A very logical inspirational explanation as to why atheists do not subscribe to the notion of sky fairies.
By Sam Harris
I confess that, as a critic of religion, I have paid too little attention to the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Frankly, it always felt unsportsmanlike to shoot so large and languorous a fish in so tiny a barrel. This scandal was one of the most spectacular “own goals” in the history of religion, and there seemed to be no need to deride faith at its most vulnerable and self-abased. Even in retrospect, it is easy to understand the impulse to avert one’s eyes: Just imagine a pious mother and father sending their beloved child to the Church of a Thousand Hands for spiritual instruction, only to have him raped and terrified into silence by threats of hell. And then imagine this occurring to tens of thousands of children in our own time—and to children beyond reckoning for over a thousand years. The spectacle of faith so utterly misplaced, and so fully betrayed, is simply too depressing to think about.
But there was always more to this phenomenon that should have compelled my attention. Consider the ludicrous ideology that made it possible: The Catholic Church has spent two millennia demonizing human sexuality to a degree unmatched by any other institution, declaring the most basic, healthy, mature, and consensual behaviors taboo. Indeed, this organization still opposes the use of contraception, preferring, instead, that the poorest people on earth be blessed with the largest families and the shortest lives. As a consequence of this hallowed and incorrigible stupidity, the Church has condemned generations of decent people to shame and hypocrisy—or to Neolithic fecundity, poverty, and death by AIDS. Add to this inhumanity the artifice of cloistered celibacy, and you now have an institution—one of the wealthiest on earth—that preferentially attracts pederasts, pedophiles, and sexual sadists into its ranks, promotes them to positions of authority, and grants them privileged access to children. Finally, consider that vast numbers of children will be born out of wedlock, and their unwed mothers vilified, wherever Church teaching holds sway—leading boys and girls by the thousands to be abandoned to Church-run orphanages only to be raped and terrorized by the clergy. Here, in this ghoulish machinery set to whirling through the ages by the opposing winds of shame and sadism, we mortals can finally glimpse how strangely perfect are the ways of the Lord.
In 2009, The Irish Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (CICA) investigated such of these events as occurred on Irish soil. Their report runs to 2,600 pages. Having read only an oppressive fraction of this document, I can say that when thinking about the ecclesiastical abuse of children, it is best not to imagine shades of ancient Athens and the blandishments of a “love that dare not speak its name.” Yes, there have surely been polite pederasts in the priesthood, expressing anguished affection for boys who would turn 18 the next morning. But behind these indiscretions there is a continuum of abuse that terminates in utter evil. The scandal in the Catholic Church—one might now safely say the scandal that is the Catholic Church—includes the systematic rape and torture of orphaned and disabled children. Its victims attest to being whipped with belts and sodomized until bloody—sometimes by multiple attackers—and then whipped again and threatened with death and hell fire if they breathed a word about their abuse. And yes, many of the children who were desperate or courageous enough to report these crimes were accused of lying and returned to their tormentors to be raped and tortured again.
The evidence suggests that the misery of these children was facilitated and concealed by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church at every level, up to and including the prefrontal cortex of the current Pope. In his former capacity as Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict personally oversaw the Vatican’s response to reports of sexual abuse in the Church. What did this wise and compassionate man do upon learning that his employees were raping children by the thousands? Did he immediately alert the police and ensure that the victims would be protected from further torments? One still dares to imagine such an effulgence of basic human sanity might have been possible, even within the Church. On the contrary, repeated and increasingly desperate complaints of abuse were set aside, witnesses were pressured into silence, bishops were praised for their defiance of secular authority, and offending priests were relocated only to destroy fresh lives in unsuspecting parishes. It is no exaggeration to say that for decades (if not centuries) the Vatican has met the formal definition of a criminal organization, devoted not to gambling, prostitution, drugs, or any other venial sin, but to the sexual enslavement of children.
Consider the following passages from the CICA report:
7.129 In relation to one School, four witnesses gave detailed accounts of sexual abuse, including rape in all instances, by two or more Brothers and on one occasion along with an older resident. A witness from the second School, from which there were several reports, described being raped by three Brothers: ‘I was brought to the infirmary…they held me over the bed, they were animals….They penetrated me, I was bleeding’. Another witness reported he was abused twice weekly on particular days by two Brothers in the toilets off the dormitory:
One Brother kept watch while the other abused me …(sexually)… then they changed over. Every time it ended with a severe beating. When I told the priest in Confession, he called me a liar. I never spoke about it again.
