela promoted.

Click on the photo to read the rest of this article and click here to read about Mandela “the gay icon”.

Given the facts about Nelson Mandela’s support of abortion and homosexuality, should Catholics up to and including the Pope himself, be lavishing unqualified praise on him? Or should they speak the truth?

81 responses

  1. Mandela was a terrorist, Marxist, liberal who supported abortion and homosexual rights. He was also a serial adulterer. Nelson Mandela was an enemy of goodness. Pray for his soul by all means but let’s tell the truth.

  2. I’m shocked to discover that Nelson Mandela was a Communist and pro-abortion and pro-homosexual. He’s presented as someone who fought apartheid, nothing else.

    I am appalled that the Pope and other prominent church people are speaking out to praise him. They must know of his beliefs.

    • I too am shocked about these revelations concerning Mandela and his private life, and honestly, I did not know about them. I thought that abortion and gay marriage were only fully legalised in South Africa under Thabo Mbeki. Whilst Apartheid and it’s leaders were exceptionally twisted and warped individuals, it was a more moral system than what succeeded it. Under Apartheid there were strict laws guaranteeing the Sabbath day (i.e pubs, cinemas, shops and places of public amusement were closed on Sundays) Abortion was only legal in the cases of rape, fetal abnormality or threat to the mothers life, homosexuality was illegal as so on. Indeed the Apartheid leaders were strict Calvinists, and the PM, John Vorster publicly said, ‘I read a chapter of the Bible each day, no matter where I am, or who I am with’.

      I do not believe that he was a Communist per se, but he was friends with Communist leaders such as Joe Slovo, because they were anti-Apartheid.

      As for the Pope speaking about him, the Pope should be saying: ‘whilst Mandela’s campaign against racialism and oppression is praiseworthy and must be sympathised with, we can, under no circumstances, praise him for his negative policies towards the unborn child or the family’.

      Terrorism, can be justified under some cases, South Africa being one of them. For 40 years, the blacks were discriminated against, and brutalised and treated with abject cruelty, for no other reason than because they were black. Terrorist acts against civilians are never justified (as with the cowardly IRA) but assassinations of public officials, or bombing political building are justified to bring down a regime. The way Nationalists in N. Ireland were treated cannot be compared with Apartheid. Maybe during in the 19th C. but not in the mid to late 20th C.

      • Catholic Convert,

        This is a shocking post. Sometimes terrorism can be justified?? Are you being serious? I think you should go and read Saint Thomas Aquinas’ Just War theory before opening your mouth on this again.

        Actually, the terrorist wing affiliated to the ANC targeted civilians too. It does help to research before committing yourself.

        • Petrus,

          I’ve just responded to comments from Catholic Convert and Frankier, and I copy same to you:

          I’m trying to get this thread back on track. Its purpose is to explore Mandela’s beliefs about abortion and homosexuality and the extent of the Vatican’s knowledge about these beliefs when praise was heaped upon him by Pope Francis. So far I’ve learned absolutely nothing about any of this. Unless these points are addressed, I’ll close the thread down.

          Terrorism is not the subject of this thread. Any further posts on the subject of terrorism will be deleted.

      • Catholic Convert

        The cowardly IRA as you call them were the people who defended St Matthews Church in Belfast when it was under siege. This is why the provisional IRA came into being. What about the cowardly British? Why not tell us about their exploits or was/is their actions justified because you are on their side? The way Nationalists in THE NORTH OF IRELAND (to give it its proper title) were treated cannot be compared with apartheid???? Just what planet are you on? For MORE than forty years (800 to be exact) being discriminated against, being brutalised and treated with abject cruelty (to use your own words), being hounded out of your job at the point of a gun and, for some, being executed simply because you are a Roman Catholic certainly doesn’t sound like a picnic to me. Give me apartheid any day. And please don’t take this as condoning the evil of apartheid.

        By the way Nelson Mandela, told the IRA not to give up their weapons until they had gained their freedom.

        • Frankier,

          I’m trying to get this thread back on track. Its purpose is to explore Mandela’s beliefs about abortion and homosexuality and the extent of the Vatican’s knowledge about these beliefs when praise was heaped upon him by Pope Francis. So far I’ve learned absolutely nothing about any of this. Unless these points are addressed, I’ll close the thread down.

          I will be going up to Catholic Convert’s post to say the same to him. Any more posts on the subject of terrorism will be deleted.

      • Catholic Convert,

        I’m trying to get this thread back on track. Its purpose is to explore Mandela’s beliefs about abortion and homosexuality and the extent of the Vatican’s knowledge about these beliefs when praise was heaped upon him by Pope Francis. So far I’ve learned absolutely nothing about any of this. Unless these points are addressed, I’ll close the thread down.

        I have posted exactly the same comment in reply to Frankier, and told him, as I’m telling you, that any more posts on the subject of terrorism will be deleted.

  3. It is not Nelson Mandela had friendship with communist, he would have been a communist. It is not because he respected people their decision of their live and of the live in them that he was against Christian people nor that he would agree to the acts of behaviour of which God would not agree with.

    • Marcus Ampe,

      It is reported on a lot of websites and blogs that Nelson Mandela did approve of acts God would not agree with. He was responsible for really bad abortion laws and he supported the LGBT rights movement.

      • Sometimes leaders of a country have to legalise laws because the majority is the decider.

        In certain cases, like rape and other sorts of violences, plus by endangering the body of the mother it sometimes could be necessary to have an abortion, though it is never the best solution (I would say).

        • Marcus Ampe,

          That is no excuse. Mandela didn’t accept the subjugation of his people because that was the way things were, he refused to accept it. In the same way he should have refused to accept the murder of unborn babies.

          I am shocked that the Pope has given this man support. Petrus calls him a “terrorist” and if allowing the butchering of babies in the womb isn’t terrorism, I don’t know what is.

        • Democracy never is about what the majority wants. Leaders should always do what is moral and right. Lech Walesa, the great Catholic President of Poland, declared: ‘I would resign the Presidency 20 times rather than sign a law permitting abortion’.

  4. I would call him a Freedom Fighter rather than a terrorist. The terrorists were the ones who forced him and his like to take up arms, just as in the North of Ireland, but I would still say that Catholics should be wary of praising him in the same way that they should have been reluctant to praise the Kennedys.

    • Frankie,

      I agree with you about Mandela not being a terrorist. Very few people have seen the parallel between the Irish situation and Mandela’s situation and how the “we will never negotiate with terrorists” is a cop out. Now the “terrorist” Mandela is a hero for the same thing he was accused of being a terrorist for fighting.

      I think we have to separate out his support for abortion and homosexual rights (I don’t say gay rights after reading Leo’s comments on that) from the great good he did in fighting the evil of apartheid. Those of us who are not black cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to be badly treated and denied basic rights just because of the colour of our skin. So we cannot deny him his due praise for fighting for the overthrow of apartheid.

      However, the Pope should not give only praise on the death of Mandela without saying something about his responsibility for encouraging abortion and LGBT rights.

      • I agree with you entirely Margaret Mary, you have to give credit where credit is due even if you don’t entirely agree with someone’s policies or political leanings. I don’t think many of us would refuse medical help if we took ill in Russia or China because we assumed the doctor to have communist leanings.

        I distinctly remember Margaret Thatcher chiding a news reporter for calling Bin Laden a terrorist, she said he had to be referred to as a Freedom Fighter.
        That was when he was fighting her enemy of course.

        • Well, I totally disagree. His support for abortion and homosexuality negate any good that he ever did. So, no, I don’t think he should be given any credit for anything.

          Mandela was a terrorist. He wasn’t a freedom fighter. I think this is splitting hairs to be honest. There is never any justification for violence. The IRA weren’t justified in what they did. The oppression of black people was disgraceful and the brutality of British regime in Ireland was disgraceful but to engage in acts of terror can never be justified.

          • Whistleblower,

            It’s not possible to disagree with you about the use of violence never being justified although self-defence is usually excepted, as is just war. I supposed freedom fighting movements would argue the just war exception to justify their activities.

            If Mandela had not taken the lead in the fight to overthrown the evil apartheid regime, what would have happened? I can’t see the British having decided to end it, without a great deal of pressure. Even when Mandela was sent to prison, Thatcher only acted behind the scenes not speaking out about it. Unfortunately it seems to take “freedom fighting” to end such evils. But I do agree with you about the undesirability of violence, of course.

