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Is sacrilege fair game?

  • 16-09-2020 8:06pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭ nozzferrahhtoo


    MOD : New thread for discussion on topic raised by this post by nozzferrahhtoo - KEEP IT CIVIL PLZ.
    *Mod note - thread title altered in keeping with wishes of 'accidental' OP*

    Most Catholics believe broadly the same things - for the purposes of discussion it is not unreasonable, in a forum like this, to presume a Catholic believes what the Church teaches, or certainly a lot of it.

    I have not found this to be a safe assumption at all in my own experience.

    Through my life I have seen too many examples of people calling themselves Catholic yet believing entirely different things to each other. In fact there was one study conducted in Ireland which found a small but not insignificant number of self identified "Catholics" do not believe in the virgin birth or.... surprisingly enough..... a god. Both of which I thought would be fairly low bars for qualification.

    Where this stood out most for me though is when I went through a period of obtaining and experimenting on Catholic Crackers.

    One of the things I did during this time was talk with a lot of Catholics on and off line about the crackers in question, and their beliefs about them.

    Even on this point, one central enough to Catholicism I would have expected, there was a disparity of views. They all fell generally into there main camps though. 1) People who thought a real physical change happened to the cracker during consecration 2) Those who believed it was a spiritual change undetectable in any way of course and 3) Those who believed nothing happened, that the ceremony was entirely symbolic only.

    At first I thought a bit like you, that surely there could be no confusion on this given as you say through "catechism and a large body of Canon law" the church is meant to make this stuff clear. But then I realised that it was never taught all that clearly in school. The nuances are barely mentioned in any mass I have ever attended. When you walk into a church there are no leaflets or pamphlets informing you on points of catholic faith.

    Basically in other words, the church appears to make no serious moves to communicating to it's followers what they are actually meant to be believing. They seem to keep it quite vague.

    And I found myself in the end actually not being surprised by this at all. Because I suspect if they WERE too clear on it, or pushed the core points too hard, they would alienate too many people who would think "Ehhhh no thats not what I believe at all actually, Im off". Rather, the more vague they keep it the wider the net they throw to bring people in, and put bums on seats (cept on the occasions where they have other rather less moral uses for said bums of course).

    So if someone identifies as "Catholic" you might not think it unreasonable to make certain assumptions about what they think or believe. I however don't myself. I remain open and wait to find out.


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Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭ John Hutton


    I have not found this to be a safe assumption at all in my own experience.

    Through my life I have seen too many examples of people calling themselves Catholic yet believing entirely different things to each other. In fact there was one study conducted in Ireland which found a small but not insignificant number of self identified "Catholics" do not believe in the virgin birth or.... surprisingly enough..... a god. Both of which I thought would be fairly low bars for qualification.

    Where this stood out most for me though is when I went through a period of obtaining and experimenting on Catholic Crackers.

    One of the things I did during this time was talk with a lot of Catholics on and off line about the crackers in question, and their beliefs about them.

    Even on this point, one central enough to Catholicism I would have expected, there was a disparity of views. They all fell generally into there main camps though. 1) People who thought a real physical change happened to the cracker during consecration 2) Those who believed it was a spiritual change undetectable in any way of course and 3) Those who believed nothing happened, that the ceremony was entirely symbolic only.

    At first I thought a bit like you, that surely there could be no confusion on this given as you say through "catechism and a large body of Canon law" the church is meant to make this stuff clear. But then I realised that it was never taught all that clearly in school. The nuances are barely mentioned in any mass I have ever attended. When you walk into a church there are no leaflets or pamphlets informing you on points of catholic faith.

    Basically in other words, the church appears to make no serious moves to communicating to it's followers what they are actually meant to be believing. They seem to keep it quite vague.

    And I found myself in the end actually not being surprised by this at all. Because I suspect if they WERE too clear on it, or pushed the core points too hard, they would alienate too many people who would think "Ehhhh no thats not what I believe at all actually, Im off". Rather, the more vague they keep it the wider the net they throw to bring people in, and put bums on seats (cept on the occasions where they have other rather less moral uses for said bums of course).

    So if someone identifies as "Catholic" you might not think it unreasonable to make certain assumptions about what they think or believe. I however don't myself. I remain open and wait to find out.

    :( This is quite sad that you would go out of your way to commit such sacrilege.

    You can't pretend it was for some sort of scientific reason because you knew the answer before you started, and that there couldn't be any other conclusion. This is not science.

    This was just a reason to intrude on peoples worship and misappropriate, steal or otherwise dishonestly obtain sacred hosts to experiment upon and write about - something which would obviously (purposefully) cause distress to Catholics.

    The vast majority of atheists I know would give a loud "wtf" to what you (supposedly) did.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,033 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe


    :( This is quite sad that you would go out of your way to commit such sacrilege.

    You can't pretend it was for some sort of scientific reason because you knew the answer before you started, and that there couldn't be any other conclusion. This is not science.

    This was just a reason to intrude on peoples worship and misappropriate, steal or otherwise dishonestly obtain sacred hosts to experiment upon and write about - something which would obviously (purposefully) cause distress to Catholics.

    The vast majority of atheists I know would give a loud "wtf" to what you (supposedly) did.

    Can one commit sacrilege when one does not consider a thing sacred?

    People are disrespectful of things other people consider sacred all the time - like all those thousands of tourist who used to hike up Ulhuru in Australia despite being asked not to...
    Or draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad...
    I have strolled around predominantly Muslim countries with my head uncovered - did I commit sacrilege?


