Is Irish Catholicism an Irrelevant Minority Culture? Archbishop Diarmuid Martin’s Cambridge Speech

UCD sociologist Tom Inglis’ 1987 book on Irish Catholicism was called Moral Monopoly: The Catholic Church in Irish Society. The next edition of the book, published in 1998, had a different subtitle: Moral Monopoly: The Rise and Fall of the Catholic Church in Modern Ireland.

In remarks made on Tuesday to the Cambridge Group for Irish Studies in Magdalene College, Cambridge, the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin starkly confirmed what Inglis meant when changed the subtitle of his book to reflect the ‘fall’ of the Catholic Church in Ireland. In a speech titled ‘Keeping the Show on the Road: Is this the Future of the Irish Catholic Church?’, Martin said that the Catholic Church in Ireland would:

“inevitably become more a minority culture. The challenge is to ensure that it is not an irrelevant minority culture”.

Martin’s remarks were wide ranging, and included recommendations such as ceasing Catholic patronage of the Republic of Ireland’s primary schools, encouraging young people in their faith, developing a genuinely intellectual Catholic culture, and engaging more deeply with the Bible.

The story of the fall from a culturally dominant institution to a minority culture might be considered for some a surprising, sad or a tragic one. Or for others, who felt abused, stifled or oppressed by Irish Catholicism, it might be considered a happy story.

But the story is more complex one. Secularisation has occurred in Ireland not because it is some inevitable sociological process related to modernisation and industrialisation, but also because the church itself fell away from its core mission.

Archbishop Martin admits this, relating this story about a conversation he had with Pope John Paul II:

…Pope John Paul II asked me “how is it that secularisation came to Ireland so quickly?”  My answer to that question was quite simple: “Your Holiness is wrong”, though my Vatican training did not allow me to express myself quite in those exact words.   The Pope was wrong.  Secularisation, whatever that means exactly, had been on the Irish radar screen for many years.  It was not all negative but it was not an overnight wonder.   It was there, but not recognised.  It was there but the answer of the Irish Church was for far too long to keep the same show on the road, not noticing that there were problems with the show and that the road was changing.

To put this more specifically, Martin is saying that the Irish Catholic Church achieved social and political power, but at a great cost. Its powerful position compromised its ability to proclaim the good news of the gospel in a way that was radical, meaningful and positively life-changing.

Martin goes on to say that reforms recommended after Vatican II could not do much to help the Irish church, because they were being imposed on structures that were faulty in too many ways. He says:

Not only was the Church culture of the time inadequate to face the challenge of change, but that  culture was in itself something that made real and realistic change more difficult. … Changes were introduced.  The presumption was that they were being introduced into a healthy structure.   The emptiness and the faulty structure which was already undermining the tradition of Irish Catholicism may not have been addressed sufficiently at the time and may have undermined the long-term success of reform.

And Martin admits that the changes that are now required of the Irish Catholic Church are even more wide-ranging and complex, so much so that he feels inadequate for the task:

The change that has taken place in Irish culture requires radical change in the life of the Church of such an extent that in the face of it even experts in change management would feel daunted. Certainly I would have to say that despite all my efforts I am failing in my attempts to lead such change.  Change management has to have the patience and the strategy to bring everyone along with it and that may not be my talent.

Martin’s diagnosis of the Irish Catholic Church’s critical state probably won’t surprise those who have watched that Irish Catholic Church’s fall from grace, especially as it has accelerated over the last year in the wake of the Murphy Report.