            • I am absolutely shocked that Pope Francis has praised this man in public, knowing his pro-abortion record and his strong support of homosexuality. I am inclined to agree with Whistleblower that his failure on these issues negates any good he did in destroying apartheid, evil thought that was in itself.

              The more I learn about Pope Francis, the worse it gets.

              • How do you know that Pope Francis knew about Mandela’s record on abortion? It has not been widely publicised. Maybe His Holiness has been inadequately advised.

                • Eileenanne,

                  The Pope SHOULD know about Mandela’s record on these issues although, come to think about it, he could hardly ask his aides to check could he? Wouldn’t want to be seen obsessing about the murder of unborn children and unnatural sexual activity. After all, who’s he to judge?

          • Imagine if you were a black South African. It’s OK you sitting on your lofty white perch, but at the end of the day, peaceful protest would not have got the ANC anywhere.

              • Yes, I seriously do believe terrorism can be justified. Please tell us, how do you think the blacks, led by Mandela should have fought against the Apartheid dictatorship? The ANCs armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, was formed after the Sharpeville Massacre, perpetrated by the Verwoerd government, in 1960, as a response to the violence. If people are being brutalised, cruelly treated and deprived of any form of human rights and dignity, and if all forms of peaceful protest had failed, then the black political groups were correct in bombing: power stations, political buildings and assassinating public officials, because they did so in self defence. What would you do if a group of thugs broke into your home and trashed the placed, brutally beat your wife and children? Would you just sit there?

                • Strangely, part of my message was deleted when I submitted it. Here’s the rest:

                  This is what St Thomas Aquinas said in his Summa Theologica:

                  First, just war must be waged by a properly instituted authority such as the state. (Proper Authority is first: represents the common good: which is peace for the sake of man’s true end—God.)

                  Second, war must occur for a good and just purpose rather than for self-gain (for example, “in the nation’s interest” is not just) or as an exercise of power. (Just Cause: for the sake of restoring some good that has been denied. i.e., lost territory, lost goods, punishment for an evil perpetrated by a government, army, or even citizen population.)

                  Third, peace must be a central motive even in the midst of violence.

                  The actions of the ANC fit the second and last criteria, but not the first. What would St Thomas Aquinas have said I wonder? WE can’t speak for him.

                  This is what the Catechism says:

                  Legitimate defense
                  2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. “The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one’s own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not.”65
                  2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:
                  If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s.66
                  2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.

                • CC

                  You come away with an answer like that and still condemn the Irish. Hard to fathom out your way of thinking.

            • Catholic Convert,

              Apartheid is not the topic of this thread. Please stick to the topic.

              Have you heard whether or not the Vatican is sending a representative to Mandela’s funeral?

              • Not being rude Ed, but it was your buddy Petrus who first mentioned Terrorism, I was merely giving my viewpoint. Of course, as the well balanced (not to mention glamorous and witty) individual that you are, you will note that I gave my opinion on his policies re abortion etc in an earlier post.

                • Yes, Catholic Convert, Petrus did introduce it but, give him his due, he didn’t think the conversation would diversity (if you’ll excuse the term) into a discussion about the Irish troubles. So, please do as I say now and leave it there.

                  You do get extra points for remembering that I am witty, glamorous etc.so count your blessings and see if you can find any statement from the Vatican – however belatedly – condemning Mandela’s support for abortion and homosexuality.

          • Of course violence is wrong but why do people have to resort to violence before anyone will listen to them? Britain and America can bomb Iraq, Libya or anywhere that takes their fancy without anyone raising an eyelid but when the ordinary man in the street is forced eventually to retaliate he is considered a terrorist. We are forever being told that violence gets you nowhere but whenever a special occasion arises virtually everyone gets dressed up in symbols of violence, military uniforms, and when they die they get carted away in gun carriages. Don’t do as I do, do as I tell you springs to mind.
            Even the chooky embra has about twenty different uniforms to pick and choose from. What’s wrong with the old suit and tie? Too peaceful looking maybe?

            • Frankier,

              I am repeating what I have just posted above since I hadn’t realised how many of these posts are about terrorism. All future comments about terrorism posted after mine this evening, will be deleted.

  5. For me, you cannot compare abortion and homosexual acts to apartheid. The former are far more evil than the latter. Anyone who supports the former but fights against the latter is still evil. If prefer to live in a country scarred with apartheid than a country that murders unborn children.

  6. I’m very disappointed that this thread has focused on terrorism – maybe I should have seen that coming. I think we all know of Mandela’s involvement in the fight against apartheid, including his early “freedom-fighting” / “terrorist” stage, but few of us knew anything about his support for abortion and homosexual “rights”, so I’d hoped to learn more about that and about how much, if anything, the upper hierarchy knew about Mandela’s involvement in these evils, when I launched this thread.

    There’s no record of Our Lord supporting the “terrorists” of his time – the Zealots – so I think our default position has to be condemnatory of all violence (some of us don’t even like so-called “just wars” but don’t mention that to St Thomas Aquinas!) even although we know – as Whistleblower points out – that legitimate Governments have been brutal and unjust, to the point of perhaps provoking uprisings. Still, it doesn’t sit comfortably with “love thine enemy” to respond with violence to bad-through-to-evil government. Maybe some day we’ll have a thread on that subject, but this thread is really intended to discuss the stunning news that the Vatican is sending messages of praise on the death of Nelson Mandela, and whether or not Catholics should heap praise upon this hero of apartheid, despite his dreadful record in supporting the evils of abortion and homosexuality.

    Does anyone know if a Vatican representative will attend the funeral? One of my cynical correspondents emailed to suggest that the Pope himself is likely to attend. Let’s hope not, but if anyone has any updated information on this, we’d like you to share it here.

    ALL POSTS FROM NOW ON ABOUT TERRORISM, WILL BE DELETED. THAT IS NOT THE TOPIC OF THIS THREAD.

  7. I thought this article was interesting because the Bishop is praying for the repose of Nelson Mandela’s soul, while decrying his liberalizing of the abortion law.
    http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/RI-bishop-Mandela-support-for-abortion-shameful-5048281.php

    It’s a pity the bishop didn’t mention that abortion (wilful murder) is one of the sins that cry to heaven for vengeance and so our prayers for Mandela are urgently requested.

    Also, if this bishop knew about Mandela’s support for abortion, surely the pope would know as well?

  8. Nelson Mandela bought in extremely liberal Abortion Laws ,and Homosexual and Pornography and from what I read he was about to legalise Prostitution….No wonder the cold callous World Leaders are flocking to his Funeral Obama absolutely loved him ..so did |Tony Blair .
    Look at the horrendous Group that Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel started THE ELDERS Mandela headed this and its membership is chilling to read .It seems to me that people these days just go with the flow giving no rational thought to the background .of htat person….Mass hysteria from around the World at the death of an evil old man …Not much to be proud of there is there?

  9. Please excuse me for posting this here and I understand if it is deleted as it is somewhat off topic.

    I doubt it will be a surprise to anyone on here that has read my previous posts, I fully supported Mandiba and campaigned for his release by way of donating my pocket money (yes I am quite young 🙂 ) and going on demonstrations. To me, he was a symbol of all that is right about humanity.
    I cannot understand how people can be so cruel to someone but, you all have your own set of principles here.

    My question is regarding Pope Francis’ position. From my understanding, the Pope is the rock upon which the Catholic church is built. If he is supportive of Mandiba then surely you are obliged to follow. He is in a position of superiority and has been chosen to lead you. If you do not then can you class yourselves as part of the Catholic church?

    • Quite simple because the pope is not a cult leader. If he says it will rain tomorrow, he don’t all rush out and buy umbrellas. The pope can be infallible ( when he speaks of Faith and Morals) but he isn’t impeccable. When he speaks of Faith and Morals, in harmony with Church Tradition, then we are obliged to obey. Hope this helps.

    • Yes, Louise, we’ve crossed swords with you before. I wish you would refrain from calling us cruel, on this thread, just as you started off by calling us bigoted and homophobic on the Children in Need thread. There are people on this blog who are less patient than me, and you may get a similar response. Nelson Mandela was cruel, and an abnormal moral indigent, due to his support for abortion, homosexuality, and is seriously uncontrollable sexual appetite.

      The Pope is infallible only insofar as his pronouncement relate to faith and morals, and the Pope could never under his sure Apostolic authority, order Catholics to support ‘Madiba’ due to his moral feculence, which flies in the face of Catholic teaching.

      I respect Mandela as a human being, and his fight against discrimination and racism (which the Church has always condemned), but I draw the line there.

