Comment by Bob, 09 Sep, 2009
According to a news item on TVNZ today a nun in New York drove a church car while twice over the legal blood alcohol level. She sideswiped cars, drove over lawns and ended up crashing into a tree. It didn't specifically say she was Catholic but I assume she was. I wonder if the restrictions and oppression of the Church finally got to her causing her to kick over the traces. What better way to do it than get into a bottle of whiskey and create mayhem. If she hadn't been a danger to other people I would have said good on her.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 10 Sep, 2009
Thanks for that titbit Bob. I suspect that there are many, many instances of nuns and priests losing the plot and acting in a manner inappropriate for their calling, however few happen in public. I can't imagine how any nun or priest exposed to the modern world and that think deeply about their belief doesn't struggle with the restrictions.
Comment by Kevin, 12 Oct, 2009
My opinon is the prests have sex anyway, but [by] moslesting boys. in 1983 they had a man my age, im 44, but any way he did not want his face shown on tv program, but he said in 1971 he was young, a preist feel on his penis so he said to the preist, do this [with] a girl or get married. the preist slapped him on the butt and said it is a sin to be with female but not a sin to morlest boys. Not in the bible???? Like in Florida the year Father Alberto a Spanish Catholic bishop had sex with a woman, what did the Head prests do? remove him off the posts so he stopped serving the Catholic Church. Now in diffenent religon and Married her. good for him. Now my wife is Catholic, I stopped going to Church for 3 reasons. Half of the members dont, and I repeat dont, do or study the bible says the real reason is if they go church that will keep out of hell but they do more sex, have babies out of wedlock, drink beer and wine and Jack Daniels, go to Concerts than I do, swear, say fuck then I do, But the Bible says those who does such things shall not enter the kingdom of God. Does that make such Sense?????
Comment by Anonymous, 27 Oct, 2011
Whats with the phony boobs on this page. I mean, it appears to be a BRILLIANT commentary and yet you grace the page with silicone breasts. What gives please?
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 27 Oct, 2011
Are they phony boobs? (see photo right). None of us have the expertise to tell the difference, and frankly we didn't even think about it, even though we're definitely not supporters of breast implants. We chose that image solely because (to us anyway) it simply expressed the title of our article: 'Sex, women and the Catholic Church'. The nudity suggests sex, the boobs women, and the cross the Church. Maybe we'll have to find a pic of some natural breasts with a cross, I'm sure there's plenty out there on the net.
Update: We've since been sent a new photo found on the net which certainly appears natural and have put it in our article in place of the 'phony' one.
Comment by Natoya, 12 Mar, 2011
I've long held the belief that Catholicism is a cult that basically ensnares a hell of lot of people thru the perpetuation of fear. However, what is even more appalling is how the catholic church has historically preyed upon the poor and disadvantaged to not only give money they typically cannot afford to give, but to breed large numbers of new generations into this fear based cult to continue to give lots of money to keep those in Rome in the luxury they have become so accustomed to. I have come across a few people thru the years who refer to themselves as recovering catholics and typically attest to how hard it is to break free from their indoctrination.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 12 Mar, 2011
We agree Natoya, and we also know a number of Catholics who are essentially non-religious in their day to day lives, but they still can't break free completely, they still harbour this nagging doubt about souls and hell and sin. Brainwashed when they were children, and so powerful that even solid reason struggles to make a dent.
Comment by Karl, 23 Mar, 2011
While the human brain struggles to cope with the concept of death, exploitation of the masses by 'clever' people by means of religious 'memes' is a logical consequence.
Being religious is a primitive but human trait that comes naturally and only evolutionary progress of the mind can and may eventually do away with the need.
One way for the human race to start exiting these (still) dark, middle ages would be to teach our two and three year olds about reality, truth and compassion instead of the lies and horrors being instilled into their receptive minds by parents, teachers and leaders at present.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 23 Mar, 2011
We agree Karl, the minds of children are the key to a more rational and humane future, but unfortunately religions have always known this and started their brainwashing from birth, with the likes of baptisms, circumcisions and prayers at bedtime. There is still much work to be done.
Comment by Phill, 04 Jun, 2011
Hi John, liked the article, and it sounds like an interesting book. But I have to wonder what was really happening on the ground. Itís one thing for the higher ups demanding these high ideals, itís another to see if they are actually been practised.
History is filled with examples of people not adhering to the law of the land as it pertains to what happens in the bed room. Iím told for instance that there are still several states in America which ban sodomy and oral sex — at least its on the law books though I doubt if thereís been a successful prosecution in decades.
