Catholic Church tried to strike deal with police over child sexual abuse investigations – ABC News (Australia)

The Catholic Church tried to circumvent the Crimes Act by drafting a Memorandum of Understanding with police, then operated as if the agreement was in place, effectively failing to report complaints of sexual abuse “unless required by courtorder”.

How can anyone continue to hold up this self-interested and secretive institution as a valid bastion of morality?

“It’s likely that hundreds, if not more than that were processed through this MOU, and processed in a way that didn’t protect victims, didn’t assist the police in prosecuting for crimes, but protected the good name of the church and effectively prevented the police from getting the key evidence to prosecute any accused priest.”

 

“The church wanted to effectively give the accused priest a veto power about whether or not to provide crucial information to the police – utterly extraordinary when you think that that’s less than a decade ago.”

Catholic Church tried to strike deal with police over child sexual abuse investigations – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

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63 comments

  1. Francis Philip

    The accusation appears to me to be political, an implicit form of libel on the part of the news reporter. The memorandum draft was about providing under court order “matter relevant to the accused’s account.” For this to be an issue, there would already be public knowledge of a report of sexual abuse; the Church would then rely upon the courts to officially require the Church to make a report when the courts determined that a data call was necessary. The Church is obviously operating under a) mutual agreement with the police and b) under the advisement of a barrister.

    Your claim is irresponsible. Would you like someone to do the same to you?

    • Which claim is irresponsible? If I had an established history of protecting pedophiles and perverting the course of justice for victims, I would probably think it was just a matter of time.

      At least we have the Royal Commission to help redress the balance and expose the true horrors the church sought and still seeks to cover up.

      • Francis Philip

        But I think that you are being biased and unjust. Your motive is to make the Church look bad – to imply that it is doing what it actually is not doing. Do you understand this? Try to re-read the reports with an objective mind, and then see what your conclusion is. I think the Church is simply following legal procedures. Jesus Christ, while he welcomes all sinners to repentance (which means, an invitation to stop sinning or else), even pedophiles, He does not condone evil; neither does His Church.

      • The church is not “simply following legal procedures”, it is using the law to protect it’s reputation and that of pedophiles it protects, over and above the rights to evidentiary discovery victims would normally have if the church was not involved.

        Furthermore, protecting reputation is not in itself condoning evil, it is in fact indicative of another equally sinister evil of self interest, using its power to protect perpetrators, coerce victims and pervert the course of justice. These are heinous acts which must be brought to light and reported. If the church “looks bad” because of it, then so much better for warning people to treat with extreme caution an institution which seeks to indoctrinate children while protecting those who abuse them.

      • Francis Philip

        Well, if you were a corporation which had an employee who committed an embarrassing and evil act, wouldn’t you want to protect yourself from people like yourself?

      • Francis Philip

        Clarification: wouldn’t you want to protect yourself from tactics such as those you are using to dishonor the Church?

      • Whether its a corporation, organisation or individual, trying to limit reporting of crimes by coming to an “understanding” with the authorities is illegal. I would think a corporation would be quick to blame the individual perpetrators and use them as an example to others.

        At any rate pointing all of this out, as well as that it does more to protect pedophiles than victims, is not “dishonouring the church”, merely exposing it. Also you need respect for something before you can honour it…

      • Francis Philip

        Can you prove that the Catholic Church today does more to protect pedophiles than victims? Have you queried the Church on the steps they have taken and are taking to protect children, and based upon the facts, are you now making an claim that the Church is protecting pedophiles at the expense of victims, as a matter of policy?

      • Thankfully I don’t have to, we have the Royal Commission for that. At any rate what they are doing today doesn’t excuse the despicable way they have behaved in the past, and people should be warned, just as with any other organisation.

        The church does not deserve special treatment or protection of either its personnel or reputation, and does not represent the pinnacle or embodiment of morality and beatitude it tries to portray itself as. The cover up of abuse is only one aspect of its greed and self interest which goes all the way to the Vatican (which should not enjoy the protection of a statehood).

        Hopefully the Australian Royal Commission will embolden other countries to do the same to help victims of abuse and expose the church around the world.

      • Francis Philip

        Well, as much as you have a right to defend yourself, so should the Church – especially against those who would act, not with justice, but with utter bias against you / her. I think, I hope that you will agree with that.

      • I agree as long as it is within the law, and the attempted memorandum of understanding clearly contravenes that, which is why the police never “officially” signed it.

        It is the admission that the church operated as if it was in effect which is most disturbing, as well as the protection it tries to afford abusers and the church over victims. Their complaints are not biased or unjust, it is the dismissal and cover up of the truth which is, and to which the church must be held accountable for providing the trusted and permissive environment in which the abuse took place.

