I have been trying to follow this story about a 14 year-old girl, possibly with Down's Syndrome, in Pakistan, who was accused of blasphemy. From what I've heard, she had been gather papers to burn to cook a meal, and picked up some pages of the Koran. An imam saw it, called her out, and had her arrested, then was pushing to have her executed - the maximum penalty for the blasphemy law in Pakistan. (Although, apparently, even if you get let off, your lifespan can be measured in hours, because mobs will wait for you to leave the police station, then murder you.)
Last I heard, the same imam who had accused her of the crime was arrested for planting
the pages. The girl was set free (though taken away by helicopter to a secure location, with her family). But that's all I've heard. Is anyone else following this story?
Nothing irritates me more than people who say "all religion is corrupt, we should get rid of it all." most often they are speaking from a bad experience or learning your opinions from TV or The Internet instead of formulating your own.
Or maybe they've formed an opinion on their own, but it happens to be different from yours? Perhaps you should actually wait to hear
their opinion, and their arguments for it, before you leap to calling them so ignorant or foolish that they have to get their opinions from TV or the Internet rather than forming them on their own?
You're probably going to have a hard time finding anyone who actually says that the Catholic Church does NO
good, whatsoever. What most people will say is that the good they do is massively
outweighed by the evil they do. Or that whatever good they do can be better done by secular institutions, without all the additional nastiness caused by the Catholic Church. In other words, despite your claims that their
positions are simplistic, their positions are actually more complex than your "they just hate the Catholic Church because it hurt their feelings".
Organized Religions are man made institution based on trying to understand his place and purpose in the universe, and like all man made instutions they rise, fall, change, and morph, they grow pure, corrupt, rebuilt, and changed. It is a complex thing, like all things man has built.
Complexity and history are irrelevant to the question of whether something should be tolerated. Slavery was an incredibly complex system, too, with different eras giving rise to different types of slavery, with different kinds of rights for slaves, and different means of obtaining and selling them. But slavery's complexity means nothing; it was time for slavery to go. Maybe it's time for religion to go, too. What purpose does it serve that cannot be better served by a secular alternative?
The same cathloic church that people like to poke at as an example of backwardsness, and religious corruption is also the largest non-profit group on the planet, whose missionaries and teachers go into third world countries with intent to not just convert, but to better the lives of others. (the cathloic church often stands apart from the aforementioned missionary circle jerk 10 posts ago.) and the Cathloic church is the third aid giver on the planet.
The other side of that coin is that the Catholic Church missionaries often get permission to go into third world countries by financing the horrible tyrants and dictators that are oppressing the people. That was the case in most of Latin America, for example, until the various revolutions kicked them out.
There's also the fact that the Catholic Church is taking advantage of people at their lowest ebb (usually, as mentioned above, by causing
their lowest ebb). Much worse, though, is that Catholic missions muscle out other missions - because why send regular aid to a country that's already getting Catholic aid; might as well send it somewhere else - and enforce their own ideas of what aid is on the population. The net result is that while there are Catholic "hospitals" in poor areas, they're not really
hospitals, because they refuse to offer certain treatments. A famous example is Mother Teresa, who built hospitals where painkillers were forbidden
, because "suffering brings one closer to Jesus" - witnesses said that you could hear people screaming all day as maggots were being picked out of their festering sores with tweezers - and the "medical" options were often worse, because most of the staff was not doctors or nurses, but nuns. But the problem is that once a "hospital" is there, even if in name only, it's harder to get the motivation and resources to build a real
hospital. It would have been better for everyone if the Catholic Church had just stayed out of the hospital building business and given any cash they wanted to spend on it to a real
medical organization, like MSF... ah, but then they wouldn't be able to impose their moral judgement on the patients, and take further advantage of them at the lowest points in their lives.
And while you've just hand-waved over the problem of their stance on condoms, the fact is that their crusade against them has caused the unnecessary and avoidable deaths and infections of millions
, and been part and parcel of the subjugation of women in third-world countries by taking away their reproductive rights and control over their bodies. And that's just condoms
; don't forget the fact that the Catholic doctrine also forbids all
other kinds of birth control, and abortion, too - even in cases where the mother and the baby are at risk. The suffering caused by their "aid" worldwide is probably immeasurable, because it's so widespread.