No doubt the ideals of the Catholic Church may have had some impact, but my own suspicion is that life on the ground was somewhat freer than the ideals demanded. Having seen some renaissance porn Iíd have to say the modern purveyorís have not learned anything new. As to the peasantry only knowing about the missionary position, as you pointed out, we only have the priestís word for that and somehow I canít imagine the average peasant telling a priest about the other activities they might have tried. I suspect they would have pleaded ignorance of everything except the official position.
One has to be careful determining what is happening by what the rules of society call for. As an example in the beginning of the 19th Century there are over two hundred crimes on British law codes that call for the death penalty including the crime of sodomy. You bugger someone you hang. So we might say that there was perhaps no sodomy or even homosexuality in Britain in 1800? No, the reality was this particular law was never enforced, the authorities knew no English jury would convict on a sodomy charge because the law was so harsh. Because of this the homosexual community in Britain at this time is pretty relaxed a kind of gentlemanís agreement to not make a public display and scare the sheep, and we wonít worry about what two consenting adults are doing behind closed doors.
Even today, the Vatican might call for a ban on contraception but a catholic friend of mine told me no priest in New Zealand would ever give penance to a catholic couple for using contraception. In fact how many humongous catholic families do you know? Its like any aspect of society what the powers that be might call for is now what us ordinary mortals do.
As to the issue of sex and the church — this is a far more complex issue with several interwoven strands. Such as the need for early Christians to distinguish themselves from their pagan neighbours and their more freer attitudes to sex. The Morality code adapted from their Judaic origins. My own personal favourite St Paulís personal hang-ups (did Paul have problems getting laid?) The patriarchal societyís obsession at controlling female fertility. Attempting to put limitations on the human sex drive as a way of controlling your group. And later as the church became more organised and structured during the middle ages, imposing celibacy upon the priestly class to prevent bishoprics from becoming heredity fiefdoms handed down from father to son.
And finally to add into this mass, those human society universalís marriage and incest laws, as there has never been a human society that has not in some form attempted to make rules on who you are allowed to have sex with and who you are not. This is not to say that these rules are exactly the same in all cases.
However, I would point out that Protestants can be even worse. With many of the protestant sects also adhering to similar awful rules and regulations about what should happen in the bed room. At the end of the day Christians can have some pretty strange hang-ups on sex. And then there was the Oneida Community in 19th century America with itís rather open attitude to sex (at least until 1879.)
In a sense in whatever society you live in there are going to be rules governing sex. We are lucky we live in a society that has a liberal attitude to sex. But we still impose certain restrictions, and it is right that we do so (adult child sexual relations are simply wrong, end of story, no argument.) But I suspect that making those rules too harsh, too forbidding, and like any forbidden thing it goes underground or in this case behind closed bedroom doors.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 05 Jun, 2011
Thanks for the comments Phill, and yes, it is always difficult to know exactly what people are doing in their private lives, especially from a historical perspective since we can't even ask them.
Unlike now though, we must remember that in the distant past it seems that the majority truly did believe that a god was watching their every move, even in the bedroom, and that they would be punished accordingly for any transgressions. Unlike some atheists we never transitioned from true believers to atheists and so can't know what it was like to truly believe someone was always watching you. To us it does seem unbelievable that you wouldn't just lie to the priest, but remember that these people tortured others and burnt witches at the stake because they truly believed. They believed that judgment from god was just as certain as we believe it is from our secular justice system. For peasants to believe that they could lie to their priest about their bedroom shenanigans would be to believe that there was no all-knowing god, to be a non-believer. And it was no good just the husband being a non-believer, his wife and children would have to be non-believers also, or they would just reveal to the priest during their confessions what he was hiding. As silly as it seems to us, it would appear that to many naive, ignorant peasants the thought of lying to their priest, and to their god, was inconceivable. Of course you and I would argue that if god truly existed and was all-knowing then he already knows what we did last night, so why waste time repeating it to the priest?
But you're right that we can't always believe the priests either. Just last week my mother told me about a Catholic childhood friend who was extremely fearful of going to confession each week. Since she didn't believe she had done anything wrong during the week, she nevertheless had to invent some believable sin to confess to the priest. The priest point blankly refused to believe anyone that said they had committed no sins, and thus this poor little girl had to invent and confess to a sin she hadn't committed. And of course she couldn't just reuse past sins as this would mean that she hadn't learnt from her mistakes. Thus a good and pure child was always seen as sinful and flawed by the priests. This continual terrorising by the Church ruined part of her childhood, and as we know, many adults never grow out of it, no matter how much they want to.
You said that 'somehow I can't imagine the average peasant telling a priest about the other activities they might have tried'. The book explained that after the priests became celibate, much of what they knew about sex did come from the peasants. However at one stage they discovered to their horror that they were actually educating some of the peasants in new sexual activities. Priests for example would ask if they had performed oral sex, and the naive peasant would ask what oral sex was. The priest would explain, the peasant would honestly answer no, but would head home keen to try it. Eventually the priests got orders that they must get information from peasants without imparting any.
