Sunday School

Sunday School 29th May 2022

This topic contains 11 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 1 year, 10 months ago.

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    The report into sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention churches has similarities with many of the cases in the Catholic Church. Apart from its crimes against humanity, the SBC also seems more concerned about public liability and negative attention than it does about the welfare of its victims.  They came out with the same BS line as the Catholic Church did about fear and repentance before their just and holy God (a wholly imaginary god, that is). Their pastors acted disgracefully towards their victims. But given the nature of Christian theology no atheist is surprised by these crimes even if many Evangelicals are stunned by it.

    A pastor quits over ‘adultery,’ but a woman says she was 16 when he abused her. What will it take for Orthodox Judaism to hold sexual abusers accountable? I have 12 similar stories but most are too sick to print and they all involve abuse by religious leaders from all major faiths.

    For the sake of balance, I should not just focus on the sexual crimes of the Catholic Church. They are more than just an international pedophile ring. At least The Cuddly One had some nice things to say about the Irish and Italians this week.

    Does Jesus have a seat at the boardroom table?

    Religious people explain how they really view Atheism and a very poor apologetic article about atheists.

    After a five year legal battle a school district in WV agrees to stop breaking the law by ignoring the Constitution.

    Government has no business making religious beliefs the law of the land as the Separation of Church and State is an important American value.

    In India, Hindu nationalists embolden challenges to atheism. Atheists are afraid to be online as Pakistan violently cracks down on digital blasphemy.

    Anthony Albanese wins Australian election, defeating anti-LGBTQ+ Scott Morrison

    The twisted logic behind the Right’s ‘Great Replacement’ arguments.

    Atheist Alliance International is corrupted by vested interests and has only one way forward*.

    World of Woo: 4 categories of pseudoscience — and how to talk to people who believe in them and here’s how to avoid misinformation as you read about Uvalde and other mass shootings.

    Environment: Are EV range limitations a technological problem…or a psychological one?

    Lesson for today: The Feynman Technique: The best way to learn anything.

    What the Voyager space probes can teach humanity about immortality and legacy.

    The Big Bang gave rise to the Universe we know. Here’s why a Big Crunch isn’t how it will end.

    Tech firms are making computer chips with human cells – is it ethical?

    Long Reads: The Dangerous Dogs Act, with its emphasis on how a dog looks, is wholly unscientific. Physicists rewrite the Fundamental Law that leads to Disorder and the struggle to find the origins of time. Abiogenesis and the precursor to the modern ribosome. What does it take for someone to become a ‘different person’? Is moral expertise possible? On letting the sea have its way.

    Sunday Book Club:  Different: Gender Through the Eyes of a Primatologist.

    Podcast: Do we really have a self?

    Some photographs taken last week.

    While you are waiting for the kettle to boil……

    Coffee Break Video:  Richard Dawkins & Francis Collins: Biology, Belief and Covid. The Royal Institution: Getting old without getting older. Carl Sagan testifying before Congress in 1985 on climate change.


    Have a great week everyone!

    *Disclosure: I know one of the writers of the AAI report personally.



    Thank you, Reg!


    The Cuddly One might like our Irish whiskey but I doubt if he will like my favorite church. Spending a few minutes in silence there does wonders for me before I walk across to the National Gallery. That’s how I often spend  lunch hour when in the city centre.  That’s the plan for Tuesday.



    One of the problems with the Christian faith is that confession and complete and total forgiveness are at the very heart of the thing. When God forgives, there’s no regular reporting to a probation officer. It’s an honor system. LOL


    Unseen – God is great at forgiving Christians that never have to ask forgiveness from their victims. No engagement with them is required. Just be sorry that they feel hurt and then recite a few prayers and admit to feeling humbled by the experience which you are now learning from. Yes, vicarious redemption as Hitchens often discussed.

    We mentioned about the moral implications of this scenario in a previous post a few years back.

    A priest sexually abuses a young boy for 10 years. He gets arrested 20 years later and it turns out that the priest has abused several other children. In the intervening years the boy grows up and has become addicted to alcohol and drugs. He thinks he is the only one it happened to and his self-worth is destroyed. He cannot hold down a job, never mind a relationship with anyone. Just before the court case is announced he takes his own life and curses the priest and the god the priest prayed to as he was being abused.

    The old infirm priest is found guilty and due to his age is given a suspended sentence and confined to the care of his church. He is taken ill soon afterwards and he confesses his sins to another priest who forgives him and gives him the last rites. He dies that night.

