Listening Process in Down and Connor: What are the People in the Irish Catholic Church Saying?

Last month, Bishop Noel Treanor initiated a ‘Listening Process’ in the Diocese of Down and Connor, designed to encourage laypeople to have their say about the future of the Catholic Church in their diocese. Last night I attended one of the listening sessions at Clonard Monastery in West Belfast.

The sessions are facilitated by specially-trained laypeople, and will be continuing until the end of March (for a full list of the sessions click here). Last night’s session included prayer, small group discussion, and feedback from the wider group of about 45 people. Discussion centred around two main questions, paraphrased below:

  • What would our diocese and parishes look like if the Catholic faith were being fully lived?
  • What needs to happen for the church to start fully living that faith?

More than an hour of the two-hour session was taken up by the first question. To make a broad generalisation, those who spoke from the floor wanted to see more of what I would call the post-Vatican II church: more lay involvement, more meaningful liturgies in the vernacular, more accountability from the hierarchy, a preference for the poor and marginalised, and the elimination of class and privilege from the structures of the church itself.

One participant said what was needed was a re-formation of the Catholic Church, which would involve the church becoming more ‘democratic.’ He did not necessarily mean that the church should follow the political fashions of the day; rather, he thought that the community that Jesus Christ and his apostles were a part of seemed to be a lot more collegial and equal (democratic, if you like) than what is seen in today’s Catholic Church.

Others said that laypeople themselves needed to take responsibility for their own faith, to seek to become more involved in the church rather than waiting for the clergy to ‘do church’ for them. This, they acknowledged, would involve a somewhat seismic shift in the culture of the Irish Catholic Church, where historically, they thought, laypeople had been encouraged to believe that sitting back and shutting up was the way to salvation.

For the second question, we broke into small discussion groups and then during the wider feedback session presented three ideas about what the church could do. Among the suggestions were:

  • Create a ‘listening structure’ at the diocesan level, in which laypeople are directly involved
  • The hierarchy should initiate services of lament and repentance for the clerical abuse scandals throughout the diocese, similar to the recent service at Dublin’s Pro Cathedral
  • The hierarchy should partake in a three-day pilgrimage of prayer and fasting at Lough Derg –without telling the media beforehand
  • When future bishops are appointed, they should have some experience of parish-level pastoral care
  • Encourage the bishops to stand up to Rome and, if necessary, dissent from the line set out by the Vatican, as the ancient Celtic Church was known to do on occasion
  • Place a greater priority on developing meaningful, joyful liturgies. Several participants said that they appreciated the effort that went into the liturgy at Clonard – it seemed to be seen by some as a bright spot in a sea of liturgical mediocrity
  • Be willing to learn from the witness of Protestant churches, i.e. Presbyterians for their democracy and accountability, Methodists for their social justice, Quakers for their contemplative life, pacifism and social action. Some thought that Christian Eucharistic fellowship should be extended to all Christians who believe the gospel
  • Involve and recognise the gifts of women at all levels of church life

There were numerous other suggestions and doubtless the other sessions are producing further ideas. The results of the Listening Process will be disseminated at a Diocesan Congress at Pentecost 2013, where a ‘roadmap for the future’ and ‘pastoral priorities’ will be set out.

But chatting with some of the participants at the coffee time after the meeting, it was more obvious than it had been during the public discussion that not everyone was on the same post-Vatican II page. For some, there was bewilderment at the type of church being advocated by those who spoke from the floor. They wanted to go back to the basics, to focus on ‘simple’ homilies and the catechism. The less-hierarchical, more ‘democratic’ church that was being advocated was simply a foreign idea for them. Others doubted that the Diocese was really serious about the listening process, and thought that it had been initiated simply as a public relations exercise.

Pentecost 2013 seems quite a long time to wait to see if the hierarchy in the Diocese really hears what people are saying.

  • The Word

    I think they should rule out women priests for a start.

    Catholic Christianity has always been a women-endorsing religion by virtue of having those male priests on the altar embarrassing, not threatening, the congregation into trying harder and doing better.

    Try to do that with women priests and the psychology is lost.

    Women have better things to do.

  • between the bridges

    word..Catholic Christianity has always been a women-endorsing religion by virtue…lol good one!
    almost as good as The Vatican (2004) depicted what it claimed were women’s characteristic traits: ‘Listening, welcoming, humility, faithfulness, praise and waiting.’ … they certainly have their finger on the g spot there as do you old bean.

  • skull kid

    This is mad. This is so painful looking on at the further destruction and disintegration of the Catholic Church. At this rate, we will have a situation 10 years from now, whereby true Catholics are in a few isolated and disperse locations where Mass is offered, maybe even in secret, whilst the new church (separated from big bad chauvinistic male-dominated Rome, of course) will have completely taken over, with their women priests and lesbian unions. This is insane. Completely and totally and utterly insane.

  • Nunoftheabove

    “What would our diocese and parishes look like if the Catholic faith were being fully lived?”

    Boring, superstition-ridden, anti-intellectual, stifled, authoritarian if not totalitarian, ignorant, dangerous, moribund, sexually repressed, corrupt, empty.

  • The Word

    BTB

    If you don’t understand the psychology then you welcome to try and start your own religion.

    Irish republicanism doesn’t transfer too well over borders, even our own temporary one.

    Nun

    You don’t understand either so you’re welcome too to start your own religion. Materialism, your welcome to try to sell than to other than the corrupted.

  • Nunoftheabove

    The Word

    It’s religion that’s the problem, not the particular brand I’m choosing to type about this evening. You haven’t as yet been willing to level a single straight criticism of materialism yet, I note. Odd, that.

  • The Word

    Nun

    “a single straight criticism of materialism”

    There’s quite a few in the teachings if you care to look.

    “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” (Mt 13:45)

    Although there is a little bit of Jesuitical language in this verse. I think it’s there to confuse the materialists. Or to get past them so that they don’t try to change it.

  • andnowwhat

    I have said this before but my relationship is akin to man who is still in love with a cheating wife.

    In all honesty I probably believe about 10% of it and my values are more guided by animism Buddhism and humanism but I believe that blaming God for the messages of the church is like blaming Microsoft Explorer for publishing Al; Q’aeda videos on the net.

    I honestly believe on my heart that the vatican and the catholic hierarchy is an extension of the Roman empire in today’s society. As an example. look at the NT, give to Rome what is Rome’s Pontiuos Pilate exempt from judgement while condemning the (competition at the time) jews.

    Probably, if I lived in a normal societty I would convert to a Calvanist church. I would join the Quakers but one is not allowed to convert to them I think. Mind you it would be a massive bruise to Winemark’s profits LOL

  • Nunoftheabove

    The Word

    Still waiting for a single straight criticism of materialism. I wouldn’t argue about the mercantile credentials of many of the religious though. It is, after all, a business. Their goods are of a dreadfully low quality though, as you’ve just adequately illustrated.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    The Word: ‘Catholic Christianity has always been a women-endorsing religion’

    Traditionally, the church’s ‘endorsement’ of women has been conditional on them being jobless baby machines forbidden to use contraception, divorce or enter the priesthood. In other words mysogynist.

    ‘Women have better things to do.’

    That’s for women to decide.

  • between the bridges

    word
    ‘BTB
    If you don’t understand the psychology then you welcome to try and start your own religion.’

    do you think 2k year ago JC was told the same?