      We will never change our principles, because our principles were given by God on Mount Sinai, written in stone and in human form by Jesus Christ, and until Moses climbs down from Brokeback Mountain with new ‘principles’ ordering us to support abortion and sodomy, we find it impossible to change.

  10. Apparently Cardinal Peter Turkson is going to attend the funeral.

    “To me, he was a symbol of all that is right about humanity.”

    This is a description of a man who supported the killing of innocent defenceless human life? He was also a serial adulterer, who deserted his “first” wife and children. What a symbol.

    We must pray for the repose of his soul.

    • I haven’t had time to check but I’m not sure whether the memorial service (today, 10th) is separate from the funeral (which I think is to be on Sunday). Cardinal Turkson is going to attend the memorial service but there’s no mention of the funeral.

      If they are one and the same, I’ll stand corrected. In any case, it is a scandal that the Vatican is giving respectability and acceptance to someone whose moral compass was so far astray in issues of sexual morality by attending what will be a praise-fest for an unfaithful husband, supporter of abortion and homosexual “rights”. That’s a real scandal.

      The fact that there has been nothing said about his desertion of “first” wife and children, shows how normalised adultery has become in today’s world, to say nothing of the normalisation of abortion and homosexual “rights”. That the Vatican is endorsing this by attending the memorial service/funeral is shocking in the extreme. As shocking as the fact that Pope Francis himself, when speaking of the divorced and remarried, referred to those who found happiness in “second marriages”. Unbelievable.

      As Therese says in response to Louise’s comment that Mandela is “a symbol of all that is right about humanity” … “what a symbol”.

        • Petrus,

          The irony is, on the BBC Radio 4 news as I was driving this evening, and later on the Ten O’clock BBC TV news, there was no mention or film shot of the Vatican representative. Many of the other VIPs were mentioned and filmed, but not the Vatican. So, for all the desperate PR attempts by Vatican officialdom to conform to the ways of this world, this world doesn’t really seem to rate “the Vatican” at all.

    • When we look at the inaction of Bishops and their reticence in respect of saying something that may be considered counter to the perceived wisdom we should not be surprised. They have fallen into the trap of worldliness, a cosy chair, a good meal with nice wine and being on friendly terms with the “great” – we have seen this in our own wee country.
      Had we Bishops that were prepared to do their job properly, to lead and direct us, and to berate evil we would be receiving pastoral letters from Bishops in prison.
      They fail us daily, they do not rail against abortion, and all the many aberrations that now are being presented as not only normal but laudable. This is part of a worldwide drift, Some folk call it a conspiracy and it is obvious that those leaders who espouse abortion, homosexuality as an admirable mode of living, and the rest, find that they prosper and are received as friends by the rich and powerful.
      Look around the world and country after country is passing legislation of this nature. Mandela has done this in SA and he is a famous and well-known personage: a darling of the liberals for decades. In other countries that are barely known and whose leaders we have never heard of, the same is happening. Moreover, where we see Christianity under attack, whether in the form of idealogical challenge or more brutal physical and personal attacks, there is scarce a murmur in the corridors of power in Washington, London or the UN.

  11. While the editor may decide to delete comments regarding Mandela’s terrorist activities,* these have to be considered as part of the acts of the whole man. Looking at the whole man one sees a picture of a man who is opportunistic, pragmatic and completely amoral. A man with an eye for the main chance. He did whatever he felt was necessary to achieve his ambitions.

    * Editor: please do not misunderstand. I called a halt to the discussion on “terrorism” because it had diverted into other areas, notably the Irish troubles. Had it been restricted to the apartheid issue, that would have been fine. There is no risk of anti-black sentiments arising when discussing apartheid, but every chance of anti-Irish sentiments being expressed when the troubles in Northern Ireland are under scrutiny. That, she said – her Irish blood boiling 🙂 – is not on…

    To say that he was magnanimous when he reached a position of power and became president is to overlook the need, indeed the absolute necessity, for something that might pass for “magnanimity”. There were no blacks in the country that had a clue about business, economics, finance, agriculture, manufacturing or education. Mandela needed the whites to keep the country going. Without the whites the country would have starved within a year. A lot of good one man one vote would do then.

    As for his “legacy”, the whites can’t get out as they can’t sell their businesses. World record levels of crime – SA is a basket case.

  12. The late, great Father Paul Marx OSB has been mentioned in a few of these CT threads. Some of you may be familiar with one of his books..’The Flying Monk’…(Human Life International, 1990, ISBN No. 1-55922-029-5).

    On pp 129-130, Father Marx tells us some of what we need to know about Mandela. Here’s a sample…

    ‘In 1988 a US Government publication, ‘Terrorist Group Profiles’, listed the ANC as a terrorist organization. At his 1964 trial, Mandela freely admitted that he had planned a major terrorist campaign. Even the left-leaning Amnesty International never worked for Mandela’s release, considering ham a man of violence, not a prisoner of conscience….’

    Mandela’s pro-sodomy and pro-abortion stance are well documented, so what are we to say about the praises that were lavished upon him at last Sunday’s masses up and down the country? What are we to say about the condolences sent from Francis I himself? Is the pope and the Catholic Church ill-informed – or are we now dealing with the long-prophesied anti-pope – and anti-church?

      • Again, from ‘The Flying Monk’…

        ….’Mandela is on record as saying Communism is best for South Africa and he authored a 23-page booklet entitled “How to Be a Good Communist”‘….

    • Pat McKay,

      On another thread recently, we had a discussion on the possibility of Pope Francis being un-canonically elected. Here is the considered view of a very trustworthy SSPX priest – not a natural friend of Pope Francis to put it mildly!

      Father wrote:

      • The conclave is secret, we do not know what goes on there, therefore it is never possible for the Catholic faithful to have the same certainty (because I saw it with my own eyes) that a cardinal in the conclave will have. What is the sign that the ordinary Catholic person needs? That he is accepted and presented by the Cardinals as pope and accepted by the universal Church as such.

      • It is impossible for us to judge that Pope Benedict’s resignation was not valid: it had all the hallmarks of being a free act, therefore, we must presume it was free and continue to presume it until there is proof to the contrary. Just like a marriage is assumed valid, unless it is proven not to be. Therefore Fr. Kramer must produce valid and incontrovertible proof before he or we can act on it.

      • We cannot use the private revelations/prophecies to prove that this is the antipope foretold. They may refer to Francis I or they may refer to Francis XXI who may be much worse. We can only say that this is the antipope when there is unassailable evidence that he is not the pope, then we can apply the prophecy to him. It is not proven that a pope who utters heresy is not pope, but I think Fr. Kramer agrees with us on that one – it is not the root of his argument. END.

  13. As an atheist who has stumbled upon this blog, I think that the comments are utterly pathetic. You Catholics do not seem to appreciate that non-Christians may have a perfectly legitimate and alternative view of morality than your own (or rather the one you were given)?

    • Kris,

      Interesting that you stumbled on this blog, but I’m more interested in hearing about how you stumbled upon your “alternative view of morality” .

      I’m also hanging on the edge of my seat waiting for you to explain why we should pay the slightest bit of attention to your “alternative view of morality” – seeing where your “alternative morality” has led us in the shape of family breakdown, drug and drink abuse, legalising all sorts of bad behaviour condemned by every previous generation but suddenly elevated to being not only legal but almost mandatory, not to mention the butchering of unborn babies in the womb…How’s that a superior “morality” to our “pathetic” Catholic (i.e. natural law/God ‘s law) morality?

      Cos Ah jes cannot wait to hear …

      • EDITOR,

        Firstly, I haven’t explicitly stated my “alternative morality”, so it seems a bit much that you deride it before hearing it (almost closed-minded). The basic principle of what I think is that “we should not hurt one-another”. The remarks that were made about homosexuality seem silly from this point of view because consensual sex between two adults is not hurting anybody.
        Abortion is a more difficult issue because there’s a grey area surrounding the definition of “one-another”. If you are rational, then the unborn babies that are aborted are unaware of their existence and killing them is akin to cutting a tree down.

        It seems to me that from the Catholic point of view, the morality comes from the Bible (+whatever your Pope said). The reasoning goes “God says homosexuality is wrong therefore homosexuality is wrong” and “all people have souls (including unborn babies) and to kill a person with a soul is wrong (God said so)”. Which is perfectly reasonable if you think God exists.

