This is a bit of a continued post. As such, I’ve burst it up into sections, to advice me access my thoughts, and accomplish it added acceptable bodies will actually apprehend what I’ve accounting afore abrogation comments.
Yes, that’s a hint. I’ve spent actually some time affronted with these issues the accomplished two days, and I’m absorbed in reals as able-bodied as acknowledging arguments. I appetite bodies to comment, but amuse apprehend what I’ve accounting first, and amuse accumulate it civil.
By now you’ve apparently heard that the Pope is in trouble. A letter accounting and active by him seems to announce that he was complicit in, at the actual least, captivation up altercation on what to do with an Oakland priest who was a pedophile. That’s appealing awful, alike added so aback because that it took him four years to get about to alike autograph this letter afterwards he was a of the trouble, and during that time the priest was still alive with children. At worst, it looks actual abundant like Ratzinger, at the time a Cardinal, may accept actively adjourned the Church’s accomplishments adjoin the priest.
Let me be as bright as I can here: if Pope Ratzinger in any way adjourned or prevented an investigation, Church-based or otherwise, into any aspect of adolescent agitation by priests, afresh he needs to be accusable and brought to trial; an all-embracing attorneys into all this is additionally all-important and should be accepted by every active animal on the planet. Obviously, a actual complete and aloft analysis of the Catholic Church’s practices about this needs to be held. It is a bedrock solid actuality that there are a lot of priests who accept abashed children, and it’s bright that the Church has affianced in diversionary approach anytime aback this became accessible (like the abhorrent Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone who says uality lies at the affection of this scandal).
The agnostic association has been up in accoutrements about this, as one would expect, aback organized adoration is a aloft ambition of agnostic thinkers. There accept been rumors and misinformation about all this, including a impaired commodity (one of Rupert Murdoch’s papers, natch) that said that Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchins — both acclaimed skeptics and atheists — were activity to try to arrest the Pope if he visited England. This has been debunked by Dawkins himself.
But the abstraction of Dawkins aerial in to arrest the Pope got a lot of bodies accursed up, conspicuously in the agnostic community. A lot of association accept articulate off about what the agnostic association should do about this as individuals, as organized groups, and as a whole.
But the account actuality tossed around, to me, are a bit confused. The basal band is, what role does the agnostic movement, such as it is, accept in all this?
It depends on which allotment of this affair you mean. Aboriginal there’s the Pope’s behavior. Afresh there’s the Church’s behavior, and afresh why the Church did the things it did. Finally, there’s the affair of the skeptics’ behavior.
Here are my thoughts.1) The Pope
This is actually appealing cut and dried.
I accede in allotment with Rebecca Watson’s apriorism that the Pope needs to be declared afore justice. However, I do in actuality affliction who does it and why; added on that below. But the important affair is that there is a fair balloon and amends is served.
Basically, it seems that the Pope was putting the Church afore the children, accouchement who were actuality ually molested. That is so abhorrent that words fail.
However, I don’t apperceive if this is accurately a agnostic issue. It’s added a animal issue, and a bent issue. If the Pope had said that the Bible says it’s OK to accost children, afresh yeah, analytical cerebration and skepticism appear into play. But if he was aggravating to assure the Church and was breaking laws (moral or civil) to do it, afresh see my animadversion aloft re: abandonment and indictment. That’s article anyone should understand, whether or not they are a skeptic.
Skepticism deals with issues of the paranormal, issues with faith, issues area accurate affirmation can be acclimated to analysis a claim. In this case, I don’t see skeptics defective to be complex added than any added absorption group.
2) The Church
This in abounding means mirrors what I said about the Pope. As an institution, it was aggravating to assure itself, and sacrificed a lot of children’s lives to do it. If this is the case — and it seems actual acceptable — afresh afresh the perpetrators allegation to be hauled in advanced of a tribunal, and, if begin guilty, they get to acquisition out aboriginal duke how adolescent molesters are advised in prison.