  • Gladys Ganiel: I am glad you and the other participants got something out of it. When the RCC becomes less tribal, less dependent on making a cultural statement and nore into letting people do their own religious thing, it wil be better.
    Something that illustrates that gets my goat is music. Most church musicians outside of Germany in RC churches should be whisked off to the Hague to stand trial. Just about anyone is allowed to try to sing or play music and i think that anarchy can be applied much further. Old fossils who insist on singing out of tune get in the way of young immigrants and it sure don’t sound pretty.

  • Brian

    Talk about too little too late.

  • The Word

    ANW

    “Pontiuos Pilate exempt from judgement”

    Yes, but we needed to convert his empire.

    Nun

    “Still waiting for a single straight criticism of materialism.”

    Good people don’t read these things in books, Nun. They just know from observing the materialistic person that all is not well. Rules don’t make the world better. Solid people do.

    Have you ever seen a magpie turn into anything other than a magpie no matter how many glittery things he gathers? Isn’t he just deluded?

  • Zig70

    I quite like the fact that anyone can sing, some other churches take the choir more seriously than god. All things great & small etc. I love hearing wee grannies sing, v sweet. I would think a lot of more irish catholics (don’t subscribe to the RC term) would like to help out but keep the church essentially as is. The problem with that kind of forum is it’s the loudest voice gets heard. Not necessarily a consensus.

  • Zig70

    nun & btb. Imo, I get what you mean, except empty. Don’t know why you bother if it’s not your thing or are you still being forced to go? I make my kids go and their arguments on why it’s a load of rubbish is a lot more eloquent than yours. Feckin little athiests.

  • Zig70

    that last bit’s at my kids, not nun & btb, oops. Thought I’d better clarify

  • USA

    Women priests and police investigations of child abuse for starters

  • backstage

    1. The RC church is structurally incapable of anything other than a return to the past.

    2. What is the motivation for the listening process? Would this have happened without the sexual abuse crisis? The answer is, no. Therefore you have to ask how genuine the hierarchy is about the exercise – see point 1.

  • Greenflag

    backstage,

    ‘Would this have happened without the sexual abuse crisis?’ The answer is, no’

    Eh ? you meant NO NO NO

    Unionist Party -Catholic Church.
    Birds of a feather .
    FF’d together.
    The past was good.
    And so much better .
    Than having to pretend .
    To hear people’s blether
    Into the dark now.
    The bottomless pit
    From whence no return
    Except as myth .

  • between the bridges

    zig
    if being ‘eloquent’ was a requirement eye and many udders would not be posting.
    personally i belive that there is an unbeliever in every believer and a believer in every unbeliever.
    now as for ‘why bother’ well obliviously there are better ways of ambusing one’s self but unfortunately its a rather busy office.

  • Los Leandros

    Questions for the Bishop. 1. How many atheists can you count on the head of a pin ?. 2. Was the ape standing upright in field in England more or less evolved than Richard Dawkins ?. 3. Why do we never see Richard Dawkins and Osama Bin Laden in the same room at the same time ?. 4. Is Christopher Hitchens for real ?.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    “Good people don’t read these things in books, Nun. They just know from observing the materialistic person that all is not well”

    – how would you define/characterize a ‘materialistic person’ ? What kind of observation do you have in mind and what on earth do you mean by them being other than ‘well’ ?

    “Rules don’t make the world better. Solid people do” –

    – depends what kind of rules you have in mind (…and solidity) – decent ethics are sound guiding principles for our actions but we can’t or shouldn’t look to christianity for those I’m afraid. I’ll agree with you that you don’t need rules to make decent people but that rather makes my point for me. Goodness and solidity do not derive from adherence to religious rules or from belief in Creators – the human doesn’t need religion to know how to behave ethically, that capacity is for most normal people innate, thanks.

    I would go further and say that anyone claiming that goodness does derive from religious rules or belief in a Creator is demeaning themselves and their other fellow mammals as adherence to those rules is based almost entirely on a combination of punishment and reward – inducement to behave one way, fear of consequences if you behave another – there’s very little human dignity, freedom or legitimate free will involved in either.

    As for your delusional magpies…..my goodness.

  • Neil
  • The Word

    Nun

    I think you’re having me on. Nobody could be so blatantly perverse about such a metter.

    I noticed this thing first when a young friend from a better off (just about) area brought his big electric Tonka car to school. He caught all the attention and then invited me to his home to play some more. A few of us arrived and mammy duly asked each one of us where we were from. It’s no little wonder where the corruption is coming from. It’s coming from the materialists trying to buy the allegiance of their children so that they can find a common language with the better off people. Is that corruption? For you it’s life, isn’t that right? Are you corrupt?

    I think the basis of your argument is that “ultimately I’m right because I can get you”. I think you’ll find that is just not possible because you don’t even know who I am.

    The truth is not innate in the world of a materialist. He has a flaw, an illness and a delusion that needs to be faced up to, rather than insist that because there are so many of us, we must be the normal people.

    “inducement to behave one way, fear of consequences if you behave another”

    That’s your world you’re describing. Christianity refers to repentance, acknowledging that hell exists for some (i.e. you and your buddies) and defining heaven in terms of a world based on love (where you lot can’t buy people off).

    Delusional magpies – that’s you alright. No doubt.

  • Neil

    Rules don’t make the world better

    Surely every major religion on Earth is based on ‘rules’, the commandments for yourself Jesus, sorry, John?

  • The Word

    Neil

    I think you’ll find that the rules only make sense when peope are sufficiently empathetic to feel for their fellow men and women.

    The more you see them as rules the further you are from the natural state.

  • Neil

    the rules only make sense when peope are sufficiently empathetic

    The more you see them as rules the further you are from the natural state.

    But, John, you see them as rules – you just said so yourself.

    Then the ‘rules make sense’ but don’t make the world better, as long as you don’t see them as rules like John does. Sounds like a line of bullshit to me.

    How’s the numeric hobby horse coming along? Still totting up the numbers to locate the antichrist(s)? Still claiming to be Jesus?

    Not very Catholic, that. Certainly operating outside the rules which you see as rules, but you shouldn’t see as rules John.

    However, having received that ill thought come back I can see this conversation is heading town the pedants cul-de-sac where you can argue black is white by posting a collection of words that somehow or another don;t seem relevant to the discussion.

    As I said Surely every major religion on Earth is based on ‘rules’ and I can see you’ve accepted that’s correct, and by extension, that your earlier statement is incorrect. Incidentally, had posted this earlier, but it’s awaiting moderation.

    Might be worth a look for the newbies who haven’t acqauinted themselves with your views just yet.

    http://www.johnoconnell.org/Revelation.htm

  • Los Leandros

    Can any of our atheist friends reply to my 4 questions above.

  • The Word

    Thank you, Neil.

    What you see as nonsense, others get worried about.

    They get especially worried when they see the panic in your inferiority- complex based words.

    Perhaps when one is empathetic, one plays by the rules rather than even having to acknowledge them.

    But you play by no rules, and you know exactly where that’ll get you.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    “I think you’re having me on. Nobody could be so blatantly perverse about such a metter”.

    – Please explain how I’m being perverse.

    “I noticed this thing first when a young friend from a better off (just about) area brought his big electric Tonka car to school. He caught all the attention and then invited me to his home to play some more. A few of us arrived and mammy duly asked each one of us where we were from. It’s no little wonder where the corruption is coming from. It’s coming from the materialists trying to buy the allegiance of their children so that they can find a common language with the better off people. Is that corruption?”

