Archive | Religion RSS for this section

Apples’ logo is blasphemous

according to an ultra-Orthodox sect in Russia. Apparently, the bite out of an apple in their logo represents “original sin”. From the article:

Radical orthodox Christians from Russia remove Apple logotype from the company’s products and put a cross sign instead of them. The orthodox find the half-bitten apple logotype anti-Christian and insulting their belief, something that may potentially cause serious problems for Apple’s products in the country.

Interfax news-agency reports about “several” cases, where the radical orthodox, including priests, swapped the Apple logo for an image of the cross, the symbol of Jesus Christ. According to the ultra-radical orthodox activists, the bitten apple symbolizes the original sin of Adam and Eve and is generally anti-Christian. It is unknown whether the radical orthodox consider the logotype as insulting, but it looks like they do.

I don’t use Apple products, mainly because they’re a bit expensive, but this is bloody ridiculous. They’re getting worked up over a piece of fruit with a bite taken out of it and are demanding that the company change to a logo that fits their beliefs. Frankly, that’s a load of fermented leprechaun piss, especially since just about every religion’s tenents are, to some extent, blasphemy to each other. So, if the blasphemy law that the Duma are debating does become enshrined in law, would they bring charges against Apple? Would they sue anyone who doesn’t follow their beliefs exactly?

Cases like this are exactly why blasphemy legislation is such bullshite. Perhaps I should start a religion whose central claim is that vegetarianism is blasphemous and start bringing charges against veggies and vegans? Liek oMg It goes against my beliefs!!1!!!1!!!1!!!


On blasphemy

Via Ophelia Benson at Butterflies and Wheels, the Archbishop of Bamberg has declared that religions deserve legal protection against scorn and derision – or laws against blasphemy.

I don’t generally blaspheme in daily life, simply because I can’t be bothered. However, I do not like the idea of somebody being arrested for insulting one particular god – I don’t see anyone being arrested or threatened for saying Thor doesn’t exist, nor the Greek deities. Blasphemy is an outmoded concept that doesn’t belong in the 21st Century – or other any time, for that matter. To go back to a previous post, why do the followers of any religion that involves the worship of an omnipotent god, that isn’t going to be hurt by a joking remark on the web or in meatspace, get so worked up when somebody makes said joke?

And of course, guess what happens if you give religion privileges like this? For starters, you get the Inquisition, or crusades and other “holy” wars. Or people trying to get society to use backward punishments like stoning for crimes such as adultery, or “exorcisms” that end up being lethal. And then there’s always counter-productive and ineffective policies like abstinence-only sex education – which would only work if the entire world suddenly became asexual. Why should it be a crime to point these out?

The Bamberg Archbishop doesn’t seem to realise that freedom of speech does not mean you can say whatever you like without fear of being criticised, especially if what you say makes no sense to somebody. Even more so if somebody is going to get hurt by what you’ve just said.

Social services considering an exorcism – in the name of child protection?

I found this via the blog of Maryam Namazie: the social services in Islington seriously considered sending a child back to the Democratic Republic of the Congo for an exorcism. Yes, that’s right, for an exorcism.

Exorcisms are a load of shite. I don’t care if people believe them or not; what I do care about is people being harmed because they’re “possessed” by a supernatural entity for which the only evidence is a person who is behaving strangely, when said strange behaviour is far more likely to be be the result of an epileptic seizure, or being schizophrenic or autistic. Here’s a section from the article I linked:

The deliverance that the boy was to undergo would have involved starving him of food and fluids for three days.

At the end of the fasting period, he would be surrounded by the deliverance team who would pray over him and command the evil spirit to be cast out of the child. When deliverance takes place, the child vomits up the “sorcery bread” that has been infecting him.

Dr Hoskins also met the pastor from the Pentecostal church attended by the grandparents, who warned that if the evil spirits were not dealt with, they would cause “strife, illness, divorce, hardship, poverty and death”.

The pastor claimed that the boy would have sorcery tools to perform magic with, such as mirrors, brushes, sticks and string, and warned that these would have to be confiscated.

Dr Hoskins asked whether the boy would be beaten, and was assured that this was not part of the normal deliverance process. However, when he was presented with a boy who had recently undergone the ordeal, he found the child “scared and traumatised”.

Starving a child for three days sounds like child abuse to me. And it gets worse: in that article, the expert they sent mentioned that some children are beaten, shaken repeatedly, have chilli pepper rubbed into them or even being cut with razor blades. That is definitely abuse, and it should be called out as such, regardless of the religion: whether Pentecostal, as in this case, or Catholic or any other form of Christianity, or Judaism or Islam…I don’t care what it is. The right to freedom of belief or disbelief ends when it starts to hurt somebody else.

Bishops can’t stop interfering

Orphelia Benson is pretty worked up over something – it turns out that Catholic bishops in the States are conducting an official enquiry into the Girl Scouts.

What. The. Fuck? Why is it any of their soddin’ business?