    I am not condoning Nozz's experiment but my experience of Irish Catholics (afaik Nozz is not based in Ireland) is the majority do not know, never mind believe, that RCC doctrine states the host/cracker/wafer/bread literally become the flesh of Jesus at the moment of consecration.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭ John Hutton


    Bannasidhe wrote: »
    Can one commit sacrilege when one does not consider a thing sacred?

    People are disrespectful of things other people consider sacred all the time - like all those thousands of tourist who used to hike up Ulhuru in Australia despite being asked not to...
    Or draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad...
    I have strolled around predominantly Muslim countries with my head uncovered - did I commit sacrilege?


    I am not condoning Nozz's experiment but my experience of Irish Catholics (afaik Nozz is not based in Ireland) is the majority do not know, never mind believe, that RCC doctrine states the host/cracker/wafer/bread literally become the flesh of Jesus at the moment of consecration.

    Do you not think there is a difference between that and masquerading as a believer to obtain consecrated hosts for the such purposes?

    I'm sorry, lying to obtain what believers consider Jesus for the purposes of destroying it in the name of "science" (nothing scientific about it at all) and writing about it is being a you know what.

    If he just wrote about it and said it was a load of rubbish/idiotic/delusional I would have no issue beyond disagreeing. But it went far beyond that.

    If any religion were giving out free sacred statues to believers and someone lied and pretended to be a believer to get loads of them to smash up I think most people would think they were being pricks. This is far worse to Catholics.

    Most mass going Catholics understand that holy communion is sacred. I agree that cachechism is and was very poor (this is Catholicisms major problem, where people went because they felt socially obliged but didn't understand what was going on, this is why mass attendance has dropped since the scandals smashed any social obligation.)

    Regardless of their understanding of transubstantiation I think any mass going catholic would object to someone dishonestly obtaining consecrated hosts to burn and otherwise experiment on them.

    (Incidentially, it is clear from the "experiments" that the posters understanding of catholic teaching on the nature of the host is severely lacking)


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,033 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe


    Do you not think there is a difference between that and masquerading as a believer to obtain consecrated hosts for the such purposes?

    Do I think that someone obtaining an item they do not think is sacred but is well aware that others do is different to tourists climbing a large rock they do not think is sacred but it is made very clear by the people whose land they have to enter to climb said rock that they believe it is sacred - including signs asking people to respect their beliefs?

    No.

    I consider them to be pretty much the same thing.

    I, personally wouldn't steal a consecrated host not because I think it is sacred but because I kinda think it's a bit of a dickish thing to do tbh - exact same reason I didn't climb Uluru when the opportunity presented itself.

    I do think that if one claims one's religion has sacred objects than one has to recognise that other religions also have objects they consider sacred and respect those - something Christians historically have not exactly been known for.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭ John Hutton


    Bannasidhe wrote: »
    Do I think that someone obtaining an item they do not think is sacred but is well aware that others do is different to tourists climbing a large rock they do not think is sacred but it is made very clear by the people whose land they have to enter to climb said rock that they believe it is sacred - including signs asking people to respect their beliefs?

    No.

    I consider them to be pretty much the same thing.

    I, personally wouldn't steal a consecrated host not because I think it is sacred but because I kinda think it's a bit of a dickish thing to do tbh - exact same reason I didn't climb Uluru when the opportunity presented itself.

    I do think that if one claims one's religion has sacred objects than one has to recognise that other religions also have objects they consider sacred and respect those - something Christians historically have not exactly been known for.

    I dont think our opinions are that far apart.

    It's more to do with other people holding something as sacred. That's what matters.

    I think you are missing some nuances here. I wouldn't climb the mountain either. For the same reasons as you.

    But this is more like deciding to go to a forbidden sacred mountain on private property where only members of a religion, who own the land, are allowed to go and climb it BECAUSE people view it as sacred. Not because I like mountaineering. And to be allowed to climb it I had to enter onto private property under false pretenses, pretending to be of the religion. And then for good measure bring a bomb with me to blow up the mountain. And then write about it to really rub it in, and mention I have a few more sacred mountains I might blow up.

    Of course, in this instance in the eyes of Catholics this is worse, because it's not blowing up something like Croagh Patrick, or even a Bascillica, but rather the real presence of Jesus Christ, God.

    Even if you think this is all childish superstition you wouldn't butcher Santa Claus in front of kids because, as you put it, it's being a dick.

    I was enjoying this conversation until that unwelcome (and irrelevant) intrusion. :(


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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭ nozzferrahhtoo


    You can't pretend it was for some sort of scientific reason because you knew the answer before you started

    Well it is very nice of you to ignore the entire point of my post, and change the subject. Especially in the context on presuming to lecture me on respect for others.

    The point of my post was to reply to your assertion that it is warranted to make assumptions about what a person believes when they say they are "Catholic". And in my experience, some of which I explained to you, this assumption is not safe at all.

    For example, as I said, during the Bishops Conference in Dublin a study of "Religious Practice and Values in Ireland" found that "As can be seen, almost 90% of Catholics believe in God, almost 77% believe in heaven and just over three quarters believe in sin."

    There was a time that I would have assumed someone calling themselves "Catholic" would be near guaranteed to believe all three of those things. Which just goes to show where assumption gets you.