But Martin does offer some ways to renew the church. Briefly:

  • Abandon the idea that the Catholic Church could or should return to a dominant cultural position. Martin thinks that this is good neither for the church, nor for society – the temptations for the church to abuse power, rather than to call those who abuse it to account, are too great.
  • Seriously attempt to contribute to the healing of those who have been abused by the church. Martin’s participation in Sunday’s service of lament and repentance for clerical sex abuse is evidence that he himself is at least willing to try and do this.
  • Encourage lay people to take on more active and meaningful roles in the life of the church.
  • Make Christian discipleship less about ‘rules and regulations or about ethical standards against which we have to measure our own moral behaviour’ and more ‘about a God who is generous and whose followers should witness in their lives to the fact that being truly human has much more to do with giving and sharing and loving than with possession and power and dominance.’
  • Prioritise ecumenical collaboration based on a careful examination of the Bible and introducing ‘people into a real relationship with Jesus and his life and teaching.’

If those changes happen, could Irish Catholicism  become a ‘minority culture’ that is not only not ‘irrelevant,’ but that could actually make a valuable contribution to public life?

  • Nunoftheabove

    “Secularisation has occurred in Ireland not because it is some inevitable sociological process related to modernisation and industrialisation, but also because the church itself fell away from its core mission”.

    If by modernisation is meant people becoming educated, forming opinions of their own and seeing sense, then yes.

    I would argue with the second point and think it’s much more likely securalisation was the result of the church maintaining its core mission – that’s its problem and that’s why they want to rebrand it. It won’t work. The core mission and message itself are profoundly sinister and bad ethics will increasingly appeal solely to the socially vulnerable, the credulous and the innately wicked among a maturing society. It’s over guys – give it up.

  • A secular Ireland? That’s still a very, very long way off. The secular ideal of a complete separation of Church and State does not command the respect that it should have in a state which has seen its dominant religion fall spectacularly from grace. As long as the Catholic church controls the schools of the RoI there is little likelihood that secularism will ever be fully implemented, or even understood.

    The Catholic hierarchy have admitted that they covered up for paedophile priests. They shunted child rapists around from parish to parish and covered up their crimes in order to protect the reputation of the Church. Such a cover-up is a crime in itself. It is aiding and abetting a child rapist. But no-one has been charged with aiding and abetting. None of the hierarchy have stood trial on charges of aiding and abetting. So it looks as if the Catholic Church in the RoI is above the law. So much for the alleged secularisation of the RoI! That’ll be the day!

  • The Word

    Nun

    “If by modernisation is meant people becoming educated, forming opinions of their own and seeing sense, then yes. ”

    I suppose that’s when we’ll get women priests, a church divided over gay bishops and a soft civility in the teaching.

    It’s one thing to fall from grace but to fall from irrelevance to the message of Jesus Christ, that takes an altogther greater degree of stupidity.

    Some people don’t seem to understand that the purpose of Christianity is to allow people to take shelter from the world and so direct mankind back to Eden.

    God might say that at least the Catholic Church in Ireland made an effort.

    As to that old story of sitting down and having a quiet chat with the devil over a cup of tea, the Catholic Church could never be charged with that. They fought all battles. I’m sure they regret that in some ways, but no-one could be in any doubt about the force of their argument.

    But as Christianity is an Eden-centred religion, I’m sure many Irish people will realise that they were never misled about where the goodness lay in this society, who the priests held in highest regard and what they should seek in order to keep themselves right. Ireland is still mainly a rural nation and her soul is still quite pure and straighforward.

    Contrast that to the highly urbanised, secular, deeply unhappy, (as if they even know) troubled society in England – where all the money is – and you will realise that some people have been sending the wrong message out there ever since Henry VIII.

  • The Word: I have read Martin’s words and i want to agree with you. But:
    Ireland is one fghked up place. Youth suicide, heroin abuse, Sinn Fein.
    The Iirhs cdo not have a devekloped paganism. They are at heart, urbanised peasants. I pity James Conolly, Con Colbert and Michael Mallin going out to die for him.
    Our Ireland is gone with the wind. It no longer exists.
    Look what Martin wants as per above:

    ■Encourage lay people to take on more active and meaningful roles in the life of the church.

    SAn’t gonna happen because of power structures.

    Demographics will kill Ireland the way it is killing Spain, Italy and Austria.