You're right that 'We are lucky we live in a society that has a liberal attitude to sex', although of course there are many that would disagree and insist that we have gone way too far. Certain religious types still condemn premarital sex, homosexuality, contraception, public nudity, sexual equality etc. As you say, some US states still have laws against oral sex, and even we still have a law against blasphemy, although they are now seldom enforced. You mentioned homosexuality in Britain in 1800 and that no English jury would convict on a sodomy charge because the law was so harsh. Actuality they would and did, even playwright Oscar Wilde was sent to prison for homosexuality. Even today the religious have tried to enforce these old laws, and if our lawmakers truly believed that these laws are wrong, why haven't they repealed them? Because they do have support and it is easier for authorities to just turn a blind eye to them than repeal them. There is still much work to be done before all women have true equality and the church butts out of our sex lives, and then fades out altogether.
Perhaps if women knew just how badly they have been treated by the Church throughout history, and how the Bible supports much of this ill-treatment, they might be more inclined to go for a coffee and a muffin on Sunday than attend some church and be subjugated by some fantasy preaching priest.
Comment by Phill, 08 Jun, 2011
Hi John points taken — however with regards to homosexuality in England during the 19th Century — yes Oscar Wilde was prosecuted and convicted and did time in Reading Gaol. But that was in the 1890's after the old death penalty laws had been repealed (some time in the first half of the 19th Century ) Before then there would have been no court case because no jury would convict and sentence someone to death for sodomy.
After the law had been repealed and replaced with a term of imprisonment attitudes started to change. I suspect (though I have never studied the question in depth) that Wilde's conviction was owed to three things, one the new reformed laws on homosexual repression, the growing conservatism of later Victorian society (caused by the growing middle class) and the fact that Wilde did go out of his way to make himself a bit of a martyr. Had he not pursued the case of libel against the father of his then lover the issue would never have come up. The fact is, in the first half of the 19th Century moral attitudes were somewhat freer than they became in the latter half.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 08 Jun, 2011
Yes I think you're right Phill, Wilde did make things worse than they needed to have been, and the Victorian era did put a straightjacket on many things that were previously considered normal and natural. We are only now starting to rid ourselves of their prudishness. I think we are lucky too that the courts are divorcing themselves more and more from the Church. While they have of course been secular for some time now, we must remember that many judges, lawyers and jury members would still have been devout Christians and still guided and influenced by their faith. Just last night I heard Bishop Tamaki railing once again against the evil of homosexuality, and being supported by his congregation. Can you imagine how they would vote if any of them had jury duty on a trial involving homosexuality?
Along these lines, have you ever seen the movie called 'The Advocate' staring Colin Firth as a lawyer in medieval France? This is a time when 'the law allows animals to be accused and tried with the same rights and privileges as humans'. He's hired to defend a pig on the charge of murder. I enjoyed it, made all that more interesting since it was based on historical fact.
Comment by Phill, 09 Jun, 2011
Hi John — yes it's one of my favourites. I especially enjoy the last minute repreive at the start of the film.
Comment by Anonymous-2, 17 Aug, 2012
Interesting silly little site that you have here.
Comment "every Christian was a Catholic", mmmmmmm history shows me that this broad brush statement is pure silliness in and of itself. Perhaps a journey into what catholic — please note small c as opposed to Catholic — large C means. They are not the same and never will be. The early church was catholic.......small c. The comparison is like comparing chalk and cheese, mutton and ham and so the list could go on. Wonder about the superstition that surrounds the science realm which is mostly dictated by money and ego. Whoops! Silly me, sounds just like religion. Whatever the need, the drive to have a sense of belonging is greater than the sense to not belong because in truth they are both the same. Wonder why a person protestith so much?
Catholicism has not caused anything, people have in the name of "whatever". Silly beliefs need to be exposed yes for sure however science, rather in the name of science, has caused mass suffering, please expose the silliness of that as well. For what was done by the Catholics has also been done by science and in fact any other group of people that have walked this planet. History shows me that as does current contextual trends. Bah humbug! What a silly world we live in.
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. Now where is Wally. Red and black anyone?
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 19 Aug, 2012
Thanks for your comments, but I'm afraid I can't agree.