    All that said however.... since I am not someone to ignore another person's points as readily as you ignore those of others...... firstly I did not "steal" anything. IF you think I did then go to the cops and report me. I shall happily visit them next time I am home in Ireland for questioning. The reality is however they happily give these things out for free without qualification or condition or query.

    Secondly however I do not need to be lectured on what is or is not science by a layman. Quite often in science we DO know the answer before we start experimentation. Experimentation is not always for the purpose of discovery, but for the purpose of confirmation or falsification. Even being 99% sure you know the outcome of an experiment is not a reason to not do it. Nor does doing it negate it being science. The opposite of your assertion is in fact true. What would be unscientific would be skipping experimentation and study because you are arrogant and hubristic enough to assume you have all the answers already.

    Further, I do not think you speak for any atheists at all. Let alone the imaginary "majority" you pretend to speak for. We already had nthclre on the thread pretending to do this. We do not need another.

    Finally, not only do you not speak for ANY atheists, let alone a majority, you do not speak for Catholics other than yourself either. Because actually little to no Catholics were hurt, offended, or in any way put out by anything I did or wrote either. A few "Catholics" online were. But very few. And they were American not Irish. And their expressions of distaste for what I did took the form of the very Christian move of writing to me anonymously and threatening not only my life, but that of my children.

    By their fruits you shall known them indeed! My favourite biblical phrase in fact. But thank you for making my above point(s) for me! Because once again you make assumptions about Catholics, based on nothing but the word "Catholic" that turns out not at all to be a warranted assumption. Thus proving the point I am making to you that such assumptions are not safe to make based off one label alone.

    Rather I find the humanist, and probably truly Christian too ironically enough, way to treat individuals is..... as individuals. And to not make any assumptions about their beliefs or their character until they themselves express them. People are people to me, not labels or neat little boxes.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,033 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe


    I dont think our opinions are that far apart.

    It's more to do with other people holding something as sacred. That's what matters.

    I think you are missing some nuances here. I wouldn't climb the mountain either. For the same reasons as you.

    But this is more like deciding to go to a forbidden sacred mountain on private property where only members of a religion, who own the land, are allowed to go and climb it BECAUSE people view it as sacred. Not because I like mountaineering. And to be allowed to climb it I had to enter onto private property under false pretenses, pretending to be of the religion. And then for good measure bring a bomb with me to blow up the mountain. And then write about it to really rub it in, and mention I have a few more sacred mountains I might blow up.

    Of course, in this instance in the eyes of Catholics this is worse, because it's not blowing up something like Croagh Patrick, or even a Bascillica, but rather the real presence of Jesus Christ, God.

    Even if you think this is all childish superstition you wouldn't butcher Santa Claus in front of kids because, as you put it, it's being a dick.

    I was enjoying this conversation until that unwelcome (and irrelevant) intrusion. :(

    Dickish in an angry teenage punk kinda way - as in I can imagine myself as a teenage punky art student doing such a 'sacrilegious' thing and declaring it Performance Art. And, tbh, when I was a teenage punky female art student the Abortion Ref #1 was happening so while it may have been dickish I would argue that in the context of the time there would have been justification for both the anger and the push back.

    There is an interesting discussion to be had on the whole topic of sacred/sacrilege and is it ever not dickish to deliberately undertake an action some would find offensive - like draw a cartoon for example?- but I think that deserves it's own thread.

    This is an interesting discussion in it's own right.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭ John Hutton


    Did he, though?

    He would have had to, or else actually stolen it.
    You know where things you eat end up, don't you?
    Is that more respectful?

    Ah come on. Let's be less trivial than this. If I offered to buy my friends a pint and you put up your hand and said you wanted one and when i gave gave you a pint you smashed it on the ground and said "sure I would have ended up pissing it out anyway" I dont think that would cut it.
    If somebody is gullible enough to give out free stuff to all and sundry to promote their religion, that's their problem tbh.
    But holy communion is only available to members of the religion..
    Some people deface those bibles in hotels... when the pope visited here, some people applied for lots of free tickets with no intent of using them. I don't see anything wrong with this, it is freedom of speech same as the promotion of the religion in the first place is freedom of speech.
    I think that's pretty sad, but much different to lying to obtain consecrated hosts to destroy them.
    Nobody who wants a Gideon bible in a hotel is ever deprived of one (they supply lots of replacements and actually want people to take them home), nobody who wanted to see the pope missed out cause there were loads of people giving away spare tickets in the preceding days and it was 2/3rds empty anyway, I doubt anybody who wants a communion wafer has ever been deprived of one either.
    That's not the case, had the OP been honest he would not have been given one. If someone went in and said "I'm not a catholic" they would not be given one. Only by pretending to be a believer would you get one.
    IMO one of catholicism's major problems was trying to impose itself across the board in this country, instead of sticking with whatever smaller size of flock was actually interested. As an organisation they became obsessed with temporal power.
    People always seem to forget that the churches involvement was greatly supported and in most cases called for and demanded by the populace rather than "imposed". This doesnt necessarily make it right, but we need to get the history right


    Well when it was in Lain, they had no chance!
    But it's common among religions/cults to keep the actual beliefs at least somewhat mysterious as Nozz pointed out, some like Scientology will even relieve you of large sums of cash to 'reveal' more 'knowledge' to you.
    It was dropping before that though, and the big decline in vocations started in the early-mid 1970s, can't blame scandals for that because they were still all being hushed up.
    Vocations and mass attendance are not the same. I dont believe anyone not cahechised properly would even think about becoming a priest.