The new inquiry will be conducted by the bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. It will look into the Scouts’ “possible problematic relationships with other organizations” and various “problematic” program materials, according to a letter sent by the committee chairman, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne, Ind., to his fellow bishops.

No prizes for guessing…these “problematic relationships” apparently include pro-life groups, which the Scouts themselves deny taking any position on, or groups like Medicens San Frontiers who are in favour of emergency contraception; and the “problematic” materials include information on contraception. And then there’s this: they dare to let girls lead!! Oh noes!

“I know we’re a big part of the culture wars,” said the Girl Scouts’ spokeswoman, Michelle Tompkins. “People use our good name to advance their own agenda.”

“For us, there’s an overarching sadness to it,” Tompkins added. “We’re just trying to further girls’ leadership.”

(Emphasis mine)

The thing is, it’s a secular organisation, so it’s not part of the Catholic church. Know what that means? It means that the bishops have no right to stick their bloody noses in and start another little Inquisition. Is it any wonder I’ve come to despise the church in the last few years, or that I’ve started seeing organised religion as being mainly about power? Yes, I’m cynical, but if the comments on the original Yahoo News article are anything to go by, more than a few Catholics are disgusted by this as well.

I found this cartoon here – I think it fits quite well!
St Peter's Basilica

Oh, it’s Easter

Oh, so it’s Easter Sunday. I’d be sitting outside getting some sun if the wind wasn’t a nuisance, but there’s some great views from my bedroom window of Lago di Varese. But instead of boring myself stiff in a church listening to somebody waffle on about some zombie or other, I’ve had a lovely fry-up (including some potato cakes I made yesterday), and done some extra revision for the exams. A tad more productive, I’d say!

To be honest, I’ve never really seen Easter as anything but time off school – and in recent years as exam revision time. The whole supernatural aspect makes no sense to me at all, especially Jesus “rising from the dead”. You know what geeks call that, and how they deal with it? It’s a zombie, and all too many geeks have pages-long lists of plans for something they want to happen.

What really, really annoys me – and I’m sure I’m not alone in this – is that it changes all the time! According to a friend of mine (Aengus Finnegan, a Gaeilgeoir who was doing a PhD in Irish place names) the issue has been going on for nearly 1600 years: some of the written records in Irish dating from back then concern arguments between Rome and the Irish church on when Easter should be, and between both parties and a splinter group that did it differently. If it’s been going on for that long, then it won’t be solved any time soon, which is a bit of a nuisance.
Finally, I just don’t see any difference between the Easter Bunny and the whole resurrection thing in terms of reality. They’re both fictional – only the Bunny actually gives you nice things 🙂

UPDATE: I found this image on Pharyngula. I think it’s pretty funny.

Hibernia college doesn’t like atheists

My jaw dropped when I read this. Seriously, Hibernia College was claiming in course notes that:

“What bothers very few of its latter-day exponents is the fact that atheist humanism produced the worst horrors history has ever witnessed, namely Nazism, Fascism and Marxism…”

Complete and utter bullshit. Hitler was NOT an atheist, in fact he regarded himself as doing a god’s work. The Fascist regimes of Franco’s Spain and in South America were supported by the Catholic Church. As for the Soviet Union and other Marxist regimes, they were totalitarian regimes which replaced the church with the state and/or personality cults – something I happen to disagree with, in part because I’m just a little irreverent about authority. The College also had

a mock examination where the student is expected to answer that it is “True” that “Atheist humanism produced the worst horrors history has ever witnessed.”

So basically the Crusades were the work of atheists and secular humanists? The Inquisition wasn’t a part of the church? And I suppose that Iran, with it’s excellent human rights record, is a secular country.

Now, replace “atheist humanism” in those notes or that exam with another religion – Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Wiccanism, etc. – and there WOULD be an outrage in the media. But because we don’t believe in a god or gods, we’re apparently acceptable targets? And then the religious ask atheists why some of us get so “angry”. If anyone wonders that…just sit down and think about it, hmmm?

Catholic bishop in Spain: The children are to blame

Just when I thought any official of the Catholic Church couldn’t get any lower, the Bishop of Tenerife has blamed the children for child abuse. I shit you not.

His comments were that there are youngsters who want to be abused, and he compared that abuse to homosexuality, describing them both as prejudicial to society. He said that on occasions the abuse happened because the there are children who consent to it.
‘There are 13 year old adolescents who are under age and who are perfectly in agreement with, and what’s more wanting it, and if you are careless they will even provoke you’, he said.

We have a very clear case of “foot-in-mouth” disease here, but the worst part is that “legally”, he’s right: the age of consent in Spain is 13, under Article 182(1) of the Spanish Penal Code. It might be “legal”, but it’s wrong and just plain backward!

It would seem enough people have called him out on that:

A later statement from the Bishop’s residence on Tenerife explained that the Bishop did not intend to imply that ‘an event as condemnable as the abuse of youngsters’ could be justified.

The only thing it’s done, if you ask me, is to make him look like he’s trying to dodge responsibility. Now, if the church sacks him for this, then it will (for once) have done the right thing. But I don’t expect that to happen any time soon.