You claim that there is no connection between Catholics and the early Christian church — that they're like chalk and cheese — and yet typical of people that criticise our views, you merely tell us to do some research rather than explaining why our view is wrong. Certainly early Christians didn't label themselves as Catholics, but there is no doubt that what is now identified as the Catholic Church had it beginnings in the first century CE, its line of popes going right back to St Peter. Let's remember that early Christians belonged to the Roman Catholic Church, not the Roman Christian Church. Catholic meant the universal Christian church or undivided church. Christian and Catholic essentially meant the same thing. Not until after the likes of the Reformation did Catholic become just one sect of Christianity. But don't just take our word for it, here's Wikipedia's take on the Catholic Church:
'Catholic tradition and doctrine hold that the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ in the 1st century AD... The Catholic Church teaches that the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles... signalled the beginning of the public ministry of the Catholic Church. Catholic doctrine teaches that the contemporary Catholic Church is the continuation of this early Christian community... '
So contrary to your view, Catholics seem to believe that they are intimately connected to the early church.
To blindly say that 'Catholicism has not caused anything, people have in the name of "whatever" ', is as naÔve as claiming that the Nazism 'has not caused anything, people have in the name of "whatever" '. The undeniable fact is that Catholics and Nazis have committed heinous acts solely because these 'people' followed the ideology of Catholicism and Nazism. Catholics are Catholics and not Anglicans, Mormons or Muslims solely because they follow the dogma of Catholicism. They are informed by Catholicism and it is clearly Catholicism that today causes them to oppose the likes of abortion, contraception, euthanasia, homosexuality, female priests etc. And throughout history it was Catholicism as promulgated by popes, bishops and priests that motivated faithful Catholics to carry out inquisitions, crusades, witch burnings, Jewish pogroms, religious wars and the persecution of women and homosexuals etc. You claim that it was not Catholicism that caused people to commit these horrendous acts, that they actually did it in the name of "whatever". So can you please explain what this "whatever" was that motivated them?
Also you apparently haven't grasped the flip side of arguing that Catholics can't be blamed for heinous acts throughout history since 'Catholicism has not caused anything, people have in the name of "whatever" '. If this argument were correct, then Catholicism can't claim any of the good things that Catholics may have done either. Remember that you claim that 'Catholicism has not caused anything...', which must mean anything good, bad, or indifferent. So are you truly claiming that Catholicism is worthless, impotent, null and void?
You go on to say, 'Wonder about the superstition that surrounds the science realm which is mostly dictated by money and ego. Whoops! Silly me, sounds just like religion'. Whoops, silly you is right if you think science is surrounded by superstition or resembles a religion. Why is it that religious people think that since their beliefs are founded on superstition, then all ways of looking at the world must be? And what has science got to do with the abuses committed by the Catholic Church over the centuries?
You've already erroneously argued that we can't blame Catholicism, that we must simply blame people, and yet now you claim that science — not people — is also culpable, that 'science, rather in the name of science, has caused mass suffering'. You're reversed your argument, and yet, unlike Catholicism, science has not caused or ordered a single death. Unlike Catholicism which is full of commandants that proclaim 'Thou shalt do this and that' or suffer punishment, science contains no such commandments. Certainly people using scientific knowledge can do harm, but no scientific discovery has ever declared 'Thou shalt do this and that'. We are well aware of the suffering caused by Catholicism and religion in general, so perhaps you could list the mass suffering that has been caused in the name of science. Of course there are examples of where people using science and technology have unintentionally caused suffering, and even intentionally as in war, but this has been happening since long before your God flooded the world, intentionally causing untold suffering. It's all about the intention of science. Even in war the intention of weapons is not to make people suffer, but to win, to reach a political goal. Whereas in religion the stated intention is often to make certain people suffer, for all eternity.
Science and technology has given us our advanced society and people have the choice of using knowledge for good or bad, but Catholicism dictates, for good or bad, what the faithful must do. But even if science was evil and commanded its followers to burn witches and Catholics, what bearing would this have on our criticisms of the Catholic Church? You claim that 'what was done by the Catholics has also been done by science'. It's almost as if you're arguing that if science has caused mass suffering, then Catholicism is justified in causing mass suffering too. It's like me arguing that if all my neighbours are criminals, then it's OK for me to be one too. Forget about what science or others might have done, are you defending what Catholics have done and are still doing?
You also say that 'Whatever the need, the drive to have a sense of belonging is greater than the sense to not belong because in truth they are both the same'. I don't understand this. You first claim that one is greater than the other, then say that they are both the same. Do you mean that religion and science are both the same, that they both explain the same thing? Surely you can't be that naÔve, especially after criticising us for being unable to see the difference between Catholicism and the early church? Religion is based on superstition and blind faith whereas science is based on reason and evidence. Religion has progressively been shown to be false and deluded whereas science has proved its claims and contributed greatly to society. They truly are like chalk and cheese. But what has this to do with Catholics committing atrocities? Yes people generally like to have a sense of belonging, but they really need to question the worth of the group they want to belong to. Wanting to be part of a worldwide pedophile ring that persecutes women and prohibits condom use in AIDS ravaged countries is a group that moral people should shun, not join. As an atheist I have a sense of belonging to a group that rejects superstition and ignorance and supports ethics rather than blind commandments.
