Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H
Gormley regarding the up and coming abortion referendum of 2018


Do you really want to force a woman to carry an unwanted baby? Does a child's right to life go that far? Thought experiment: What if eggs, sometimes they do, start turning into babies without sperm? We would all agree that the woman can abort. Do we really consider somebody terminating at 12 weeks to be the equal of somebody who kills a baby in a cot? No. And the relationship between law and morality is that the law is about public order and thus abortion is a private matter and none of the laws business.


Re: Irish Times saying that New Age rubbish is awful and Christianity has better intellectual depth
The fact of the matter is that Christian thinkers found that the Bible wasn't terribly helpful in matters of ethics and intellectual depth. The Summa of St Thomas is not in the Bible. Newman said that the Bible was merely meant to give the faith some historical basis but not great as a teaching tool for doctrine and spirituality. For that you needed the wisdom of the Church. In reality what you have is the discoveries made by clever thinkers who identify as Christians that may or may not fit the real teaching of Jesus. They are put out there enough to make the whole system look smart and coherent. But is it really? The Bible makes terrible errors including offering horrendous evidence for the resurrection of Christ.
Scientists are said to be content with not knowing things. But scientists think that doubt is better than being certain about things that are in fact wrong.  Christianity is inherently and in practice against this principle for it puts forward ideas that cannot be tested and it cannot make predictions about what to expect if theories are true.  Even if a theory is not science science expects those who propose the theory to get fulfilled predictions out of it.  Theories are about predictions for they have to be testable.

“If people can have their needs met without religion, they often will.” I would add that religion is a blockade to many who wish to openly live without it or without one or more of its biggest restrictions. If people fall away from religion and God easier and in bigger numbers the more their social and economic needs are looked after that is scary. It is because unmet social and economic needs can lead to aggression and war.

Secularism rejects faith in God and religion as political forces.  Religion usually affirms them and that is why they are so dangerous.  A country with secular voices is easier to run than one that is made up of religious voices.  Catholicism only got to be so powerful because of its past and current marriage with politics.  To become Catholic is to avail of that toxic relationship and insult all who suffered from it.

Religious beliefs that seem to help a person cope may not be helping at all. The content of the belief may do nothing but what you believe about it may help. Also people can mistake things that are not religious or to do with God for God so rather than lose faith they see more clearly

Helping a person to see through their faith respects them as a person who can make the right decisions and learn. It treats them as an adult. Now they are free from error and that is good for error leads to error in two ways. Error

As Lindsay puts it, “A stopped clock, they say is right twice a day, but a correctly functioning clock set to the wrong time is never right.” Being wrong for the right reasons is hugely superior to being right for the wrong reasons. Also if that happens it is easier to get out of the errors.

Lindsay recommends like Peter Boghossian that if you know somebody is in error with their faith you can ask them how they know what they claim to know for that makes them open to revising those beliefs. I would add that it is important to get them to see first that belief should be based on evidence and to ask them what evidence they have for their belief and why they think the evidence supports it. You could ask them to think of evidence that might uproot their faith.
Confession is disgusting. It has you apologizing to God through the priest for sin instead of apologising to the people you hurt. Religion is a placebo for “sin”. The process of facing the person you have hurt and saying sorry is far more important than any confession to a god or priest. In fact to say anything else matters insults both victim and perpetrator. Anybody who hurts a child and apologising to God is more important to him than to the child even if he does apologise to the child should be told to keep his insulting apology. Religion invents sins too thus making people seem worse than they are which helps you feel better about the bad things you have done. It brings them down to your level. Sin itself is an invention. It is not the same thing as wrongdoing. Sin is breaking God’s commands. Wrongdoing is about hurting not about breaking God’s commands.


2014 Tim Stanley preaches that people should become Catholics and not liberals in the Telegraph 

It is an appalling abuse of one's position when a journalist uses his column in a secular paper to proselytise. And even worse when he promotes a faith despite the evidence that this faith is incorrect and man-made. If Catholicism is just another error-ridden religion and not really all God's creation, then Stanley has the internet and should know this. Even most of its own followers are sceptical and have a faith so weak that they might as well become atheist out and out. I find that people that ignore truth to promote faith, are taking advantage of the fact that lots of people do the same thing or they think that people are too stupid or lazy to search for truth anyway so you can tell them a load of religious or superstitious tripe. If you are looked up to as a religious authority, you will never feel as powerful or honoured as when people believe your nonsense just because you tell them to. Priests and ministers of religion are really after the ego boost.

