Thursday, October 28, 2010


An article appeared in the October 26, 2010 edition of the Baltimore Sun lamenting the dwindling number of priests in the archdiocese. Recently, a morning service attended by fifteen worshippers at St. Mary Star of the Sea was led by a nun. The scarcity of priests and declining congregations have prompted Catholic leaders to take proactive measures. Churches are being grouped together under one pastor and church leaders are asking parishes to consider cutting back on Masses and other services. Earlier this year, more than a dozen Catholic schools were closed displacing nearly 2,000 students.
“The problem is approaching critical,” said Mark Gray, senior research associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. In the archdiocese of Baltimore this year only one candidate was ordained and he is in his 60s. Shortages of priests, declining attendance and church closings are  nationwide phenomena. The St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese last week revealed a plan to close at least seven churches and gather others under one pastor.
What precipitated the apparent decline of the Catholic Church? Some scholars trace the regression to the sweeping changes engendered by Vatican II. Many Catholics found the changes difficult to accept and became disenchanted with the church. Also to be considered is the decline in religiosity in general occurring across the USA. As society becomes more informed and sophisticated people begin to doubt the delusional and anachronistic ideology of religion. In addition, the Catholic Church has a very nasty monkey on its back - the shocking allegations of sexual misconduct and subsequent cover-ups. The revolting images of predatory priests serve as a reminder of the many other atrocities perpetrated by Holy Mother Church: the Crusades, the Inquisition, witch trials, pogroms against Jews, complicity with the Nazi regime, the list continues ad nauseum. A sober appraisal of Church history would cause Caligula to retch. The resultant cognitive dissonance is disturbing, and in some cases unbearable. So, a synergy may be working to disillusion all but the most incorrigible Catholics. At the risk of sounding mean-spirited, if, tomorrow, the Catholic Church was to vanish like a fart in a tornado, I would remain unmoved.
The question remains, are we witnessing the beginning of the end of Catholicism? Will its churches and cathedrals soon be as empty as a tomb on Easter Sunday? The disappointing answer is probably not. Events like this run in cycles. But we can be encouraged by a nascent trend; a direction away from irrational, primitive, rigid thinking and toward a more challenging but also a more rewarding destiny.

cogito ergo atheos sum

Friday, October 22, 2010


"The God Question" has been a fascination for me for many years. Over that time I've assembled a small library of atheism-related books to gratify my obsession. A list of what I consider to be the more significant ones follows.

Psychology of Religion: Classic and Contemporary  by David M. Wulff   -   (a seven hundred page textbook, but well worth the effort for the wealth of information it contains. Published in 1997, so it's relatively current.)

Freethinkers  by Suzan Jacoby

How We Believe  by Michael Shermer

The Portable Atheist  by Christopher Hitchens

Why I am Not a Christian  by Bertrand Russell

Atheism: The Case Against God  by George H. Smith

The Demon-Haunted World  by Carl Sagan

The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy  by C. Dennis McKinsey

The Case Against Christianity  by Michael Martin

The God Delusion  by Richard Dawkins

Atheist Universe  by David Mills

Monday, October 11, 2010


THE REVERNED GUNTHER GAWD (with apologies to The Hombres)

He preaches by a sewer sign.
Unshaven 'cause his razor broke.
Wears his britches inside-out.
Says he don't care
but his mind's in doubt.

He came up north from the Bible Belt
with talk of fire and brimstone.
Made Elmer Gantry look like a boy scout.
Pass the plate 'round, now.
Get yer wallets out.

Hangin' from a pine tree by ma knees
I'm baptized by the word of God
spoken from a huckster's lips.
Fundies raise their hands and shout.
But it's too much, man,
I can do without.

Now Gunther's in a terrible way.
He saw Satan eatin' a bible sandwich with sauerkraut.
How'd that mess yer mind up, Rev.?
Did yer brain go numb?
For sure, ain't no doubt.
Sorry about that.
Did yer faith run out?