You're right that it is 'a silly world we live in'. That in an age when we have just landed another rover on Mars, there are still people that rather than visit an astronomical observatory to view the planet, they instead flock to their churches. There they drop to their knees and let a priest put a wafer in their mouth, sincerely believing it to be a real body part of a long dead carpenter. Silly indeed.
Comment by Anonymous-3, 25 Aug, 2012
I don't really care too much about how the Catholic Church started. However I read an interesting history of that church. A lot of what it believes did not come from 2,000 years ago but has developed since. For instance the Immaculate Conception is a belief which was laid down just a couple of hundred years ago. The mother of Jesus has been put on such a pedestal she couldn't possibly have died and rotted away in a grave. It was decided she must have been born without original sin and taken up bodily to heaven when she died to sit beside her son. Also it's only recently historically it was decided the pope can't be wrong when he pronounces on questions of faith. There are many other principles of faith which were not part of the original religion. I see Catholicism as a cult. The Pope is the cult leader who is revered. One of your previous respondents has made a similar comment.
I was watching a video on Youtube which made me angry. A lady teacher in America got a job with a large Catholic school. She liked working there, enjoying the job. Then privately she had IVF treatment. When the school management found out about it they dismissed her. Catholics don't believe in any kind of interference with the natural process of birth. IVF is a grave sin according to them. If a woman can't conceive naturally then she must forgo having a child. What made me angry was the experience of a member of my extended family. She spent ten years unsuccessfully trying to have a baby without success. It led to bouts of depression. Eventually she took a course of IVF treatment. It wasn't easy taking two years. Then she had two eggs implanted successfully and gave birth to two boys. Her depression has gone and she spends hours playing with her boys beaming when other family family members call in to play with them. She is now fulfilled. Why deny her and other women that satisfaction?
Poland is a very Catholic country. The Church has been trying to have IVF treatments banned. That doesn't stop doctors carrying out the procedures but it is against stiff opposition. Poles have a long wait for treatments. Many are going across the borders to neighbouring countries
I read up on some Catholic articles. Their principles are paramount. They have little interest in the happiness of people or the satisfactions they get out of life. What surprises me is that Catholic idiots will actually do exactly what the Pope says. One time I asked a young married man why he wouldn't use the pill — because the Pope said he couldn't. I asked why the Pope was against it. He didn't know. So rather puzzled I asked him why he wouldn't use the pill considering he doesn't even know why he shouldn't. Personally I only follow rules when I see the sense in them. He got angry, raised his voice and told me he wouldn't do what his church was against.
I think if all Catholics used their common sense, thinking for themselves, the demise of the Catholic Church might be hastened.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 25 Aug, 2012
You're quite right, the idea of the Immaculate Conception and Papal Infallibility are relatively recent ideas in the Catholic world, and even the likes of priests not being allowed to marry and their enforced celibacy would be a complete mystery to Jesus. And he would be utterly offended and ashamed by the enormous wealth amassed by the church in his name.
You're also correct that the Catholic hierarchy has 'little interest in the happiness of people'. They are solely concerned with the 'next life' and slavishly obeying the screwed up rules they've invented over the centuries that prepare them and their followers for this next life.
And certainly the pope is a cult leader, but the greatest cult leader of all (if he actually existed), was Jesus himself.
If people applied common sense and reason and thought for themselves then in the future ALL religion would reduce to a belief which would be seen as silly as the Flat Earth Society is today.
Comment by prak, 29 Apr, 2013
I don't know if the review is incomplete, or the source material, but it seems odd to me that in such a long discussion with so much focus on celibacy etc, that the orthodox church is not touched on. To clarify, the orthodox AND catholic churches date from the Council of Nicea; before that, there was no catholocism, only Christianity. While the interpretation of the Creed was certainly a major [silly] point in the schizm, I imagine the celibacy thing was too: Orthodox priests are permitted to marry. Not only that, but the priest's wife is a valued community member. I believe this is similar to the role a Rabbi's wife plays? So, the whole picture seems a bit distorted without understanding how the catholic church went from Judaism to Christianity to the wholesale insanity that is Catholicism, and to what extent Orthodoxy is different.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 30 Apr, 2013
Hi Prak. We didn't mention the Orthodox Church since we were discussing the book: 'Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven: Women, Sexuality and the Catholic Church'. We weren't trying to explain how Christianity split into thousands of different sects (volumes have been written on this), we were simply trying to highlight how screwed up the Catholic Church is, how harmful and ignorant their views are on celibacy, contraception, abortion, homosexuality and the status of women.