    If I've been given something for free, it's now my property to dispose of as I wish. I wouldn't do this myself however as I have no interest in entering a catholic church, never mind obtaining anything from them.
    But it's not for free its obtained under false pretences. It also given on the condition that it is immediately consumed.
    Is this during extensive research of your own? Because if it's based on the posts here you have no way of knowing someone is an atheist unless they say so.
    I said it was based on my experience. Lots of people have abandoned materialism for some of the reasons you outlined. I dont see why this should prove controversial.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭ John Hutton


    Bannasidhe wrote: »
    Dickish in an angry teenage punk kinda way - as in I can imagine myself as a teenage punky art student doing such a 'sacrilegious' thing and declaring it Performance Art. And, tbh, when I was a teenage punky female art student the Abortion Ref #1 was happening so while it may have been dickish I would argue that in the context of the time there would have been justification for both the anger and the push back.

    There is an interesting discussion to be had on the whole topic of sacred/sacrilege and is it ever not dickish to deliberately undertake an action some would find offensive - like draw a cartoon for example?- but I think that deserves it's own thread.

    This is an interesting discussion in it's own right.

    Oh yes, one could find a justification for almost anything.

    If you had done that you would have at least been upfront that it was intended to shock and upset people, you weren't pretending that it was science.

    As I said it's sad, that the OP decided to "test" for something that no one claimed. The RCC teaches that the physical characteristics of the wafer do not change upon consecration and as such are indistinguishable from ordinary wafer, either by eyesight or "testing". So what was the point? To wind people up.

    Nothing better to do?

    You again conflate actions such as drawing a picture (offensive as it may be too some) to dishonestly obtaining sacred items by deception in order to destroy them.

    A more proper analogy would be to pretend and lie about being a Muslim man in order to enter a mosque, and while there drawing a picture of Muhammad on the wall. And even that isn't quite as bad because drawing a picture, objectionable as it may be, is not destroying the real presence of God.

    I seem to be in a minority here on this point but I do maintain that I believe that the majority of people, believers or otherwise, would say that it is wrong to dishonestly obtain holy communion in order to destroy and write about it. I mean, who does stuff like that. Religion must be living rent free in your head to even think about it. I suppose it's like trolling, where the person finds it amusing to try and upset and hurt people.

    But this has all successfully derailed this thread from an interesting discussion about what happens when we die and philosophical basis for understanding the world.

    But I guess the hope for those who do commit acts of sacrilege is that death is indeed the end... because if it isn't there is that perfect justice I referred to earlier. As i said multiple times this type of thing is just sad,on multiple levels. With regard to the individual it's like watching someone destroy themselves and self destruct with drugs, you hope and pray they "see the light" at some stage, for their own sake if nothing else. In my experience many do, especially on their death bed. A priest friend has told me that many times a very agitated dying person he ministered to, sometimes beyond having a conversation or seemingly understanding what is going on around them, has been greatly soothed by prayer and the last rites. Even though they had been lapsed Catholics or baptised unbelievers for most of their lives.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭ nozzferrahhtoo


    But holy communion is only available to members of the religion.. I think that's pretty sad, but much different to lying to obtain consecrated hosts to destroy them.

    There was an experiment run by James Randi some years ago where he sent some magicians and illusionists to scientists and let them be studied doing tricks that made them look psychic.

    Randi told them never to lie however. He told them if the scientists ever asked "Is this all a trick?" they should instantly come clean and say yes, yes it is.

    The scientists simply never asked.

    I operate on a similar principle of honesty at times. If at any point someone had asked me outright, I would have answered instantly. However the doors of a church are wide open, I was often there by invitation (like weddings for example) and when you walk up they hand you a cracker with no questions asked and no terms and conditions laid out.
    If someone went in and said "I'm not a catholic" they would not be given one. Only by pretending to be a believer would you get one.

    This would appear to be false given in the small communities I have been part of I would have been very damn well known to the priests. They knew who exactly I was and what I was not. One of them even knew I abstained from confirmation when I was in Secondary School.

    Further when I went to school I was on occasion made by the school to go to mass. The teachers and the school new damn well my position on religion and gods. And yet I was still made by the teachers to join everyone else in the queue for the crackers.

    So once again, which was our original conversation topic, you appear TO ME to be making assumptions about others that do not hold up to scrutiny. The more you speak for others, their beliefs, their rules, their actions.... the more you seem TO ME to be making it up as you go along and assigning positions to people as they suit you personally. But your assertions and assumptions do not appear to track with any reality I am aware of.

    Speaking of which you have at least twice now ascribed my words and actions to "The OP". I am not the OP. So another nice example of you assigning things to people they never did or said.
    But it's not for free its obtained under false pretences. It also given on the condition that it is immediately consumed.

    At no point in any school lesson, in any mass, or in any church, has that expectation ever been laid out to me or anyone I know. IF this is in their terms and conditions they might want to start being more clear about it.
    The RCC teaches that the physical characteristics of the wafer do not change upon consecration and as such are indistinguishable from ordinary wafer, either by eyesight or "testing". So what was the point? To wind people up.

    In the link which I wrote I told what my point is. But ONCE AGAIN (it's becoming quite the MO from you now) you make up your own motivations and agendas and assign them to me. Even when it is there in black and white what my motivations were... you happily replace them with those of your own invention.

    It was very clear in the opening paragraphs however that I was not AT ALL directing my article at the RCC or what they teach. But at the people who were making claims other than what the RCC teaches. Where DO you get all this straw for the strawman I wonder?