        It is not biased for anyone to report the evidence of cover ups and deals with police. The church is responsible for too much damage to thousands of victims and their families around the world to be afforded any concept of honour or protection of the sake of its reputation. I find your attempted defence appealing to that and “objectivity” just as reprehensible.

      • Francis Philip

        Do you think that maybe, as it is in the secular world, that the memorandum was drafted by a barrister and reflects the counsel of a barrister? In other words, is it possible that any corporation would have attempted the same memorandum as long as the same barrister was counseling them?

      • Of course it does, and I don’t know how many times I have to repeat this, it goes to show (along with plenty of other evidence now being considered by the Royal Commission) that the church was more interested in protecting itself and the abusers than it was about securing justice for the victims.

        As for comparisons to the “secular world”, while corporations have social responsibilities and must comply with the law, they do not usually exist to provide moral guidance or community support in the way the church is supposed to. Therefore self-interested amoral behaviour by the church and its personnel is even more reprehensible and morally repugnant.

        Religions often claim they are beholden to a “higher standard” and seek to provide and demonstrate that standard in their operation, therefore they should be judged against their own additional moral claims.

        This evidence shows the Catholic Church is no better than secular organisations at dealing with illegal behaviour, and in fact is worse in many aspects of covering up abuse or denying victims justice, which in and of itself is amoral and opposite to the image the church attempts to both maintain and claim as its benefit to society.

  2. Francis Philip

    The secular government does not hold the Church to the Church’s standard; only the Church can hold itself to its own standard. If the secular Government attempted to hold the Church to its own standard, then it would be acting rashly and illegally. In addition, it would be embracing the Catholic Church as the state religion.

    Is this what you are supporting? Are you embracing the law of the Church for the sake of prosecuting the Church? If so, you would have to be subjected to that same law. If you are subjected to that same law, I think that you might be in violation already.

    • I don’t have to be held to the same standard as I’m not being prosecuted for failing to protect children while protecting pedophile priests.

      I love how “defenders of the faith” like yourself tie yourselves in knots trying to defend the church against criticism based on the facts.

      Do you realise how hypocritical it is to on the one hand offer moral representation then say the church can’t be judged by that same standard?

      This is in part why I started this blog, to show how damaging religious institutions can be, as well as the kind of dangerous reasoning about excusing that damage indoctrinated believers engage in.

      I don’t have a vested interest in either the church’s existence, nor am I a victim, just a concerned citizen who sees the heinous things that have been done by trusted practitioners like priests and believers in the name of their religion and see an opportunity to warn and educate people.

      • Francis Philip

        Then try to treat the Church like you would want to be treated – fairly.

      • It’s not unfair to point out behaviour by the church which makes it look bad.

        What IS unfair is how the church denied victims of child sexual abuse the same justice they would’ve had in a secular organisation, while protecting its own interests as well as the pedophile priests who were given positions of trust in the community.

        People have a right to be warned and society should be protected from institutions which attempt to operate outside the law, which is what the original news story of this post was about. It is neither unfair or amoral to report it or the hypocrisy it represents.

      • Francis Philip

        Pedophile priests should never have been given positions of trust in the community. I can tell you that the Church, now aware of such negligence, has clamped down on this sort of incompetence. My own diocese certainly has taken very strong measures.

      • While that is good, I’m afraid for many it is too little too late. It is not mere “incompetence”, there is clear evidence within the church of criminal negligence and conspiracy to both pervert the course of justice and failure to protect victims.

        This failure was so endemic and catastrophic for such an extended period that it is now why we are having a Royal Commission to redress the wrongs and expose the perpetrators and the institution which allowed them to operate without proper punishment.

        The broader implications of this is to question the validity of the church’s system of “self governance” as well as the value and reliability of the community services it provides, and whether these could be better achieved by secular organisations which are overseen by the government. But that will be the subject of a future post.

      • Francis Philip

        God is just, and He remembers those who are merciless.

      • Well of course there you are presupposing your god exists, over and above all the other gods (eg. Roman, Norse, Greek, Mayan, etc) no one believes in anymore…

        At any rate the god of the Christian bible was hardly just, particularly in the Old Testament, look at what he did to Job, all living things in the great flood and his own son (who was also himself…). More like a vengeful schizophrenic being (who never reveals itself) with very human emotions, than an all powerful benevolent being who could stop disease, famine and disasters but for “unknowable reasons” chooses not to.