It is obvious that religious denialism, where people turn a blind eye when their religion is proven wrong or dubious or insane, is a huge problem. And Catholics no doubt would see Mormonism as an example of religious denialism (the RC Church says all religions are man-made and prone to error and nonsense except itself) where the truth has no impact on Mormons for they only care about what they want to believe. But why are Catholics so sure that they have any right to think they are not in denial themselves??

I have this to say to Father McManus.

He tries to get politicians to condemn Rev Gray for saying the Mass is blasphemy. That shows his opposition to freedom of speech. As an ex-Catholic, I cannot shake off the feeling that if Catholics who know their religion well and properly had the power they would suppress religious freedom as they did in the past.

If Rev Gray is wrong go and talk to him about it.

The assertion by McManus that the Catholic Eucharist is one of Christ’s most sacred commands is disingenuous for many historians think Paul invented the Eucharist or imagined a vision of Jesus telling him to implement it. Plus Paul said the cup was the new covenant in the blood of Jesus and did not call it the blood of Jesus. Catholics say it is really the blood of Jesus. How the change from wine to blood can happen is based on the notion of creation out of nothing - another concept that cannot be proven to be taught in the Bible.

As for the agreements between Catholic and Protestants on the Eucharist, they are not a justification for saying Gray is wrong. There are still huge problems. The Catholics think the Protestant ministers are not really ordained and so their services are not really the Eucharist. Also, as for justification by faith alone, the big difference is that for Protestants you cannot lose your salvation by sinning for once saved by Jesus always saved while for Catholics you lose any admission to Heaven by using contraception, and a host of other trivial “sins”. The agreements are nothing compared to the differences.

Rev Gray is accused of hate. But Gray attacks nobody directly in his letter. The Christian faith believes in hating the sin and loving the sinner so as long as Gray attacks the Mass which he thinks is a sin he is not to be accused of hate speech. In fact accusing him of hate is hate.

Before McManus accuses people who oppose the Mass of hate, maybe he should give evidence that the Mass in the big picture heals sinners? This evidence is lacking with all the disobedience to the Christian faith among Christians and the warmongering and lies. Some people seeming to heal is not enough. And do you have the right to blame the recipient of Holy Communion for not changing for the better when it may be the case that they are depending on a medicine that does not work?

“Interested folk in Washington and in the US Congress will be watching to see if the two top unionist/Protestant leaders in Fermanagh condone the Rev Gray's anti-Catholicism.” That line is just scaremongering insanity.

The moral is that Rev Gray is as good as the rest of us and probably respects most people of faith and none. If he is wrong about the Mass, it does not matter that much. It does not make him a bad person who should be intimidated by the likes of Father McManus. If say Muslims found it offensive that they could not get communion from Father McManus, would he care?

A comment regarding how a poll showed that 65% of Irish thirty-somethings would still get babies baptised

So 65 % would still have their babies baptised? People are not told the truth about the meaning of baptism by the Church. It is supposed to be a huge deal even more important than marriage for it marries you to God and the Church. To take a child for baptism while not intending to make her or him a believing Catholic as opposed to a dishonest cherry-picker is akin to perjury. Church teaching is that a child that fails to seriously live up to baptism will be damned forever in Hell. Is it really right to imply that people can be accused of being capable of such an evil when there is no hard evidence for anybody going to Hell? Also, is it really right to raise a child in a religion when you have made little or no effort to make sure the religion in terms of morality and honesty and evidence really is the best to raise the child up in?