I would have to go into his …(Br X’s)… room every time he wanted. You’d get a hiding if you didn’t, and he’d make me do it …(masturbate)… to him. One night I didn’t …(masturbate him)… and there was another Brother there who held me down and they hit me with a hurley and they burst my fingers …displayed scar….
7.232 Witnesses reported being particularly fearful at night as they listened to residents screaming in cloakrooms, dormitories or in a staff member’s bedroom while they were being abused. Witnesses were conscious that co-residents whom they described as orphans had a particularly difficult time:
The orphan children, they had it bad. I knew …(who they were)… by the size of them, I’d ask them and they’d say they come from …named institution…. They were there from an early age. You’d hear the screams from the room where Br …X… would be abusing them.
There was one night, I wasn’t long there and I seen one of the Brothers on the bed with one of the young boys … and I heard the young lad screaming crying and Br …X… said to me “if you don’t mind your own business you’ll get the same”. … I heard kids screaming and you know they are getting abused and that’s a nightmare in anybody’s mind. You are going to try and break out. … So there was no way I was going to let that happen to me…. I remember one boy and he was bleeding from the back passage and I made up my mind, there was no way it …(anal rape)… was going to happen to me. … That used to play on my mind.
This is the kind of abuse that the Church has practiced and concealed since time out of memory. Even the CICA report declined to name the offending priests due to pressure from the Vatican. The cover-up of these atrocities continues.
I have been awakened from my unconscionable slumber on this issue by recent press reports (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6) and especially by the eloquence of my colleagues Christopher Hitchens (1, 2, 3, 4, & 5) and Richard Dawkins (1 & 2). Both have begun a public effort to make the Pope accountable for the Church’s complicity in these crimes. Here, I would like to announce that Project Reason, the foundation that my wife and I started to spread scientific thinking and secular values, has joined Hitchens and Dawkins (both of whom sit on our advisory board) in an effort to end the “diplomatic immunity” which the Vatican claims protects the Pope from any responsibility. We would greatly appreciate your support in this cause. All donations are tax-deductible in the United States.
May 10, 2010
Update (August 7, 2011): Project Reason has sponsored Geoffrey Robertson’s, The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse.
Eagleton, T. (2010). The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuses by Geoffrey Robertson The Guardian. (September 11).
Home, M. (2010). Author Sam Harris joins plot to have Pope arrested. The Sunday Times. (May 15).
Irish schoolchildren to learn about atheism
Up to 16,000 primary-school pupils in multi-denominational sector will learn about atheism, and others will be offered courses on the internet and smartphone apps
The lessons on atheism, agnosticism and humanism for thousands of primary-school pupils in Ireland will be drawn up by Atheist Ireland and multi-denominational school provider Educate Together, in an education system that the Catholic church hierarchy has traditionally dominated.
Up to 16,000 primary schoolchildren who attend the fast-growing multi-denominational Irish school sector will receive tuition about atheism as part of their basic introduction course to ethics and belief systems, including other religions.
From September 2014 children could be reading texts such as Dawkins’ The Magic of Reality, his book aimed at children, according to Atheist Ireland.
But Michael Nugent, Atheist Ireland’s co-founder, stressed that all primary-school pupils, including the 93% of the population who attend schools run by the Catholic church, can access their atheism course on the internet and by downloading an app on smartphones. He said these would be advertised and offered to all parents with children at primary schools in the state.
“There will be a module of 10 classes of between 30 to 40 minutes from the ages of four upwards. It is necessary because the Irish education system has for too long been totally biased in favour of religious indoctrination. And if parents whose kids are in schools under church control want to opt their kids out of learning religion (as is their right these days) then they can use our course as an alternative for their children to study,” he said.
Nugent added: “Religion isn’t even taught properly as an objective subject with various religions and their origins examined and explained. The teaching is to create faith formation first, not objective education. We see our course as a chance for young Irish children to get an alternative view on how the world works.”
Jane Donnelly, a member of Atheist Ireland and a parent of two children in an Irish secondary school, welcomed the creation of an atheism alternative for Irish pupils.
“I opted my two girls out of religious education classes and they were told to go to the library and find a philosophy book to read during RE instead. The range of philosophy books was very limited so I sent them into school each day with a copy of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion for them to read.”
Religion, education and the Irish Republic
• God is omnipresent in the 1937 Irish constitution, with article 6.1 stating: “All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive, under God, from the people”; and article 44.1 noting: “The State acknowledges that the homage of public worship is due to Almighty God. It shall hold His Name in reverence, and shall respect and honour religion.”