        And it remains that just reporting the facts of criminal negligence and questioning the church’s validity is not “merciless” (if that is what you are insinuating), it is indicative of free-thinking open debate and good social governance.

      • Francis Philip

        If you are an atheist, then you are incompetent to write or speak about religion.

        Note that the sin of pornography comes from outside of the Church – from your society – and enters in. That is the interesting part of this whole problem – quick to condemn the few sinners inside of the Church who are victims of what comes into it from outside of the Church. The Church is the most vulnerable institution, and when it shows the wound of its disease which your world gives to it, you condemn it as if that disease originated there. Why not treat the source of the disease? Why attack the whole Church for the “disease” of a relative few as if it started with them?

      • So only believers can be competently critical of religion? What about people of different faiths? How religious do you have to be to be “competent”? Many Christians I debate with haven’t even read the bible! I would argue that being an atheist offers the most clarity free from indoctrination and insight into the harmful division and inequality religions often foster.

        As for the church being the “most vulnerable”, it is well funded with global resources and indoctrinates children with supernatural myths from the earliest age to swell its ranks, it is not vulnerable at all. Undoing the brainwashing and guilt takes years.

        At any rate you are obfuscating the issue- the negligence is in the coverup and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and protect the pedophile priests more than the victims, not the “wound” of the existence of abusers. The church through its actions failed the victims and perpetuated a permissive environment in which abuse by priests was ongoing, it’s measures to close the wound were wholly inadequate and criminally negligent.

        To this day this powerful institution is still fighting justice and covering up, and there will be plenty more posts from around the world to demonstrate this, competently reported.

      • Francis Philip

        You redirected the my point out of context. An atheist is not competent to speak or write about religion since an atheist refuses to acknowledge the most important aspect of true religion: God or a god.

        Again, remember that your world is the source of the sin which diseases the Church. For example, secular states allow the production and sale of pornography, prostitution at very young ages, the setting up and formal recognition of homosexual “marriage,” “safe sex” education for minor children, and so on. None of this came from inside the Church. But it does find its way into the Church because of the abundance of it and because of the weakness of those inside the Church who become susceptible for various reasons.

        I’m not making excuses for the errors of some clergy or of those who participated in evil acts with clergy (victim or not), but I am asking you to use reason and to set aside your bias or hatred for this one institution. Why not be biased against the secular instruments who legalize evil acts instead? At least the Church teaches that these acts are evil and should not be legalized.

        Why don’t help the Church become stronger rather than trying to knock it down into an organization run by the very secular organizations which legalize or condone evil acts? Look around you. Look at all of the nations which are legalizing sexual immorality – promoting it – promoting abortion and gay marriage (homosexual sex at all ages), and so on. It is the secular world which is doing this and which is hurting the members of the Church who fall prey, but you are kicking the wounded instead of the true wounder?

        Think about it. You know how to reason. Do you hate the Church? Do you hate God? Why are you picking on an institution which stands for morality – strives for morality. Were not made of gods you know. We are people on a journey to moral perfection, even in the light of the fact that some of our clergy have failed. But that is temporary.

      • Again you presuppose a god exists. Your world and mine are the same (physically, if not existentially).

        In your wide-ranging and rambling response you have failed to explicitly mention the subject of the article, which is the attempted perversion of justice by the church in protecting paedophile priests and denying victims their rights to proper investigation.

        You have also exposed yourself as a homophobic bigot. Homosexuality is not a “lifestyle choice”, it is a natural biological state found in most higher organisms, only one of which is homophobic.

        Same sex marriage is about equality and does not seek to legalise marriages “at all ages”. Islam however is one religion that does legislate pre-pubescent marriage, and you can see that in other posts.

        Pornography and prostitution are examples of sex for non-procreative purposes. The church may deem them a sin (though Pope Francis has already softened on homosexuality), but society has determined that consenting adults can choose to do with their bodies what they wish, some decide to sell them. I am not condoning it specifically, but I do support freedom of choice and equality for consenting adults in all areas, including marriage and sexuality. It is neither the church’s nor the state’s position to choose for them. The Christian church should also stick to Leviticus in banning shellfish, the wearing of different clothes, etc, if it is to stay true to the old testament.

        At any rate I do not hate the church as an institution, however I find the cover ups and permissive environment in which paedophiles operated for continued periods and the denial of justice to victims abhorrent and immoral. Failure to “close the wound” or “cure the disease” once known about is not good enough, and puts the legitimacy of the church into question.

        Secular organisations already do the same positive work of the church with more transparency and professionalism. The dogma of morality and ethics coming from an unseen supernatural being is not required.

        Which leads me god, which I do not hate, just am certain does not exist. How can I hate that which is merely a made up mythical concept?