Regarding the Vatican banning attendance at meetings that say the Medjugorje visions are real, Nov, 2013

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, November 1996

Regarding the circulation of texts of alleged private revelations, the Congregation states:

The Interpretation given by some individuals to a Decision approved by Paul VI on 14 October 1966 and promulgated on 15 November of that year, in virtue of which writings and messages resulting from alleged revelations could be freely circulated in the Church, is absolutely groundless. This decision actually referred to the "abolition of the Index of Forbidden Books" and determined that --- after the relevant censures were lifted --- the moral obligation still remained of not circulating or reading those writings which endanger faith and morals. It should be recalled however that with regard to the circulation of texts of alleged private revelations, canon 623 #1 of the current Code remains in force: "the Pastors of the Church have the … right to demand that writings to be published by the Christian faithful which touch upon faith or morals be submitted to their judgment".

Alleged supernatural revelations and writings concerning them are submitted in first instance to the judgment of the diocesan Bishop, and, in particular cases, to the judgment of the Episcopal Conference and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The mere fact that the apparition encourages messages to be given out without being checked by legitimate authority proves that Medjugorje is not from God. As for the possibility of the apparitions being demonic, we must remember that if so, there is a human element too. It is possible to imagine demons trying to work for bad fruits and failing for they are not in complete control. Nobody should be listened to who does not deal with the conflict between the 1996 decree and the apparitions first.

The good fruits of Medjugorje do not come not from the apparitions directly. It is not like people attend apparitions and come away changed. The same fruits would emerge in any place that had the same good facilities and sense of community spirit.

Plus the good fruits argument as given by Christ may only apply to those who claim to be giving binding public revelation from God - eg scripture writers and prophets.
Vicka ... Her Story: The Most Informative Interview Ever Given by Vicka, The Eldest of the Six Visionaries of Medjugorje is an interesting read. Vicka is asked about her power to be in two or more places at the one time. People are reporting apparitions of Vicka. She said she heard of those reports and prayed about them but couldn't be sure they were true. She said that the Virgin gave no indication either pro or con for artificial birth control. A picture of Vicka having an apparition in the author, O Leary's, house is in the book. I am not going to comment on any of this but am just putting it forward.
If Medjugorje produces the fruit of humility why do all devotees say that there are no doctrinal or theological errors in the messages - it would take you years to study them all for there are so many - and they blame the translation if somebody points out any. I wouldn't mind theologians saying there are no errors but what makes all these devotees experts? Humility would demand that you say you think there are no errors but are open to persuasion for you are not a theologian.

In Response to The Universe December 2013 which heralded the CDF in the Vatican doing something about Medjugorje and was met with the suggestion that Medjugorje has good fruits and so it must be from God

Speaking of the good fruits of Medjugorje, why is there no mention of Tomislav Vlasic (who was the spiritual director of the Medjugorje visionaries and who got much praise from the Gospa) and the fruits he manifested? He is now promoting heretical apparitions and a heretical form of Catholicism in defiance of the Vatican. Is it really right to boast about fruits when the one person who should have manifested the best fruits failed to do so? Good fruits only mean you must give the apparition claims serious consideration but it does not follow that they are evidence the claims are true and that the apparitions are from God. Mormonism has good fruits too and it contradicts the apparitions of Medjugorje. The fruits argument is being used to make Medjugorje critics feel bad and to silence them and that is unfair. It is a bad fruit itself when all pro-Medjugorje people promote it!


Evil Catholic fundamentalist, Mary Doherty of the Christian Solidarity Party Donegal defended Cardinal Sean Brady.

Brady had known of the crimes of serial child sex abuser Father Brendan Smith and took notes and did absolutely nothing. This was revealed - not by sneaky Brady we must add! And he refused to resign and gave an insincere apology when forced and delayed that apology for as long as he could! How sincere it was! Doherty argued he did right as it was not his place to try and get Smith exposed. Because of Brady's silence, the abuse escalated and even the parents of the victims were kept in the dark. Charmer Bishop Boyce of Raphoe was as bad as her.
MY REACTION: Doherty knows her Bible and she is a total hypocrite like Bishop Boyce another defender of Brady. Jesus Christ though a Jew believed that religion should exist for man and not man for religion. He even committed the sacrilege of attacking the money changing and market stalls in the Temple to make the point that religion should not try to make a profit. The lesson of the day is that you break the rules for the greater good. Brady did not have enough compassion to break the rules in order to protect children. It was easy for him to learn that nothing had been done about Smith. Jesus considered the fact that nobody else was breaking the rules for the greater good as a reason for him to do it. Brady knew that ending the culture of silence and protection of the abuser needed to start with somebody. He should have become the whistleblower. instead he cooperated with the culture of silence. he had to know his inaction would have had horrendous consequences for the innocent. its alarming to think that a woman would defend his inaction and his stubbornly arrogant and unrepentant attitude. I thought women experienced nurturing tendencies to protect children...!
Adorable Pope Benedict XVI addressed the fools who attended the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in 2012 in a distant and unfriendly and cold way. He said it was a mystery how child abusing clerics and religious could eat the Lord's body and confess their sins and go out and commit the crimes they did.