        What I thought was pathetic was the terrible lack of acceptance of anyone with different ideas to you. The idea of saying a kind word about a person who is not Catholic seems to positively anger you. I am impressed that my comment was allowed onto the site and not automatically barred so maybe there is some hope for you guys.

        You asked why my morality is superior to yours: your moral beliefs cause harm and hatred amongst people, and are hinged upon the existence of God (who probably doesn’t exist). My beliefs spring directly from the principle of not hurting people and are independent of supernatural ideas.

        As you implied that my morality causes, family breakdown, drug abuse, legalisation of prostitution (I think you were getting at that) and abortion, I had better give a brief response. Abortion, legal prostitution – okay and certainly allowed by my view of morality. Drug abuse, family breakdown – provide good evidence of this please (actually link me to some data and explain how it proves your point).

        I hope you can stop hanging on the edge of your seat now and start paying “the slightest bit of attention” to what other people think and feel. Surely, that quote from you is an admission to close-mindedness?

        P.S. “bad behaviour condemned by every previous generation” – as a test of your integrity in argument, why don’t you pull apart that snippet from your own comment. I feel sure we can both agree it is a bad argument.

        • Kris,

          Firstly, Mandela was given due praise on this blog for his work against apartheid. Where we differ from every other outlet, it seems, is that we did not overlook his grave crimes against humanity in the legalisation of scandalously liberal abortion laws and his support for homosexual “rights”. And, please don’t play the “free speech” card. Those of us who hold views opposite to the new establishment “morality” are constantly castigated and insulted and labelled “intolerant” and “bigoted”. The threat of being accused of a “hate crime” for merely thinking that something PC is wrong these days, is very real. So, don’t gimme “free speech”.

          I only have a couple of minutes right now but will get back you later. In the meantime, you ask for an admission of “close-mindedness” – so you got it. The same answer I gave to a young man who asked me last weekend if I believed in aliens. He then responded to my answer in the negative with the words “well, would you keep an open mind on it?” – answer again in the negative. Just as I have a very close mind when it comes to those arithmetic tables I learned at school, so I have a closed mind about many MANY other things. Very closed. The idea that it’s somehow a sign of intelligence to have an “open mind” on everything does not hold water. But G.K. Chesterton’s famous quip about atheists does, in fact, hold water. He pointed out that “when people stop believing in God, it’s not that they believe in nothing. They’ll believe anything.” Game, set and match!

          One of the many things about which my mind is completely closed is the fact that killing babies in the womb is most definitely not akin to cutting down trees. Babies in the womb do, of course, feel pain. They are human from the moment of conception, when everything is in place, from the colour of their eyes to their (unique) fingerprints.

          Watch this video and then tell me again that unborn babies feel no pain, and are no more important than a bunch of trees. You really think that?

          Do you STILL think that, Kris?

        • Homosexuality is an abomination, whether they have intercourse in public or private. God can still see, and he knows it to be morally feculent.

    • We not only don’t appreciate the fact that non-Catholics may have a different set of ‘morals’, we also don’t respect their so-called morals, because supporting sodomites, abortion etc is an aberration. Our morals come from God, and therefore are not open to discussion.

          • I know. The word of God is always going to be true. That’s obvious to me even though I do not believe that there is a God.

            I hope though, what is open to change, is your belief that God really exists. From personal experience, I understand how painful it is when you believe in God, to begin to give up that belief and I do hope I’ve not hurt your feelings too much. When I was not open to changing my beliefs, it was out of fear of how terrible the world would be without a God (although I did not realise this at the time).

            Reasoning doesn’t work on religious people because they find it too painful to listen. I don’t know how to convince you, except to promise that the Universe is astoundingly wonderful and far richer and greater than any religious myth. If you do not know any science, this may be difficult to grasp.

            If your emotional investment is of the kind where you need to know that there will be an opportunity to see a dead loved-one again, then I understand that science cannot offer you comfort. But to believe a comforting lie is a pathetic existence.

            However, if you only cling on to these ideas in order that you may feel superior to others, because you were made to feel insecure or scared in the past, then I do not know how to help you.

            I know I haven’t explained why you should think that He is not real. But the first barrier is that you must be willing to accept that he MIGHT not be.

  14. Thanks for the response. I will get back to you on abortion because the video is pretty long.

    On the virtues of being closed-minded:
    You claim there are no aliens. How do you know this? Should I inform SETI? If you meant instead that UFOs are not alien spaceships, then I agree but I have reasons for thinking this, do you? A scientist wouldn’t rule out a possibility without good reason. I think you’d make a lousy scientist.

    Why are you closed-minded about your times-tables? Mathematicians can demonstrate a proof for you of the times-tables. They take the attitude that you should believe nothing until you have seen a proof. You would make for a lousy mathematician too.

    I think the two examples you have given to smugly demonstrate the necessity of closed-mindedness have only revealed two minor cases of your intellectual laziness.

    On G.K. Chesterton:
    As it happens, I do not “believe in anything”, I tend to believe scientific theories that make predictions that agree with experiment, but even then I am always somewhat skeptical.

    On being labelled a bigot:
    Wikipedia says “Bigotry is the state of mind of a bigot: someone who, as a result of their prejudices, treats or views other people with fear, distrust, hatred, contempt, or intolerance on the basis of a person’s opinion, ethnicity, race, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics.”

    How does that not describe you? Don’t you think that every bigot thinks that he is not a bigot?

    If I may add my personal perspective. I think that the Bible contains two types of message, unverifiable moral statements and verifiable ones (such as certain stories). In the places where we can check, it seems that the Bible gets it way way wrong, no Adam and Eve, no Noah’s Ark, no crossing the Red Sea. These are very obvious, a child could tell you why the first two couldn’t have happened and an archaeologist will explain why the evidence does not favour the crossing of the Red Sea. The last book of the bible describes the end of the world, including a dragon so big that its tail knocks stars out of the sky. Any rational mind must see these stories as fabrications of a limited mind from a more ignorant time. Do you believe these or are they all metaphor? Either way, why then, do you believe the other parts that are more difficult to check such as the story of Jesus or the moral teachings?

    I don’t expect I can change the mind of a person who believes that having a closed mind is a virtue and I am probably wasting my time. What I have gained is a little insight on how religious people deceive themselves and I thank you for that.

    • Kris,

      It’s always the same with people who criticise religion – their god is science, even though scientists are the first to admit they can’t answer the big questions. Even the questions they do try to answer are often contradicted by other scientists or later on turn out not to be right.

      Also, I’ve never thought of questioning basic arithmetic. Is there any respected mathematician who doubts them? Same goes for aliens – are there any respected scientists who believe they exist? Has any scientist actually seen an alien?

      Science is based on observation so how can any scientist disprove miracles such as the crossing of the Red Sea?

      It would be interesting to know how they reach their conclusions since there are no living scientists who were alive in biblical times.

      Personally, I find the bible accounts of creation much more believable than evolution over billions of years.

    • Kris,

      I know that, humanly speaking, responding to an alleged atheist is a complete waste of time and energy but I’m going to waste the time anyway.

      It’s easier simply to copy your post and insert my own responses in bold underneath. I’m not going to waste a lot of time, though, because I need my beauty sleep. Take that without any scientific evidence because if you saw me, you’d know it is self-evidently true 🙂 Here goes:

      Thanks for the response. I will get back to you on abortion because the video is pretty long.

      It’s also dynamite, so I look forward to your thoughts on it.

      On the virtues of being closed-minded:

      I didn’t say it was a “virtue” to have a “closed mind” – I just refuse to accept that claiming an “open mind” is a virtue (I don’t even think it’s true. I’ve yet to mean an open minded atheist, homosexual or pro-abortionist. And that’s just for starters. Don’t get me started (so to speak!)

      You claim there are no aliens. How do you know this? Should I inform SETI? If you meant instead that UFOs are not alien spaceships, then I agree but I have reasons for thinking this, do you? A scientist wouldn’t rule out a possibility without good reason. I think you’d make a lousy scientist.

      But can you prove that I’d make a lousy scientist? That’s mere speculation on your part. I’d make a lousy waitress as well – so what? I never wanted to be a scientist (or a waitress. Can’t get between the living room and the kitchen with a tray without dropping something, half the time.) As for your question – how do I know there are no aliens? Well, partly because there’s not a shred of evidence for their existence and partly because I cannot see what purpose they would serve. What do aliens DO apart from entertaining toddlers on TV? I mean, the aliens on TV, not the toddlers. You’ll get my drift.

      Why are you closed-minded about your times-tables?