        The Abrahamic or Judeo-Christian and Muslim god is on par with fairies, leprechauns, unicorns, Roman gods, Greek gods, ghosts, the list of imaginary monsters and beings is endless.

        All creation myths start with a human prophet who claims to be divinely inspired by an unseen yet omnipotent being. It is just megalomania and delusion preying on human superstition and desire to explain our existence in simple terms, with little evidence besides hearsay and ancient writings translated multiple times from different languages.

        Religions do not have exclusive rights to morality, even though they claim it. Moral, ethical or altruistic behaviour arises from evolutionary pressures in social organisms, and is now demonstrated in 6 month old babies (who cannot possibly have found religion yet).

        What is temporary is the legitimacy of the church as a morally superior institution and the number of people choosing to follow the bigoted dogmas of religion. I am just helping redress the balance towards choice and equality for all humans, regardless of ethnicity, gender or sexuality, as well as supporting the education of free-thinking children in an environment free of potentially abusive or unqualified clergy as well as biased and bigoted doctrine designed to control young minds with fear and guilt.

      • Francis Philip

        And I was mistaken. I will pray for your healing and salvation if you wish; if you do not wish, I will not. May you find the Way, and live.

      • I would not wish you to waste your time on a practice which has been demonstrated to have no measurable impact or statistical influence – you are in fact praying to yourself, no one or thing is listening.

        At any rate even if an omnipotent and omniscient supernatural being was able to discern your thoughts from the neuronal electrical activity of your synapses and rate it as more important than the billions of other thoughts of other living creatures on the planet, I doubt it would find your thoughts or wishes more insightful than its own observations which by definition are more complete than yours. That is not an insult just a logical conclusion which must be attributed to the concept of a god which can be both omnipresent yet strangely undetectable.

        What I do wish is that the time you would have spent praying you devote to actually doing some measurable and actionable good in the world. Forget the doctrine and the holy idols, do not excuse the church’s failure to properly deal with paedophiles “as a disease”, see it clearly as a self-interested cover up which served the perpetrators more than the victims, and more than anything else seek to accept all people as having equal human rights, including homosexuals (who have not chosen their sexuality any more than heterosexuals have).

  3. Francis Philip

    Well, you don’t know what you don’t know. I know what I know. I once did not know God; I know God much better now…through prayer. I can give you proofs, but you do not believe. Because you do not believe, you do not know, and will not know, unless God Himself intervenes in your life. Trust me: you will know if He does, but it will not be because you asked to know – you will discover it or be surprised by it. Because you are not humble to God, He will not answer you. But first be humble to Him, and maybe He will answer you.

    • The feeling of experiencing sensations you attribute to god are internally generated and in the extreme are hallucinations (like your vision of Mary and the vine of roses). These are not divinely generated and science can explain where in the brain they come from, as well as the social processes that evolved which create them in our minds.

      At any rate you do not need the church to experience these thoughts, nor a doctrine which says others are unequal because of their sexuality. An omnipotent being who has the power to create universes does not need you now, or after you die.

      I’ll focus on making the most of my current existence now, since when the electrical activity between my neurons stops, or a brain wasting disease limits my ability to correctly perceive the world and function consciously, that’s it.

      Here’s a thought experiment, what happens to old people who have gone senile and lost their mental faculties and personality when they die, do they return to an ideal, or a baby who has not yet formed the ability to speak or have a personality, if they die before this are they a dumb and thoughtless entity for eternity? The whole concept of living on after death in any form which resembles our current one is a logical, physical and scientific impossibility, no matter how much you believe, pray or behave according to the church’s bigoted dogma. You are only reinforcing the neural patterns which assist you in having more hallucinations and not actually helping anyone else, or getting closer to spending eternity with an unseen supernatural being.

      • Francis Philip

        I’m sorry, but in the first sentence you used the term “sensations” which means that you really don’t know what you are writing about. I don’t mean that in a personally derogatory way. God is Spirit. There is no “sensation” in the scientific meaning of the word. Study Aquinas.

      • From a psychological perspective a sensation is the function of low-level biochemical and neurological events in your brain generated by perceived stimulus, in the case of the supernatural the stimulus is internal.

        You are perceiving your own feelings and attributing them to god or an unseen spirit. Most perception is illusion constructed by our brains to make sense of the world. To understand how our brains trick us all the time, study psychology, I have a degree in it.

      • Francis Philip

        Nope. You have no understanding about what you are writing. As I wrote before, I know what I know. I did not state, “I sense what I sense.” There is a big difference.

