Sunday School

Sunday School May 19th 2019

This topic contains 18 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 3 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 19 total)
  • Author
  • #26280

    Churches are joining forces to defeat the devil. A Christian spin doctor must have come up with that idea!! But we know who the real demons are.

    The Catholic Church in Poland is bracing itself for an avalanche of sexual abuse allegations after the release of a film on YouTube which already has over 20 million views. (See video below).

    Christians in Texas continue to violate the Constitution.

    What is Humanism?

    Alabama’s extremist Abortion Bill.

    Six signs that you may soon be an atheist. See also Dan Dennett video below.

    This weeks’ Woo: The poop cult of the Jilly Juicers.

    Climate Change: Steven Novella – The climate is always changing.

    Scientists have created the world’s first living organism that has a fully synthetic and radically altered DNA code.

    I am still determined that we have another free will discussion. (See video below).

    Strategies to discover physics beyond the Standard Model.

    Science is facing a brain drain.

    It was a relief to learn that I am no big deal.

    Can cheap fashion ever be ethical?

    This week I am reading this book:  This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom.

    Some photographs taken last week.

    While you are waiting for the kettle to boil…..

    Coffee Break Video: Tell No One, the full documentary about the Catholic Church in Poland (and everywhere else). Dr. Christian List on Why Free Will is real. Julia Galef has a visual guide to Bayesian thinking. Dan Dennett on why you might be an atheist.


    Have a great week everyone!!

    The Papacy is not other than the Ghost of the deceased Roman Empire, sitting crowned upon the grave thereof.

    – Thomas Hobbes.



    Thanks, Reg!


    The “Tell No One” video is not easy to watch but it is a powerful and moving documentary. I have seen similar works done after the abuse scandals in Ireland and elsewhere. I am certain that it has been going on for centuries and in every corner of the world where the Catholic Church has a presence. The whole organization should be disbanded. Their assets, much of which were usurped in the first place, should be sold and the monies put into a fund for the thousands of victims of its brutality.



    The “Tell No One” video is not easy to watch….

    That priest blamed the devil…and is only worried about himself.


    That is the problem with Catholic morality and forgiveness and the scapegoating of responsibility via vicarious redemption.

    The priest blames the devil which prevents him from accepting responsibility for his crimes. Rather than asking the victims to forgive him he asks his god  to forgive him. It is so self serving that it is immoral.

    It gives no justice to the victims and takes no steps towards giving them closure.



    That is the problem with Catholic morality

    There is no meaningful morality without the consideration for the suffering of others. Indifference makes your morality empty and nothing but words. What is most shocking about all of these accounts, is not just the cover-ups, which were terrible, but when Church leaders were informed about it, most interviews I’ve read showed that many Bishops denied it, go angry and punished the kids and that those who saw a pattern and could no longer doubt it still didn’t even bat an eye when they heard of their rape. It’s just a kid. A cute yet insignificant being in front of a religious giant and organization and ministry. I’ve noticed this theme coming up again and again and again throughout Christian history. In some countries during some periods the church was “relatively” benign with somewhat smiley priests who cared. Especially when Church fervor and pew presence was going down and the Pope wasn’t too tyrannical. But in so many places, it was vicious. It showed indifference at both a macro and a micro level. Indifference to human suffering in general for various theological reasons like original sin and saving the eternal soul. And justice shifted from the suffering of a person and the collective to the breaking of a conceptual rule. How many nuns showed absolute atrocious cruelty to young students who barely did or in fact did nothing wrong? Being endlessly harassed for having been born a bastard? Tortured for speaking out of turn? The shift went from compassion for fellow man towards compassion for eternal souls and an invisible man in the sky. All things that don’t even exist. So how successful was Christianity when it comes to morality. There is so much more freedom, compassion, empathy, happiness and fulfillment in the last 50 secular years than in the recorded history of civilization. The question is, was Christian morality a necessary step between the morality of the Roman Empire and the humanist morality of the secular West? Did that transition really have to take 1700 years of indifference, suffering and misery? Does Christianity deserve the credit, as some Christian apologists claim, for getting us to this point? Japan changed from a patriarchal abusive child beating Roman like Empire of high cruelty to a humanist society in a couple decades. Does that also deserve the thanks to 1700 years of Christian cruelty and child rape?