The Catholic Church traces its history right back to Peter, the first pope. Catholic means universal, in that early Christians saw themselves as the universal or worldwide church. Everyone Christian was essentially a Catholic until 1054 CE when the churches in the west and east of the Roman Empire split. The western church stuck with the name Catholic and added Roman to it as they were based in Rome, and the eastern churches called themselves the Eastern Orthodox Church. You're right that there were conflicts at the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, some based around east-west geography, politics and language as well as theology, but the main purpose of the council was to defend Catholic orthodoxy against Arianism. While there were east-west conflicts before and after the council, a formal split in the church did not happen until 1054 CE. (See this link: The Split that Created Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Catholics)
We know that Judaism, Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, and Islam all believe in Abraham and Moses, but only Catholicism enforces celibacy and only Islam reveres Jesus while claiming he wasn't divine. Some Christians believe speaking in tongues is necessary, others that handling venomous snakes is required. As to how several different religions arose (essentially from a common source) to share many common beliefs and a few differences, well that is quite simple. It all comes down to primitive and ignorant interpretation of their holy books, necessitated by the embarrassing fact that their god doesn't exist. Just as two people can look at a cloud and one will see it shaped like a turtle and the other a bunny, primitive people saw in their vague, contradictory and confusing holy books whatever they wanted to see. Based on their desires, and with no god to correct them, each insisted that their interpretation was the right one, and they rewrote their holy books to reflect their new beliefs. This is why we have thousands of religions and just one science. Religions struggle to survive on blind faith whereas science survives and flourishes on evidence. Blind faith allows thousands of contradictory beliefs to coexist, but evidence and reason will only accept one answer: the truth.
Why Catholics went on to opt for celibacy and a fear of sex and Orthodox and Protestant Christians didn't is all to do with human nature, ignorance, greed and power. For example, greed helped the move to celibacy since priests with no children would leave their land and possessions to the church. But to hide this motivation the church then had to find scripture that might suggest that god in fact wanted priests to remain celibate. And like clouds, people can find in holy books obscure phrases that will support anything they wish to support. Hence different people quote different Bible verses to both support and condemn celibacy, as well as slavery, homosexuality, the subjugation of women, the handling of snakes or the divinity of Jesus.
I'd agree with you that Catholicism is 'wholesale insanity', and in many aspects is far more harmful physically and emotionally than other Christian sects, but I see all religion as an insanity, and since I'm not a Catholic homosexual, a cute child being leered at by a priest or a Catholic woman contemplating an abortion, I am far more fearful of Islam these days than Catholicism. Secular society has largely muzzled the Catholic Church, but Islam is today where Christians were during the inquisitions and Crusades, blindly forcing their ignorant beliefs on the world at large. While I look back with horror and disgust at the way Catholics tried to control the world, it is mainly history. While the impact and influence of Christianity in the world is fading, Islam today is the real threat to peace and progress, since not only is Islam 'wholesale insanity' alongside Catholicism, Islamic extremists will willingly resort to wholesale slaughter of the innocent to spread their insanity.
Comment by Sue, 21 Oct, 2015
Hi There. Maybe you should do some research into "battered wives". I didnít think much of that remark at the end because the fact is the vast majority of women who are treated abusively leave quickly and it is a myth that "they just stay there and take it."
Many women in violent relationships want to leave and do but it takes longer, often because the abuser has isolated the victim by removing support networks. Even these women manage to leave and never go back it is a small minority that remain in an abusive relationship for their whole life.
This is why it is so important to have Women Refuges and to debunk these false (silly) beliefs that "she must love it or sheíd leave" so people donít blame the victim.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 22 Oct, 2015
Hi Sue. When we compared some enlightened Christians to those 'battered wives continually returning to their abuser', we didn't mean to offend women caught in abusive relationships. Our point was, first and foremost, that we don't understand how so many Christians can come to recognise the lies told and harm caused by their church and yet still won't leave. Of course some do, but most still keep going back.
We likened those Christians to the women that won't make the break from abusive relationships, not the ones that do leave. And clearly many do leave, or else we wouldn't need the likes of Women Refuges. We never meant to suggest that all women in abusive relationships "just stay there and take it", nor did we say or even imply that "she must love it or she'd leave". When it comes to abuse, physical and/or emotional, of course it's important that 'people don't blame the victim', there is no excuse for abuse of any description and only one person to blame, the abuser. However, when a victim has been abused and knows that more abuse is likely if they remain in a relationship, they must take some small responsibility, not for the actual abuse, but for staying in harm's way.
These days we criticise parents for smoking around their children and women for drinking alcohol when they're pregnant, so why shouldn't we also criticise women that leave themselves and possibly their children in a relationship that has turned violent?