    Which was, as I said before, the point I was originally making which you have dodged since I made it using this irrelevant cracker tangent. Which is that you can not simply assume to know what a person thinks or believes solely because they label themselves "Catholic". Because quite often their beliefs and ideas can be quite different to what the RCC claims.
    And even that isn't quite as bad because drawing a picture, objectionable as it may be, is not destroying the real presence of God.

    It is a cracker. Not a god. If you want to evidence the existence of god in the cracker, you might start by evidencing the existence of god. This you have not yet done. You believing strange unsubstantiated nonsense things about a dry foodstuff places NO onus on me to respect the foodstuff.
    But this has all successfully derailed this thread from an interesting discussion

    Which you, and you alone, caused. When I give an EXAMPLE to make a point, and you 100% ignore the point and then make multiple posts about the example..... then the derail was yours and yours alone. Let us not blame anyone else but you for this.


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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,332 Mod ✭✭✭✭ smacl


    Do you not think there is a difference between that and masquerading as a believer to obtain consecrated hosts for the such purposes?

    I'm sorry, lying to obtain what believers consider Jesus for the purposes of destroying it in the name of "science" (nothing scientific about it at all) and writing about it is being a you know what.

    If he just wrote about it and said it was a load of rubbish/idiotic/delusional I would have no issue beyond disagreeing. But it went far beyond that.

    If any religion were giving out free sacred statues to believers and someone lied and pretended to be a believer to get loads of them to smash up I think most people would think they were being pricks. This is far worse to Catholics.

    Most mass going Catholics understand that holy communion is sacred. I agree that cachechism is and was very poor (this is Catholicisms major problem, where people went because they felt socially obliged but didn't understand what was going on, this is why mass attendance has dropped since the scandals smashed any social obligation.)

    Regardless of their understanding of transubstantiation I think any mass going catholic would object to someone dishonestly obtaining consecrated hosts to burn and otherwise experiment on them.

    (Incidentially, it is clear from the "experiments" that the posters understanding of catholic teaching on the nature of the host is severely lacking)

    I think this largely boils down to whether or not we should respect the beliefs of others. I tend to take the approach of giving a similar level of respect to the beliefs of others that they give to my beliefs. The issue here is that where belief systems are diametrically opposed, i.e. you believe in a god where i don't, there is rarely parity of respect. Atheists and agnostic regularly see Christianity foisted on our children through the education system and blasphemy a crime enshrined in our legal system. As an atheist in my mid 50s with atheist parents and atheist children my family has suffered considerable intolerance, disrespect and even abuse for holding the philosophical position that we do. On that basis, I have very little reason to respect the beliefs and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church in any general sense. At the same time, I also realise that much of the intolerance and disrespect that atheists such as myself have to put up with is systematic, cultural and institutional in nature. I have friends who are deeply religious and entirely respectful of my position and I accord them and their faith similar respect.

    It is probably also worth highlighting that you're posting on a forum for atheists and agnostics here where the default position of most posters is that gods don't exist or may not exist (more the former in my experience). While all views and opinions are welcome here, you should perhaps bear in mind that Christian mythology is generally held to be baloney here and respect that belief system if you would like others here to respect yours.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭ John Hutton


    smacl wrote: »
    I think this largely boils down to whether or not we should respect the beliefs of others. I tend to take the approach of giving a similar level of respect to the beliefs of others that they give to my beliefs. The issue here is that where belief systems are diametrically opposed, i.e. you believe in a god where i don't, there is rarely parity of respect. Atheists and agnostic regularly see Christianity foisted on our children through the education system and blasphemy a crime enshrined in our legal system. As an atheist in my mid 50s with atheist parents and atheist children my family has suffered considerable intolerance, disrespect and even abuse for holding the philosophical position that we do. On that basis, I have very little reason to respect the beliefs and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church in any general sense. At the same time, I also realise that much of the intolerance and disrespect that atheists such as myself have to put up with is systematic, cultural and institutional in nature. I have friends who are deeply religious and entirely respectful of my position and I accord them and their faith similar respect.

    It is probably also worth highlighting that you're posting on a forum for atheists and agnostics here where the default position of most posters is that gods don't exist or may not exist (more the former in my experience). While all views and opinions are welcome here, you should perhaps bear in mind that Christian mythology is generally held to be baloney here and respect that belief system if you would like others here to respect yours.
    It boils down a bit further than that - should someone go out of their way to purposefully "disrespect" someones religious beliefs through acquiring and destroying the Eucharist.


    I have no issue (although I mightn't agree :)) with people being merely "disrespectful" saying my beliefs are idiotic, morally wrong, destructive etc or even saying dreadful things and being purposefully offensive about my beliefs. Even buying and destroying Bibles or religious artworks - although I certainly don't like to see it, as it is disrespectful.



    However, going to the trouble of dishonestly acquiring Eucharist to "experiment" upon and destroy is a number of degrees above "disrespect" or disagreement. It is not just being "disrespectful" to something you are confronted with, but rather going out of your way to be so, which is altogether different.


    I have to say I am somewhat surprised that people seem to be ambivalent (even if not supportive) about the supposed actions of nozz. In my book, conspiring and going out of your way to dishonestly acquire something you would not otherwise come across, on numerous occasions, which is not meant for you and precious (even if you think its only in a foolish, sentimental fashion) to others for the purposes of experimenting on it and destroying it is not nice, and should be frowned upon. I don't think this is a controversial position, and any moral failings of the people the item is acquired from from shouldn't change this.



