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The God Delusion is a great read; funny and witty in places and deadly serious in others. The author, Richard Dawkins is a professor and a scholar of renown and of course the brilliant writer of several significant books.

The God Delusion is divided into chapters with the several headings within each chapter making the book easy to read.  Dawkins is an atheist who has written, and lectured on, a great deal about the harm religion does to children, by religious indoctrination, which he believes is a form of child abuse. This book was right up my alley, so to speak. Christianity, just as much as Islam, teaches  that unquestioned faith is a virtue.

Religion, whether either one or other of the three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity or Islam, is full of contradictions…no wonder children are confused. And it’s not just Muslims who are inspired to become martyrs. I can remember as a child revering those Christian martyrs whose stories we heard every day from the pulpit or in catechism classes. These three monotheistic religions have engaged in extreme violence against their respective ‘infidels’ and apostates. One only has to read the Qur’an to know that Islam is not a religion of peace.  Dawkins quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson “ …the religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the next”…Except, writes Dawkins, ‘we are not allowed to laugh at Islam, under threat of fatwas!’ And anyway, Dawkins comforts his fellow atheists by promising us that monotheism is doomed to subtract one more god and become atheism. It cannot come soon enough for me and the millions of other atheists around the world.

Another thing about monotheistic religions that has no place in 21st century in my view, is that they enjoy tax-free status and as Dawkins states: ‘… far better to abandon tax-free status for religions altogether… because it helps to promote them while allowing them to avoid the rigorous vetting imposed on secular charities.’  Dawkins has researched the huge amounts of money amassed by TV evangelists in USA unscrupulously ‘stolen’ from believers. And believe me, the amounts of tax-free ‘donations’ these religious thieves steal from the true believers are the only ‘awe’ inspiring thing about the capitalist religion of televangelists.

I was especially interested in the chapter in which the author, who is a biologist and supporter of the Darwinian theory of evolution, discusses his views on religion as a ‘by-product’ of something else. Once again evolution of the human species comes into play and indeed does make sense to me. A theory that posits a selective advantage to children’s brains that possess a  ‘rule of thumb’ in order to keep children safe and so preserve human life; e.g. the experience of previous generations. Obey your parents, obey your tribal elders, ‘especially when they adopt a solemn minatory tone.’ This makes perfect sense to me having been indoctrinated since infancy into Catholicism which ensures children do not question anything they are told, and never learn to think for themselves. It has perhaps allowed so many children to be sexually abused by clergy with impunity, for centuries. Believe, and obey without question!

I love Dawkins’ description: ‘The god of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant in all fiction: Jealous and proud of it, a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak. A vindictive, blood thirsty, ethnic cleanser. A misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully!’  What chance do children have when  they are inculcated from infancy, to believe in, and fear, this vile father figure of a god?

Many scholars, including the author, are of the view that it’s the very moderate inculcation of religious teachings that inspire suicide bombers, and Dawkins discusses this at length. He also enlightens the reader on the many arguments that arise between creationists and atheists, and this was intriguing and at times gobsmacking that creationists actually believe such pie in the sky fairy tales in the face of proven and widely accepted scientific research and findings.

Scientists posit that we humans have evolved and so are products of natural selection; so ‘we should ask what pressure or pressures exerted by natural selection originally favoured the impulse to religion’ and Dawkins gives us compelling answers. The roots of morality and why we are good is also a riveting chapter and I urge all those who believe that religion acts as humanity’s ‘moral compass’ to at least read this chapter. Morality was a factor in human existence long before religions came into being. Dawkins asks  if our moral sense has a Darwinian origin, and he suggests that readers will find no surprises in this chapter if they are well read and open minded, which of course those indoctrinated with religious dogma throughout their childhoods very likely won’t be! In any case, writes Dawkins, his purpose in analysing scriptures is to demonstrate  that most religious people who claim to derive their morals from scripture do not really do so in practice. But, he adds, ‘suicide bombers obviously do.’

As Dawkins states, the Bible and Qur’an are ‘plain weird…as you would expect of chaotically cobbled together anthologies of disjointed documents composed, revised, translated, distorted and improved by hundreds of different authors, writers, copyists, unknown to us and mostly unknown to each other, spanning several centuries.’  He also discusses at length the Old Testament stories taken from much older mythologies, which I found especially interesting.