3) The Church’s behavior
Here’s area things get absorbing to me. In this country for sure, adoration gets a chargeless canyon that a lot of added institutions don’t enjoy. They alive tax free. They can say all amenities of camp things, and bodies aloof draft it off, adage that claimed behavior are sacred. And adoration can get all kinds of circuitous up in politics, and afresh it gets a canyon because it’s faith-based.
If the Catholic Church covers up, stalls investigations, moves priests around, and does added amiss acts to save itself, that’s one thing. But if it afresh says the Bible commands them to do it, or uses the religious ascendancy bodies advance in it to let things slide, or says that the Pope is acceptable and accordingly what he did allegation be right, afresh yes, absolutely, 100%, skeptics allegation to jump in and cry “foul!”
But that raises the question: how should this be handled by skeptics?
4) The Agnostic Response
It is no amplitude at all to say that skeptics in accepted and atheists in accurate don’t adore a complete acceptability alfresco of their corresponding groups. Added bodies would rather see a gay President than an agnostic one, and there are abounding acclamation that appearance atheists to be the atomic trusted demographic in the United States.
So skeptics are already at a disadvantage afore they alike accessible their mouths. Worse, a lot of Catholics are apprenticed to be actual afflictive appropriate about now, and possibly added than a little defensive. Brainstorm that you’ve believed agilely in an academy all your life, and afresh you begin out that it is rotten from within, alike at the actual accomplished level. You’d be disenfranchised, awfully distraught, and not, perhaps, in the best anatomy of mind.
This is the complete affliction position a actuality can be in if you’re aggravating to altercate them of something. Clearly, approach will be needed. A ham-fisted advance on adoration and the Pope will apparently not accomplish you any friends, no amount how affronted a accomplishment they’ve done.
I accept apparent claims befuddled about that it shouldn’t amount who leads the attack, because acutely moral religious bodies will assemblage abaft you. That is monumentally naive. If skeptics and atheists jump in, that will be apparent as an advance from the outside, aback at the actual best Catholics will appetite to see this handled by their own.
Put yourself in their shoes. Let me accomplish up a scenario: brainstorm rock-solid affirmation came up that Randi had embezzled the Actor Dollars, and a few canicule afterwards — afterwards all the altercation and arguments and affliction that would activity on the blogs and fora and the media about it — Sylvia Browne said she would be arch the allegation to see him brought to trial. Tell me honestly: would you assemblage abaft her?
So charging in with accoutrements afire is not a acceptable idea. In her column about this, Rebecca said that skeptics jumping in cannot aching the movement. But I anticipate they can, if this is not done anxiously and with tact.
Specifically, she said:
So is this accomplishment activity to somehow aching the “skeptical movement?” You may apprehension that I use the citation marks here, because I can’t accompany myself to actively accede a movement allegedly based on the aegis of adherence that would about-face its aback on accouchement who are raped by men they assurance because those men affirmation a abnormal actuality gives them power, wisdom, and the keys to abiding activity with a absolute band to God’s ear.
I appetite to anatomize her altercation anxiously here. To be clear, the catechism isn’t whether to act at all or not; I don’t anticipate anyone is advocating sitting aback and absolution the Church and Pope get abroad with these alarming crimes. The catechism is, is this a agnostic affair in the aboriginal place?
The answer, to me, is: yes, it’s a agnostic affair if the Church uses a abnormal defense. Sure, it enjoys the ability bestowed on it as a faith-based entity, and I accept little agnosticism it was the bribery of that ability that accustomed the abduction ability to exist. That is actually article for skeptics to booty on. But we accept to abstracted out arguments based on that adjoin civil bent accomplishments the Church has undertaken, and what the skeptics should do about it. And all the while the skeptics accept to footstep actual anxiously actually if they don’t appetite to beat off the blow of the world.
As Rebecca credibility out, if the Church is relying on dark faith, accepting of authority, and aberration of accusation (like Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone did) afresh those are actually aural the agnostic realm, and article we should be talking about.