      • You say potato… Knowledge or knowing can still only be the act of neurons firing, and you must have had a mental sensation to create the memories which form the knowledge in the first place.

        Either way what I was originally writing about was the failure of the church in relation to child sexual abuse, that is just reporting of the facts.

      • Francis Philip

        No, my friend. You are uninstructed – unstudied. You just don’t know…but you can know.

      • Just saying I am unstudied doesn’t make it so.

        You are clearly uninstructed in neuroscience and how the brain actually works and perceives what you term to be god.

        What you are talking about it philosophy, which is all religion and spirit can be, they are just made up concepts to explain the world which have less and less relevance as science explains both how and why things happen.

      • Francis Philip

        Why do you limit yourself to only what an animal (sentient being) can sense? The brain exists because the soul exists, not the other way around. Humans have an intellectual soul, whereas animals have a sentient soul and plants have a vegetal soul. The soul is the life principle of the body; the body is not the life principle of the soul. The intellectual soul has functionality which does not depend upon the body – namely – that functionality which we call the image of God (imago Dei) – the will and the intellect.

        The fact that I can philosophize and do philosophize is a strong proof that there is a being greater than I, else why would I search for a cause of me? Do you understand? If there is no scientific rationale for why I seek my Cause – which is outside of me (It does not have a brain like me) – and if my primary “first” Cause can and does exist outside of that which is caused, doesn’t that suggest that I, too, being designed to seek that Cause – can exist outside of me (my brain/body) for the sake of obtaining that Cause which I seek?

        Get out of the brain and into your soul. You are not an animal; animal is only part of who you are; you are more than your ability sense (smell, touch, see, hear, taste, be conscious like other animals).

      • Vegetal soul, really? You divide the entire biosphere into just three types – animal, vegetable and human? Life on this planet range from single-celled bacterium and archaea to multi-cellular organisms including plants and animals. Viruses are separate. At what level do organisms stop having souls?

        The problem with the philosophical perspective you are coming from is that the brain developed after all of these, and the only way we have the capacity to self-reflect is if we learn language and are educated to a high enough degree. A child left alone without education or language will not spontaneously have the ability to philosophise about it’s own existence.

        The soul is just a phantom concept humans use to explain the mind-body divide, which actually doesn’t exist. The mind is just a virtual representation of the body, and our neo-mammalian cortex behind our foreheads gives us the additional spatial and reasoning abilities which separate us from most mammals, though dolphins and some ape species come close. Memories allow us to self-reflect and attach some importance to our existence. Take away the neo-mammalian cortex (such as in a lobotomy) and humans regress to a less able state, without the qualities that distinguish us from most animals. We are just another artefact of evolution, albeit an extremely successful one. Intellectual ability arose over time, not in one go because some supernatural being was trying to create a physical form of its image.

      • Francis Philip

        Two things:
        1) Life begins with the spiritual, not with the material/physical;
        2) It is possible that secondary causality has altered life forms as we know them today, i.e., through manipulation of genes.

      • You have no proof for either of those statements and all repeatable and verifiable evidence we have from multiple fields of biology, physics, neuroscience, etc suggests otherwise.

        At any rate it has nothing to do with ancient texts made up by humans who were pretending to receive instruction from supernatural forces, on which you base your homophobia yet protection of the church’s reputation when it comes to the covering up of abuse by pedophiles and perversion of justice for the victims.

      • Francis Philip

        You do not have or you seriously lack God’s grace (favor) in your soul apparently. This is not good for you. You need the following:

        Faith –> Hope –> Love

        Instead, it appears that you have an abundance of these in you:

        Doubt –> Distrust –> Sin

        Notice that the flow is true: doubt (lack of faith) leads to distrust (lack of hope) which leads to sin (lack of love).

        You really need faith, hope and love in order to live as your Creator intended. This is because your Creator is Spirit; you are a compound of body and soul (spiritual). You need faith, hope and love for your soul to live eternally.

        Were you ever baptized as a Christian?

      • I have plenty of love for my family, the hope and distrust you mention are both natural emotional states of free-thinking minds, however it is your faith and the concept of sin which are made up artefacts of your religion, and there is no proof that they are actual things.

        You refuse to accept scientific evidence that what you term a soul is just a perception. Without education and language which evolved from social interaction, the human brain would have no more functionality than most mammals. The basic tenets of your personal philosophy are fundamentally flawed and your religious experiences are internally generated at best and hallucinations at worst.

        Trying to protect the church while being homophobic only serves to increase your defensiveness and divisiveness, and will not lead to true acceptance of other humans regardless of gender or sexuality. People like you are preventing true equality in the world, and are therefore not filled with real hope and love, it is merely manufactured from your christian (in this case) indoctrination.