      Well, I’ve gotten to a fairly ripe youngish middle-sort-of-age without going arithmetically wrong in all sorts of shops, exams, online bookings, bus fares, train fares, plane fares, you name it.

      Mathematicians can demonstrate a proof for you of the times-tables. They take the attitude that you should believe nothing until you have seen a proof. You would make for a lousy mathematician too.

      I get all the proof I need every time I buy a coffee. In any event, I never wanted to be a mathematician. However, to please you, I had a look at a mathematics blog a few minutes ago and laughed aloud at the daft conversation. One dope asked, in the context of debating whether 1 + 1 = 2, “What definition of 2 are you using” and received the considered reply: “No proof needed because it (2) is a definition” Who the dickens can make sense of that baloney? Gimme a break.

      I think the two examples you have given to smugly demonstrate the necessity of closed-mindedness have only revealed two minor cases of your intellectual laziness.

      It’s true – I am, sure enough, a lazy beggar. I’ve only just finished drying the dinner dishes. You may have a point there. Once I found that 1 + 1 = 2 worked in the shops and other venues listed above, I gave up the search for mathematical truth, and felt really smugly pleased with myself when I found that 2 + 2 = 4, as well. Bingo! I thought. You can’t beat Primary School Maths, I thought.

      On G.K. Chesterton:
      As it happens, I do not “believe in anything”, I tend to believe scientific theories that make predictions that agree with experiment, but even then I am always somewhat skeptical.

      Goodness, you must be worn out. Doubting everything, questioning everything, sceptical about everything. Remind me to thank my mother for telling me to stop asking questions and do as I am told. It was really annoying at the time, right enough … I mean, I was 29. Still am, all those years later. See, I can be creative with arithmetic when it suits me! Maybe there’s hope for me after all. I might even launch my own Doubting Thomas Club (DTC)

      On being labelled a bigot:
      Wikipedia says “Bigotry is the state of mind of a bigot: someone who, as a result of their prejudices, treats or views other people with fear, distrust, hatred, contempt, or intolerance on the basis of a person’s opinion, ethnicity, race, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics.”


      How does that not describe you? Don’t you think that every bigot thinks that he is not a bigot?

      Of course every bigot thinks he’s not a bigot. But the problem with calling people a bigot when you’ve just defined it as “treating someone (badly) as a result of prejudices” is that the onus is on you to prove said prejudice and to explain what you mean by mistreating people. Seems to me that to question certain social norms these days is classed as “prejudice” and “bigotry”. Prejudice, in the pejorative sense, is something foreign to any and all Catholics. Read the Parable of the Good Samaritan but don’t worry about apologising. I have very thick skin (see need for more beauty sleep as noted at the top of this comment.)

      If I may add my personal perspective. I think that the Bible contains two types of message, unverifiable moral statements and verifiable ones (such as certain stories).

      You throw out blanket statements without offering any definitions, explanations or sources – the above is a classic example. Nor do you acknowledge that the Bible is not, in fact “a book” but an entire library of books. Still, you mean well.

      … In the places where we can check, it seems that the Bible gets it way way wrong, no Adam and Eve, no Noah’s Ark, no crossing the Red Sea. These are very obvious, a child could tell you why the first two couldn’t have happened and an archaeologist will explain why the evidence does not favour the crossing of the Red Sea.

      Hang on! Whatever happened to “I rely on science” for my beliefs? Scientists are now faced with marrying their ridiculous belief in evolution over billions of years, until humans could actually stand up straight and head for the nearest Marks & Sparks, and the undeniable fact of DNA leading us full square circle back to two parents, one male and one female – the rest, as they say, euphemistically, being history.

      And I don’t know of any archaeologist who denies Noah’s Ark but plenty who point to the scientific data for a great flood at that time. But let me jump to one of my favourites from the A Level Old Testament Theology class, the crossing of the Red Sea, so often mocked by those who know little of the subject and less of the nature of “miracles”. In fact, biblical scholars point out that both accounts of the crossing of the Red Sea agree that Israel passed through a section of wet land that had been made nearly dry by a withering east wind, and that when the Egyptians tried to follow, their chariots were caught in the mud or returning water and the soldiers drowned. Major Palmer, a 19th century English explorer described a similar occurrence at Lake Sirbonis – a bit farther north: “Strong north-easterly gales, on reaching Suez, would, by its action on an ebb tide, make it abnormally low, and prevent while it lasted, at least for a time, the return of the usual flood tide. In this way, a good passage across the channel might soon be laid bare and remain so for several hours. In the morning, a shift of wind to the south, probably of cyclonic nature, takes place. The pent-up flood tide, now freed from restraint, and urged on by the south gale, returns to its wonted flow.” (from A Level Notes – would have to check original source.)

      Thus, the phenomenon is recorded outside of Scripture and very recently, historically speaking. The other thing to consider is that “miracles” are not in a one-size-fits-all category. If you check out the GCSE Religious Studies syllabus you’ll find that one of the things that may define a miracle, is the timing of an event. So, forget about “any child could tell you…” The fact is, anyone, whether a GCSE or A Level student of the subject could tell you that Divine intervention may be a spectacular cure or healing, but more often than not, is of a “lesser” magnitude. To doubt the miraculous, is to miss the point. Scientists will acknowledge that the plagues listed in the Bible are all to be found in northern Africa. The miracles lies in the timing of these events at a time when God is responding to the needs of the people (to be protected as in the case of the Red Sea) and/or in answer to prayer. Anyway, that’s in summary, all I can manage for now or I’ll never catch up with that beauty sleep.

      The last book of the bible describes the end of the world, including a dragon so big that its tail knocks stars out of the sky. Any rational mind must see these stories as fabrications of a limited mind from a more ignorant time. Do you believe these or are they all metaphor?

      The apocalyptic literature in the Bible is revealing what the ancient writers believed were the “secrets” of the end times. Scripture scholars have interpreted the quote you’ve selected as meaning that near the end of the world the devil will drag consecrated souls (priests and nuns) to Hell. And no, a rational mind would not “see these stories as fabrications of a limited or ignorant mind.” A rational mind would investigate the meaning to avoid the danger of drawing such false conclusions and making oneself look like a Dopey Dinah.

      Either way, why then, do you believe the other parts that are more difficult to check such as the story of Jesus or the moral teachings?

      What’s difficult to check about Jesus? He’s mentioned in texts outwith Scripture in the first century – He is an historical figure and no educated person denies that. The moral teachings? Pick any one and tell me it leads to unhappiness. You can’t – that’s why they’re called the Ten Commandments and not the Ten Suggestions. God made us and He wants us to be happy – forever in the next world, but also here on earth, which is why He revealed the natural law to us, so that we can work out easily what makes us happy and what leads to unhappiness, poor health etc. If we want to be happy we’ll avoid killing and selfishness, and if we want our neighbour to be happy, we won’t steal his wallet or his wife. It’s not rocket science. Couldn’t resist that 🙂

      I don’t expect I can change the mind of a person who believes that having a closed mind is a virtue and I am probably wasting my time. What I have gained is a little insight on how religious people deceive themselves and I thank you for that.

      Kris, the only person deceiving himself here is your good self. You’d sooner believe in ever-changing scientific theories and the existence of aliens, than in a God who loves you and who gave His life to secure your eternal happiness. It’s not an automatic “right” however – God didn’t sign up to any UN charter. You have to do your bit. Don’t be fooled by all the talk floating around of a merciful God. God’s mercy ends at our death and thereafter we meet His Justice.

      Stick around – you may decide not to take any chances with your eternal destination. It’s one thing to be wrong about whether 1 + 1 = 2, but quite another to be wrong about the existence of God.

      • I think the issue here is that you do not understand science or how it works. You summed it up nicely here:

        “You’d sooner believe in ever-changing scientific theories and the existence of aliens, than in a God who loves you and who gave His life to secure your eternal happiness.”

        Yes.

        Theories are created by guessing at the way nature might be. Experiments are done to check them. If they disagree, the theory is wrong. New guesses should be made each time the evidence disagrees.

        A good example is Newton’s laws of motion and gravity. They predict that planets follow elliptical orbits and tell us how each planet should move very very precisely. There was good evidence to support them for a few hundred years until a very slight discrepancy was found between theory and observation in predicting where in the sky Mercury should be. This slight error is enough to say that the theory is wrong!

        Now, the general theory of relativity replaces Newton’s laws and they are seen only as an excellent approximation to the general theory of relativity. But scientists do not proclaim the general theory of relativity to be the absolute truth, to the contrary, they are seeking a better theory before discrepancy has even been found between prediction and measurement.