I've known two women that were in abusive relationships, and both fled those relationships. But then both went back to their abusers, voluntarily, taking their children with them, only to be abused again and to flee again. Of course the abuse is the fault of the abuser, and him alone, and women should be able to be in a relationship without anyone abusing them, but this unfortunately isn't how reality works. A woman should be able to walk down any dark street in a mini skirt, or completely naked even, without any fear of getting raped, and I should be able to walk down the footpath without getting hit by cars, but again experience has shown me that this isn't how reality works. We should all be safe from injury from the actions of others, but we're not, and thus we have to take some responsibility for our safety. When we deliberately put ourselves in harm's way, when we could have reasonably and easily done otherwise, then we can't put all the blame on the person that causes the harm.
Blame can be apportioned. The person causing the harm can certainly be blamed 100% for their actions, but we must accept some blame, not for causing or inviting harm, but for not taking reasonable steps to keep us out of harm's way. Think of this example. I should be able to leave my car unlocked with the keys in the ignition outside the local pub, and I can, but the reality is that it will likely get stolen. If it does, the police will hunt the car thief and charge him, not me, but at the same time they will, quite rightly, lay some of the blame for the theft on me, for not securing my car in the first place. Likewise my insurance company will also agree that the real fault lies with the car thief, but regardless, they will refuse to pay out on damage to my car because I failed to take sensible precautions to keep it secure. Everyone, the police, my insurance company, my friends and even I, will all agree that the car thief is the real culprit and that I didn't deserve to have my car stolen, but we also all agree, and some are more forthright than others, that I must take some responsibility for what happened. Of course I can't categorically prevent my car from being stolen, but there is no denying that in that case I made it too easy for them.
Domestic abuse is a serious problem, one that needs to be combated, and my sympathy goes out to women and children that suddenly find themselves the target of abuse. I don't understand how people can abuse others, such behaviour is abhorrent to me, but at the same time I don't understand why some people that are abused stay in abusive relationships, or leave but then return when there is no indication that anything has changed. Our comment was not about women that are abused and immediately walk away, it was about those that learn the horrible truth but decide to see if they can live with it. You say Sue that 'Many women in violent relationships want to leave and do but it takes longer, often because the abuser has isolated the victim by removing support networks'. I understand why in the past a slave didn't leave a life where they were abused, they would have rightly believed they were the property of their owner, that he had the right to treat them as he saw fit, and even if they ran away, they knew they couldn't survive alone, and when caught the authorities would only return them to their owner, where they would be punished for their actions. But women in modern societies don't believe that, they know that they are free, equal and independent in the eyes of the law, so why do some act as if they were slaves? We don't only have to address why some men abuse women with no qualms, we have to address why some women that are abused defend their abusers, at least for a time. Clearly the abusers have psychological problems that cause them to act as they do, might it not be that some women also have psychological problems that make them think that it's their fault or that they can fix the problem and stop the abuse?
I hope you're right Sue when you say that 'the vast majority of women who are treated abusively leave quickly', but that still leaves those few that don't. Just as the abuser's thinking is dangerously screwed up, I suspect that some women need to be convinced that their actions are wrong too. Not only do they need help escaping the abuse, they need help realising that simply persevering in a relationship won't affect a cure. Instead of just asking why do some men abuse women, and how can we change them, we need also to ask why some women, even a small minority, let them. We don't just need to change society by eradicating violent impulses from some men, we need to convince all women that relationships aren't like baseball, it's one strike and you're out, not three.
But having now had my little rant, to avoid people getting sidetracked from the point of our article by thoughts of abusive relationships, we have deleted that sentence.
Comment by Anonymous-4, 23 Oct, 2015
In relation to the issue of abuse of women in relationships, we need to actually look at the evidence ie what do the data tell us? Because otherwise the decisions made and actions taken on the issue might be misplaced.
If we look for the data — for instance on surveys on domestic violence around the globe (and there have been compilations of such data — easily found by searching the net) done by people in reputable institutions — I had a copy and gave it to a policeman who didn't give it back) a key finding has consistently been that women indulge in physical violence within relationships at least as much as men. Significantly more so in some countries (France, as I recall).
My own history shows where I am coming from. One of my relationships with a woman was coming to an end. We slept in separate rooms in our house. On at least four occasions she came into my room and proceeded to try and beat the crap out of me. I just covered up until she stopped. Until the night when she confronted me and tried to hit me in the testicles. I am afraid that I retaliated instinctively and broke her nose. Guess who went to the police and guess who was tried for assault? Guess who the Police believed? Fortunately the judge was a bit more impartial and let me off on the grounds of provocation.