    – I have no idea how your anecdote proves anything. I’m pretty sure you don’t know either. In what respect/s would this – even assuming that it’s (a) true; and (b) a correct interpretation (which is highly debatable…I would guess that you don’t have kids yourself, judging by that) represent corruption and how in any respect does it relate to the matters in hand ?

    “I think the basis of your argument is that “ultimately I’m right because I can get you”. I think you’ll find that is just not possible because you don’t even know who I am”.

    – No, I’m arguing with logic and specifics, you’re arguing with “I know I’m right so don’t need to bother engaging with you” and/or “I find your views offense because…I just do. Your views and responses are extremely imprecise and I would say evasive and occasionally unctuous. I don’t particularly want to know you, I’m unsure about how much depth there actually is judinging by your noticeably defensive contributions. Lazy, hypocritical cant though of the kind you do come out with occasionally demands challenge and I’m happy to provide that.

    “The truth is not innate in the world of a materialist. He has a flaw, an illness and a delusion that needs to be faced up to, rather than insist that because there are so many of us, we must be the normal people”.

    – You’ve still not even attempted to define the materialism you’re attempting to attack/condemn, let alone successfully challenged it.

    “Christianity refers to repentance, acknowledging that hell exists for some (i.e. you and your buddies) and defining heaven in terms of a world based on love (where you lot can’t buy people off).

    – How could it possibly be based on love when as you admit you have no choice other than to love, the alternative being that you ‘go to hell’; that’s a remarkably sick distortion of any version of love that I know or would want to experience – that’s what’s unethical and ill about it, a point I’ve made a number of times. Also, how does one go about “acknowledging” that hell exists without a single shred of evidence (like, ever) for it ?

    “Delusional magpies – that’s you alright. No doubt.”

    – To imagine that magpies have the capacity to be deluded or to delude themselves is in itself , well, delusional.

  • between the bridges

    lost Andrews, mon amy, i am i non practicing atheist will i do?
    1) bishop to e4, many if the pin is shinny?
    2) what was the monkey drinking i need more info?
    3) open your eyes.
    4)is anything real?

    hope this helps

  • The Word

    Nun

    “Explain” – I find that that’s impossible while the person won’t face up to his “addictive delusion” .

    “I’m pretty sure you don’t know either.” I know, Nun. I watched these people grow up and where they went and how they got on. I was there when they were lost and I could see that those people simply hadn’t got a clue about people. But things, even wives, they knew alright. But try telling them that you knew more than them, and they’s atart to tell you about all the things that they’ve accumulated that make them smarter than me.

    “Lazy, hypocritical cant” – the day I take you lot seriously, that would be a sad day. You’re to be pitied.

    “define the materialism” – It’s your god.

    “how does one go about “acknowledging” that hell exists without a single shred of evidence ”

    Hell could be experential, Nun. The Lady Windsor could be in hell in our terms. A hell devoid of sincerity in her relationships with others. She may disagree but that voice betrays much shallowness.

    Hell might be described as a vision of other people’s misery that might not be seen by everyone. The Holocaust defined hell for some and yet for others they found additional meaning. Oh, hell is there, Nun. We know because we guide people away from it. You, on the other hand, like the Pied Piper, gather them for their sacrifice.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    “Explain” – I find that that’s impossible while the person won’t face up to his “addictive delusion” .

    – that’s just a baseless insult, not an argument. I have no delusions about the existnce of something which you – nor anyone else – has any evidence for; who’s subscribing to the delusion ?

    “they’s atart to tell you about all the things that they’ve accumulated that make them smarter than me”.

    – you sound bitter about being relatively materially disadvantaged – it’s a form of materialism (if that’s the definition you want to limit yourself to) in its own right. get over it. Are you telling me that christians – the churches included – aren’t in reality materialist as a matter of principle ?!

    ““define the materialism” – It’s your god”.

    – for the third time, define your terms. I have no God – that’s your territory. materialism takes different forms, you haven’t even said which one you’re accusing me of yet

    “Hell could be experential, Nun”.

    – so it’s not an absolute, real-(post)- life place ? More of an ideal ? Make your mind up.

    “The Holocaust defined hell for some and yet for others they found additional meaning. Oh, hell is there, Nun. We know because we guide people away from it”

    – how can you guide them away from a place you can’t prove exists other than by – without any evidential foundation whatsoever – asserting that you believe it does ?

    “You, on the other hand, like the Pied Piper, gather them for their sacrifice”.

    – I’m not into gathering people for any purpose – and sacrifice is again a christian idea – a nasty and horrible one at that.

  • Greenflag

    Has the son of God made flesh sorry Word ever considered a career in the church ?

    Some of the perks are listed in this short job description .

  • Brian

    “That’s your world you’re describing. Christianity refers to repentance, acknowledging that hell exists for some (i.e. you and your buddies) and defining heaven in terms of a world based on love (where you lot can’t buy people off)”

    Damn Nun, I wouldn’t want to be you or your buddies when you die.

    As for materialism, one’s reputation is a very important thing. It is why in years past the bishops, cardinals, etc would make dramatic apperances when visiting towns decked out like Emperors with all sorts of gold encrusted robes and the like.

    Is not valueing one’s reputation a form of materialism? The Chruch valued it’s repuation so much that it was willing to sacrifice countless number of children to depraved sexual predators rather than sully the Church in the eyes of the flock. Absolutely sickening. Disgusting

    These sexual predators still went on hearing confessions and turning “wine into blood’ and “bread into Jesus”. Amazing religion, isn’t it?

  • Greenflag

    Of course Hell could have it’s priviliges and then theres’ the John the Baptist and the Gospel of Luke as told by this lad 😉

  • Brian

    part got cut out:

    As for materialism, one’s reputation is a very important thing. It is why in years past the bishops, cardinals, etc would make dramatic apperances when visiting towns decked out like Emperors with all sorts of gold encrusted robes and the like.

    This would wow the superstitious and illiterate masses into thinking they had some holy power. In reality, the only power they had was over their minds, minds they helped keep in the dark for centuries

  • Greenflag

    ‘Amazing religion, isn’t it?’

    It’s incredible if you ask me – and then theres the question of who goes where and what spoils are on offer ? 72 virgins for suicidal Islamic fanatics -Islamic women are not offered the equivalent in male company . Their God is an unfair one . And then there’s the question of who gets the loot the Church or the State from the deathbed .

  • Nunoftheabove

    Brian

    “Damn Nun, I wouldn’t want to be you or your buddies when you die”.

    LOL – you or I are not going ‘to be’ anybody when we die – I’m fine with that – are you uneasy about it or the prospect of stopping being yourself…or indeed just being… ?

  • Nunoftheabove

    Greenflag

    I’m not sure the promise of 72 male virgins so pronouncedly sexually repressed that they’d kill themselves and others on the basis of the prospect of getting multiply laid in the afterlife….would be so attractive to women of normal morality, muslim or otherwise, do you ?

  • The Word

    Nun

    The definition of ‘mammon’ is material wealth.

    Matthew 6:19-24 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

    “you sound bitter about being relatively materially disadvantaged – it’s a form of materialism (if that’s the definition you want to limit yourself to) in its own right”

    Some will say one day that I have a portfolio that, if realised, would a lot more valuable than even the richest people on this planet. Maybe I just choose to be disadvantaged. It might make me more comfortable.

    “More of an ideal ?” Only a materialist could say that about hell. According to the best psychology, you might not even realise you’re there.