It's amusing that you accuse people who disagree with your position of "simplifying" the problem, when your argument for the Catholic Church's benevolence is simply "they give aid". The world is more complicated than that. It's a mistake to simply count the dollars thrown out by an organization as a measure of their charitability. (Incidentally, why is it so surprising that the the Roman Catholic Church is the third biggest aid giver in the world? They have the second biggest population of any organization or country in the world, second only to China. They have twice
the population of all
of North America combined, and barely any country or infrastructure to support.) There's also the question of the quality
of the charity. Are they actually spending that money on helping
the people... or on proselytizing to them? Here's a not-so-simple fact of charity: it can often do more
damage when a misguided charity goes into an afflicted area and does something half-assed, than if they had never gone in at all; better still if they'd just give the money to an organization that specializes in they aid the want to give, which means if the Catholic Church cared more about doing good than about spreading their message, rather than sending their half-trained, mediocre medical missions to end up in disasters like Mother Teresa's, they should give the money to MSF.
The same instution who has what are by modern standards backwards sexual taboos (I understand they are afraid of endorsing condoms, thinking that they bring promsquity and hedonisim. I also know it's blatantly not true.) is also the only group doing the more esoteric research on stars, physics, terraforming, and space travel because vatacan researchers don't have to turn a profit from their research.
That's just a flat-out lie. A ridiculous
The Vatican is not even close
to the "only" group doing cutting edge research into physics and astronomy. Every single major university... IN THE WORLD
is doing cutting edge research in those fields, some more cutting edge than others. I don't even know where to begin pointing you toward counter examples... because they're everywhere
. What about Cambridge? They have Stephen Hawking
, after all, and
they're a public institution (as opposed to something like Caltech, which is private).
No, I think the one and only counterexample necessary is NASA. You mentioned research into terraforming and space travel? That began
at NASA. Who put the rover on Mars, the Vatican or NASA? Who put a man on the moon, the Vatican or NASA? Who sent a probe father into space than anyone else has even come close to, the Vatican or NASA? 'Nuff said. NASA's budget is around 30 times
the entire Vatican science budget, and NASA researchers don't have to turn any profits on their research either. (In fact, pretty much every country in the world has a science program that is pure research - that doesn't have to turn a profit. The Vatican is hardly unique in that.) All of NASA's research (that isn't classified) is freely available in the public domain.
As for funding in general that doesn't require any profits... you must have no idea how much free money is out there for scientists doing good work. Here is just page "A" of an "A"-"Z" index of grant sources for research, from the American National Science Foundation
, let me stress, not investments - this is free money that will be given
to you if you present a good research proposal, money that you don't have to pay back.
You have seriously overblown the Vatican's science programs. They have like, two
small observatories (one in Italy and one in the US)... oh, but they're funded by private donors
, not the Vatican itself. There is also the Vatican's science academy, the Pontifical... something or other to do with sciences... but that's only one of hundreds
of scientific organizations around the world - I'm a member of two myself!!! - and not even close
to one of the most prestigious (which I would imagine is the UK's Royal Society). There's nothing special or unique about the Vatican's society: look, Albania has one, too
The Vatacan alongside the U.S. E.U. and private universities helped fund the Hydricon collider, and discover the higgs bodson particle, as well as work with black holes.
"The Vatican alongside...". Here is a detailed breakdown of who funded what for the Large Hadron Collider
, right out of the mouths of CERN, the people who built it. The primary funding groups were the host nations (the countries the ring actually runs through - France and Switzerland), and the major external contributors: Canada, India, Japan, Russia and the USA. Look, see for yourself
. Other major contributors mentioned were China, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and the UK.
Look, I'll be honest with you... I can't even find any
contribution by the Vatican.
So I can't refute that maybe they chipped in a couple of bucks. But portraying them as a major contributor, as in "The Vatacan alongside the U.S. E.U. and private universities...", well that's just being dishonest.
The Vatican is a country, a state, so of course they have a science program... virtually every
state has a science program - certainly every state with as much money to burn as the Vatican has. (Good grief, Nauru
has a science program!
) There is nothing of note about their science program. Sure, it's kinda nice that they have one, good for them, but that hardly makes them a noteworthy contributor to the sciences.