Archive - Feb 2011

February 28th

All Too Common "Reason"

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Memo to Benedict: YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

Maybe it's my four-decades-now latent Catholicism, or maybe it's just the accessorizing, but I get more genuine glee out of making fun of the Pope than I do any other public promoter of excessive stupidity. As a result, there are certain headlines that will catch my eye, passing through my RSS feed. Headlines that might not catch anyone else's eye.

Headlines like "Vatican To Reach Out To Atheists".

Now, I'm an atheist. You're shocked, I know. But I am. And I honestly cannot see a single good reason for the Vatican to reach out to me. Even if the attempt goes as well as can possibly be expected, the best they can manage would be to earn a begrudging respect, and what the fuck does the Vatican need my begrudging respect for? But they're doing it. In France. Here's the deal:

"The Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture will sponsor a series of seminars on the theme of 'Religion, Light and Common Reason,' at various locations in the city, including Paris-Sorbonne University. The events will conclude with a party for youth in the courtyard of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, followed by prayer and meditation inside the cathedral." - Religion News Service.

Well, that doesn't sound too awful. I like light. I like common reason. I'm not into meditation, but I understand that "meditation" is what religious people think the secular version of "prayer" is, much like how Midwesterners think that shrimp is the vegetarian version of steak. They're trying to be inclusive, in their clumsy, ignorant way. It's almost adorable.

So anyway, "common reason". I assume that means what it says, that despite my lack of belief in God and the Catholic Church's ritualistic fetishizing of Jesus, we can find common ground by applying reason. So how's that working for the Catholic Church these days? ACTUAL POPE TIME!

"The Pope said the serious mental health problems frequently experienced by women who have had an abortion reveals the irrepressible voice of moral conscience, which suffers serious injury whenever human action betrays a person’s vocation to be truly human." - Vatican Radio, reporting the contents of an address in which Benedict urged doctors to "protect" women from abortions.

Now, see, that's an appeal to common reason. Abortion causes serious mental health problems, doctors should avoid causing mental health problems, doctors should protect women from abortions. Sure, he couches it in some "moral conscience" bullshit, but he's the Pope, that's his job. So now all we need to do is double-check the basic assumption, and the Pope and this atheist can finally reach a certain level of, shall we say, glasnost. I'm sure I read a study about this recently, let me check...

"Researchers compared the rate of mental health treatment among women before and after a first abortion. Within the first year after an abortion, 15 per 1,000 women needed psychiatric counseling – similar to the rate seeking help nine months before an abortion." - reporting on a recent large-scale Danish study that looked at hundreds of thousands of women. Fun fact - you know what group does see their mental health issues increase after giving birth, according to this study? Women who give birth.

So, if the Pope were really interested in "common reason", then he wouldn't be spouting an all-too-common pro-life myth just weeks after it was debunked by... COMMON FUCKING REASON. Sorry, hat-boy. You may be reaching out to atheists with one hand, but you clearly are holding a baseball bat behind your back in the other. Did I mention, by the way, the details behind the Pope's initiative? I didn't? Well, that's because it's dramatically more interesting to put it here. You see, it's called "Courtyard of the Gentiles".

"I believe that the church should also today open a sort of `courtyard of the gentiles' where men can in some way hook on to God, without knowing Him and before having gained access to His mystery." - Benedict, in 2009.

So he wants to hold seminars on common reason, then throw a big party afterwards, all in an attempt to get atheists hooked on God? What is he, some kind of octogenarian drug dealer? It'd explain all the gold, I suppose. First gospel's free! He's not trying to "reach out to" us, he's trying to convert us. Which is his job, I suppose, but that doesn't mean he has to be such a complete fucking lying bastard about it. He'd just have to finally reject millennia of historical and traditional Catholic douchebaggery.