  • Alanbrooke

    Word

    oh please can’t you ever give up on comparing with England ?

    rich catholic France is hardly a beacon of contentment; how do you explain modern Spain ?

    England has a very large Catholic population why are they unhappy too ?

    Are all those Irish in the North laughing with joy while voting for Gerry ?

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    “I suppose that’s when we’ll get women priests, a church divided over gay bishops and a soft civility in the teaching”.

    – couldn’t care less about the former, no idea what you mean by soft civility.

    “to fall from irrelevance to the message of Jesus Christ, that takes an altogether greater degree of stupidity”.

    – not sure what you mean by falling from irrelevance either but ignoring the nonsensical and in many senses wicked teachings of Christianity is what I would call a good commonsense start. It’s not an ethical position in itself but it’s the basis for one that won’t be located within Christianity.

    “Some people don’t seem to understand that the purpose of Christianity is to allow people to take shelter from the world”

    – I do understand that that’s one of its purposes (and its modus operandi in many senses – feeding as it does on the superstitions, fears and vivid imaginations of the vulnerable and the credulous, the desperate and the needy – and that’s just one of the things that’s wrong with it and objectionable about it – it’s an empty vessel, a false consolation. Besides, if you think the world’s that bust and broken, desolate and awful, I’m not sure I understand why you spend your time endlessly praising and thanking what you regard as its maker…other than perhaps the fact that you also fear ‘him’.

    “…and so direct mankind back to Eden”.

    – Safe trip. That’s not a bus I want to be on and the sad news for you is that it’s not a bus that ether of us can be on even if we wanted to.

    “God might say that at least the Catholic Church in Ireland made an effort”.

    – almost literally no probability of ‘him’ saying anything ever to anyone about anything but if you feel that they’ll be forgiven by your God then you’re even more welcome to ‘him’ and I’m even more relieved not to have the kind of relationship with ‘him that you do.

    ” no-one could be in any doubt about the force of their argument”.

    – no doubt about the force with which they tried to insist on their arguments being applied and adhered to, certainly – not quite what we normally mean by force of argument though, is it ? Absolutely literally no evidence of any kind – at all – of any of its key truth claims, for a start.

  • Zig70

    I questioned my late mother on her faith. She didn’t appreciate it but replied that without her religion she would have turned to suicide due to the harsh cards nature dealt her. Who are you to judge someone else’s crutch? I take exception to people preaching exclusivity in their theories especially when it comes with ill feeling to others. The problem with evil in religion is more to do with human nature. My own opinion is the catholic church has to make room for their neighbours in ireland and step back from state institutions. What they do to capture more souls is up to them.

  • The Word

    AM

    The Church is in the hands of God, always has been. As for the Irish – their lack of a national ego tends to mean that they’re always up for a laugh. Life is a bit too serious for others.

    AB

    The English have a massive national ego. Naturally they rarely seem to be happy. Didn’t the English win that war (in France)?

    Nun

    “wicked teachings of Christianity” – that has to be the quote of the century.

    “That’s not a bus I want to be on and the sad news for you is that it’s not a bus that ether of us can be on even if we wanted to.”

    For anybody observing, this is just the proof that if you actually want and can make the world better, there’ll always be some sad individual being dragged onto the bus and sedated, screaming that his “Hell” where he thinks that the Catholic Church are the bad guys and “who are the good guys?” is where he wants to be. There are I suppose a lot of people who have an interest in maintaining hell.

  • ThomasMourne

    The quandary in which supposedly highly-educated church leaders find themselves is very well illustrated by Diarmuid Martin. He has the courage to admit that he cannot deal with the stresses and strains that the CC faces in Ireland.

    Major changes are not going to happen in the CC, otherwise it would no longer be what it has always been – a hierarchical organisation controlled by male clerics given authority [and riches] by a cowed and mainly poorly-uneducated public who in the past were intimidated in many subtle and not-so-subtle ways to give allegiance to ‘the one true church’.