One of the most ridiculous statements Dawkins elicited from an interview with a well-known televangelist, was that he blamed the disastrous flooding of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, on a lesbian who lived in the city at the time. And he recalls the statement by a certain Anglican bishop, ‘thank god Jesus spoke the Queen’s English.’  Historic Mecca, the cradle of Islam is being buried in an unprecedented onslaught by religious zealots, but as Dawkins avows, there isn’t an atheist in the world  who would want to bulldoze Mecca or the Buddhas of Bamiyan,in the mountains of Afghanistan, for example.

And of course we all know that scriptures are blatantly misogynist and the author highlights relevant, horrific passages, full of rapes incest, sodomy, which would have been enough to add to my childhood nightmares if I’d read them at that time. For instance, in one chapter, two male angels (whatever they are) were sent to Sodom to warn Abraham’s nephew, Lot,  to leave that city. Lot invited the angels into his house and when all the men of Sodom gathered around outside and demanded that Lot hand over the angels so they could sodomise them, Lot refused and instead offered his two daughters ‘which have not known men’ to do with whatever they wanted. However, he warned them to do nothing to the two men whom he was protecting under his roof! Eventually Lot’s wife is turned into a pillar of salt and Lot commits incest with his two daughters. Dawkins suggests here that parents do not use the bible to teach their children morality. It’s obvious that zealous protectors of the Bible and Qur’an cherry pick chapters pertaining to peace whenever it suits them, because neither of these books can support their claims  that their religion is a religion of peace and morality. Nothing could be further from the truth. And the latest ludicrous claim by some Muslim women that Islam is not only a religion of peace, but also a ‘feminist’ one, is laughable! And how does it help to engender equality of the sexes, when the men of Jewish faith pray and thank god every day, for not making them a woman?

Dawkins provides the reader with clear and concise reasons why he believes moderation in faith fosters fanaticism,  and I found his reasons for this perfectly feasible. He uses the phrase ‘moral zeitgeist’,  spirit of change, or ‘enlightened consensus’, of which the opposite is the dark side of religious absolutism or extremism. His point is, and this is important in 2017,  that even mild or moderate religion helps to provide the climate of faith in which extremism naturally flourishes. It goes without saying of course, that indoctrination begins in early childhood because parents inflict their religious beliefs onto their children.

In his book, Dawkins quotes respected journalist, Muriel Gray, writing in the Glasgow Herald, 24 July 2005, with reference to the London bombings: Everyone is being blamed, from the obvious villainous duo of George W Bush and Tony Blair, to the inaction of Muslim ‘communities’. But it has never been clearer that there is only one place to lay the blame and it has ever been thus. The cause of all this misery, mayhem, violence, terror and ignorance,  is of course religion itself, and it seems ludicrous to have to state such an obvious reality, the fact is that the government and the media are doing a pretty good job of pretending that it isn’t so.

Religious indoctrination and absolutism  has, in my humble opinion, allowed children of all Abrahamic religions to be sexually abused by their own paedophile clerical minders and others of their own faith. Dawkins writes: ‘More generally, (and  this applies to Christianity no less than to Islam), what is really pernicious is the practice of teaching children that faith itself is a virtue. Faith is an evil precisely because it requires no justification and brooks no argument. Teaching children that unquestioned  faith is a virtue primes them, given certain other ingredients that are not too hard to come by, to grow up into potentially lethal weapons for future jihads or crusades. Faith can be very dangerous, and  deliberately  to implant it into the vulnerable mind of an innocent child is a grievous wrong. It is purely and simply a violation of childhood by religion.’

Dawkins quotes another scholar, Patrick Sookhdeo, director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity: The mantra, ‘Islam is peace’ is almost 1,400 years out of date. It was only for about 13 years that Islam was peace and nothing but peace…For today’s radical Muslims – just as for the mediaeval jurists who developed classical Islam, it would be truer to say ‘Islam is war’. One of the most radical Islamic groups in Britain, al-Ghurabaa, stated in the wake of the two London bombings, ‘Any Muslim that denies that terror is a part of Islam is kafir.’ A kafir is an unbeliever ( i.e. a non-Muslim), a term of gross insult…Could it be that the young men who committed suicide were neither  on the fringes of Muslim society in Britain, nor following an eccentric or extremist interpretation of their faith, but rather that they came from the very core of the Muslim community and were motivated by a mainstream interpretation of Islam?