MY REACTION: A mystery why people can receive the body of Christ and confess their sins and still go out and abuse children? If we depend on sacraments that do not work then there is no mystery! If the sacraments work Catholics would be better than other people. But they are neither better or worse. Where are the tests and trials to see if the sacraments really have an effect on people? Sacramentalism is in violation of the fact that religion should stick to the evidence. It does not respect our right to truth and evidence.


If man wants to feel he does good without doing it, the ideal way is to resort to prayer and giving out sacraments!


Also, the church says the Eucharist does not physically change into Jesus but it still says it is Jesus. Sounds like pretending to me! The Bible is very severe against the worship of something that when attacked cannot defend itself. Can a wafer prevent you from tossing it into the fire?


Religious teachers who give useless remedies for sin and evil are responsible if their victims do evil. Benedict is to blame as well as the perpetrators and he knows it. And he only apologised for the abuse because he was forced to. He only started doing something about it when put under pressure.


The implication of the Lord's body thing is that by providing it the Church was giving medicine against the sins of child sex abuse by clerics!  That is a disgraceful superstitious assumption and a cop-out.

Some try to pretend you can be a good Roman Catholic while deliberately opposing the doctrine that the bread and wine literally become Jesus Christ during the Eucharist. The idea of a chance is an essential Catholic teaching. Richard Dawkins correctly observed that whoever does not believe and who scoffs at it is not a Roman Catholic but deceiving themselves if they say they are.


MY REACTION: Every religion has to have rules about who is a member. The Catholic Church regards the Catholic who repudiates transubstantiation as a Protestant - ie a Christian who has declared independence from the Roman Church. The person who knows a teaching is essential for being a Catholic and rejects it should look for another Church. He should not be pretending to be a Roman Catholic. To go through the motions of staying when he can join his local Anglican Church smacks of sectarianism. If he is to be considered a Roman Catholic then the word hypocrite becomes meaningless. You cannot be a genuine member of any community if you reject its ideals. Any Catholic who does not believe but who is trying to can be a Catholic. The one who is not trying is not. Moreover, an individual Catholic who acts as if he can pick and choose what to believe is not recognising the Pope as the head teacher of the Church who allegedly stands in the place of Jesus Christ.


Papal documents were being leaked by Vatican staff causing a scandal for the Pope.


MY REACTION: The stuff that is not leaked is scandalous enough by itself! Few know that the Church has a shocking attitude towards attempts by married couples to be responsible about how many children they will have. It says its a morally neutral issue! The Church allows “natural” family planning despite banning contraception. It merely permits it and does not praise it. That is warped! Those who have children they cannot feed are bad eggs end of story! This is the same hypocritical faith that claims to be against contraception as it allegedly indicates that the birth of a child is a burden and a mistake!
See Catechism of the Catholic Church 2368, 2370, 2399. It says the motive to regulate births is neither good nor evil, as long as there is an openness to new life. Even seeing a child as a curse would be as good as that kind of teaching!

A person objected to Tim Stanley's statement that it's a sin to deny Catholic doctrine. The person said it was not the teaching of the Church.

My response was, If Catholic dogma is to be believed, Stanley is right to say, "One of the greatest sins in the world is to participate in the Church and not really believe in its teachings. That's a sure way to get to Hell."

The Church has always taught that to hear Church teaching and disbelieve it is calling God a liar for the Church is his voice.