    The same old crowd, more or less, are still in control and largely contemptuous of the great unwashed who kneel in front of them on a Sunday.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    “There are I suppose a lot of people who have an interest in maintaining hell”.

    – yes – and all of them would be believers. Particularly clerics.

    ““wicked teachings of Christianity” – that has to be the quote of the century”.

    – Two quick examples to kick off with:

    #1: compulsory love for a ‘maker’ that you are ordered to fear – healthy for the human psyche, would you say ?

    #2: Vicarious redemption – utterly contrary to any ethical conception of personal responsibility – an entirely immoral preaching.

  • Greenflag

    Why is the Archbishop making this speech in Cambridge ?
    Probably because that’s about the only place left for him where he will be listened to. Nobody is listening in Ireland .

    While his diagnosis of the patient is fair enough it is alas 40 or 50 years too late.

    Once people start thinking for themselves and become less trusting of those who formerly ‘exalted’ themselves be they clerics , politicians or bankers then the game has changed and may indeed be up or over .

    Given that Ireland was the RC Church’s last bastion in the EU in terms of that Church’s control and influence over civil society it’s not surprising that it has taken the biggest hit of all and has become the the ‘Humpty Dumpty’ of the RC Church across Europe .

    It may pick itself up and become a much smaller egg in a pack of half a dozen other eggs but it’ll never be on top of the wall again . And I think the Archbishop knows and understands that .

    There’ll always be a market for those who find ‘comfort’ in the prospect of a heaven magician who will put all to right one day – but not just yet etc.

    While I’m sympathethic to the great number of Irish Catholic clergy who believed and acted their faith and contributed to Irish society throughout history even in the darkest times for the people -I cannot share their faith but I do respect their good intentions . The fact that their ‘hierarchical ‘international institution failed them, and their local hierarchy ‘averted’ their eyes and ears and consciences as to the crimes that a great number of it’s clergy were committing in civil society -should not blind us to that fact ..

  • between the bridges

    word, why blame henry eat allot? if its historical reasons for the church failing i would go for Mithraism.

  • The Word

    Nun

    Do you ever read back what you’ve written?

    BtB

    I don’t think so. I think that if you really beleve in God you’ll find that God thinks quite highly of the Roman Catholic Church for getting the message this far.

  • between the bridges

    word
    I’m a non practicing atheist with questionable morals kind of too good to be bad but not bad enough to be good, banking on last minute redemption.

    if as you say the catholic church is god’s vision what is the message? protect your children from the unbeliever and the church will do the rest?

  • Greenflag

    ‘you’ll find that God thinks quite highly of the Roman Catholic Church ‘

    So in your eh discussions with God could you let us know when and where this discourse took place ? Did he/she or it speak from behind a burning bush or through a moving statue of the Virgin Mary ?

    Will you grow up man and go do your proselytising elsewhere . The Church is making enough of an eejit of it’s itself and it’s backward beliefs without you adding to the pyre 🙁

  • EdgarDavids

    I think people at the minute are angry with institutions full stop. They are concerned about many great institutions like Fianna Fail and the Catholic Church. Many big businesses are also in the firing line.

    Eventually though they’ll find though that the atheists, the anarchists and the likes promise little in terms of an actual future.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    Bit of a waste of a contribution on your part if you don’t mind me saying so. If you’re not up to/for exchanging then fair enough, inferences will be drawn accordingly. Incidentally I find your “if you really believe in God you’ll find that God thinks quite highly of the Roman Catholic Church for getting the message this far” message, both chilling and laughable in comparable proportion. Large scale ‘if’, as even you may conceivably concede. The church is only really as horrible as it is to people of sense because the message itself is fairly horrible. If we should be thankful for anything, we should be thankful that there’s not a single syllable of truth in any of it.