The picture we get from media and organisations such as Women's Refuge, and the Police, is that this is an issue only of violence by men on women. And I know this happens. I also know that men are probably more accomplished and so can inflict more damage. But men don't report it when they are assaulted, so the Police don't know about it. Or pretend not to.
But by suggesting that it is a problem of men only is wrong, and it leads to policies which not only discriminate unfairly against men, but do not deal with the actual problem, which is that violence against partners is endemic. But men get the raw end of that deal.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 23 Oct, 2015
You're are quite right of course, the abuse is definitely not all one way. When I wrote my comments I did worry about only mentioning violence by men against women, but then I thought I'm probably going to get enough insulting emails as it is without extending the debate. And don't get me started on those particular feminists who scream: 'All men are rapists!'
As you say, there is a problem with 'violence against partners', it shouldn't just be pushed as an issue 'of violence by men on women'. And probably we should widen it to simply a problem with violence against anyone. But certainly listening to the media, the likes of Women's Refuge and the Police one gets the message that domestic violence always has women as the victims. Logic would suggest that women generally suffer greater injuries in any violence, since men are often more powerful and skilled at fighting, so there is always plenty of male assaults female evidence. However when a female assaults a male there is lots of energy and focus but often little physical evidence of an assault to be found after the fact. If anything, as you discovered, the female is likely to fare worse because of defensive actions by the male. But that doesn't alter the fact that the attack happened and there was a real intent to do harm by the woman. And while nowhere near as well known, there is evidence of women attacking and killing or seriously injuring their partners. But this doesn't result in the creation of a Men's Refuge.
I suspect that most women expect that they could hit a man and get away with it. Any attempt at retaliation would be met with that old challenge: 'You wouldn't hit a woman would you?' And there is probably no man that hasn't been hit by a woman at some stage, and that woman didn't think for a moment that she would get charged with assault, just as it didn't occur to most men to hit her back even harder, or to run to the police and lay a complaint. And if he had gone to the police, he would likely have been met with derision: 'Seriouly, you want to complain because a girl hit you? Man up and stop wasting our time!' Until recently wives were usually too ashamed to admit to anyone that they were being abused, saying that the bruise was caused by running into a door, but now they have organisations and the police that support them. However men that are subject to domestic abuse still haven't got that support, it is the rare man that would confide to his mates that his wife was beating him up.
And when I think of domestic abuse, I think of emotional abuse as well as physical abuse. I've known couples where one partner has physically abused the other, but I've certainly seen many more relationships where one partner emotionally abuses the other. People can intimidate, control and manipulate their partner without ever hitting them, and women are just as good, if not better, at vindictive mind games as men. I suspect that most women know that they would lose a physical confrontation, and so when conflict arises, they resort to emotional strikes rather than physical ones. I've been astonished and embarrassed at how some women I know have treated their partners, and that's in public, one imagines it is much worse when they are alone. But not all women shy away from violence, some are a physical match with their partners, and even if they aren't, they may feel that a frenzied attack combined with the ingrained reluctance of most males to hit a women will see them inflict some real damage. And yes, some males emotionally and physically abuse their partners as well, everyone knows that, but we must remind ourselves that this abuse goes both way.
Women are just as capable of violence as men, always have been, although perhaps for the last few hundred years polite society had convinced many women otherwise. If something annoyed them they could adopt a stern expression, and if it was really bad, they could always swoon. But if you look at many young women today, women who are told, correctly, that they are equal to men and can do anything they want, they often aren't prepared to let men fight their battles for them. When I was young, seeing women getting into fist fights was unheard of, but now, going by videos in the media, many women will fight, stumble around drunk, pee in the gutter and argue their point of view with any man. I support that last point, but while those other actions may bring them on par with men, I saw women as superior when they didn't behave that way. And since women are equal to men, perhaps some feel they now have the right to be thugs in the domestic scene as well, that they can dictate the rules for a change.
This is where both men and women often forget that in modern times a domestic relationship is supposed to be an equal partnership, where discussion and compromise decides the rules. Gone are the primitive days when the husband got to dictate his orders through threats or real violence, often with the support of society. But of course some defective men still hark back to their primitive impulses, which is no surprise, we are still animals after all, but society needs to be reminded that some equally defective women have decided to join them in dictating their will with the aid of violence.
I'm guessing that a similar problem exists with child custody. Things are changing slowly I believe, but until recently the mother almost always automatically got custody of the kids in a break up, not the father, no questions asked. The arrogant assumption was that in the relationship the woman was the angel and the man was the devil, and even more perversely, this assumption was generally made by judges who were men.
Women demand equality with men, and rightly so, but they need to accept that men and women are sometimes equal on things they might not be so keen to acknowledge, such as child-rearing and both being capable and at times guilty of domestic violence.
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