        I have true love and respect for my fellow humans and real hope all will enjoy equal rights, regardless of gender and sexuality, as well as enjoy the freedom of choice without bigoted religious dogma attempting to impede things like marriage or even education (for women in the case of many Islamic countries).

  4. Francis Philip

    Okay. Here’s the break between your philosophy and my theology. I believe that God is Love. You think that you love, but do not believe that the source of your love is God. I believe that you can only love because of God, that this loving is beyond the ability of life, as we know it on earth, to do of it’s own power since that Love must have initiated us in the beginning, for love of the thought of us.

    I’m glad that you think that you have true love and respect for your fellow humans and real hope. I believe that God, in His great love for you, has put it there and that you have actually lived a virtuous life such that it remains there.

    So let us move along this new path of mutual agreement and respect. I’m happy that you love. Okay? Peace to you.

    • Thanks, but your entire philosophy is just that, conjecture and theory about god and love. You still have no actual proof other than ancient writings translated multiple times from humans who were most probably making it up, rather than actually having supernatural experiences.

      I have evidence that love is the neurobiological mechanism which has evolved for humans to become attached to each other, both for procreation and in turn for familial bonding to offspring. Here is a simplified diagram: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chemical_basis_of_love.png

      None of this still has anything to do with the church’s cover up of abuse and protection of pedophiles, and I certainly do not love religious institutions or divisive dogma which creates homophobia and gender inequality, so if an improbable supernatural being is responsible for my positive feelings towards humans it is not helping religious believers.

      • Francis Philip

        Your “evidence” is limited to your own finite (weak) ability to think. You, unaided, know no more than is given you to know.

        The Church does not produce “homophobia” but it does teach proper morality so that humanity can maintain order. The Church loves people who suffer from same-sex attraction. The Church has made this very, very clear. You have been misled. Also, you are being unfair to label the Church as having a divisive doctrine and for promoting gender inequality. You may see genders as being “inequal” but we see gender as being “complementary” in a very loving way, in peace with God’s Plan. Why are you bitter?

      • Because you and the church claim to have a moral superiority which is based on an unproven, unseen and highly improbable supernatural entity which if it was all powerful and omnipotent could just show itself.

        Until proven your moralising and ethical claims are invalid and divisive.

        Morality and love both evolved out of our social nature, there is no proof or even evidence other than made up ancient texts that a deity was responsible for them. Aliens would be a more probable explanation. Still yet to see them either.

        You have no legitimacy to your claims and therefore no superiority to say my position based on observation and experiment is inferior to your philosophical one.

      • Francis Philip

        Yes I do. You are just bitter and afraid. Your arguments are simply anti- wisdom and anti- history and anti- trust. Why are you so anti- and negative and unbelieving?

      • Again just saying you do have legitimacy doesn’t make it so, you must demonstrate it and have failed to do so, and have now resorted to ad hominem attacks about my emotional state rather than my factual reporting. This is different to my analysis of your religious hallucinations as I can point to the known processes which create them. If you originally came here to successfully defend the church you have also failed.

        Furthermore your faith in a supernatural being redressing the balance is misguided, delusional and at any rate relies on events happening after death on this planet, so are essentially irrelevant from an atheist perspective (and an increasing number of people around the world are realising this).

        Science is not anti-wisdom, it is about testing and verification, evolution has better answers and explanations for morality and love than the conjectural philosophy of made up ancient writings by bigoted slave-owning pre-Bronze Age nomads from the Middle East.

        Your worldview is easily deconstructed and your bigotry based on false premises, justified by nebulous reasoning and philosophising which goes against all evidence we have about human development and evolution.

      • Francis Philip

        But science is limited to what is created, and you are a creation attempting to perceive only what creation can perceive – which is creation itself. To only rely upon science, and not allow for something greater than what can be perceived through scientific inquiry is a bit short-sighted in my personal opinion (please, I am allowed my personal opinion). Also, I apologize for causing you any emotional distress (if my statements were a cause). I did not intend to. Peace to you.

      • You don’t seem to be truly reading my replies… You are allowed your personal opinion, but not your own facts.

        You are claiming there was a creator which existed before the Big Bang (when space AND time started) and from this being comes morality and ethics, which you use to justify homophobia and claim moral superiority. Your only “proof” is your heartfelt opinion about love and the meaning of life, reinforced by an institution which covered up abuse of children, based on reference to writings by desert nomads about improbable events thousands of years ago who were writing in a language different to what they were speaking, since translated multiple times.