  • The Word

    BTB

    “what is the message? ”

    The Catholic Church had the formiddable task of bearing the message of not taking the material world seriously and importantly not to be taking any nationalism seriously. Anglicanism religionised British Nationalism.

    Greenflag

    I refer you to the above post. If she is making an eejit of herself, then no more so than any political elite on the planet have been doing for thousands of years. The Church only had to have that word “Catholic” in its name to be more successful than any nation.

    Nun

    “the message itself is fairly horrible”

    The mesage was clear – no figthing for the nation, no worshipping of money, and no doing anything we say is wrong. God could hardly object to that.

    Who are the good guys, Nun?

  • between the bridges

    word up..if these message carrying soul savers didn’t take the material world so seriously why they need their very own bank? as a ‘catholic who doesn’t travel’ have i far to go?

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    I was referring to the christian message actually – lot of wickedness in there (haven’t you actually read the bible ?!).

    But sure why would christians be either surpised about or even be worried about economic strife. Did not your Lord command you to take no thought for the morrow ? Not to worry, Word – you can’t possibly have a care in the world – after all, your heavenly father will feed you.

    The christian message to the impoverished, the distressed, the heartbroken and righteously furious citizens of a broken nation – were they being faithful to the message, that is – is simply “Fear not, little flock”. That’s not just useless and empty – it’s plain immoral.

  • Brian

    “was referring to the christian message actually – lot of wickedness in there (haven’t you actually read the bible ?!).”

    I don’t think the teachings of Jesus Christ as portrayed in the bible are wicked at all. Quite the opposite. However, I can’t say the same for the Catholic Church.

    In my experience the Catholic Church in Ireland seemed to be built on shame, guilt, and fear. Hardly a beacon of love. Far more people ‘feared’ God than loved him.

    Interesting question that sheds light on the real relationship of the Church to the Irish masses— How many clergy starved to death or were forced to emigrate during the Famine? Of the million that died and million more that left, how many of them were clergy???

    We all know the answer

  • Nunoftheabove

    Brian

    As I say the compulsion to simultaneously love and fear someone you’ve never met (nor ever will meet) – a blend of reward for unquestioning love and obedience (which isn’t love at all, if only attained through inducement) and punishments (eternal ones, at that) for refusing to love or withdrawing that love and obedience – is but one of the many areas of darkness and immorality within the christian message.

    And that’s just the beliefs. As to how the religious orders themselves actually behave, well…..

  • The Word

    BTB

    A major international charity with a bank. Hardly worrying.

    “doesn’t travel”. Not very far.

    Nun

    “it’s plain immoral.”

    It’s simply the antidote to telling people to work hard and build your own little empire and everything in the world will be alright.

    Again, Nun, who are the good guys? Those Yanks?

    Brian

    “built on shame, guilt, and fear. Hardly a beacon of love. ”

    You forget that all society before the 1960’s was built on these things or a variation. There’s more love now.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    “It’s simply the antidote to telling people to work hard and build your own little empire and everything in the world will be alright”. Suggesting that people need an antidote to showing some graft and some thrift, to the instinct for building some security for themselves and their families, for education, for self-improvement, for planning and innovating and initiative – is in the same neighborhood of immorality.

    Doesn’t quite seem to hold true to the business practices of the catholic church though either, does it ?

    Not sure what yanks you’re referring to and I’m reasonably sure you don’t know either however I hope for their sake that their not ‘planter’ yanks judging by some of your earlier comments. As a believing christian presumably you’d have no problem exterminating them in in, shall we say, Amalekite fashion.

  • The Word

    I think we must agree to differ on Testaments, Nun.

    My God makes no issue about money, doesn’t care how much you have. Your God lives to honour it.

    Actually I liked JFK, Nun, and am pretty sure he went to heaven. Of course, having gone there, he probably knows who it was that organised that Dallas delight.

    I’m sure if he was here today, he would be saying exactly the same things that I say about our society. He wasn’t far off really in those days. The heart was in the right place.

