You really must pity Richard Dawkins. He is one of those heroes ready to ferociously attack the pious, but a shrinking violet towards those potentially violent.
We have now discovered that whilst said Dawkins considers the God of the Torah a very bad “fictional” character, he “doesn’t know so much” about the god of the Muslims, so he’d rather keep schtum, thank you very much.
Now, firstly it is astonishing how a man with so much time at his disposal like Dawkins never thought he might employ some of it to examine the, erm, second biggest religion on earth. Secondly, it cannot have escaped him that Islam is a parody of the Bible, it is based on it, and it claims to be its authentic expression. Thirdly, it might have come to his attention that as far as violence is concerned, Islam isn’t really built on retiring wallflowers.
At the very least, our hero could have said: “I do not know much of the god of the Muslims, but it must be clear it is a fictional character too, and he has pretty much the same traits as the fictional character of the Christians”.
Alas, nothing of the sort. It is as if he would say “can we stay on Christianity, please. I like my atheist propaganda comfortable, and safe”.
Ah, these fearless paladins of truth against the prejudices of countless ages….
In an embarrassing (for the Atheists) and rare show of common sense, Richard Dawkins admitted to be only sure to 6.9 sevenths (which, to you and I who do not have a book to promote, means around 98.6%) God does not exist. This leaves only space for the conclusion (as in such things tertium non datur) Dawkins considers the existence of God a 1.4% probability.
In my book, this means Dawkins not only maintains he is not an atheists, but maintains Atheists are wrong. Always in my book, a 1.4% probability of being wrong in your supposition qualifies you as an agnostic, albeit of a rather obdurate sort.
The moderator of this debate seems to have reached the same conclusion, and to his surprise Dawkins said he is called an atheists by other people, but “not by himself”.
Now, before someone starts the soppy song of the “pleasant surprise” Dawkins might have after he kicks the bucket, let me tell you that however your percentage estimations you can’t write a book called “The God Delusion” and think – bar an always welcome repentance, of course – you’ll get an entry card. What the exchange tells me is that Dawkins has, in fact, admitted the bankruptcy of the atheist argument. If you admit you can’t reach 100% certainty you’re right, you can’t say to believers they are wrong. And, by the way, you should still be very afraid.
Contrast this with, say, myself:
I am absolutely certain God exists. Not to 6.9 sevenths, not even to 6.99 sevenths. I am 100% certain, period.
Therefore, the following is demonstrated:
1) I can criticise atheists as “wrong” and be deemed coherent, he can’t criticise believers as “wrong” and make the same claim. Not as atheist, not as agnostic.
2) The real delusion here is – says Dawkins, though not in so many words – the one of the atheists. You can’t call a belief “false” which you know has a 1.4% probability of being true, and you must call atheism a delusion if you believe atheism has a 1.4% probability of being wrong; because in this case it can never qualify as a belief and must be called, coherently, a delusion.
I received a message with these lines:
I was made aware of the event at Assisi from an acquaintance in California (I am in Tennessee now) who is into all the New Age religions. I found it amazing that she was looking forward to seeing the Peace Gathering in Assisi and at first I thought it was a bunch of New Agers taking over our Beloved Hallowed ground of St. Francis and St. Clara! Then when I saw it announced as being covered by EWTN I was shocked. I watched it for a while and had to turn it off as I was getting horrible feelings from it.
I can’t stop thinking of these words, because this simple episode shows in a crude way what happens when we – or the Vatican, or the Pope – play with fire.
The fact is, that we Catholics spend far too much time analysing every word the Holy Father has said, or the minutiae about why this or that is, if unusual, still compatible with Catholic thinking. For example, we are not allowed to pray together with people of other religions, but then it’s not explicitly forbidden that the pagans and we plan to pray separately, after we have gathered in the same place. Similarly, we are not saying that it is fine for others to be part of other religions, but we stress how good they are whilst they are part of another religion. Hey, we come even so far as to say how good they are even if they follow no religion.
Whilst we discuss about the orthodoxy of the small details, the world at large understands exactly the message that – at least officially – was meant not to be spread around: how cool it is that everyone gathers together to tell each other how cool they all are. Hey, they’re all for peaaaaace so they must be all right, right?
I also liked the reader’s observation about the “horrible feelings” she got looking at the thing on EWTN. In fact, it seems to me that in such matters the sensus fidelium – and I mean here the real one, the sincere religious feeling as it has been traditionally lived – is the best indication to judge these events: if it feels so wrong, it can’t be right. We all have these feelings, which is why we instinctively react – better said, our souls react – to things that whilst not necessarily forbidden – like the guitars in the church, the protestantisation and/or banalisation of the Mass – nevertheless are wrong because they go against the way Catholic spirituality has always been lived.
Astonishingly, it seems to be one of the biggest worries of theologians to persuade us that there must be a new and better way to do things, than how they have always been done.
You know what? There isn’t. What has always been true is still true, what has always been felt as wrong will always be felt as wrong, and how many more or less intelligent Assisi exercises are called to life will change a bit less than zero in this matter.