    For all these intellectual intrusions, you really don’t understand the argument of Christianity. Hell and heaven are states we get ourselves into. I’ll give you a clue. Christ wasn’t talking about multiplying the fishes and loaves in a literal sense. He was talking about an empathetic society that took care of everybody by feeding everybody. He was asking us to build that society and telling us about the foundation stones.

    So much of Christ’s teaching is Jesuitical and flickers rather than beams because so much of it had to get past the greedy and corrupt in society who controlled peoples and so on.

    There’s a few around today who are regretting that they ever committed to this message that, they felt, endorsed them. And I’m talking about elites in countries, not the Catholic Church.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    “The definition of ‘mammon’ is material wealth”.

    – I didn’t ask you what the definition of mammon is and as a matter of fact that’s not even a terribly comprehensive definition of mammon either.

    “Matthew 6:19-24 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon”.

    – Taking no regard for material matters, for looking after your family, for thrift and planning and self-improvement and innovation and the capacity to help others by dint of our own means, is immoral and unethical.

    “Some will say one day that I have a portfolio that, if realised, would a lot more valuable than even the richest people on this planet. Maybe I just choose to be disadvantaged. It might make me more comfortable”.

    – As arrogant a statement as it is a laughable one. If you choose to be disadvantaged (you’re not prepared to commit to saying that you do choose, one notes), then stop judging people who do want to achieve things for themselves and take care of their families and to enjoy their lives. You believe it’s more moral to leave your children – if you have any – in penury when you die ?

    “More of an ideal ?” Only a materialist could say that about hell. According to the best psychology, you might not even realise you’re there.

    – You’re not arguing from a psychological point of view, you’re arguing from a religious one – do stop evading the issues – textbook solo scriptura slipperiness.

    “For all these intellectual intrusions, you really don’t understand the argument of Christianity”.

    – Don’t patronise me – if you want to go there then stick to the point and engage.

    “Christ wasn’t talking about multiplying the fishes and loaves in a literal sense. He was talking about an empathetic society that took care of everybody by feeding everybody. He was asking us to build that society and telling us about the foundation stones”.

    – Even if that’s true – which I very much doubt – it is, in one sense at least, an explicitly materialist conception of a concept that requires no religious dimension or morality whatsoever. Besides, if you knew your bible you would know that neither account does reports Christ telling this story about feeding these people by virtue of a miracle but purport to be actual accounts of him doing so. Now either you believe that that happened or you don’t. I do not.

  • Brian Walker

    Surely change is very difficult unless the central governance of the Church is devolved from the Vatican. Individual bishops still retain (too much?) power but the “Irish Church” does not really exist as an entity.Overcentralisationies at the heart of the abuse scandal. As the Vatican were not directlysubuect to the pressures abuse created, they naturally put the organisation first. A devolved Irish Church would surely have been foreced to behave differently..As it was they could hide behind the cloak of Vatican authority. But hasn’t the debate gone beyond all this to where Abp Martin is steering it?

  • The Word

    Nun

    Maybe I’m just pressing pressure points and making you aware of the potential of our message.

    There is an argument that God actually has no sense of humour and thus wouldn’t have let the world get to where it is today just to shout, “You’re all bad.”

    We, of course, must always be in charge of the direction
    of our world and we are sufficiently aware of our powers of influence to know that we will guide the world to safety. It is certainly not there now.

    Sophisticated, if simple, psychology informs all of our message and teachings. We know our own and they us.

    “no religious dimension or morality whatsoever”

    The mass is an overt psychological event designed to embarrass rather than brutalise people into changing. The female way over the male. Not many Catholics even know that. It’s that Holy Spirit. You couldn’t be up to him or her.

    Happy people have morals. Unhappy people tend to pretend that they have morals. God wants people to be happy and moral.

    Miracles – A lot of things can happen when you have angels, I’m sure.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    Even those who do believe in God struggle to produce even a mildly plausable argument that ‘he’ has a sense of humour. There is substantially more evidence over tens of thousands of years that – if there is a God – he is tremendously cruel, wicked, and mean of spirit. You pay homage to that if you like, I would find the idea revolting even if there was a syllable of truth in it.

  • Los Leandros

    The Roman Catholic Church is the One, True, Church. With over a billion members & growing ( the proof of the pudding is in the eating – happy punters ! ). We dont need infantile listening processes. We are intellectually superior to all other false religions & ideologies. Our patron Saint, St. Patrick said – ” as you are Christians, so you shall be Romans “. So our ultimate allegiance is to Rome & the Pope ; not to any mickey-mouse secular statelets.. They come & go – the One, True, Church lasts forever. Jesus promised us that. Why are deranged/irrational atheists ( the ultimate in mickey-mouse cults ) commenting on something they know nothing about. Just because their cult is dying ( a pro-abortion/gay-marriage stance will have that effect ! ), they lash out at the thriving Catholic Church. Pathetic losers !.

  • Neil

    Thank you, Neil. What you see as nonsense, others get worried about.

    Oh really? The only thing that I’ve described as nonsense is your theory on how the letters of Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley’s name add up to 666 when you apply a certain number to each letter. And I seriously doubt anyone’s getting too worried about it bar your own psychoanalyst.

    They get especially worried when they see the panic in your inferiority- complex based words.

    Taking this in the context of your prior paragraph, what I see as nonsense (your nonsense) people get worried about, and they get especially worried when they see the panic in your inferiority complex based words. I add an example of your inferiority complex below, you might want to see if the pschoanalyst can help with that.

    all the things that they’ve accumulated that make them smarter than me.

    Perhaps when one is empathetic, one plays by the rules rather than even having to acknowledge them.

    John, dude, you keep referring to them as rules, which is what you criticised me for. If you think of them as rules your pretty far from the natural state I think you said. Means nothing, but those were your words.

    But you play by no rules, and you know exactly where that’ll get you.

    Here we go. A wee point. I’m a Catholic. I miss mass the odd time, try to be charitable, try not to be a scumbag, don’t harm people etc. Basically try to be a decent person. The golden rule as I was taught was ‘treat they neighbour as thyself’ – although it’s not a rule and takes us ‘away from the natural state’.

    My main point being, between your claiming to be God (you claim to be Jesus who through the trinity is God and the Holy Spirit, and then set about judging me. I don;t judge people ya see, I learned that in my Catholic education too. That’s not my job, it’s God’s, or yours depending. But you might be the anti Christ John. Claiming to be God, judging people etc. There’s definitely something in it.

    At least my argument follows some kind of logic, yours is, well, nonsense.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Los Leandros/alanmaskey

    Sounds more like an institutional allegiance and/or a communal identity than a doctrinal adherence issue for you. The description of atheism as irrational is potentially interesting coming from someone genuinely interested in defending their faith and engaging with those of none but that doesn’t feel like it’s where you’re coming from at all.

    It’s also news to me that so many catholics are happy as a consequence of their faith rather than despite it. Perhaps it’s the superiority inbuilt to it, like most of their rival faiths. Which is, of course, just one of the issues people of normal morality have with the genuine believer and one of the reasons they just can’t seem to stop interfering in the lives of commonsense non-believers. They’re so far gone they think they’re doing the rest of us a favour and some of us have the cheek to challenge them on that. What an ungrateful uppity hell-bound lot we rationalists are LOL.

    By the way there is about as much dependable evidence for the existence of Micky Mouse as there is for the mythical figures and ghosts that you believe in and a good deal more morality emanating from Mr Mouse too a lot of the time. He hasn’t got such an appaling record of serial child rape, profound anti-semitism and filthy track record of totalitarianism as your blokes do either, for example.