"That faith thus understood is necessary to salvation no man can reasonably doubt, particularly since it is written: "without faith it is impossible to please God." For as the end proposed to man as his ultimate happiness is far above the reach of human understanding, it was therefore necessary that it should be made known to him by God. This knowledge, however, is nothing else than faith, by which we yield our unhesitating assent to whatever the authority of our Holy Mother the Church teaches us to have been revealed by God." (Catechism of the Council of Trent). The religious cherry picker does not really have faith but is inventing a faith of her or his own. And it is intellectually dishonest to claim to be a believing Catholic and do that. And if God's word can be doubted in some things then why trust him in anything?
However, we must remind ourselves that people who say without proof that we will be punished by God forever in Hell for not believing x and y and z have hatred in their hearts even if they won't let themselves see it.

Ireland closed down the Vatican Embassy. Response to "it was unwise to close an embassy that provided access to the Vatican’s unique global diplomatic network ” . The Irish Government, Eamonn Gilmore Tanaiste in particular, in 2013 expressed having no regrets about closing the Vatican Embassy.
But surely that access can be got in other ways? The point is that the Vatican is only regarded as a state because it is treated like one and not because it is one. That is unfair. Fair play to Gilmore for standing by the principle. And we must remember that the Vatican uses its role to try and stop the poor from having access to condoms even when the intention is to reduce the spread of HIV. And it is about undermining how the state should be neutral in religion.


The Vatican wants rights as a religion not as individuals.


Religious freedom has to start with all freedoms. That is, individuals first. And individuals, whether singularly or in groups, should be empowered to decide for themselves. But only for themselves. The Catholic Church looks to use conscience as an excuse for refusing rights to individuals. It argues that it must not be forced to provide contraception as if religious rights trump individual rights!

Re: The Telegraph reporting a surge in older children getting baptised seemingly because their parents want to get them into Catholic schools

Baptism in Catholicism imposes religious membership and the obligation to obey Church law on the baby. This is not right in itself. A baby is the best of humankind and does not need religion or religious membership for the alleged forgiveness of original sin in baptism. Also it is not right considering few parents know enough about religion and its controversies to make an informed decision. Interesting that parents don't reason, "The Church doesn't approve if we baptise our child ourselves but it will recognise the baptism as real. Maybe we should just tell the priest a fib that we did the baptism to get it into the school?"


The Christians today tend to say that God does not punish people in Hell but people make their own hell for they refuse forever to go near God and be happy. This is as bigoted as the bible doctrine that God DOES punish in Hell and the New Testament doctrine that God said that vengeance was his and he would repay. Why is it bigoted? You need absolute proof before you can accuse anybody of being sinful enough or possibly sinful enough to make their own Hell. Also Christian philosophy today says we have free will because of God and not in spite of him meaning he is ultimately responsible for what we choose. It proves that God and the rancid doctrine of predestination to good and evil or heaven or hell go together.


Is that the kind of God you want your child dedicated to?

Re Catholic Church looking for exemption to Obamacare on the grounds that it forces it to provide birth control
People who look for exemptions to the law on religious grounds, always plead for their case on the basis of religious freedom and human rights. It is strange for Christians to do that because ultimately for them it is God's rights that should matter as everything comes from God and he deserves all the love that is in us. Christ said that the first commandment is to love God totally and to love our neighbour not totally but as ourselves - ie we are to love only God ultimately - and love our neighbour for his sake and not ours or theirs. Thus if the law allows contraception and God forbids it there is a conflict.
I remember when the paedophile priest scandal was at its worst here in Ireland how many Catholics treated those clerics responsible for the cover-up like celebrities. To this day, the priests bleat, "We are not all bad". That is a sign that they are unrepentant because the point is not that they are not all paedophiles but that not a single one of them supported the victims or said anything to stop the abuse. That is the bottom line and they have been told it and they still keep trying to entice people into the Catholic faith by misdirection.

Re Vatican claiming that it never advised its representatives to cover up clerical sex abuse, UN, 2014

The Roman Catholic clergy would have known of the extent and nature of clerical sex abuse from the confessional. You get a penance in confession. No priest ever told his "penitent" paedophile priest to turn himself in. Because the unique way of getting knowledge - no other organisation has such access to the facts - the Church must be treated with utmost severity.