I do hope that this mistake – a mistake which, I am afraid, will haunt this papacy and will be remembered everytime the undoubted achievements of the present reign are remembered – does not inflict too big a damage to the reconciliation talks with the SSPX. Unfortunately, the media flop of the initiative does not necessarily mean the theological implications will be forgotten soon, and rumours that the SSPX is oriented to refuse the preambolo dottrinale have already started to spread around the net. Would you want to be a SSPX bishop explaining to the members of the congregation that it is fine to invite a voodoo priest to talk in church? Me neither…
It would be a real shame if it turned out that Assisi III played an important role in the (possible) decision of the SSPX the Vatican is not trustworthy enough, and the process of reconciliation will have to wait for a Pope completely free from Vatican II infections, and ready to embrace Catholicism without lazy compromises with the need for popularity, or with the desire to please the rapidly aging trendies and sandal-wearers.
Please read the initial message again, and see if it doesn’t resonate with you. Whilst we talk about doctrinal nuances, the world out there thinks that the Church is so keen to mix herself with the pagans. Congratulations.
How about the Pope participating to the next Telethon (or some other “thon”) together with Richard Dawkins and Stephen Fry? Working “all together” for a good cause (wouldn’t it, ohhh, be ohhh so beautifuuul?) they could stress how much good militant atheists and perverts can do! “Atheists And Christians against poverty”, how does that sound! Think of it: everyone working together, Christian and Atheist, normal and pervert, how very edifying! We are the world! Where’s Oprah?
The only good thing of Assisi III is it made sure there will never be an Assisi IV, but its last message is still clear: play with fire, and you’ll get burned.
This is an anonymous – You see? Anonymity is very good at times! – but very detailed report of what happened within the walls of Irish National Seminary. Whilst the beginning is shocking enough, it is followed by such a long series of abuses, outright blasphemies and clear – if not always open – rebellion to the Church that one wonders whether a seminary run by fans of Richard Dawkins would be run any worse. Unless one reflects, of course, that many of those involved must be fans of Richard Dawkins.
I would divide the problems in two big families: a) the heresy or outright blasphemy and b) the effeminacy. Picking just some of the complaints of the anonymous seminarians, they were taught the following:
1) that (and this is really, really hugely blasphemous) there is no difference in the various way of presence of Jesus in the world. Jesus be equally present in the people, in the world, in the priest and in the Eucharist.
I’ll leave this without comment. Let it sink in. This is what happens within the Church today.
2) that they do not have to kneel during consecration
This is the obvious consequence of 1). I see those idiots rather kneeling in front of a tree.
3) that the hierarchical structure of the Church is wrong.
That is, that the Church must “change”. One “facilitator” adds that he is always angry when he hears that the Church says that she will “not change” in this or that. Hey, everything changes! Obama for Pope!
4) that the absence of “female leadership” within the Church is wrong.
Nothing in the article allows to assume that such “criticism” was limited to the irreligious sisters present in the structure. This shows an astonishing degree of effeminacy within the structure, at all levels.
5) that the moral teaching of the Church is wrong.
Note that whenever dissent is mentioned by the seminarians, homosexuality always comes in the first place and this tells a lot.
6) that a “general chat” would be a good way to provide the seminarians with spiritual formation.
I think of a couple of priests I have met and yep, they must have come out from Maynooth.
7) that teaching can be based on non-Catholic texts, or on texts from catholic dissenters silenced by the Church.
8) that one must stress one’s emotions, and one’s emotions must drive one’s actions.
Besides being utterly un-Catholic in his total disregards or rules and a systematic and structured system of values, and besides basically allowing everyone to build his own theology and moral system, this emotion-driven thinking is a clear sign of effeminacy.
If I hear a man talking about his emo-o-tions in such a way and of how they oh drive his oh actions, I know what to think and no, it’s not I being homophobic; it’s you being blind.
All this, please note, in the National Seminary of one of the most Catholic nations on the planet.
Interesting throughout the contribution is the description of the modus operandi of these people. As open dissent would lead to consequences – see St. Poelkten in Austria – the habit was to continually criticise by feigning the role of “devil’s advocate”; for example, the feminist irreligious sisters would talk of how so many women out there feel hurt and oppressed by a male dominated Vatican, & Co. Obviously, that such irreligious sisters are allowed to run the classes – and to run them in such a way – in the first place is a clear indication of the general mentality within the leadership of the structure.
The most shocking element of this report is, in my eyes, how real and credible it sounds. This is not the fantasy of some old conspiracy theorists seeing the end of the world behind every street corner. This accurately reflects experiences we have all made at some point; the innuendos and “devil’s advocate” tricks are experiences we have witnessed already; we have heard the covert blasphemy during homilies in the church, how can it be that these people do not express themselves far more strongly when there is no congregation to listen to them?
Well then, this appears to be – and the accusations are here not only very accurate, but entirely credible – the tran tran within the Seminary. It is shocking that things were allowed to come to this point in the first place. One is, sadly, reminded once again that the Vatican seems to only recur to Apostolic Visitations when things have deteriorated beyond parody, a too long period of silence or toleration of disobedience followed by a very late, but generally very heavy steamroller. I’d prefer the Vatican to act sooner, so that it may be milder.
If only half of these allegations are true – again, from the look of them I’d say they are all true – I can’t see how Maynooth can deserve to survive. The fake priests and irreligious sisters responsible for its demise and for a generalised climate of blasphemy, rebellion and effeminacy deserve to be thrown on the street.
Hey, they think that Christ is present everywhere in the world in the same way, so they’ll be fine.