        This extreme level of honesty is why science is a success; why it is okay for theories to be “ever-changing”. We must always doubt.

        When it comes to believing in God, which should I choose and why?

        Zeus, Thor, Quetzalcoatl, Allah, King Kai, Vishnu, Kim Jong Il, Ah Chuy Kak, Acan, Kinich Kakmo, Jesus, Hades..?

        There is no more reason to believe in one of these than another. There is no reason to believe in any. They are all equally unconvincing and silly attempts to explain the world.There’s nothing more special about your God than the gods of the ancient Greeks except they aren’t around to contribute to the argument.
        As Dawkins said “you’re an atheist too, but I’ve gone one God further”.

        That’s you schooled.

        Now why did you call me an “alleged atheist”?

        • Kris,

          Given that you essentially ignored my previous post, I’m not wasting any more time with lengthy comments, but please credit me with a little intelligence – of course I know the nature of science. That was my point. No scientist claims, for example, that evolution is anything more than un unproven theory but most of the atheists I know, think differently. They “believe” in evolution. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked by atheists if I “believe” in evolution.

          As for Newton – glad you mentioned him. He is well on record explaining that it was for the great glory of God that he undertook his scientific explorations. Ditto many others. That was, in fact, the general motivation of all scientists before somebody discovered there wasn’t a God after all.

          As for the rest of your post where you list various pagan gods – the fact that you lump Christ in there shows that you don’t understand the nature of religion. First rule of which is that they cannot all be true. Only one is true, because God cannot, in the nature of things, lie or contradict Himself. If you are sincerely seeking the truth you will come to see which religion, which “god” fits the bill. It was obvious to some of the most brilliant minds in history, including many scientists, writers, you name it, who converted to this one, true religion. Let me know if you want help in your search. Will do what I can.

          PS what did you think of the video? Unborn babies? Trees?

      • Ed,

        I’ve always understand the red dragon as Soviet Communism, or something of that ilk, destroying Christianity in that country (Russia) and it’s satellites.

        It’s very strange Kris talking about tolerant and open minded Atheism, when Atheism was responsible for murdering millions of believers. Of course, he will say they were murdered in the name of Communism, but we know, as sane people that Atheism and Communism go hand in hand, and you can’t be the latter without the former.

        • I only care about getting to the truth. That is why I’m an atheist. Does the nature of reality not matter to you? Are you admitting you believe a lie, but you only believe it to prevent wars?

          Where does the murder come from? I can’t imagine the reasoning:

          I don’t believe in a God



          Therefore I would like to kill people who believe in God.

          Fill my gap please.

  15. “It’s always the same with people who criticise religion – their god is science, even though scientists are the first to admit they can’t answer the big questions. Even the questions they do try to answer are often contradicted by other scientists or later on turn out not to be right.”

    You have pointed out the big difference between science and religion in the second sentence. As better evidence comes in and better theories are produced, scientists, without prejudice throw away old ideas for better ones. Religion sticks with the wrong idea, never improving it, forever.

    “Also, I’ve never thought of questioning basic arithmetic. Is there any respected mathematician who doubts the times tables?”

    Yes. Bertrand Russell looked at those foundational issues, then he wrote a book on it. And many keen and interested mathematically-minded people ask about this stuff:

    http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/278974/prove-that-11-2

    “Same goes for aliens – are there any respected scientists who believe they exist? Has any scientist actually seen an alien?”

    There’s a huge search on for alien life. Take a look

    http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/

    “Science is based on observation so how can any scientist disprove miracles such as the crossing of the Red Sea?”

    It’s true that you cannot disprove such a thing. But there is also no reason to believe any part of the story, see what this Wikipedia article has to say

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Egypt#Genesis_and_Exodus

    “Personally, I find the bible accounts of creation much more believable than evolution over billions of years.”

    That’s fine. I don’t suppose evidence will sway you but perhaps this will

    (I didn’t call you pesky btw, the video did).

    Thank you,
    come again.

  16. Kris

    You have told us that:

    “I only care about getting to the truth. That is why I’m an atheist.”

    With respect, nothing you have posted so far, and nothing anyone ever will post, has, or will demonstrate how the second sentence is a logical, reasonable statement.

    Having seen the offerings of some of the other atheists to have “stumbled upon this blog” I’m inclined to agree with Editor that reasoned responses are a “waste of time and energy”.

    Atheism – The belief that there was Nothing, and Nothing happened to Nothing and then Nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything, and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason whatsoever into self –replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs.

    The comments of nearly all atheists on previous threads, have, as I recall, been pretty well distinguished by their closed minded, angry unwillingness, or inability, to address some very basic issues. I think the following points that I made in a previous discussion with Louise, who, to her credit was prepared to listen to regular bloggers, bear repetition.

    I think it is fair to say, Kris,that Atheism is a belief system. Certainly past efforts to get an answer from visiting atheists on this blog about the elementary questions of where matter comes from, or free will have met with eloquent silence. During one radio interview that I can recall, Richard Dawkins himself had no explanation. Similarly, the question of a moral code (or your “principle of not hurting people”, Kris) poses an insurmountable challenge for atheists. Who and what is the basis for the moral law, rapidly shrinking as the universal lowest common denominator might be? Catholics don’t have to give more than a split second’s thought to that one. Do atheists accept that morality can never change? If not, why? And I don’t think that enlightened self-interest and co-operation amount to much of an argument for atheists to make. Many atheists feel very much at home with the language of moral outrage when it comes to vilification of the Church.

    Law implies a lawgiver. A command always implies a superior who issues that command. And Who can this Final, Absolute, Supreme Authority be, save God, the Original Source of all morality? Conscience is merely His voice.

    The issue of conscience has received plenty of airing in recent months. Cardinal John Henry Newman puts the argument from conscience well. He wrote:

    “If, as is the case, we feel responsibility, are ashamed, are frightened, at transgressing the voice of conscience, this implies that there is One to whom we are responsible, before whom we are ashamed, whose claims upon us we fear. If, on doing wrong, we feel the same tearful, broken-hearted sorrow which over-whelms us on hurting a mother; if, in doing right, we enjoy the same sunny serenity of mind, the same soothing, satisfactory delight which follows on our receiving praise from a father, we certainly have within us the image of some Person to whom our love and veneration look, in whose smile we find our happiness, for who we yearn, towards whom we direct our pleadings, in us are such as require for their exciting cause an Intelligent Being. Thus the phenomena of conscience avail to impress the imagination with a picture of Supreme Governor, a Judge Holy, Just Powerful, All-Seeing Retributive” (Grammar of Assent, 109).

  17. Kris

    I’m very glad that you brought up the issue of Science. It offers me an opportunity to repeat comments I posted on two previous threads. The first time resulted in the atheist addressee becoming very agitated and angry. I wonder why?

    I would say that you are sadly misguided, Kris, if you think that the Faith and Science are mutually exclusive, or at loggerheads.

    Many materialist, rationalist, humanist, skeptics appear oblivious to the fact that Western Civilisation was built by the Church. Anyone who denies that is aggressively cutting off the bough that that civilisation sits on. We could discuss Christian charity and care for the sick and needy, the development of agriculture, education, architecture, art, music, law, exploration, economics and of course science. The father of modern genetics was of course, Gregor Mendel, an Augustinian Friar.

    The truth is that modern science is built on the foundations put together by Catholic Churchmen. Unlike false religions, the Church taught that the world was the work of a supremely reasonable Person, and was therefore endowed with lawfulness and purpose, evident in the laws of nature.

    Because God “ordered all things by measure, number, weight” (Wisdom 11:21), Catholic scientists before the time of the so-called Enlightenment believed in the rationality of scientific experimentation and quantitative enquiry, as a means of understanding the universe and nature. The Church provided the philosophical underpinning for science. And no amount of atheistic huffing and puffing is going to change that fact.

    There appears to be a great deal of humanist ignorance or amnesia on the subject of the history of science. I wonder why. How many atheists know anything about Roger Bacon, a Franciscan who taught at Oxford, or Saint Albert the Great, or Father Nicolaus Steno who was credited with setting down most of the principles of modern geology.

    Do you know, Kris about the contribution of the Jesuits to science. When Charles Bossut, one of the first historians of mathematics, compiled a list of the most eminent mathematicians from 900 BC to 1800 AD, 16 of the 303 names were from the Jesuit order, founded only two and a have centuries earlier. Thirty five craters on the moon are named for Jesuit scientists and mathematicians. The Jesuits were described as “the single most important contributor to experimental physics in the seventeenth century” by J L Heibron in his study of Modern Physics. The order were also the first to introduce Western science into such far-off places as India and China.