  • Greenflag

    Nunoftheabove,

    ‘I’m not sure the promise of 72 male virgins so pronouncedly sexually repressed that they’d kill themselves and others on the basis of the prospect of getting multiply laid in the afterlife….would be so attractive to women of normal morality, muslim or otherwise, do you ?’

    I think most women of ‘normal’ morality would settle for equal wages and salaries with men and perhaps improved child care facilities . But then they won’t need them in the eh ‘place above ‘ will they .

    The ‘Word’ is wired to Diana ,Artemis , Heng O ,and Bendis.

    And thus ‘immune’ to rational discourse -on this planet anyway 😉

  • between the bridges

    lost Andrews..how do you feel about the hi-jacking of pre-christian religion by the church? you know the auld sun worship etc i.e. Sunday.

    personally i think it was a good move avoiding the clash with footy

  • Nunoftheabove

    Los Leandros

    Wouldn’t for one moment use your post or anything about you as an exemplar of anything I wanted to say, or how to say it, or indeed to be. If you are incapable of comprehending very plainly written English sentences that most normal primary school children would readily understand then that’s not my problem.

    You can ignore your church’s revolting history all you like, I notice however that you don’t actually contest it. And a good job too as I really don’t think you’re capable of mounting a spirited defence of it or capable of much else besides playground name-calling, running away from adult conversation and hiding behind multiple online identities like some nauseating pimply over-caffeinated adolescent outcast. Yes I think that I can well imagine where you’ve gotten that kind of behaviour from.

  • Los Leandros

    Pre-christian religion my a…..Pre-christian goobledygook. Only exceeded in irrationality when atheism emerged from the slimy pond. Plainly written English – what a mangling of the language. In any event stick to your dying atheist mumbo-jumbo ; a death wish creed !. Duh – abortion ; it’s only a blob. Same sex marriage – nonsense on stilts. The One, True Church has over a billion members & growing. Praise God. Stick your puerile views where the sun does’nt shine. By the way are you a closet pooftah ?. At least your posts are getting shorter – what a relief to all !.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Los Leandros

    Atheism is not a belief system, a point I’ve made to you and other berks before – the whote noise about abortion and same sex marriage therefore comes solely from within the narrow confines of your troubled and troubling imagination.

    I can’t be the only reader to have noticed that you protest noticeably too much – in several of your guises – about homosexuality so most adult readers will by now have formed a fairly rounded view of the extent of your own deep personal sexual repression (you’ll be among friends among the clerics, then) and of the sexual preference that screams out from within you which you can’t bring yourself to acknowledge.

  • between the bridges

    lost Andrews, Carlsberg don’t do fairytale’s but if they did …
    The Vatican was built upon the grounds previously devoted to the worship of Mithra. The Orthodox Christian hierarchy is nearly identical to the Mithraic version. Virtually all of the elements of Orthodox Christian rituals, from miter, wafer, water baptism, alter, and doxology, were adopted from the Mithra and earlier pagan mystery religions. The religion of Mithra preceded Christianity by roughly six hundred years. Mithraic worship at one time covered a large portion of the ancient world. It flourished as late as the second century. The Messianic idea originated in ancient Persia and this is where the Jewish and Christian concepts of a Savior came from. Mithra, as the sun god of ancient Persia, had the following karmic similarities with Jesus:

    (1)
    Mithra was born on December 25th as an offspring of the Sun.
    (2)
    He was considered a great traveling teacher and masters. He had twelve companions as Jesus had twelve disciples. Mithras also performed miracles.

    (3)
    Mithra was called “the good shepherd, “the way, the truth and the light, redeemer, savior, Messiah.” He was identified with both the lion and the lamb.

    (4)
    s: “Mithras seems to have owed his prominence to the belief that he was the source of life, and could also redeem the souls of the dead into the better world … The ceremonies included a sort of baptism to remove sins, anointing, and a sacred meal of bread and water, while a consecrated wine, believed to possess wonderful power, played a prominent part.”

    (5)
    The most important of his many festivals was his birthday, celebrated on the 25th of December, the day subsequently fixed — against all evidence — as the birthday of Christ. The worship of Mithras early found its way into Rome, and the mysteries of Mithras, which fell in the spring equinox, were famous even among the many Roman festivals. The ceremonies observed in the initiation to these mysteries — symbolical of the struggle between Ahriman and Ormuzd (the Good and the Evil) — were of the most extraordinary and to a certain degree even dangerous character. Baptism and the partaking of a mystical liquid, consisting of flour and water, to be drunk with the utterance of sacred formulas, were among the inauguration acts.”

    (6)
    Prof. Franz Cumont, of the University of Ghent, writes as follows concerning the religion of Mithra and the religion of Christ: “The sectaries of the Persian god, like the Christians’, purified themselves by baptism, received by a species of confirmation the power necessary to combat the spirit of evil; and expected from a Lord’s supper salvation of body and soul. Like the latter, they also held Sunday sacred, and celebrated the birth of the Sun on the 25th of December…. They both preached a categorical system of ethics, regarded asceticism as meritorious and counted among their principal virtues abstinence and continence, renunciation and self-control. Their conceptions of the world and of the destiny of man were similar. They both admitted the existence of a Heaven inhabited by beatified ones, situated in the upper regions, and of a Hell, peopled by demons, situated in the bowels of the Earth. They both placed a flood at the beginning of history; they both assigned as the source of their condition, a primitive revelation; they both, finally, believed in the immortality of the soul, in a last judgment, and in a resurrection of the dead, consequent upon a final conflagration of the universe” (The Mysteries of Mithras, pp. 190, 191).

    (7)
    Reverend Charles Biggs stated: “The disciples of Mithra formed an organized church, with a developed hierarchy. They possessed the ideas of Mediation, Atonement, and a Savior, who is human and yet divine, and not only the idea, but a doctrine of the future life. They had a Eucharist, and a Baptism, and other curious analogies might be pointed out between their system and the church of Christ (The Christian Platonists, p. 240).

    (8)
    In the catacombs at Rome was preserved a relic of the old Mithraic worship. It was a picture of the infant Mithra seated in the lap of his virgin mother, while on their knees before him were Persian Magi (aka wise dudes) adoring him and offering gifts.

    (9)
    He was buried in a tomb and after three days he rose again.
    His resurrection was celebrated every year with a bunny rabbit and painted eggs…..

  • The Word

    Nun

    I’m not saying that God is being humourous at the monent. There’ll be a time for humour when we get on the good path.

    Neil

    Analyst? How so? On the NHS?

    Rules? The weak use rules to keep themselves in power. The good people never need any rules.

    I’m a Catholic. Good for you. I grew up with Catholics. Some are good, some play by no rules even though their fathers went to mass every day. It’s not that they need rules. It’s that they need a heart.

    Tell me a single person I’ve ever corrupted.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Les Maskeyos

    I’ll try this just once for more the not-so-able-of-mind at the back of the class (can you hear me back there ?). Atheism is not a creed. Think you’ve grasped it this time ?

    If you have,m then you’ll recognise that there is no defence of the isues you refer to is necessary from non-believers other than of course on the part of those non-believers who were Stalinist activists. I am not one such. Perhaps you’ll have plenty supportive to say though on the 50% + members of the SS who catholic historian Paul Johnson believes were confessing catholics and maybe you’ll have nothing but high regard for the Vatican which celebrated Hitler’s birthday up to and including the last one he had. I am happy for you to put as much distance between you and those fellow believers as you want but what precise theological grounds would/will you do so I wonder ?