    But I would point out that for all the things you say about not fearing God, it is clear that you do have that fear. That’s not surprising really.

  • abucs

    “Secularisation has occurred in Ireland not because it is some inevitable sociological process related to modernisation and industrialisation, but also because the church itself fell away from its core mission”.

    I agree completely. Many people in the Church got caught up in the ‘progressive, permissive, unitarianism and rejection of history and tradition’ that was underpinned by Neitsche philosophy, Freuds psychiatry and materialistic interpretations of science.

    This was supposed to lead the West to be a bright new shared and educated nirvana.

    Such a philosophy seems ridiculous 50 years on.

    Ireland has been fairly late to accept that scene publicly but the same road ends in pointlessness and backwardness.

    The Church’s mission includes education, truth and charity.

    Swings and roundabouts.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    “My God makes no issue about money, doesn’t care how much you have”

    – not a catholic God then, clearly.

    “Your God lives to honour it”.

    – I don’t have one. I am a materialist though of course. That’s an ethical human position to take.

    ” for all the things you say about not fearing God, it is clear that you do have that fear. That’s not surprising really”.

    – That statement doesn’t make sense when of course there is no God. I have occasional fears about those who are believrs though and quite rightly so given the innate dangers and human hazards repesented by their beliefs.

  • Mark

    The Word – ” God makes no issue about money ”

    Even if he could , he couldn’t really – he doesn’t have any .

    The Word – ” your God lives to honour it ”

    Our god doesn’t live to honour anything , he doesn’t have to , he’s not our God .

    We are our own gods and it’s up to us to play God morning , noon and night . It’s people who make decisions not God . We are responsible for our actions and it’s up to us .

    Now a Higher Power , that’s a different kettle of fish . A friend of mine used to say , his higher power was the 17 bus because it got him past the boozer where he’d pissed his life away and couldn’t go back .

    Can I ask you something Mr Man of many roles ?

    Did Bobby Sands go to Heaven ?, What about Geroge Best , did he go ? Charlie Haughey , what about him , did he go ? Timothy McVeigh and Bill Shankley , what about those guys ?

    Mossie Keane and Jude from Big Brother , Steve McQueen , Jim Morrisson , oul blue eyes , Billy Wright and Jonathan Parry , what about those two or Elvis the king or even Trevor king . What about Bootsy , Ronan McLoughlin , President Robinson or Brian Robinson ………

    You see where I’m going here don’t cha ( want your priest to look hot like me ? don’t cha …)

    That Mumbo Jumbo from above does no one any favours and the irony is , you were starting to talk a little sense re the new funding for the different Republicans thread ….

    Answer me this and answer me no more , Is that turncoat Harris going ?

    It’s a beautiful day as that gobsh!te Bono would say , It’s for all the marbles today as the country decides ..can’t fuck!n wait !!!

    I’m off to the Polling station early so Richie and Barry can’t see me …….

  • between the bridges

    word up… would this ‘charity’ have any worthwhile assets to sell to fund the odd good cause? or are they hoping to bung the lift full off valuables when it comes time to press ‘up’? as for not having far to go it’s funny how as i travel the religious road i just keep getting further away!

    mark hope you voted often too! i bet your a closet FF man!

  • Mark

    Is it that obvious …….being tickled by Charlie 35 years while watching Derek Daly zoom around the Phoenix Park has that effect on a spoilt little southern brats ..

    But they’re getting fuc! all this time around . Sadly for me , I’m not left with much alternative save for a couple if indo’s who’ve promised a family member they’ll stop the gaff down the road from getting an extension ..and that other lunatic .

    Still if you’re not in , you can’t …….