    According to the Catholic Church the victim is banished to Hell for committing suicide and for denying and blaspheming the Catholic God. But the priest who is forgiven gets to go to Heaven in a state of grace. As Hitchens might have said, “Well fuck that”.



    While not really Sunday School material, it’s still something to think about even if not worthy of being a regular post, while noting that these shootings are also a windfall for the merchants of death because there’s a run on guns after each of these slaughters of innocents.

    Support For Gun Control Will Likely Rise After Uvalde. But History Suggests It Will Fade.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  Unseen.

    No embargo on what is posted in Sunday School once it is informative. in fact I am happy to take suggestions on what anyone might like to read more (or less!) of.

    Yes, after each tragedy there is a surge in sales just in case the flow of guns might get halted. not likely in One Nation under Guns.

    My brother and I keep talking about going to the new local gun range in Atlanta but we never seem to get there as the novelty wears thin very quickly and really we just have no interest in going.




    Francis can’t even get his damn history straight. The Mafia was originally Sicilian, not Italian, as good Italians are quick to point out. The word “Mafia” also has several etymological origins in Arabic.

    Reg, there are far better places to go for quiet than a Church. As they always presciently say in gangster movies: “It’s quiet…A little too quiet.”

    Except for the occasional funeral and long time ago, a wedding, I don’t brighten the door of a house of worship if I can avoid it.

    Yes, I said “brighten” deliberately and this is also my alibi for anything awful that happens with a house of worship.

    “Here’s the Church.
    Here’s the steeple.
    It’s just my hands,
    You dumb sheeple!”

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Addendum
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Making "bistory" into "history."

    @theencogitationer – Did you click the “church” link? I do like very old churches, especially the stained glass windows but I don’t go to for any inspiration or to hear their softly spoken magic spells. The link features a library that is in use for the last 290 years. My church has a DJ.




    Now, with a library like this, I could easily see both brightening the door and being brightened back even more by the experience.

    And as good as these curators are at caring for the books, I can imagine they would never put up with my last two experiences with public libraries.

    Once about 17 years ago, I came into a public library with teen kids running around and yelling across the building, with feckless librarians and Paul Blart-esque security doing nothing about it.

    The final straw came after that when I was almost literally carried out of the lihrary by fleas left by someone’s unserviceable “service animal.” After that, I shreded my library card, used GoodReads,, E.R. Hamilton, and Barnes & Noble and never came back to a public library.

    In larger cities like Charlotte and New York, public libraries have become day camps for the homeless, complete with sleeping on floors, carrying in food and alcohol, drug use so bad the restrooms have sharps disposals, and bodily smells everywhere. Things like that are what lead to “compassion fatigue.”

    While I would never want a return to the days of The Snake Pit or Brazilian-style “cleansings” of the homeless, nor do I want the ruin of nice things like reading a great book and learning something new in peace. People coming to a library need to do just that and leave their pathologies at the door!

    Faithless is not alone in their Divine DJ Raving. Pink also seems moved by The Music Of The Spheres. Now to find out who inspired whom or whether it was separate revelations.


    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Completing the Sphere

    Simon Paynton

    Is moral expertise possible?

    This is an interesting and well-informed article.  I learned a few things and don’t find much to disagree with, except the idea that morality is there “for the good of the group”: it originated as “for the good of the individual”, otherwise it couldn’t have evolved.  It seems plausible that people who are conservative by nature were useful in ancient situations of food plenty, and that novelty-seekers (i.e., proto-liberals) were useful in times of food scarcity.

    I think moral expertise is definitely possible.  I have gained more moral expertise as I’ve got older, partly from learning from mistakes, partly from knowing moral exemplars (including watching Judge Judy), and partly from researching for my book.  At least one study has said that people tend to get more conscientious and caring as they get older.

    I have learned, for example:

    – the importance of commitment, sticking to it, and being held accountable for it.  A commitment is a commitment and can’t legitimately be broken without agreement from the other side.

    – actions are nearly as important as consequences.  If moral principles are obligatory, then they are goals, and therefore, ends in themselves, separate from consequences.  Some things just shouldn’t be done, no matter the justification or provocation.

    – other people require kindness and empathic concern in certain circumstances.

    – fairness comes in a number of different varieties, all based around the idea of equality.

    Whoever said that

    Morality is simply not an object of scientific investigation. Its existence and properties cannot be proven or disproven by empirical methods.

    was talking out of their arse.

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