    I’ll address any sensible relevant questions put to me by relatively articulate adults. I think that probably disqualifies you on both counts sweetie but hey, life’s full of surprises. Death much less so. Still locking yourself in that closet though, I see – little wonder the world appears such a scary place for/to you.

  • The Word

    BTB

    “He was buried in a tomb and after three days he rose again.”

    They should have waited until he died first and then they might have had a ressurection.

  • Los Leandros

    Beam me up, Scotty !.

  • between the bridges

    word up..why spoil a good fairytale with facts..

  • Brian

    With members like Los Leandros and The Word, I think the Catholic Church is just fine.

    In all seriousness, it doesn’t matter what is said at the Church. In the 1% chance that something actually changes, it doesn’t matter. In Western countries the masses have left already. They, their children, or their grandchildren, are not coming back.

    The Catholic Church will survive on the backs of the uneducated in the 3rd world where membership is growing, but its presence in modernized countries will never recover half of its former glory

  • The Word

    “The Catholic Church will survive on the backs of the uneducated in the 3rd world”

    You mean the wise people that lived as God intended, and not the phoney elites of the west with their trivialisation of life.

  • between the bridges

    word up… are you moving to said 3rd world to follow you beliefs or perhaps you already live in a mud hut , trade goats and walk everywhere in a unMaterialistic way…

  • The Word

    Nothing wrong with a mud hut if its warm all year around.

    Goats give good milk, I’m told.

    Walking is good for you.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    Who created the phoney elites and phoney elistism ? Was your maker on his day off when that happened ?

    Do you refuse all medical assistance on the basis that it would be materialist – in your definition – to accept it and to take advanatge of medical advances made by people who are not as squeamish about innovation, not mistrustful of knowledge and not uncomfortable about the material things of life, as you want us to believe you are ? Wouldn’t it be less materialist to refuse those aspects of the real world and more sound to lie around waiting for less materialist miracles to occur to aid your recovery ?

  • The Word

    Human frailty creates phoney elites, Nun. You should know.

    Without wishing to diminish people’s efforts, I would suggest that there are unintended consequences to intervening in the natural order. Somehow people tend to develop more serious illnesses, more debilitating disabilities and so on. When it comes to defending elites the right forget about all their arguments about intervention. They only come into play when attacking the poor.

  • Zig70

    I’m sorry, the phrase ‘One true church’ just chokes. Is everyone a windup merchant on this thread?
    BTB, still laughing at the post yesterday, hope slugger doesn’t get boring for your workmates sake.
    Donald Rumsfeld knows there are unknown, unknowns but still believes and still has the morals of a snake. Human nature’s a wonder to behold.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    More white noise – you’re not even willing to defend your own tame slippery, lazy, vaccuous blether let alone engage with others on their specific points, criticisms and questions. I’m reassured by the clear underlying insecurity in your contributions. Deep down, you know that what you say you believe in is nonsense and you can’t quite bring yourself to admit the doubt. I can well understand why you feel foolish for believing. Endeavouring to train yourself to never admit that is phsycologically damaging.

  • The Word

    “I can well understand why you feel foolish for believing. ”

    I once met a woman who believed that she was Joan of Arc. I knew that she couldn’t be, but there you go. So what makes you think that you’re right?

    By the way, what country do you come from? And tell us all why you’re here lecturing to us?

  • Nunoftheabove

    Does the nature or vailidity of my challenge diminsh if I’m not from ‘here’ ?! I’m not the one lecturing, I’m the one challenging you, you’re the one evading the questions and the constructive challenge, not me mate. You get the religiuous to stop interfering in my life and I’ll be happy for them to practice and believe whatever they like unchallenged. The moment they cross the line of presumption and ethically unsound public positions, I’ll challenge back. Like many of the religious, shall I assume you’re dodgy on free speech too ?

    What makes me think I’m right is twofold:

    (i) there is no evidence whatsoever to sustain the truth claims made by your faith; and

    (ii) From reading its scripttures I can tell that the morality within is very questionable in parts (ergo, it’s a bad idea even if there is any truth in it, which there is not); and

    (iii) history and the evidence of my own eyes and ears regarding how religious institutions and some of their flock behave.

  • The Word

    Nun

    “you’re the one evading the questions”

    Nation? Job? Pay scale?

    “ethically unsound public positions”

    Tell how many people exactly worship this god materialism? You know, if you think about it, and I know that you don’t really, despite all these claims, you’re just telling me that you think that mankind is evil, won’t help if you’re in need and will somehow ruin those chuildren you need to provide for by passing them on the same “religious” beliefs? Where are all your churches by the way if you think that you have won the argument over history?

    “the morality within” – There are two distinct and separate moralities in the Bible. Yours, the Old Testament view, never really caught on in terms of worship. But it’s around. Mine, the New Testament view, it’s well honoured but not fully understood by people like you because we can’t tell you that you’re wrong while you’re honouring this vacuouos view because we know what you did to Jesus, Gandhi, JFK, MLK, and countless others who challenged your ways.

    CIA? Care to say?

  • between the bridges

    word up. “you’re the one evading the questions” lol me likey one’s word ironicism but prefer mien laconism.

    zig. at home now so only the web cam to worry about.

    re the actual topic the fact that the church is in some small way trying to engage with its members rather than just preach at them, has to be welcomed. it’s a sign of them slowly crawling into the buck rogers, i look forward to the church free the weed campagan

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    Another question asked, another avoided.

    As for my whereabouts etc – none of your forking business and not relavet to this dodcussion. Let me be clear, you’re talking pish no matter where you’re from.

    “Tell how many people exactly worship this god materialism?”

    Despite several requests, you have still efused to even define what you man by materialism. No definition that I know of would enable it to be characterized as a God.

    “you’re just telling me that you think that mankind is evil”

    – No, I’m not saying that – this is either a huge misundertanding (by no means unlikely) on your part or more likely a cheap, vulgar misrepresentation. The difference between you and I is that you believe that mankind is incapable of morals and kindness without beiefe in, deveiiton to, even, God. I totally reject that – the capacity for good is innate within us – decent behaviiour, decent ethics don’t require any religious dimension at all.

    “Where are all your churches by the way if you think that you have won the argument over history?”

    – Not sure why you think I’ve made such a claim and, again, the difference between you and I is that I don’t need some ornate church in whic to re-affirm my beliefs – several times a week if you really believe it, I don’t. If you beieve what you say you do with any serious conviction, why do you need to re-affirm it over and obver and over and over again ?

    “There are two distinct and separate moralities in the Bible”.

    – That’s two more than any morality I’d care to subscribe to…..but as we’ve established you’re a strightforward solo scriptura beliver, which is just a fancy way of saying that you can believe whatever you want to based on a selective reading of the bible. That being the case, there must be millions of possible ‘moral’ permutations within the bible. You may be on to something though if you regard at least one of the testaments to be sinister rubbish, you’re now just one repudiation away from talking recognizable sense.

    ” the New Testament view, it’s well honoured but not fully understood by people like you”

    – by the sounds of things it’s not even understood by people very much like you. You’re very reluctant to actually spell it out, typically enough. I’ve read it – have you ?

    “we know what you did to Jesus, Gandhi, JFK, MLK, and countless others who challenged your ways”.

    – Oh you do, huh ? Copy of the Da Vinci code in one pocket of your straightjacket, latest edition of The Fortean Times in the other. Getting warm ?