    I thought Liverpool were crap again last night . Looks like the only chance they’ll have of enjoying a night in Europe this season , is at Club Pacha in Ibiza town on the June bank holiday weekend ….. see you there

  • between the bridges

    word up… i do not knock anyone for their faith, but blind faith ? come on its a moderm world and i am sure if the big man’s as great as we all hope he will have put away the cnd placards and replaced the reefer with legal highs so maybe you…

    mark true but the last time we had a team as crap in europe we ended up beating the turkeys ring of fire and keeping old big ears for a five fingered salute! you get me a pint in the next time im down wrecking the place and i’l get you a ticket..which end pool or ger’s?lol!.

  • The Word

    Nun

    You’re a materialist who has no god. Who do you think believes that sort of nonsense?

    Mark

    I’m sure there are a lot of people who help God in heaven. But why spoil the surprise?

    We make sense in everything we say. But we’re not always talking so that you understand. Is that what you’re saying?

    BTB

    The further away the better.

  • between the bridges

    up word, i do belive that is exactly the message, your charity wants those who don’t travel, to get, is it not?

  • Mark

    I think we’re past the bridges at this stage , so may I call you between ?

    Your more than welcome to a pint as long you can dance and know how to curtsy …

    I once met two Celtic fans on holiday near North Africa . After a few scoops , one of the birds put Wet Wet Wet on . One of the Celtic fan’s jumped up , grabbed the tape and threw it out the balcony window . ” Do ye know that that fuc!er carries around a piece of Ibrox turf ( don’t tell Ming ) everywhere he goes ? Who ? yelled bird who I thought I was getting on quite well with until my new mate’s outburst .

    Marty Fuc!in Pellow , that’s who ….. you don’t have an executive box then no ?

    They’re only two Andy Goram’s …….

    And there’s only one Word I’m going to say to you ..

    SuperCallyInvernessandCelticareatrocious …. second best headline ever on a newspaper , sport or no sport ….

    Yanks 2 Planks 0 ….

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    “You’re a materialist who has no god. Who do you think believes that sort of nonsense?

    Not sure what you’re saying; pretty sure you’re not sure either….

    Are you asking :

    (i) who believes that I have no God ?; and/or

    (ii) that it’s nonsense to believe that I’m a materialist ?; and/or

    (ii) that it’s nonsense to be a materialist ?

    Other permutations are available but those are the more likely ones I think. Depending on what you inteded to ask, my answers would correspondingly be:

    (i) Myself and other people of reason, basically; oh, other than in the delusional make-believe sense, neither do you by the way. There is no god to be had other than the one invented by mankind and that’s the case whether you in fact want there to be a God or not…unless of course you an prove otherwise.

    (ii) you don’t know me so you’ll just have to trust me when I say that I’m a materialist. I guess you may have a critique of mateterialism…you’ll need to guess the sense in which I see myself as such though.

    (iii) Again, people can validly challenge that but they’ll need to argue a bit more persuasively than you do if they want their challenge to be taken seriously. Your belief in God on the other hand can legitimately be regarded as literally nonense. Like most other christians, you’re struggling to disprove that or mount any form of logical or evidential basis for challenging its truth. And that’s even before we return to the wickedness that’s innate to some of the beliefs themselves as mentioned earlier.

  • The Word

    Nun

    God seems to obsess you. I’m glad you’re so happy as a materialist who has no god.

    Mark

    You’ll never be up to those Yanks. All those spying rings and technology controlling the world. And some of them say they believe in God. But threaten to fire those big nuclears and they’ll blow your head off.

    Those Irish ones, you couldn’t be up to them either. But if you can’t beat them, blow their heads off. And do it in front of the whole world. Heaven can’t be happy with that. Some not so smart Yanks, they say.

  • between the bridges

    up word… i presume being a person who can correctly call himself an irish catholic ie c of i my one up one self upmanship bring’s to mind… Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth. or in other words Going to church no more makes you a Christian than standing in a garage makes you a car.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    Reason isn’t an obsession and I’m happy without a god – relieved there’s not a word of truth in it given some if its unethical preachments. You’d be happier too if you saw sense and recognized just how ridiculous and demeaning those beliefs are.