    Anyway, I had said I was finished with this thread (I think it's fair to say that I gave the topic at hand a good go, hopefully in a way people might have found interesting, I did anyway) as I don't think I have anything further to add to a discussion about destroying the Eucharist that I haven't said already.


    However, I felt I should reply to you because you are a moderator, and I wanted to say that I am mindful of where I am posting, and I think I have been respectful of people's beliefs (or lack thereof :)) here. I certainly have not set out to deliberately offend anyone, so apologies if I have.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,033 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe


    It boils down a bit further than that - should someone go out of their way to purposefully "disrespect" someones religious beliefs through acquiring and destroying the Eucharist.


    I have no issue (although I mightn't agree :)) with people being merely "disrespectful" saying my beliefs are idiotic, morally wrong, destructive etc or even saying dreadful things and being purposefully offensive about my beliefs. Even buying and destroying Bibles or religious artworks - although I certainly don't like to see it, as it is disrespectful.



    However, going to the trouble of dishonestly acquiring Eucharist to "experiment" upon and destroy is a number of degrees above "disrespect" or disagreement. It is not just being "disrespectful" to something you are confronted with, but rather going out of your way to be so, which is altogether different.


    I have to say I am somewhat surprised that people seem to be ambivalent (even if not supportive) about the supposed actions of nozz. In my book, conspiring and going out of your way to dishonestly acquire something you would not otherwise come across, on numerous occasions, which is not meant for you and precious (even if you think its only in a foolish, sentimental fashion) to others for the purposes of experimenting on it and destroying it is not nice, and should be frowned upon. I don't think this is a controversial position, and any moral failings of the people the item is acquired from from shouldn't change this.



    Anyway, I had said I was finished with this thread (I think it's fair to say that I gave the topic at hand a good go, hopefully in a way people might have found interesting, I did anyway) as I don't think I have anything further to add to a discussion about destroying the Eucharist that I haven't said already.


    However, I felt I should reply to you because you are a moderator, and I wanted to say that I am mindful of where I am posting, and I think I have been respectful of people's beliefs (or lack thereof :)) here. I certainly have not set out to deliberately offend anyone, so apologies if I have.

    May I just say that I, personally, enjoyed reading your posts even though I do not share your beliefs.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,332 Mod ✭✭✭✭ smacl


    However, going to the trouble of dishonestly acquiring Eucharist to "experiment" upon and destroy is a number of degrees above "disrespect" or disagreement. It is not just being "disrespectful" to something you are confronted with, but rather going out of your way to be so, which is altogether different.

    I have to say I am somewhat surprised that people seem to be ambivalent (even if not supportive) about the supposed actions of nozz. In my book, conspiring and going out of your way to dishonestly acquire something you would not otherwise come across, on numerous occasions, which is not meant for you and precious (even if you think its only in a foolish, sentimental fashion) to others for the purposes of experimenting on it and destroying it is not nice, and should be frowned upon. I don't think this is a controversial position, and any moral failings of the people the item is acquired from from shouldn't change this.

    I agree, though I am not particularly surprised as there an understandable antipathy felt by many people towards the church, often for good reason. While I share this sentiment to some degree, personally I make every effort to treat people according to their actions rather than beliefs on an individual basis. Using deception as a mechanism to attack the faith of others is unpleasant and serves no useful purpose from my perspective. From memory of a previous discussion on here (with Peregrinus maybe?), the notion that the Eucharist physically transforms into the flesh of Christ on contact with the believer's tongue is not one commonly held by today's Christians, so the supposed experiment is also a straw man. Most arguments of the form, 'all Christians believe X because it says so in the bible' tend not to hold true in my experience, though they're still made with alarming regularity by some more hard-line atheists and a minority of more zealous Christians. The main problem with this type of argument is that it is divisive and can lead others to believe this is a stance typical of atheists or Christians in general.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,495 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    nozz wrote:
    I operate on a similar principle of honesty at times. If at any point someone had asked me outright, I would have answered instantly. However the doors of a church are wide open, I was often there by invitation (like weddings for example) and when you walk up they hand you a cracker with no questions asked and no terms and conditions laid out.


    Apologies to mod whose correct snip I inadvertently edited out. Presumably he/she wouldn't object to the following element of the post




    When you walked up (your action) you took advantage of the good faith being placed in YOU.

    Your not a kid, you knew what you intended to do and you did it. Expecting the priest to question everybody as to their bona fides is the kind of principle of honesty Boris Johnson operates according to.

    [If I had a bunch of Eucharists at my disposal and need something to feed the birds I'd have no problem doing that as a Christian. But I wouldn't obtain them under false pretences]


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭ nozzferrahhtoo


    Still sticking to your usual MO of ignoring my posts to you, but replying to my posts to others I see. Not really giving you the pedestal to morally judge the actions of others that really.
    When you walked up (your action) you took advantage of the good faith being placed in YOU.

    Again nothing of the sort was ever laid out to me. I was there by invitation, and they were giving these things out without question or conditions or caveats I have been made aware of by them. Then, or since.
    Expecting the priest to question everybody[/QUTOE]

    No such thing was required. I was well known to some of the priests in question. One of them happily handed me a cracker in the full knowledge I refused to attend Confirmation with the rest of my school for example.