    “CIA? Care to say?”

    – Is there a question in there or have you mad a magic mushroom omelette for your tea and in need of a lie down ?

  • Los Leandros

    Brian, if you are familiar with history you will know that the One, True, Church has come to the rescue of western civilisation again & again. From the 6th century onwards. Irish Catholic Monks being to the fore. Because of it’s attachment to rationality/reason, ( Aquinas, Augustine etc., ) it established the great universities of western europe – Paris, Oxford, Cambridge, etc. & of course science. While the hundreds of different/irrational Protestant sects were desecrating Church’s & arguing among themselves. That’s why the One, True Church is at the heart of education in the ” 3rd world “. All the best universities in the 3rd world being run by the Catholic Church. Western Europe is now substantially an intellectual & demographic basket-case ; childishly rejecting Catholicism ( it’s only intellectual bulwark – see the Univ. of Regensburg lecture, by Pope Benedict ), while Islam thrives in it’s midst. Atheism may be ok for pimpled adolescents ( we’ve all been thru’ that phase ), Catholicism is for grown ups !.

  • between the bridges

    lost Andrews, re the lesson…if you know your history…it was the death of Ogedei that saved western civilization! otherwise i would be witting right to left and you would be making sense.

  • The Word

    Nun

    I’ll take your substantive point because you seem a possessed man, and conversation is rather tricky with such men.

    “The difference between you and I is that you believe that mankind is incapable of morals and kindness without beiefe in, deveiiton to, even, God. I totally reject that – the capacity for good is innate within us – decent behaviiour, decent ethics don’t require any religious dimension at all.”

    You’re saying there’s no role for God. Man alone knows where he’s going? One question – Nuclear weaponry? Man made them to defend himself or to destroy this planet one day?

    You might be right from your perspective. But from our perspective, it seems that these weapons pose a threat only to those who have them, and we feel that their faith in God is weak. They certainly don’t help their negotiating position in the context of a Church like ours, which has so many followers to keep safe in the event of you, and your fellow nuclear powers, asserting you right to rule the world. They were never sensible.

    .

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    “You’re saying there’s no role for God”

    – I’m saying that there’s no God.

    “One question – Nuclear weaponry? Man made them to defend himself or to destroy this planet one day?”

    – A very small number of men created them initially for very specific purposes. They’e now produced for a variety of purposes and for a variety of reasons. What’s your point and/or question ?

    ” it seems that these weapons pose a threat only to those who have them, and we feel that their faith in God is weak”

    – Depends who you’re talking about….do you even know ? And surely even a weak faith in God would, from your point of view, be better than none at all ? You acknowledge therefore that ‘they’ are at least believers, if only weak ones ?

    ” you, and your fellow nuclear powers, asserting you right to rule the world.”

    – Soooo… I am a nuclear power now, am I ?

    Self-medication – it really isn’t the way forward man.

  • The Word

    Nun

    “I’m saying that there’s no God” – That’s not surprising in view of the things you believe.

    In our view there are two things that people can believe about these weapons – that man made them without regard to God – that is, to control the world. Or that God allowed them to make them for a reason – and that might not be quite for the same reason as those who made them believed.

    So is there a God? Nuclear weapons simply prove that some, as you say, men are completely stupid, and there’s little point in arguing with them because they never learn. Maybe that’s a cynical view. Maybe God wants them to show how God can guide the world to safety. That might be a less cynical view.

    What’s your view?

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    “I’m saying that there’s no God” – That’s not surprising in view of the things you believe”.

    – such as ?

    “In our view there are two things that people can believe about these weapons – that man made them without regard to God – that is, to control the world. Or that God allowed them to make them for a reason – and that might not be quite for the same reason as those who made them believed”.

    – Either God created the weapons through man, or he didn’t. Either God created the men who made them, or he didn’t. Put simply, you don’t even have a view on it and are prepared to rationalise pretty much everything as at least potentially god’s will and therefore not requiring of an explanation. Which is not an explanation. You don’t even sound terribly convinced about your own view.

    “Nuclear weapons simply prove that some, as you say, men are completely stupid, and there’s little point in arguing with them because they never learn”.

    – I’m not quite sure that that’s the point I’d choose to make in support of the view that some men and women are stupid, and/or evil, but I’d of course agree on the self-evident point that some people are indeed stupid and/or evil. I don’t have the struggle you do however explaining why, in light of the fact that you believe god created them and so you’re left thrash around for an explanation as to why this might be. You invariably run up against the brick wall of not knowing why and end up lamely pointing unconvincingly to ‘god’s will’. Likewise, your ridiculous “Maybe God wants them to show how God can guide the world to safety”. If you believe that there is a god then the creation of any danger which threatens a position of safety can only be attributed to him. Either this being of yours is all powerful or he/it isn’t – make your mind up. As I say, none of this requires strenuous thinking on my part or the sort of childish imagination and suspension of adult intelligence which your beliefs require of you – there’s not a syllable of truth in your beliefs to begin with.

  • Los Leandros

    Between the bridges, just stay calm there. The guy’s in the white coats are on their way & the padded cell is ready & waiting. Good luck with treatment. I presume yours is the Sinead O’Coonor cult for the bewildered. Thankfully there is an antidote for that, but it could take time !.

  • The Word

    Nun

    “there’s not a syllable of truth in your beliefs to begin with.”

    It’s impossible to argue with someone as perverse as you. Not only did God not create you, you’ve actually found a god which completely validates you. And you think that many religious people are deluded while expressing exactly the same beliefs as many of them have.

    Either you don’t have a god or you do. If materialism is your god, then don’t be denying that you have a god.

    It might be good practice to try to stop arguing that your god is based on reason and reasonableness, when clearly its origins are in human frailty.

    And this god clearly gives you no happiness or we wouldn’t be hearing the cynicism it is based upon, the bullying that you need to get others to believe in the same god, and the endless drum of your profoundly delusional mind that suggests that at the root of your dilemma is a mind that actually believes in God but just thinks that God is mistaken.

    In this country, Nun, we have celebrities who have drunk or womanised their way through life, but who will actually come on television and say, “I got it wrong about these things, and I accept that. I don’t want the rules changed just to suit me. The rules protect everybody.”

    I pity you if you feel that yours is a sustainable position.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    One last time; I have no god – materialist or any other. I find the very idea preposterous and demeaning and if you can’t accept that then that’s not my problem.

    I was not created by – or of – any god. Neither were you, chum. Science explains my existence very very clearly just as it does yours.

    I’m sorry to say that literally everything else you’ve said on this post is stoner-esque empty-headed bollocks – utterly worthless.

    I have invited you to debate on a number of occasions during this thread and asked some very straight serious questions in a reasonable manner and you’ve repeatedly refused to engage in an adult fashion. Who’s sure of their ground here and who’s avoiding and evading, hmmmm ?

  • The Word

    Nun

    Have you forgotten your “I’m a materialist” comment, or is this a different shift?

    Ergo, you’re suffering from human frailty.

    Materialism is of course a god, a god based on the notion that man is essentially evil. Thus your cynicism, the consequent unhappiness derived from it evident from you ignorance, bullying and inability to think beyond the realms of the prison you live in. And on top of this, you’re now trying to play ignorant as you delve deeply into denial.

    How could anyone wish to engage with you in debate about your materialism in relation to our Christianity? You’re nothing more than a used car salesman trying to tell people it can fly to the moon when anybody reading these posts know only too well that it is little more than a moral blindness on your part, caused by your subservience to a materialism that convinces you of its ability to serve your interests because you are hollow inside and simply don’t know any better.