• Since the foundation of the republic, the Catholic church controls up to 93% of the state’s 3,200 primary schools.
• The Catholic church’s near monopoly of influence in education means that the ultimate power in each school is the local Catholic bishop.
• In Dublin the city’s archbishop, Diarmuid Martin, is patron of about 470 primary schools. He is responsible for the management of the ethos of those schools, for senior appointments and is the one who can be sued when legal action takes place.
• The Irish taxpayer, and not the church, pays the bills for all the schools the hierarchy controls.
• The Irish education minister, Ruairi Quinn, has promised “the most radical change in primary education in Ireland since the state was founded in the 1920s” by taking the power of the church from running almost all schools in the state and putting it into the hands of elected governors. So far his reforms have not begun in earnest.
• This article was amended on 27 September 2013 to clarify that pupils in multi-denominational schools will learn about atheism as part of the wider curriculum covering ethics, beliefs and religion. Atheists will not be teaching children that God does not exist, as originally stated, rather, children will be educated about atheism, including the atheist belief that God does not exist.
I grow increasingly hopeless about the incredible gullibility of the general populace in regards to politics. I know that most politicians on both sides are already bought and paid for, but thats because of the system of bribes called political donations given out by the greedy corporations. The various lobbies continue their agendas while paying off the very people that are supposed to be working for the people of the United States.The people are able to change this en masse but are afraid to because they do not want to put their little piece of the pie on the line. They want to believe that it is safe inside their little bubble and ignore the creeping, insidious motives of the conglomerates that are cornering both the world’s food and energy markets. Why as we speak, the ‘moovahz ‘n’ shakaahz are busy buying up alternative energy companies and patents so that when you all wake up to a greener world, the evil fucking billionaires will STILL own your ass, so don’t count on being a part of all of this!
As food becomes more scarce due to unchecked population explosions, the corporations garner more and more favor for their brands of frankenfood to feed this continuing burden. The needs create desperation which fuels indifference towards the information being exposed regarding the real dangers of genetically modified foods and the pollution caused by the immense corporate farms. Listen close people! Chicken shit fed to your seafood IS NOT safe and it does not provide them nutrients as it does the soil! It gives them disease which is passed on to the consumer due to antibiotic resistant bacteria that has formed in their gut! Cow shit is only good for the land in a varying degree. When ultra concentrated and mixed with petroleum based fertilizer and insecticides, it becomes a vile poison that destroys aquifers and surrounding land. The cattle from these FRANKENFARMS also contain antibiotic resistant bacteria that enters the food chain and renders the consumer vulnerable to disease! Please Google how many meat and other food recalls that have occurred due to E-Coli or the deaths that have resulted from the ingestion of this putrid filth that companies like Tyson call food!
This is real science and can no longer be ignored! This is not just hippie bullshit or liberal nonsense, this is actual applied and proven science that is telling you that you are eating fucking Soylent Green! I expect free-thinkers to do their homework because they are the most sensible people and they account for most scientists in the field. Do not believe the lying corporations, all you have to do is watch Supersize Me on Netflix to see how ONE MAN spotlighted the insidious marketing plan by McDonald’s to poison YOUR children! The man ate McDonald’s for ONE MONTH and began suffering life threatening changes! Google where these Franken chicken McPoisonnuggets are coming from and a sensible person will never eat them again! Tyson feeds people SICK, DYING chickens for fucks sake! Monsanto pushes their poison by telling sheeple that they are trying to breed out the “cancer causing microbes that naturally occur on maize!” Can you believe that? We are breeding genetically poison and pest resistant corn soaked in cancer causing petroleum chemicals just for you so that you can feed your family safely! Can we say ‘crock of shit?’
Just between you and me, I need to ask a fucking question that has been burning a hole in my head. IF Monsanto and the other poison factories run by people who almost ALL claim to believe in the Christian god, are actually trying to help and are NOT trying to turn people into helpless consumers of their cancer causing filth, then why have they made half the U.S diabetic by putting high fructose corn syrup into almost EVERYTHING!!!??? Why have they almost totally shut out EVERYONE else in the food industry and hired legions of lawyers to leverage competition out of business?! Why when a farm becomes INFECTED by frankenshit corn, is it THEIR burden of proof to prove that no theft occurred? Fresh and Food Inc. Watch them and learn!