        These are not sufficient proofs to either claim moral legitimacy or even explain the world in a probable way.

        Science offers more probable explanations for how morality and ethical behaviour developed in humans, how love is an attachment process in the brain, etc. EVEN IF there was an omnipotent being who somehow exists outside the universe to create it, using it to explain the evolution of life and humans, and specifically love and morality is still improbable. Aliens seeding the planet would be a more plausible explanation, and we don’t have evidence or proof of that either (though bacteria could have arrived on an asteroid).

        I am not distressed, I love challenging and deconstructing people’s opinions and worldviews, it is why I set up this blog, to incite (not invite) debate. My point was that by saying I am bitter (I am not) and “anti” is a weak debating technique which attempts to attack my emotional state, not the facts or concepts being debated.

        I will state it plainly: I think your personal philosophy is highly questionable, deluded and based on false reasoning, your defence of the church is misguided and harmful to the victims, and your justification for homophobia abhorrent and immoral. I believe I have provided enough justification and evidence to support my case. None of this attacks your emotional state or fails to deal with known neurological processes (in the case of love or spiritual experiences) or the facts as reported (in the case of Church abuses).

        And one more time, I do this because I enjoy the debate and teaching people to think for themselves, not because I am bitter or lacking love in my life.

      • Francis Philip

        I don’t read your whole replies because I sense an underlying issue with the motive for your replies. Your motive is to tear down and destroy apparently? My motive is to heal and build up. You base your activity on faithlessness; I base my activity on faithfulness. Without faith in God, you can nothing of real, lasting value. And, yes, you do have the ability to know that God exists. If anyone says that they do not, then they lie. That’s the truth. So, it is a waste of my time to debate with you.

      • Not being competent to debate effectively is different to wasting your time. Claiming truth without sufficient evidence is different to actually knowing the truth. My motive is to question the validity and veracity of people’s assertions, and my replies outline my reasoning for that.

        You can claim faith is all you need but the reasoning and evidence for that faith has other explanations which are more probable and do not require belief in the supernatural.

        Your “healing” is actually divisive and breeds bigoted and sexist inequality (such as claiming same sex attraction is something a person “suffers” from, or there are “complementary gender roles”), and you hide behind your faith to justify it.

        I am just glad that religious membership and affiliation is in decline in most western countries and along with the worldwide atheist movement I am here to challenge and question the improbable supernatural doctrine that churches of all denominations try to brainwash people with, especially children.

      • Francis Philip

        I suggest that you try to get along a bit more with people of faith and respect their peaceful rights and activities. I’m sorry for having taken your time.

      • Denying same sex couples marriage rights and pigeon-holing women’s roles is not a “peaceful right”, they are bigoted and sexist activities which cause inequality and are hateful, not loving.

        As society is forced to move to a more secular position, religious people will have to learn to get along with atheists, not the other way around.

        And you are welcome to take my time, it’s why I set up this blog 🙂

      • Francis Philip

        Denying religious people their right to worship and live according to their historical, valid, authenticated beliefs and traditions which have been validated time and time again throughout history to this day by world governments is a bit dictatorial and selfish, don’t you think? I don’t think that you are an idiot, but are you making yourself out to be an idiot by your suggestion that we are doing something negative when in fact we are simply holding to what has already been validated in our religion by the world who already knows and has accepted our religion? It is only in recent times of intense moral decay, chaos, confusion and misinformation that people have been calling for same-sex marriage (which our tradition has always not condoned). Nature pigeon-holes our roles; we just abide by those roles. In the same way, a car is a car, a rock is a rock, a diamond is a diamond, a man is a man and a woman is a woman. Also, an angry activist is an angry activist.

      • Just because something was accepted historically does not make it valid or authenticated. If this was the case we would still have slavery and condone racism and sexism.

        Your beliefs are not valid from an equal human rights perspective and your traditional doctrine is not provably authentic just because you claim some desert nomads were divinely instructed.

        Evolution has been authenticated and proven repeatedly and is the mechanism by which nature operates and defines roles blindly, there is no verifiable proof a supernatural being is behind it, or even the development of morality or ethics.

        Therefore religious bigotry and sexism will and must be denied when it creates inequality of any kind, you can have your beliefs as long as they don’t impede the equal rights of others. You have NO right to impose your beliefs on others. I have every right to ensure everyone is treated equally without impeding others rights, and regardless of others beliefs.

        A car used to be metal in the ground, a rock used to be molten lava, a diamond used to be carbon, and all matter was formed by stars. Though a bigoted sexist theist is just that, but doesn’t have to be, and the law will eventually say you aren’t allowed to hide behind those beliefs in affecting others rights.