    British Tory? Well, certainly corrupt and your arguments are little more than psychological warfare at its basest. The only person you’ll ever convince of the validity of your argument is the devil when you meet him.

  • between the bridges

    lost andrews. oh dear did i touch a nerve? ah well never mind, try to turn the other bum cheek old bean.
    re topic is this the same monstery that held a service commentating the winners of slimmer of the year 1981? how does the church square that one? is it not sin to slim anymore?

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    You haven’t even managed to confirm that you understand what materialism is yet mate – keep trying. Either way, it isn’t a religion and doesn’t require surrendering your dignity to wicked stone age text and imaginary totalitarian entities for which there is no. Evidence. Of. Any. Kind. Whatsoever. And a bloody good thing there isn’t.

    – I am hapy to confirm that, as a human, I have my frailities, if it pleases you. Is that also one of the conceits of the religious, that you/they don’t ? Arrogance masquerading as modesty, another insufferable aspect of your beliefs.

    “Materialism is of course a god, a god based on the notion that man is essentially evil”.

    – You’re plain wrong at least twice there.

    Re. “prison”

    I have reason, you have wicked laughable nonsense and superstition. I have joy, the beauties of music, art, nature, landscape, literature, human solidarity, innovation, knowledge and progress. You have the entirely false consolation of an afterlife which won’t come, ignorance, reactionary opinions, an aversion to innovation, sectarianism. I know that this is the only life I have end enjoy it plenty, free from the distortions, the emptines and the self-imposed repressions of your horrible faith.

    “you are hollow inside and simply don’t know any better”.

    – When you say ‘inside’….eh ? I know better than to submit myself to the utter indignity and ludicrousness of a life wasted in devotion to a master who commands you to love them and who, in return, frightens, threatens and punishes you with eternal hellfire if you don’t – what a truly revolting offer. What a cruel master you worship.

    “British Tory?”

    – You have no basis to say that and you’re wrong twice. Incidentally many british tories are practicing catholics but I expect you already know that.

    “your arguments are little more than psychological warfare at its basest”.

    – Again, I’m asking reasonable questions and making fair points, you’re running asway from them and engaging in silly name-calling and refusing to put forward coherent arguments, let alone evidence, for the truth claims you appear to have no doubt about on one hand and yet stragely defensive about on the other.

    “The only person you’ll ever convince of the validity of your argument is the devil when you meet him”.

    – LOL, if I do he’ll be less dreary company than the one you’ll spend infinity on your knees thanking and praising (for what, exactly, for not punishing you ?!.

  • The Word

    Nun

    In Christianity we say that you can’t serve two masters, it’s either God or Mammon. You say serve Mammon. So we’re worlds apart.

    “I have reason, you have wicked laughable nonsense and superstition”

    At least Richard Dawkins admired Jesus Christ. You’re totally confused about God. Afterlife – God suggests that we live this life in happiness because that is a preparation for the afterlife.

    Materialist sell the misery of things, and when you see them being happy, often the reason they’ll point to for their happiness is the high price they paid for a ticket or whatever. That’s what you get in phoney cities like London. All pretence, to happiness, to values, to morals. Our prayers are with them.

    Evidence – that’s what people give in court. The evidence of our cause is in its truth.

    What you have is an attachment to something you’re afraid to define because you know you’ll look terribly silly. Your god takes people off their knees and onto your belly.

    Unhappy American?

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    I’m aware that in Christianity you say that you can’t serve two masters, it’s either God or Mammon. never fails to astonish how Mammon-obsessed many christians are, to say nothing of their commercially-run institutions, often not much more than fraudulent rackets.

    “You say serve Mammon”.

    – No, I didn’t say that.

    “Afterlife – God suggests that we live this life in happiness because that is a preparation for the afterlife”

    – Chapter and verse please.

    “Phoney cities like London”

    – LOL – are you a member of the Church of the Latter Day Parochial Sweeping Statement Martyrs ? Or of St Seamus of Ardoyne ?

    “The evidence of our cause is in its truth”.

    – That statement doesn’t even make seense on its face, let alone survive further scrutiny. Why is it then that that’s the part you’re most defensive about debating ?

    “What you have is an attachment to something you’re afraid to define because you know you’ll look terribly silly”.

    – I don’t have to define them – I don’t have a belief system to defend in the way that you do, proclaiming universal ‘truths’ based solely on susperstition and blind faith and zero evidence; neither have I ever insisted on my beliefs informing the lives of others in public policy and legislation in the way that yours does. I can well understand why you don’t like it, as your failure to answer questions adequately illustrates.

    “Your god takes people off their knees and onto your belly”.

    I have absolutely no idea what this sentence means and would venture to suggest that you don’t either. I won’t restate one more time that I have no God as you don’t seem to be able to process plain English – you appear literally unable to think beyond your own shoebox of snakeoil salesmanship.

    “Unhappy American?”

    – Not unhappy and not American.

  • The Word

    Nun

    “Chapter and verse please.”

    I refer you to the New Testament.

    “neither have I ever insisted on my beliefs informing the lives of others”

    What about the American dream? The British Queen? So what’s your argument with me for on this Catholic Church thread. What’s all your posts for if not the product of a materialist ego that is selling a rationalist materialism that would be quite disturbing if it were not for the reality that it means absolutely nothing, has no substance and certainly does not win you the argument with Christianity. Rather it debases you and yours.

    I’m not arguing anymore. I’ve shone sufficient light on you and your values. But it’s nothing personal. Good luck.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Word

    “I refer you to the New Testament”.

    – No – either provide chapter and verse or give it up, enough already with this evasion.

    “What about the American dream? The British Queen? ”

    – That has nothing to do with anything. The American Dream is a myth, sadly the British Queen is not.

    “So what’s your argument with me for on this Catholic Church thread”.

    – Some of the believers who introduce their often fatuous beliefs to every topic and aspect of life, often louder than anyone else, don’t like being challenged on the fatuous and morally frivolous things they say – that would be reason enough to do it and you are one such. They usually do what you do – avoid, change the subject, ignore, say “we just know, that’s all”, accuse challengers of being offensive and/or blasphemous, resort to laughably warning them that they’re ‘hell-bound’ and then run away and, – worst of all – accuse non-believers of being morally inferior or of having no morals at all. Pretty much just like you’ve been doing. I was curious to whether you’re any different from those people and would/could exchange. You aren’t and you wouldn’t/couldn’t.

    “What’s all your posts for if not the product of a materialist ego”

    – What’s a materialist ego please ?

    “…selling a rationalist materialism that would be quite disturbing if it were not for the reality that it means absolutely nothing”

    – So it is or is not disturbing ? How could it be disturbing if it is also meaningless ? In what way/s might it be disturbing ?

    “‘..does not win you the argument with Christianity. Rather it debases you and yours”.

    – The former is a matter of opinion, the latter I should pose as a question. In what respects does it debase me and ‘mine’ – simply as it’s non-religious ?

    “I’m not arguing anymore”

    – Hadn’t realized you’d started yet.

    “I’ve shone sufficient light on you and your values”

    – You haven’t – you’ve avoided virtually all my questions and challenges and made up as you’ve gone along who and what you think I am and what I may mean by materialism. You have shone no light on anything other than your own defensiveness, unwillingness and possibly inability to defend your corner constructively, respectfully or even interestingly.