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  PopeBeanie. Reason: bq fix

    Simon Paynton

    The enlightenment grew out of a Christian environment, and I can see the link between “respect for the individual” in both humanism and Christianity.  In Japan, they may well have spent a couple of decades learning from Western humanism.

    Christian morality is not 100% terrible.  There are plenty of good bits there too.



    Christian morality is not 100% terrible. There are plenty of good bits there too.

    You can say the very same thing about the Roman empire. What I’m interested in is the so called success of Christian morality as a stepping stone between the Roman Empire and the modern west. Humanism grew out of the enlightenment. And the enlightenment was a REACTION to Christianity at the time. Human respect for the individual was about as meaningful in Christian European times as in Roman times. All of the knowledge we gained and rights that slowly developed happened IN SPITE of the churches attempts to stop it. They gave into these rights and the freedom to learn while throwing temper tantrums, they still do in some ways. In fact in the Roman empire, even if you were a slave you had a small chance to be free and gain citizenship and rights. I cannot imagine the same kind of opportunity for individual freedom and respect for an Irish peasant.

    The Romans had slavery. The Christians had serfs. Many Romans died from war. The Christians died from both war AND neglect. Is there anything the Christians did that could not have been done by another ideology that would lead to Western humanism? Or did we have to have a brutal oppressive cruel system in order to react to it and overthrow it? If that is the case does Christian morality deserve a thank you?

    In Japan, they may well have spent a couple of decades learning from Western humanism.

    To some degree this must be the case. My question is, is it preposterous to claim that Japan ought to thank Christianity for the development of its humanist society or should they be thankful that they got there despite Christian practices?

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  Davis.

    Simon Paynton

    If you’re interested in the case to be put, there’s a book “God Created Humanism” by Theo Hobson.  Here’s a quote from that book, taken from another book, which sums up the argument I am making:

    So at the heart of Christianity is a dynamic, energetic universalism.  A new order is arriving in which old divisions are swept aside, in which the equal sacredness of every single human soul is asserted.  As Larry Siedentop puts it:

    By emphasizing the moral equality of humans, quite apart from any social roles they might occupy, Christianity changed ‘the name of the game’.  Social rules became secondary.  They followed, and in a crucial sense, had to be understood as subordinate to a God-given identity, something all humans share equally.

    The Jewish ideal of universal justice is refreshed through this new iconoclasm against traditional cultic practices.

    * I thought that “the Jewish ideal of universal justice” applied to Jews only.  On the other hand, human rights is a matter of including people within one’s moral community or group.

    Is there anything the Christians did that could not have been done by another ideology that would lead to Western humanism?

    But what ideology?  Which ones are available?  Communism and Marxism?  Buddhism?  Islam?  There were and are no others on the table.

    Christianity and religion in general is not a monolithic entity.  It gets abused by the Church to protect people’s own power and greed, and like you say, infractions of arbitrary social norms become, inappropriately, punishable by God.

    If we translate “God’s love” into “the pressure to thrive” then we can see that both are universal, individual and maximising.  This idea in itself translates very well into “universal human rights”.  So, I can see a big old clear link between the two.



    Simon. Please pay attention this time. If human rights barely existed in the 5th century, the 9th century the 13th century and only started emerging with the SECULARIZATION of Europe…then how can Christianity take credit for it? That’s so fucking ridiculous, especially considering the lengths the church has gone to in order to stop it. It’s like saying Soviet Russia was responsible for free enterprise because towards the end as they were losing the battle of ideologies they started experimenting with it and that you could find the ocassional free market activity there. Yes there were snippets of human rights found in Europe from time to time from place to place. But you had the same thing in Pagan Rome, Pagan Athens, Hindu India, Bhudist Korea and even Islamic Ottoman Empire. I would rather have taken my chances as a free citizen in Rome (who by the way had actual qantifiable rights that were usually upheld) than live a short miserable life in pre-englightenment Europe. There is NO fantastical comparison of human rights, individualism, personal opportunity, avenues to education in Christian Europe than there was amongst other ideologies. At best there were a few pockets in Europe and a few less outside. That is a study of outliers, not the generation of ideological change.