Food for thought: Is the reason Muslims murder and torture those who criticise or make fun of Islam and their prophet, because they know that if Islam endures the same scholarly scrutiny that Christianity and Judaism have in recent decades,  that it will be revealed as the sham that it really is? I urge readers to place their Bible, Qur’an or Torah in their home library on shelves alongside other great classics of  literary fiction.

The other night I watched a news item showing a Muslim child, barely five years old, at a kindergarten, dressed in a black hijab and full length black dress….while the other children around her were dressed in pretty, colourful clothing, their pretty hair tied up in dainty ribbons and bows  …how is this conducive to a small child feeling a part of the community she lives in? And why do Muslim women insist on wearing clothing that makes them stand out from the crowd and attract negative and sometimes abusive reaction from extremists of other religions? Surely religion is a private matter to be celebrated at home or in a church or mosque?

-Anne Frandi-Coory 20 June 2017

Also here on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/myhomelibrary/

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Newly elected Pope John Paul ll uplifting his “pilgrims” in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican

Karol Wojtyla, later  John Paul ll, was passionate about religion. He maintained a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, choosing as his personal motto Totus tuus  which is Latin for “All yours”, (Mary) .   To my mind, this left him with a distorted and unrealistic view of women.  (see my post Catholic Dichotomy of Females). To his detractors, he was a reactionary trying to turn back the clock on modern reality. Some harshly criticized his ultra-conservative theology, which prohibited female ordination, birth control and abortion. He branded the notion of global overpopulation a myth and said the use of condoms as a precaution against AIDS only encouraged the behaviour that led to the spread of the disease. Yet companies associated with the Vatican earn millions from the manufacture of contraceptives.

In a 1993 letter to his bishops, John Paul said both sex before marriage and contraception were intrinsically evil. He also broadened the definition of mortal sins to include abortion, euthanasia, drug dealing and drug taking. No mention here of the abuse of innocent children by Catholic priests being a mortal sin. During his time as Pope and head of the Catholic Church, John Paul worked closely with Joseph Ratzinger (the present Pope Benedict), at the Congregation For The Doctrine of Faith,  to cover up widespread paedophilia within the Catholic clergy and arranged  offending priests to be sent  from one parish to another without warning parishioners of the dangers these evil men posed.  During this time, no priestly child abusers were reported to police and the vast majority have never paid for their crimes.  But of course, the Vatican paid out millions in cash to those victims who wouldn’t shut up!

Many liberal Catholics believed John Paul centralized power during his reign and blocked the democratization of the church. (see my blog  ‘Are We But A Flock Of Sheep?)

In April 2002, John  Paul  called 12 U.S. cardinals to the Vatican for an extraordinary two-day session to discuss the growing scandal of priestly sexual abuse of children in America. The Pope told the visiting cardinals that sexual abuse of children by priests and religious is “rightly considered a crime” and is “an appalling sin in the eyes of God.”   All talk!  Paedophile priests are still protected by the Church.  I wonder how many of those same cardinals had themselves sexually abused children in the past.

The most fabulous smoke screen of all time is being puffed out right now!   John Paul has been canonised a saint, ie: a first miracle has been credited to him.  As usual, it is a woman (nun) who has been cured of some fatal illness.  Now we await his second miracle so that this ex pope can be beatified and so entitled to have the word ‘saint’ installed in front of his name.  Meanwhile, unwanted children continue to be born. Men, women and children die of AIDS in their millions.   The trail of sexual abuse victims left behind is truly gigantic.  This abuse can affect families for generations to come and I write about these consequences in my book ‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar?’


You would think that a professor of this standing would get out of the past – say 5000 years ago – and think about the 21st Century;  Palistine and Israel?????    See article below:

An example by Raphael of God at his ‘smiting’ best:

LOT flees from Sodom; 'The Lord rained sulphur & fire from the sky on Sodom & Gomorrah devastating those cities and all the valley' -The Raphael Loggias.

Source: Associated Press COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — A Texas A&M professor promised to notify colleagues in the future before he re-enacts a Bible story in class that involves screaming about killing people.

The Nov. 23 outburst by Richard Stadelmann, a philosophy and religion professor, led a worried teacher in a nearby room to call police and led students in a neighbouring classroom to take cover under their desks. Stadelmann was leading a religious studies class when he loudly slammed a door and began yelling about Jonah’s rage at God for not smiting the Assyrians (my emphasis). (See Religious Beliefs Questioned)

 

Date Chart from 'Egypt, Greece & Rome' author: Charles Freeman. (click on image to enlarge)


Stadelmann, who is ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), says he was into character and “genuinely angry.”