    How many atheists have heard of Father Giambattista Riccioli, the first person to determine the rate of acceleration of a freely falling body? In the seventeenth century, he produced a massive encyclopaedia of astronomy. He also calculated the constant of gravity, by developing an accurate one-second pendulum.

    How about his contempory, Father Francesco Grimaldi, who produced a detailed diagram depicting the features of the moon, and who discovered the diffraction of light.

    Or Father Roger Boscovich, one of the great intellectual figures of all ages. A modern scholar says that Father Boscovich gave “the first coherent description of an atomic theory” while a recent historian of science calls him “the true creator of fundamental atomic physics as we understand it.”

    How many humanists are willing to recognise Father Athanasius Kircher, described as “a giant among seventeenth-century scholars”, or Father Nicolas Zucchi, the inventor of the reflecting telescope.

    The fact remains, as J.L. Heibron of the University of California-Berkeley points out, that “the Roman Catholic Church gave more financial aid and social support to the study of astronomy for over six centuries, from the recovery of ancient learning during the late Middle Ages into the Enlightenment, that any other, and, probably, all other, institutions.”

    I might finish, Kris with a bit of advice to read “How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilisation”, by Thomas Woods. The examples of the Church’s contribution to science are taken from that excellent work.

    I recommend it to anyone who “cares about getting to the truth”.

    • I will try to answer each of your points, but we may disagree on what your points are.

      You asked what the basis for my moral belief system is. My answer is, as far as I know, unique to me. I have never heard it come from another atheist.

      I would like you to consider the world from my point of view for a moment, where us humans have evolved alongside the other animals by natural selection. There is no reason to any of it, no purpose nor divine plan. Then I think that the answer is, there is no basis for morality. Why should we expect there to be an absolute basis?

      This is extremely uncomfortable indeed. But feeling uncomfortable is no reason to believe that an idea is not true. It is not good enough to say “I do not like it, therefore it is not true”, yet many people fall into that trap when talking about God (atheists and theists alike). This idea has never gone down well when I’ve expressed it to fellow atheists and I’ve never heard a religious response, so I’d be very interested.

      We are left then, to arbitrarily define our own principles of morality. The principle of not hurting each other (essentially the golden rule) is the simplest and most common-sense approach of constructing a principle by which we may all live in harmony with one another and it has been proposed by pretty much every thinking person (including Jesus I think) since time immemorial.

      Peter Hitchens said in an interview that his belief in God comes down to a choice; you can choose to believe that the world has purpose or that it does not. The interesting point to him was why some people (atheists) would choose to believe that it does not. As this is a direct quote from a pretty clever Christian, I hope you don’t mind if I may assume it is something like your point of view too.

      But you see, the point is not that we may choose to believe one way or the other depending on what we would prefer, but that we must examine the empirical reasons to favour one over the other. Certainly when it comes to the details of religions, they must be regarded as empirically incorrect.

      However, if you said to me, I believe that the world was created by God, but that He does not interfere with it, that everything is predetermined by Him, then there is no way to deny this empirically. This is a perfectly respectable point of view to my mind but it is not one that I take.

      The reason I do not take that point of view is that I think there are literally, infinitely many untestable hypotheses of this nature (God created the Universe wearing a green hat, red hat, no hat etc.). The simplest explanation appears to be that there is no God (this is untestable too).

      You make some very clear and good arguments in your comment, but the one you make about the origin of the Universe falls flat. I admit to not knowing how the Universe came to be, or how life started, or even the details of its evolution to the present state. This admission of not knowing is far from being a weakness because nobody knows. Anyone purporting to know an answer, is only trying to sell an easy lie.

      “Many materialist, rationalist, humanist, skeptics appear oblivious to the fact that Western Civilisation was built by the Church.”

      Well, not me. I agree that the church has done very much to build Western Civilisation. This does not mean that we owe it a favour. I hope you do not think it is glib, but you could equally well argue “Many materialist, rationalist, humanist, skeptics appear oblivious to the fact that Western Civilisation was built on slavery.” This is really a non-argument.

      You then go on to give many examples of people who contributed to science and were religious. You give so many examples I think to prove a point about how common it is to believe in God and be a scientist. I would like to build your argument up stronger before I knock it down.

      The problem with most of the people you name is that they were born in a time when religious indoctrination of children was even more common than it is today so that a very large proportion of people seriously believed in God. Your point would have been much stronger had you merely noted that there are literally thousands of scientists with faith RIGHT NOW in the world.

      Now, science is based on the principle of doubting everything, even things that are well founded upon evidence. Faith is based on believing without question things (which may even have been dismantled by scientific inquiry). The two things are at logger-heads, it really cannot be denied.

      Now, that being scientific destroys religious faith can be seen by looking at the proportions of scientists who are religious compared to the base-line level of religion in the country where they work. There is a huge tendency for scientists to not believe where the general population does.

      Even when you look at what the so-called religious scientist think, you discover fairly frequently that they are atheists. An example: Freeman Dyson, who has won at least one award for his services to religion and who also happens to be one of the most significant physicists of the 20th century said that he did not believe in the literal truth of the bible or the existence of a God, but he is a Christian because he enjoys the culture of going to church, (the community of people and the music etc.).

      Of course, there are real religious scientists. But I do not see that the two are compatible and it seems that most scientists agree. (Not that the agreement of a group of people should affect your belief, nobody should argue from authority). That there are any religious scientists in the world seems only to reveal to me that giving up ones religion is a painful and difficult process that people are unwilling to go put themselves through.

      My experience of giving up religion meant alienation from some of the people I grew up with, a loss of identity (I was no longer Kristian the Christian), being an adult who suddenly did not know what he thought about morality, creation etc.
      Most religious people are going to have to go through all that pain if they lose their faith, so it is no wonder that faith is persistent with so many. And can you imagine how alienating it would have been several hundred years ago? I think an analogy is the difficulty of gay people in coming out of the closet because of the abuse they get.

      However, I sincerely believe that there is no God and have had to think about the world 1000x harder than I ever used to. The result is astonishingly rewarding if you are willing to be intellectually honest (I have even been able to help my mother give up her faith and she would agree with me). I’m not writing this to scare you (there’s nothing to be scared of), but to show you where I’m coming from on these issues. Personally, I stopped believing in God when became interested in physics. That really did kill my belief. I gave up literal interpretations of the bible, I understood it all as metaphor, then I gave up on that too. (I did a similar thing as a 10 year old when told Santa is not real which was less painful but not a dissimilar experience).

      I think you will find that many atheists are angered by religious people because some religious people believe themselves to be morally superior and conversely, some atheists believe themselves to be intellectually superior. Hopefully you can see that this would piss off anybody on either side of the debate and that atheists on atheist forums talk about how angry religious people get (because that’s all they have to argue with). Certainly the comments of catholicconvert1, that were directed towards me were pretty dismissive and superior (he claimed that his argument was direct from God and so I had no chance). I hope that I have not fallen into the trap of being too irritated to give you a proper response. (I still have to write about abortion for EDITOR).

      • Kris,

        I do not doubt your intelligence, and I do not feel superior to your good self. As dear Ed will vouch for me, I’m humility personified. I would ask that you do not use expletives on this Catholic blog, as crudity is not allowed. Talk to us as if you were sat in our living rooms.

        It may interest you to know Kris that I was not raised a Catholic. I was Baptised by irreligious parents at the behest of a staunchly Anglican grandmother, and for most of my teenage years I was an Atheist, so I speak from personal experience when I say- ‘I did not like it’. After being introduced to Catholicism, everything fell into place. My life, and yours, is like a jigsaw, with a big piece missing- but my life is now complete since I converted to Catholicism. Your life could be complete too. It may feel complete with material things, as mine did.

        But let me tell you, this life is passing, and your soul lives forever- your soul is not passing. Ordinary human beings do NOT have the mental or intellectual capacity to understand ‘right and wrong’. If ‘right and wrong’ was subjective then the whole world would be in a state of collapse, as we see in the Western World. You can see that more religious societies are more unified with a stable and cohesive set of values. Liberal and pluralistic states cannot function. You just set patronising and sneering Atheists calling religious people ‘bigots’. I’m not a ‘bigot’, I believe in God and therefore, objective right and wrong. Some things are ordained by God, and should not be questioned. That’s the trouble with Atheists. They have a very human mind, only concerned with natural things and what can benefit man, with no ability to comprehend something supernatural or greater than common humanity.