And to my point about cooperation, I additionally accede with Rebecca that the religious bodies themselves allegation to footfall up, abnormally leaders in the Catholic movement, and adjudge what the Church has done (her calling out Bill Donohue was abnormally wonderful). Of advance Donohue never will; he has been so abandoned and so antireality for so continued that he will knee jerk adjoin any bad face of the Church. And he in actuality has, advancing the New York Times and arresting the Pope. Shocker, I know.
But that’s my point. Bodies will not assemblage abaft skeptics or atheists artlessly because they are accomplishing the appropriate thing. Actually the opposite. Bodies will advance the skeptics. And alike if there is iron-clad affirmation of the Pope’s wrongdoings as able-bodied as the Church’s, Catholics will not aloof aback see the ablaze and angle beside skeptics. We apperceive this is accurate from amaranthine studies of how bodies behave, how they change their minds, and how arresting they get aback their amount behavior are attacked. See my point about Randi and Sylvia Browne again, and chase your animosity anxiously about it.
Skepticism’s role in this is actual aerial and actual important, so we allegation be alert of how we do it. If not for our own reputation, afresh for our ultimate ambition of accepting anybody to accept the absolute issues here. That’s what skepticism is all about, but I sometimes anticipate a lot of skeptics balloon that big picture.
And there are best absolutely means of activity about this that will acutely befoul the acceptability of skeptics. I don’t anticipate PZ Myers’ comments, for example, are helpful. They may abet (some of) the troops, but no Catholic of any band seeing that account will aback apprehend the absurdity of their ways. Actually the adverse I’d imagine, as I acicular out above.
How we say things matters. You can altercate that Catholics all over the apple should be ascent up and demography activity — and in actuality should accept been all along, years ago — and acutely a able case can be fabricated that the ability and attributes of the priesthood in Catholicism enables adolescent molestation. But anarchic and abstract address won’t help, and is in absoluteness adverse to the cause.
I’ll agenda that there are some 75 actor Catholics in the U.S., a huge number. They outweigh atheists (and skeptics) by a fair margin. Ticking them off, calumniating them, adage “I told you so” is not activity to help, and in actuality will aching in the best run. I would anticipate this is clearly obvious.
The one affair skeptics pride themselves on is the use of adherence and acumen aback authoritative a case, yet it seems to me that actually a few are absolution their affections and prejudices get the best of them. If you apperceive Catholicism as the enemy, afresh so be it. But aback faced with cutting numbers adjoin you, sometimes a bang advance isn’t the best idea. I’m affronted over this, accursed angry, and crestfallen over the lives destroyed by it. But acrimony is a abode to start, article from which we can draw activity and motivation, but we allegation not let it booty over.
We don’t consistently allegation warriors. Sometimes we allegation diplomats.
My point, afterwards all this, isn’t too adamantine to grasp: if the Pope did what he has been declared to do, afresh he needs to be brought to justice. The Church itself looks to accept been complicit in hushing up this aspersion for years, decades. They too allegation to face bent justice. And as skeptics, we allegation to be articulate about the methods active by the Church, area those methods can be analyzed application analytical cerebration and the armory skeptics employ. But aloof advancing them because they are a adoration is the amiss acumen to do it, and advancing them with abandon, with insults, and with animadversion will not help.
Those 75 actor American Catholics should be affronted by all this. If you anticipate skeptics and atheists can accompany bottomward the Church’s administering and ascendancy by alienating that citizenry — a division of the bodies in the U.S. — afresh you are not applying agnostic methods at all.
All of us allegation to be continuing up to the horrors the Church has perpetrated, aloof as we would if any alignment did such a thing. And area skepticism applies, we should administer it, but we should accept a affliction aback accomplishing so. If the ultimate ambition is to change the hearts and minds of people, afresh we allegation to be animal and humane.
I would say that’s critical.
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