      • Francis Philip

        You said: “Just because something was accepted historically does not make it valid or authenticated. If this was the case we would still have slavery and condone racism and sexism.”

        The same can be said about atheism. You contradict yourself.

        Good bye.

      • Atheism is just the state of non-belief, it is not a set doctrine, so the same cannot be said about it.

        Non-belief has always existed, in fact all humans are born non-believers, religion indoctrinates children with supernatural dogma, historically speaking.

        Good bye, I have thoroughly enjoyed the debate, feel free to stop by with more opinions any time 🙂

      • Francis Philip

        Ignorance has always existed, in fact all humans are born ignorant, education teaches children with accumulated knowledge, historically speaking.

        Good bye, I have thoroughly realized why I’m right.

      • It’s called confirmation bias 🙂

        Just claiming you are right and have historical precedent and education about supernatural concepts doesn’t make them or you right, realisation or not.

  5. Francis Philip

    When one desires evidence of things in history, one looks to a book of history. But an atheist, having no faith, can not accept what is written in any history book as being true. This is because the atheist does not claim to have faith. To accept what is written in history books would require faith that the events recorded actually occurred. Therefore, if an atheist accepts the veracity of history written in mainstream history books (or even today’s news media), the atheist contradicts himself terribly in not also accepting all other historical writings, especially those writings which have been very closely guarded and managed over several millennia. This sort of faith bias (accepting history writings which are loosely guarded for the sake of veracity and not accepting history writings which have been very closely guarded for the sake of veracity) is illogical and contradictory. It points to deeper problems in the mind of the atheist, does it not?

    • It does not at all point to deeper problems or contradictions in the mind of the atheist, as faith and history are not necessarily intertwined.

      The issue here is the degree of evidence required for the claims made. The greater or more improbable the claim, the more numerous, reliable and independently verified the evidence required (by the questioning and free-thinking mind).

      Let us take 3 examples:

      1. A news report of an assault accompanied by video footage of the attack can be relied upon, and at any rate has little impact on the world beyond the individuals involved, therefore does not matter even if it was faked.
      2. Eye witness accounts of a great war veteran in 1943 (perhaps of a grandfather) who performed heroic acts which were almost superhuman, written in 1963 and became legendary inspiring stories, can be relied upon only to the extent that other evidence does not contradict those accounts. If video evidence were to surface that contradicted the nature of the heroic acts then they would be called into question. This does matter somewhat as it is giving false celebrity to a person who was not actually a hero.
      3. Accounts of supernatural acts by a human who claimed to be the son of a deity with moral superiority over all other humans, recalled decades or centuries after his death in languages different to that which it is written, requires much more evidence to be probable or believable. Indeed even the gospels contradict each other on key points, let alone the rest of the bible. http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/charts/resurrection_accounts.htm. The earliest accounts of jesus and his miracles were at least three decades after his death. Most were many decades or centuries later. In a modern court of law these accounts would be rejected outright as hearsay in terms of regular evidence, let alone proof of supernatural or divine intervention.

      The internal inconsistencies alone render most biblical accounts insufficient to prove supernatural cause, be it parting of seas, putting all living animals in one boat, or being the son of the creator. All that would be required is for any supernatural events to be repeated in some small manner in front of a modern news crew for some kind of validation. But that has not happened, ever, and the most probable explanation is that they are embellished mythical stories. None of which are reliable or valid enough to claim moral superiority.

      The burden of proof remains with those who profess supernatural doctrine, and “mysterious ways” is not sufficient explanation, if the claims are of actual events which have never been repeated in modern times. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, this is not illogical or contradictory, and as it turns out is fundamental to the scientific method.

      • Francis Philip

        Faith requires courage.

      • Courage against what, that the limited improbable evidence available is truly the work of a supernatural being and not made up by humans trying to control other humans?

        Maybe courage is enough for you and other adults, however it should not be used to justify the indoctrination of children by scaring or guilting them into believing. Especially when there is scant other evidence that it is not a fairy tale and subsequent subjective experiences are just a consequence of that brainwashing, which takes years to undo.

        Atheism generally supports full education of all worldviews and dogmas, allowing people the right to choose from as wide and complete amount of information as possible. That’s why fewer adults turn to religion than from it once the “evidence” is openly analysed.

        Turning from faith in the supernatural takes true courage, often in the face of great negative pressure by peers, especially in the US. That said atheism and non-belief is the fastest growing cohort of people around the world, especially amongst the young who are harder to indoctrinate, with access to so much more real and truthful information than ancient desert writings.

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