        I will pray for you. Your finding this blog is evidence of God’s love active in your own life and He has guided you here.

        ‘Holy is His Name!!!

      • Kris,

        “We are left then, to arbitrarily define our own principles of morality. The principle of not hurting each other (essentially the golden rule) is the simplest and most common-sense approach of constructing a principle by which we may all live in harmony with one another and it has been proposed by pretty much every thinking person (including Jesus I think) since time immemorial.”

        That is true but it isn’t down to every individual to think how to apply the golden rule. Christians who speak out to correct (as we believe for our neighbour’s benefit) wrong ideas about sexual behaviour, for example, are not considered to be applying the golden rule but we’re called bigoted and intolerant.

        There has to be an absolute standard to judge morality against.

  18. Kris

    Thank you for your measured response. There are certainly a lot of points in your post that I would like to take issue with, even if only briefly. Unfortunately, I can’t spend all the time I’d like to in responding but hopefully the following will address the main issues to some degree.

    I commend your straightforward honesty in stating that there is “no basis for morality” and “we are left then, to arbitrarily define our own principles of morality”. The obvious implications of that premise are stark indeed as an elementary grasp of twentieth century history will tell us. The unprecedented descent into the moral abyss that has taken place over the last three or four generations hardly needs to be spelt out. We have heard leading so called philosopher in US academia unfavourably comparing the value of the lives new born children with farm animals on utilitarian grounds. Just a few days ago the Belgian Senate voted to allow the euthanasia of children, without consent, and with no age limits! The Lifesite News website provides daily evidence of the almost universal arbitrary definition of “principles of morality”.

    I think, Kris, that you might wish to take back your statement that “the principle of not hurting each other…has been proposed by pretty much every thinking person”. What about Marx, Engels, Nietzsche and their demonic offspring?

    And what is the “golden rule” only the inescapable, never changing Natural Law, divinely written on men’s hearts, the law which is “nothing else than the rational creature’s participation in the eternal law” (Summa Theologica, Ia, IIae, quest. 91, art.2)

    Regardless of how many atheists adhere to the “golden rule” to varying degrees, rejection of belief in a Divine Lawgiver reduces that adherence to nothing more than an option, a personal choice that future generations may or may not agree with. The fruits of that moral relativism are, as I have stated, everywhere to be seen.

    You mentioned the need to “examine empirical reasons”, Kris, in relation to religions and the question of whether “the world has purpose”. That suggests to me the familiar agnostic, materialist, rationalist approach of refusal to believe in anything that cannot be physically verified. Is that not a rejection of metaphysics and reminiscent of Richard Dawkins’ close minded refusal to even discuss theology.

    As for the origin of the universe, while it is one thing admitting “to not knowing how the Universe came to be, or how life started”, it very much is a “weakness” for anyone not to admit THAT the universe came to be and life started, ex nihilo, due to the Uncaused First Cause, God. There is no question of “trying to sell an easy lie”, just reason.

    Fair play to you, Kris, for recognizing the Church’s contribution to building Western Civilisation. I don’t think you will be surprised if I call out your substitution of “Church” with “slavery” as a basic for using the term “non-argument” in relation to the fact that Western Civilisation is built on Catholic Civilisation.

    Slavery has, I would think, existed throughout history, up to the present day. The role of forced labour throughout Western life over the last two millennia is an historical fact, certainly. What role it played in developments in education, science, law, music, art, architecture, medicine, agriculture is not so obvious. Slavery was practiced far and wide outside of Christendom. It quite obviously was not a distinguishing factor in the advance of Christendom compared to other cultures and civilisations.

    With respect, Kris, I was rather underwhelmed with your effort to “knock down” the argument about the inextricable link between Catholicism and Science. You have recognized that the clerical scientists I mentioned previously “were born in a time when religious indoctrination of children was even more common than it is today so that a very large proportion of people seriously believed in God”. I would claim that those words are further evidence in the Church’s favour, and help make my point. Some of the greatest minds in medieval times were very much part of the Church. Clearly the Church encouraged great minds, precisely because philosophy and science were so much in accord with Catholic theology. That’s a matter of historical fact, regardless of so-called “Enlightenment” revisionism. The University was a uniquely 12th century Catholic invention.The undeniable reality is that science developed in Europe, unlike elsewhere, precisely because of the Church’s sponsorship and encouragement. If Catholicism was “at loggerheads” with science that development would not have taken place.

    It is not hard to think of non-Christian parts of the world, not lacking in wealth, where science and education were and are, far from a priority. I would suggest that comes largely, if not completely, from absence of Catholic theology.

    I doubt the number of present day scientists rejecting God amounts to proof of anything except the individuals’ agnosticism, ignorance of theology and, I think, the all-pervasive secular, humanist ideology throughout the West in general, and academia in particular. Call me a skeptic, but I think that in today’s world an outwardly Christian scientist is going to run up against a few significant career barriers.

    I’m interested in your statement, Kris, that “science is based on the principle of doubting everything, even things that are well founded upon evidence.” I would contend that science is based on the assertion that the natural world is governed by laws which allow experiments to give predictable, verifiable and repeatable results. Once again, reason poses the question of the origin of those laws.

    Subsequent Western scientific achievements were the culmination of the systematic groundwork laid by medieval Catholic theologians. Maybe I didn’t not make the point emphatically enough in my previous post, but the fact that science flourished in Christendom, and not elsewhere, at least not until recent times, is due to Catholic theology. Only in Christendom did alchemy develop into chemistry. Ditto in the case of astrology developing into astronomy. The answer has to do with the Church’s concept of God as being the absolute epitome of reason. Science developed in Christendom because it was believed that Creation was subject to, ordered, and governed by Divinely instituted rules.

    Alfred North Whitehead, co-author with Bertrand Russell, of the landmark Principia Mathematica (1910-13) explained in one of his Lowell Lectures at Harvard in 1925 that science arose in Christendom because of the widespread “faith in the possibility of science…derivative from medieval theology.” He explained that:

    “The greatest contribution of medievalism to the formation of the scientific movement was the inexpugnable belief that…there is a secret which can be unveiled. How has this conviction been so vividly implanted in the European mind?…It must come from medieval insistence on the rationality of God… Every detail was supervised and ordered: the search into nature could only result in the vindication of the faith in rationality.”

    Most importantly, Whitehead also explained that the false gods found in the religions of Asia, are too impersonal or too irrational to have sustained science. Any particular “occurrence might be due to the fiat of an irrational despot” god, or might be produced by “some impersonal, inscrutable origin of things. There is not the same confidence as in the intelligible rationality of a personal being.”

  19. Leo,

    Once again your very clear and knowledgeable posts are a pleasure to read. You have answered Kris and helped me at the same time, because it’s one thing to know something inside, but another to be able to express it. For example, the following very clear sentence about reason is enormously helpful to me because atheists always say what Kris has said about the need to doubt everything. I know that doesn’t make sense but most people couldn’t explain it as well as you’ve done by saying:

    “I would contend that science is based on the assertion that the natural world is governed by laws which allow experiments to give predictable, verifiable and repeatable results. Once again, reason poses the question of the origin of those laws.”

    Thanks, Leo.

  20. Margaret Mary

    Thank you for your very kind words: very flattering too, as usual. If there is anything informative or useful in any of my little efforts here, the credit is due elsewhere, for sure. I’m only a very ordinary layman, trying to learn from minds far, far greater and closer to God than my own.

    It should certainly be possible to have a reasonable, rational discussion on these and other matters that come up on this blog. I would think Kris is of the same mind, unlike some other occasional visitors who seem incapable of such a basic standard. What’s more, discussions can be respectful without yielding one iota on the Truth.

    Anyway, a Happy and Holy Christmas, Margaret Mary, Editor and anyone else who reads this. This is indeed a night to be joyful. The Holy Family will always be near to those who turn to them.

    “This day you shall know that the Lord will come, and save us: and in the morning you shall see His glory.” – Exodus, 16:6-7

    • Leo,

      I echo Margaret Mary’s applause for your contributions to this blog – always to the same high standard, too. Knowing how busy your are in your professional and academic life, not to mention your family commitments, you give the lie to the “I’m too busy to blog” brigade.

      Enjoy a peaceful and happy Christmas Leo, with our best wishes for every grace and blessing in the new year.

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