Posted by: Jim | September 12, 2008

Religion’s Death Rattle

Today in France, the Pope said this:

“What gave Europe’s culture its foundation — the search for God and the readiness to listen to him — remains today the basis of any genuine culture,” the pope said.

It’s hard to list all the reasons I disagree with that statement.  First, I would say any Buddhist culture would take offense as being deemed “not genuine” by this definition.  Second, I would say that most of the great art and cultural movements could be traced to rebellion against religion and their “search for God.” But none of this is the point of my post. Onward.

He continued: “It is through the search for God that the secular sciences take on their importance.”

I can’t fault the Pope for not being scientific, but secular sciences are not looking for God. They are looking for truth. If God=Truth, they will find God. So far … bupkiss.

… the pope proposed a “distinction between the political realm and that of religion in order to preserve both the religious freedom of citizens and the responsibility of the state toward them.


There’s only one reason he would propose this: he fears for the future of religion. He is speaking the language of capitulation. He is acting like this will be a win/win for religion and politics, but there is (unfortunately) no end for politics in our future–only for religion. He’s trying to ride political coat tails and ensure that there is some cordoned-off area where religion people will still be needed.  He suggests a potential role for religion thusly:

“… The pope distinguished between the state’s legislative and social responsibilities and religion’s role “for the formation of conscience” and the “creation of a basic ethical consensus in society.””


No thanks, Mr. Pope. Catholicism brought us burning at the stake, the inquisition, intelligent design, and buggered altar boys.  Science’s big mistakes amount to things like … alchemy and leeching. I would rather put the onus of ethical consensus creation under the purview of politics. And that’s saying a lot.


I say we let Religion take its current course. To Americans it may seem that their course is taking them into total world domination, but in Europe … they are fading away, and fondly remembered, like Disco.




  1. and wouldn’t you think the french people would be upset with his comment??!!!
    and reasoning????

    I assume that most french people might agree, that the journey to a higher conscience always begins with a satisfied stomach.

    ie: the foundation of any “genuine” culture must be the cheese. or wine.

    so maybe if the pope offered more better wine and some cheese on those crackers, in europe, at least, religion might be taken more seriously.
    just a suggestion.

  2. I take great exception to this post. As a devout believer in the power of disco, let me elaborate…

  3. The funniest thing about this is that, at least theoretically, Herr Pope is supposed to be the incarnation of God on Earth, and Catholics, at least theoretically, are supposed to hear his words as the words of The Big Kahuna Himself. So therefore, if you follow that reasoning, it is plain to see that ‘God’ is trying to plea bargain his way out of becoming irrelevant.

    God has never been more human.

    Catholicism has been on its death bed for a long time now anyway, having shot its wad 500 years ago. It now lives on only as an anchronistic, skeletal and wheezing remnant of its formerly formidable edifice. It comforts poor illiterate peasants whose ancestors it tortured into submission, and it serves as a conveniently cherry-picked moral and social crutch for the working class that likes its religion easily digestible — all people who would have been burnt as heretics a few centuries ago for their lukewarm and random adherence to its tenets. But it is still a religion in the same way that England still has a Monarchy.

    In short, since the Church lost the military and political power to enforce its will, it has had to reluctantly accept its weakening influence and even periodically seek to ‘reform’ and ‘modernize’ itself to remain relevant — in other words, it only continues to exist on life support, and there are just enough relatives hanging around the hospital room in a state of denial that makes it difficult and perhaps impolite to simply unplug the respirator.

    Fundamentalist Protestantism, however, is more like a patient with terminal cancer who not only keeps refusing to die, but insists on ripping out the catheter and running around the hospital creating havoc. Especially the uniquely American brand (and everyone knows what I’m talking about there).

    Still, the cancer is most definitely not benign, and it will kill the bastard eventually — though perhaps not before he lights the hospital on fire…

    * * *

  4. And don’t even get me started on Fundamentalist Islamitosis — it’s not that it’s worse than fundie Christianity at its height (it’s not), but that, since it’s 500 years newer than Christianity, it’s got a long way to catch up in terms of getting appropriately watered-down and deteriorated.

    Let’s just put it this way: if the Inquisition had Nukes and nerve gas and rocket launchers and scientists who could isolate microbes and make weapons out of them, well, um, we most likely wouldn’t be here today to talk about it. So there’s something to be said for medieval mindsets being paired up with medieval technology, ya know?

    So think of modern Islam as 16th-century Christianity except with missiles and C4 and jets and crap.

    Luckily most Muslims aren’t crazy apocalyptic fundie types. We generally have to drive them to that state with our stupid and suicidal foreign policies.

    Feel better?

    * * *

  5. We had a band called Shades Of Soul play at our wedding in July. 70’s R&B and disco. They learned Disco Inferno for me, and they nailed it. Please don’t hold that against me. I’m not even Catholic.

  6. I don’t hold it against YOU, Todd-o. But any group calling themselves a ’70s R&B/Disco band that has to LEARN ‘Disco Inferno’ is just, well, a sad commentary on the state of the Wedding Music Industry. Which in itself is an ever sadder commentary, considering how insipid said industry has always been. But anyway.

    Hell, I don’t even LIKE Disco — and I didn’t like it THEN either, except for the drugged-up and easy chicks in skimpy dresses (hey, I was a teenage boy) — but everybody knows that ‘Inferno’ was the seminal hit of the genre. I mean, c’mon! Burn, baby, burn!

    * * *

  7. They are not a wedding band, they are a great band we have come to know and love who wanted to give us a great gift for our wedding. If you know anything about The Trammps, you’d know the vocals for Disco Inferno are treacherous as the song is long. I’m not a disco hater just because everyone else decided it was bad. I appreciate all music as I was raised on Elvis, Beatles, Zeppelin, Moody Blues, CCR, Sinatra, and Haydn. Saturday Night Fever sold over 40 million records. The seminal hit, IMHO, was Stayin’ Alive. Yup, I owned the 45.

    There’s nothing sad about Shades Of Soul. You should hear them before passing judgment.

  8. Hoo-boy. Toddie, Toddie, Toddie. Poor little baby. I make a harmless little joke — about DISCO, of all things — and try to lighten things up a little. And how do you respond? YOU TAKE IT SERIOUSLY.

    Dude, I don’t give two shits about disco or The Trammps or fucking Shades of Soul or your goofy-ass wedding or any of the music you were raised on. Nor do I care that you obviously have no sense of humor whatsoever.

    But what astounds me is that your autonomic nervous sytem has enough juice to operate your vital organs. You may in fact be a living medical miracle. You should contact Ripley’s.

    * * *

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