    Said priests were, and to my knowledge still are, aware that I kept the foodstuffs in question and still possess some of them.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,033 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe


    Apologies to mod whose correct snip I inadvertently edited out. Presumably he/she wouldn't object to the following element of the post




    When you walked up (your action) you took advantage of the good faith being placed in YOU.

    Your not a kid, you knew what you intended to do and you did it. Expecting the priest to question everybody as to their bona fides is the kind of principle of honesty Boris Johnson operates according to.

    [If I had a bunch of Eucharists at my disposal and need something to feed the birds I'd have no problem doing that as a Christian. But I wouldn't obtain them under false pretences]

    Mod

    Apology accepted but the warning stands that any more posts of that kind will result in sanctions.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,495 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    Again nothing of the sort was ever laid out to me. I was there by invitation, and they were giving these things out without question or conditions or caveats I have been made aware of by them. Then, or since.

    Hark ... tis the sound of Boris / Dominic /Phil and all the rest who fudge around wafer thin (excuse the pun) technicalities.

    You know the purpose and meaning of the Eucharist. And you trampled on it. No great crime, we all do such things, being sinners and all.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,537 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    It seems to be atheists in the firing line here, but what about when the major religious beliefs contradict each other?

    Is it okay for a christian to draw a picture of a middle eastern man and write the name Mohammed underneath? After all even his followers state that he's a prophet, not a god, and christians certainly don't regard him as a god.

    How about a muslim stating that Jesus Christ was a prophet, not the son of god? Blasphemy, or not?

    What about when they dispute control of a site each regards as sacred, such as in Jerusalem (just to be clear, a THREE-way Abrahamic faith conflict) or the former mosque in Cordoba which is now a cathedral?

    Now as an atheist it's not really any skin off my nose to observe that it's whichever belief system is most powerful at that place and time which holds sway, but then again I'm not making any claims to the existence of an absolute morality.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭ John Hutton


    It seems to be atheists in the firing line here, but what about when the major religious beliefs contradict each other?

    Is it okay for a christian to draw a picture of a middle eastern man and write the name Mohammed underneath? After all even his followers state that he's a prophet, not a god, and christians certainly don't regard him as a god.

    How about a muslim stating that Jesus Christ was a prophet, not the son of god? Blasphemy, or not?

    What about when they dispute control of a site each regards as sacred, such as in Jerusalem or the former mosque in Cordoba which is now a cathedral?

    Now as an atheist it's not really any skin off my nose to observe that it's whichever belief system is most powerful at that place and time which holds sway, but then again I'm not making any claims to the existence of an absolute morality.
    How about asking if it was OK for ISIS to destroy various religious sites?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 26,537 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    I believe that sites of historical interest should be respected whether religious or not.

    Now joining the dots which the Irish government is incapable of (they allow classic cars, but do not allow current cars to viably reach classic age) that implies that current religious sites should also be respected.

    It's private property at the end of the day. Religious appropriation of the public space and public property is another matter, however.


    But you didn't even try to answer any of my questions...


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,033 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe


    It seems to be atheists in the firing line here, but what about when the major religious beliefs contradict each other?

    Is it okay for a christian to draw a picture of a middle eastern man and write the name Mohammed underneath? After all even his followers state that he's a prophet, not a god, and christians certainly don't regard him as a god.

    How about a muslim stating that Jesus Christ was a prophet, not the son of god? Blasphemy, or not?

    What about when they dispute control of a site each regards as sacred, such as in Jerusalem or the former mosque in Cordoba which is now a cathedral?

    Now as an atheist it's not really any skin off my nose to observe that it's whichever belief system is most powerful at that place and time which holds sway, but then again I'm not making any claims to the existence of an absolute morality.

    Absolutely.

    It not just Islam - Judaism does not recognise the Christian Messiah as The Messiah - is that sacrilege?

    Even within Christianity there is no consensus - there have been on a number of occasions when items that were considered sacred by one Christian denomination (usually Roman Catholic) were wilfully and deliberately destroyed in iconoclastic rages by other Christian denominations who considered such items, ironically, to be sacrilegious.

    One the one hand to do an act that would be considered 'sacrilege' is to disrespect and could be seen, as I said before, as being 'dickish' - but... what about when one's own beliefs are deliberately disrespected by the religious/other religions?
    Is pushing back against disrespect disrespectful?

    Obviously Atheists do not have sacred objects so the concept of sacrilege does not apply - but we can, collectively, be disrespected. For example by being told what we 'believe', or that we have a 'religion', or 'tenets' - all of which happens in this forum on a regular basis.

    Is it a case that to disrespect religion is out of order but to be disrespected by the religious is fair game?


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,033 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe


    How about asking if it was OK for ISIS to destroy various religious sites?

    No, it wasn't. Did someone claim it was?
    Was it ok for Christian churches to be built on pagan sites thereby destroying them?

    ISIS is seeking to destroy what went before so only they are left.
    Christianity tried the same thing across the globe.
    The Parthenon was defaced by Early Christians.
    Radical Calvinists went on an iconoclastic fury across northern Europe.
    English Reformers destroyed the relics held in monasteries.
    All with the same intent and reasoning as ISIS.

    The willful destruction of sites of historical/architectural importance is never right.
    Be that the tomb of Daniel in Mosul or Wood Quay.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭ John Hutton


    Bannasidhe wrote: »
    No, it wasn't. Did someone claim it was?
    Was it ok for Christian churches to be built on pagan sites thereby destroying them?