Police were called off when it became clear that nobody was in danger.

Guido Cagnacci: Allegory of Human Life (1601-1663)

Updated 16 November 2013 … The Italian painter Guido Cagnacci encompasses it all in his beautiful painting which depicts the “cyclical regeneration of life out of death”.  He knew the realities of life and death.  His nude woman was the personification of beauty and fecundity, fundamental to the eternal  cycle of life and  the antithesis  of patriarchal  Catholicism. The Church created the dichotomy of the female; the virginal mother vs the whore.  Easy to commit ‘sins’ against the worthless latter and be forgiven in the confessional.  Within the flawed doctrine of Catholicism this is implicit.

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See posts: Are We But  a Flock of  Sheep? & Saint?  Pope?

& Australian Royal Commision into The Institutional Sexual Abuse of Children

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The power brokers behind the Vatican machine are very astute.  Every so often they target some obscure person for beatification; the penultimate  stage before sainthood.  They don’t have to pay millions of dollars for publicity and enhancement of Catholicism because it is all free once this ‘news’ is released to the Global Media.  But the global congregation is growing weary of the sheer numbers of abused children.  The Dead Sea Scrolls have revealed that so much of Christianity is based on fantasy. The latest canonisation  into sainthood scams regarding the 19th Century cardinal John Henry Newman and Sister Mary MacKillop are nothing but   pathetic attempts at diversion from the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by Catholic clergy around the world and especially the latest discoveries in Belgium.  This has been going on for centuries but in the past the Church always covered it up.  Priests’ sexual gratification and its secrecy was paramount;  children’s welfare wasn’t an issue.  The Church just ignored the abuse and shifted the offending priests around the parishes where they carried on with their proclivities.   Perhaps The Church’s fantastical teachings made it easy for priests to delude themselves into believing that they weren’t really having sex with their victims.  It was women, those evil temptresses they had to avoid.  I cannot believe that the problem is solely down to paedophilia.  It is much more psychologically complicated than that.

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Sexually abused children suffer and grow into adults who continue to suffer for the rest of their lives, that is if they haven’t committed suicide; and by the way, suicide is another sin in the eyes of the Church so the victims are condemned to “go to hell” as if they haven’t already been there. In some cases priests refuse to bury them!   Little Boys are as fair game as little girls; in the latest investigations into the Belgium abuse cases involving Catholic clergy,  girls and boys from two years of age were repeatedly raped.  Celibacy is a joke and the Vatican’s continued stance on celibacy, that Jesus was celibate,  is rubbish; he married twice and fathered children.  His second wife was called Lydia, but Mary Magdalene, his first wife, was always labelled by The Church as a prostitute and Mary, mother of Jesus, was promoted to the pedestal of sainthood and mother of God because, The Church’s doctrine would have us believe,   hers  was an Immaculate Conception.  Some parts of Catholicism were taken from paganism so they had to have a replacement for the ancient  mother goddess such as the Babylonian Ishtar.  In the grottos around the Middle East whatever figurine of a goddess was in residence,  was removed and replaced with a statue of the Virgin Mary.

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(See my book ‘Whatever Happened to Ishtar? – A Passionate Quest To Find Answers For Generations Of Defeated Mothers‘).

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Previous Post: Scandal in the ADF

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7 News Item: Pregnant Nun Image Sparks Outrage:

Pregnant nun image sparks outrage
An ice cream advertisement featuring a pregnant nun has been banned in the UK, media reports say. The Italian ice cream brand Antonio Federici launched the magazine campaign with the attached tagline text: “Immaculately conceived … Ice cream is our religion.” According to the British Advertising Standards Authority it reportedly received 10 (is that all?) complaints from magazine readers who said the ad was offensive to Christians, especially those who practice Catholicism. “We concluded that to use such an image in a light hearted way to advertise ice-cream was likely to cause serious offence to readers, particularly those who practised the Roman Catholic faith.” an official statement from the ASA says. A UK advertising watchdog says the imagery used to illustrate Immaculate Conception was likely to be seen as mocking Catholic beliefs. The Italian company said the ad, featuring in The Lady and Grazia magazines, aimed to gently satirise religion and that the notion of conception represented the creation of their ice cream product. Where’s the outrage about predatory priests? one person asks in the comments section of the news item.

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