The next thing that I must ask is even harder. Why, if we know that we will have 20-30 billion people on the Earth by 2050, do we not do anything about it? God doesn’t exist, HE is not going to ‘Rapture’ your ass out of a world that you helped fuck up! We have dozens of problems already as the result of overpopulation and we only have 7 Billion sheeple grazing the fields! Frankenfood companies claim to be trying to provide cheap, inexpensive food for the burgeoning masses yet no one addresses the fact that there should not BE burgeoning masses! Sit on your collective asses now, but when the problem is bad enough and throngs of homeless hungry people are shitting all over the lawns of the best neighborhoods in our cities, THEN people will want to do something. Until then, sheeple will ignore the problem and stay asleep.
What would I do with them? I would reenact the village model of productivity. If you need help, the village will help you get back on your feet, BACK ON YOUR FEET!! Not give you a free check for life and let you blame someone else for your misfortune! If you want to sit on your fat lazy ass and benefit from someone else’s work, then you are turned out to fend for yourself, and if you resort to stealing, then you will be punished by forced labor to benefit the village. Murderers, pedophiles,rapists and those who cannot possibly imagine life as honest people would be worked in the fields or provide other services under armed guard for 12 hours a day 6 days a week and be housed in a fucking gulag, ( after DNA conviction, of course ). These people would never be allowed to infect the gene pool again or victimize more innocent people. The death penalty would be a thing of the past as these scumbags would actually provide a workforce to accomplish backbreaking tasks to earn their keep. Scumbag lawyers would be a thing of the past and careful tribunals of several would listen to the evidence instead of one scumbag lawyer in a black robe.
Believe me, nothing is perfect, but then neither is representation by an overpriced crook who believes that for a fee, everyone is innocent! The Criminally Unjust System is horribly broken and dangerous criminals are getting out of jail and killing innocent children instead of being put to a deserved death. Subhuman, ape-like anthropoid dirtsacks are being allowed to tell us that murderers and rapists do not deserve death! These apes are being allowed appeal after appeal under our system of idiocy and injustice! Allow criminals to be worked in the fields and whipped in public and a large number of worthless shit sacks become productive, albeit horribly ass raped and beaten members of society! That problem is solved!
Now allow for widespread birth control and licenses for future parents and another problem is contained! Quit providing assistance to low income families, ( two words that should not even exist in the English language ), and people start to make better choices based upon consequences. Beef the fuck out of the education system and promote it to the poor with financial incentives and you take care of another problem that has plagued our American society. Quit pounding sand in a rathole by sending billions to feed junta soldiers in the guise of feeding starving masses and quit buying anything from these dictatorships and you solve THAT problem. These are the simple solutions for HONEST people of which about 5% of the population could be considered in this category. Most people, of course, are greedy sons of bitches who would sell their own families for a billion dollars and keep their tiny little heads tucked far inside their asses so that they can claim ignorance of the atrocities of which they are willingly a part of. But hey! Tough times, tough rhetoric huh?
I just like to think of what life would be like if people were actually, honestly trying to do the right thing instead of posture and ignore the coming fall. Nations fall you know, and this one is almost a superpower of the past and will be in ten years. How long until civil unrest occurs because we all ignored the current problems, huh? Can’t happen here though, huh? We are different because we are free? Free…..free to come and go as long as we do what we are told and accept the ‘safety measures’ of the Govt. intruding on our privacy. Free as long as we continue consuming and keeping up with the Jones’s. Free as long as what we say doesn’t actually strike a chord with the dissatisfied and free as long as we keep side tracked by the many peripheral issues being thrown at us by the media!
The super rich are enslaving us by owning all of our power and food sources AND by pitting us against each other! The religious are a prime example of this! They believe that some imaginary GOD is going to deliver them so they keep their heads in the sand and don’t resist the shackles being applied to their feet! We go to work, spend all of our money and believe that those who prepare for disaster are ‘paranoid.’ It seems bad, very bad, and it seems that a shot won’t even be fired in defense. The sheeple continue toward the slaughter as if going off to play and trust their scumbag lawyer leaders on Capitol Hill to sort it all out!
Shit. I’m just rambling now, so I’ll slink back to my hole and bury my head. I only ask that readers enlighten themselves and wake up! First to your food and next to the idiots in public office that are selling you out. Pretty soon the young people of America are gonna wake up one day in middle age to wall to wall people, mass starvation and children who report them for speaking out against the Government. The billionaires, of course, will be safe and sound inside the citadels built for them by their minions, with clean, fresh water and plentiful good food. Sounds like paradise huh?
Christopher Hitchens (via halfprincesshalfgoddess)