    ISIS is seeking to destroy what went before so only they are left.
    Christianity tried the same thing across the globe.
    The Parthenon was defaced by Early Christians.
    Radical Calvinists went on an iconoclastic fury across northern Europe.
    English Reformers destroyed the relics held in monasteries.
    All with the same intent and reasoning as ISIS.

    The willful destruction of sites of historical/architectural importance is never right.
    Be that the tomb of Daniel in Mosul or Wood Quay.
    I was just adding to his list of questions as it seemed a big one that is along the lines of the others he said :o


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 41,827 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder


    if i eat beef, am i being disrespectful to those for whom cattle are sacred?
    if i do so, i do so knowing that some people regard what i am doing as disrespectful (though i do not know if it's considered 'sacrilege'). i coudl just order the fish instead?

    though to a catholic, eating the body of your own god is probably more acceptable than to many other religions.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,497 ✭✭✭ auspicious


    Practicing is the operative word missing from the initial quote.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭ John Hutton


    Regarding this thread, I should mention that I have no desire or plan to contribute to it beyond my comments I already submitted. It should also be noted that my comments were made in the context of another thread. Had the OP (I guess events proved me right on saying OP) started this as a separate thread I would not have contributed to it - because I do not believe it is an honest basis for a theoretical or proper discussion on the nature of "sacrilege" and its justifications, if any. I have already outlined why. But to reiterate:

    There was no scientific merit to any "experiments". The manner of obtaining consecrated hosts was dishonest at a minimum. It involved intrusion on religious worship for dishonest ends. It involved going out of ones way to obtain sacred objects in order to destroy and publicise it. This was mere juvenile provocation designed to upset Catholics, dressed up as "science". To my mind, sad all round. I am not interested in "discussions" framed in such a manner - no one will get anything worthwhile out of it. Vampiric enjoyment of the upset or anger of others is not a healthy or worthwhile way to spend your time. It's just genuinely sad.

    Regarding other posters and their comments, while I genuinely accept your bona fides, most are attempting to draw analogies which do not reach the threshold of the OPs alleged actions and are best discussed in a manner divorced from the claimed actions of the OP. For instance, denying central tenants of a religion could be viewed as sacrilegious by some religions, but OPs actions required numerous positive actions beyond mere statement - this is ground I have covered previously in other posts and shan't go over again.


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    I was baptised, made my communion and confirmation, went to catholic schools for indoctrination and my parents were faithful catholic folks.

    Now I believe in none of the absolute nonsense, the ridiculous notion of the virgin giving birth to the son of god, that he rose from the dead and ascended to heaven. It’s all complete and utter make believe.

    But the catholic church still see me as being a catholic. So I’ll take their snacks and do as I please. Stick it in my pocket to feed the sparrows, use it to fold around a piece of used chewing gum, whatever I want to do with what is in effect the only tangible thing the catholic church has ever given to me for all the countless hours wasted sitting there being told lies.

    And John, if that offends catholics, the notion that I’m desecrating the body of christ jesus, maybe you’d be better off encouraging the catholic church to provide once again a mechanism for someone like me (who doesn’t care one bit what you believe, merely in your right to believe what you want) whereby I can expunge any record of the forced association with an organisation of people who believe in some pretty ridiculous things.

    Until then, the body of christ in the form of magic spells and bland wafers will go to the birds. It does them more good than anyone else anyway.

    Fair game.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,033 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe


    Regarding this thread, I should mention that I have no desire or plan to contribute to it beyond my comments I already submitted. It should also be noted that my comments were made in the context of another thread. Had the OP (I guess events proved me right on saying OP) started this as a separate thread I would not have contributed to it - because I do not believe it is an honest basis for a theoretical or proper discussion on the nature of "sacrilege" and its justifications, if any. I have already outlined why. But to reiterate:

    There was no scientific merit to any "experiments". The manner of obtaining consecrated hosts was dishonest at a minimum. It involved intrusion on religious worship for dishonest ends. It involved going out of ones way to obtain sacred objects in order to destroy and publicise it. This was mere juvenile provocation designed to upset Catholics, dressed up as "science". To my mind, sad all round. I am not interested in "discussions" framed in such a manner - no one will get anything worthwhile out of it. Vampiric enjoyment of the upset or anger of others is not a healthy or worthwhile way to spend your time. It's just genuinely sad.

    Regarding other posters and their comments, while I genuinely accept your bona fides, most are attempting to draw analogies which do not reach the threshold of the OPs alleged actions and are best discussed in a manner divorced from the claimed actions of the OP. For instance, denying central tenants of a religion could be viewed as sacrilegious by some religions, but OPs actions required numerous positive actions beyond mere statement - this is ground I have covered previously in other posts and shan't go over again.

    But as is the nature of discussion sites your response to the post which was moved to become the OP of this thread had sparked a separate discussion and one which, I felt, deserves to be explored, just not at the expense of the topic it was detracting from.

    This topic has grown legs as it were and should be allowed space to run.

    It would be a shame if you choose not to take part as I think you would have interesting things to say.
    I know I would be interested on if you think Roman Catholics are fully respectful of those things other religions - particularly Non-Abrahamic ones -consider sacred?
    If yes - does that not indicate an acceptance that these beliefs have validity?
    If no - is that not utterly disrespectful?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 26,537 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    if i eat beef, am i being disrespectful to those for whom cattle are sacred?

    If you're in India at the time, disrespectful doesn't enter into it, there are militant hindus who would happily slaughter you :eek:


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