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Officials at the highest levels of the Catholic Church are at a loss to explain the shameful and outrageous actions of one of the world's most respected figures, Pope Benedict XVI. In a statement issued from Saint Peter's Square, a clearly shaken Cardinal Bagglio Douche, aide-de-camp to Benedict XVI, described the Pontiff's recent conduct as so grotesque as to "make the Saints in heaven retch." When pressed by reporters for details, an ashen Cardinal Douche confessed that, "If the truth of this matter was to be revealed, the very foundations upon which the Church stands would crumble. Mass hysteria would erupt in religious communities around the world, governments would fall, and the end of days would be upon us." And so, the deranged ecclesiastic misdeeds of Pope Benedict remain a mystery, for now.
But this is not the end of the story. Shortly after Cardinal Douche's conference a doleful monk came forward and spoke. It seems the Pope's anomalous behavior began innocently enough and initially raised few eyebrows. As the monk related, "The strange doings ofa da Pope began ina da monestary when he request we addressa him not as Pope Benedict, but asa Pope 'Bent-dick.' We do not understand. But he isa da Pope so we do like he say. Next day, he think he isa General Douglas McArthur and he try to go to da Philippines. One time we find him ona the highway holding a sign that say 'Philippines.' Da Pope, he look ridiculous doing this. You see, he spell Philippines with an 'F' and the people, they laugh."
Then things quickly got out of hand, and before you could say, "Bless me Father," the Holy Father was in it up to his collar. No one knows how this scenario will eventuate. The Church remains tight-lipped on the affair. Only time will tell if a misunderstood rebel or a pshchopath is acting as God's representative on earth.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Jesus christ has always been a controversial figure. In fact, his very existence is questionable. David M. Wulff, in his tome, Psychology of Religion: Classic and Contemporary, states, "The story of Jesus, as related in the gospels, with all it's unconfirmed miraculous happenings, is more plausibly explained as largely a fiction, written to not only conform to Judaic traditions but also to move Christianity beyond being a tribal religion. The story appealed to Gentiles as well, with the incorporation of many of their God-man myths."
The existence of jesus has not been historically established. Consider these points:
1. There is no contemporary documentation of the event (except for a very brief and superficial mention by the historian Josephus).
2. No archaeological proof (no tomb, no shroud) - the cloth of Turin has been carbon-14 dated to the 13th century C.E.
3. No archives except for a sepulcher invented by Saint Helena, mother of Constantine.

Jesus gave a name to Jewish rejection of Roman domination. He was an epic hero among epic heroes. It is commonplace in the literature of antiquity for these god-like champions to have been born of a virgin mother who was informed of her "immaculate conception" by an angel. Charismatic leaders who attracted passionate followers were also said to "perform miracles." In retrospect, jesus can be seen as a product of creative evolution; an incarnation of all the ideal tendencies in the human race. Again, to reference Wulff, the central events for Christian faith, Christ's death and resurrection, are projections of the intrapsychic processes of transformation, in which lower desires and ends are "put to death" or renounced for higher ones, of which Jesus is the perfect embodiment.
In summation, as put so pithily in the 2001 Israeli hit song, "The messiah is not coming - and he is not even going to call."

cogito ergo atheos sum

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Fromm:  "Once a doctrine, however irrational, has gained power in a society, millions of people will believe it rather than feel ostracized and isolated."

Bierce:  "Religion - a daughter of hope and fear, explaining to ignorance the nature of the unknowable."

Wm. James:  "Medical materialism finishes up Saint Paul by calling his visions on the road to Damascus a discharging lesion of the occipital cortex, he being an epileptic. It snuffs out Saint Teresa as an hysteric, Saint Francis of Assisi as an hereditary degenerate."

T. Jefferson:  "Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man... perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind... a mere contrivance (for the clergy) to filch wealth and power to themselves."

Nietzsche:  "God is a gross answer, an indelicacy against us thinkers - at bottom merely a gross prohibition for us: thou shall not think."

Euripides: " We, holding that the Gods exist, deceive ourselves with insubstantial dreams and lies, while random careless chance and change alone control the world."

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I just came across a Web site that puts the "mental" in fundamentalism, Apologetic can be defined as "serving as or containing a formal justification or defense." In this instance, in defending or proving the truth of the most primitive, anti-intellectual, hyperbolic christian doctrine. It appears that the writing staff lived past lives during the Inquisition, so resolute and truculent is the tone of AP's "principles of truth."
On first perusal, I found the material so outlandish I took it as a tongue-in-cheek attempt at humor. Then I reasoned that the gang at AP had probably been eating mushrooms or licking toads and were harmlessly having a good time tripping. Nooooo, these people are serious!: more's the pity.
At any rate, check it out for yourselves. I think you'll find it the very distillation of delusional thinking.