    A new order is arriving in which old divisions are swept aside, in which the equal sacredness of every single human soul is asserted.

    WTF? It’s like claiming the germans were responbile for Israel because of the commitment to securing their rights based on an entirely different ideology. Chistianity did not permit most of the rights we enjoy today. The Church forbid it. And the church sustained that lack of rights for a long time. Most churches are still trying to hold back women’s rights, LGTB rights, things like safe sex and for some churches rational evidence based education and even race relations. What this guy is saying is fanciful bullshit. I’ve studied European history and the history of human rights. I don’t recognise anything about this guys text in any of it. So perhaps you can help illustrate it with some examples. Could you please give me 5 examples of how this individualism manifested itself in practice in Europe. I don’t want theology or poetry or fantasy. Please give me 5 specific examples where these rights, individualism, opportunity to flourish and openess to knowledge did not exist in Rome, and according to you is not possible in any other ideology (which is supreme bullshit) that emerged in practice in Christian Europe and please stick to 400AD to 1400AD. The beginning of the secularisation of Europe doesn’t count for obvious reasons. Again, examples that emerged and worked broadly in practice, not in written text. Please be specific and avoid giving examples that are purely religious.

    If we translate “God’s love” into “the pressure to thrive”

    Simon you are the only person doing that. I don’t think anyone else is entertaining this thriving meme of yours because I don’t see it throughout the history of Christianity. It is a fantasy. Europeans did not thrive. They sort of got by with short miserable lives and only small pockets of happiness in a few cities of Italy or the Holy Roman Empire etc and again, most of those places had highly independent governments separated from the church which was at odds with the conditions that gave rise to that kind of thriving. Christian Europe WAS a monolithic organization. It was the Catholic church for centuries with tight control and the threat of excommunication. Claiming otherwise is ridiculous. This link between God and human rights only exists in your mind because your thriving meme connected with God is a personal one and you haven’t ever properly quoted examples of how this was widely considered and actually practiced. Where is it? When did this happen? Who said stuff like that other than sophists? How did Europeans thrive in the 10th century. How did Russian christians thrive in the 13th century. How did Ethiopian Christians thrive in the 11th century? Where was this Armenian thriving in any century? How did Coptic Egyptian Christians thrive? What about Lebanese Christians in the 8th century. Any thriving there?

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  Davis.

    Simon Paynton

    Christians are claiming to have contributed to the modern conception of human rights, and I can see their point.  They’re not claiming to have invented it.

    Europeans did not thrive.   etc.

    But they wanted to.  They experienced a pressure to thrive, just like every other living thing.


    Simon Paynton

    What is Humanism?

    Atheist Ireland said:

    here are supposed naturalists and empiricists modelling their ethics on pseudoscientific claims

    @regthefronkeyfarmer – do you know, where did AI get that from?  What do they mean?


    Simon Paynton

    It was a relief to learn that I am no big deal.

    This is a very interesting article.  It seems that investing everything we do with our own ego, or instinct for self-preservation – can lead to that ego or self-preservation getting stomped all over, painfully.  If we are less egocentric, we are more happy, because we have less at stake or to lose.  Self-indifference is an interesting concept.

    ‘This is not to say that a humble person fails to care about her own welfare or pursue her own interests – it is simply that she sees these as being deeply intertwined with the welfare and interests of others,’

    These authors recognise a pressure to thrive.


    @regthefronkeyfarmer – do you know, where did AI get that from? What do they mean?

    Sounds familiar but could you link the page URL please.


Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 19 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.