Saturday, May 26, 2007

Not News, Just Another Sex-Pervert Priest

According to the BBC, Father Jeremiah McGrath, 63, gave more than £20,000 to convicted child rapist William Adams, who spent the cash on a 12-year-old girl from Liverpool. Fr McGrath has now been convicted of facilitating a child sex offence, and I hope he faces a lengthy term of imprisonment, though somehow I doubt it. McGrath will be sentenced alongside 38-year-old Adams - originally from the Belfast area but latterly of Bootle, Merseyside - who has admitted raping the girl repeatedly over a six-month period in 2005.

McGrath wore his dog collar throughout the trial, and insisted he had no idea that Adams was abusing the girl whilst claiming that the cash transfers were linked to his gambling habit. Previously in the trial, McGrath had implied that he had had an inappropriate sexual relationship with Adams, but there is no truth in any suggestion that he paid the money to stop Adams from exposing his dirty little secrets, even though he acknowledged that he had "done things that the Catholic Church would not approve of"! What McGrath failed to point out is that his Church is adept in covering-up sexual abuse by its clergy, and has only changed its attitude due to the growing opprobrium of the greater society in which it belongs.

As for McGrath, should he be sent to prison, he'll be able to get his rectum reamed regularly without fear of being blackmailed.


Alan Mackenzie said...

This may seem slightly off-topic, but given the large number of attacks you make on theism, and the harm you think it has on society, I thought I would bring up anti-theism.

By your own admission, you are an anti-theist, and thus you demonstrate a direct opposition to all Gods, or more pertinently, all imagined Gods.

I read this article by Austin Cline of, and thought of you:

Austin Cline mentioned that it is possible to be a theist and anti-theist, if the theist believes that promoting false beliefs provides comfort for people. You mentioned in a previous article, that your one time abuser admitted that he did not believe in God, yet, he believed that religion and theism brought benefits to people in their lives. Now is the time to ask you, if priests who obviously do not follow Holy scriptures, as per McGrath, are anti-theists, because they use religious doctrines that they know are subjective, or even false, to control people.


Papalazarou said...

In the sense of matter and ant-matter I think I would have to agree but in terms of being actively and consciously against thesm it has to be a resounding no because that would simply blow their cover.

Interestingly if, by extension of your point, all religious "observants" who do not follow the religious doctrines handed down by their priesthoods are anti-theists then anti-theists would be in a vast majority worldwide.

The Merchant of Menace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Merchant of Menace said...


I wrote my previous reply whilst participating in a poker tournament, so paid it less attention than it perhaps merited. Consequently, I forgot to answer your question: Are celebrants who do not follow so-called ‘holy scripture’ anti-theist? The answer, in a word, is a resounding NO!


1. Cline’s argument that it is possible to be a theist and an anti-theist simultaneously is entirely specious, since an anti-theist, by definition, is someone who does not believe in the existence of gods of any stripe. Thus, a priest, or anyone else for that matter, who pretends to believe in a god simply to encourage others to behave in some way or another is, de facto, neither a theist nor an anti-theist, but a duplicitous and mendacious manipulative who is desirous of controlling others for some reason or another.

2. Cline is simply not correct when he states, “…that [anti-theism requires taking the view that] theism is harmful to the believer, harmful to society, harmful to politics, harmful, to culture, etc”. The issue of ‘harm’ need not come into it at all, yet anti-theism may still be firmly underpinned by ratiocination, thus Cline’s premise is wrong and his conclusion is invalid that, “Rational anti-theism may be based on a belief in one of many possible harms which theism could do; it cannot, however, be based solely on the idea that theism is false.”

Alan Mackenzie said...

How would you define anti-theism?


The Merchant of Menace said...

against theism.

Alan Mackenzie said...

Wait a minute. You have faith that God doesn't exist. You're a man of faith as well!

The Merchant of Menace said...

Nonsense - who except you said I had faith that this entity that you refer to as 'God' does not exist. It is those who claim that 'god' exists who have faith, not me, for there is no credible evidence to substantiate their claims - irrespective of which of the myriad of gods they refer to which mankind has worshipped over the millennia - therefore their claims fail to satisfy the criteria of what philosophers call 'justified true belief'.

'Faith'and 'belief' are not synonyms, a fact long recognised by the RC Church - as far back as the time when it was the only Xtian church - though theists now like to blur the distinction and frequently describe their faith as belief, thus implying that there is empiric evidence to support their claims when in actual fact there is not.

Alan Mackenzie said...

I'm glad you recognised that I was playing the Devil's advocate. I like putting forward what Socrates would have described as straw man proposals, finding solutions, and then creating an iron man, and so on.

A common tactic made by religious sophists is to use two fallacies in their arguments that atheism is a faith. The first is tu quoque, which is the same as stating that two wrongs make a right. The second is the fallacy of equivocation: even if a person holds a positive belief that no Gods exist, then their "faith" is not even remotely comparable to religious faith, because one is bound up in wanting things to be a certain way, while the other at least recognises that the complete lack of evidence for God makes the existence of God unlikely. The common response to this, and one I believe is wrong, is to assume there is a 50/50 chance that God exists. Such people confuse evidence for belief in God, with evidence for God.

I suppose there is a good way around the problem of faith: Douglas Adams said that he did not believe that there is no God. Instead he was convinced that there was no God. I see his point, because one can be so convinced that there is no God, that one takes it for granted. I live my life as if it's the only one I'll ever have, but I don't have "faith" that the afterlife doesn't exist, because it is self-evidently true that we are material beings whose material consciousness ceases to exist when the body dies. If life and death is simply the way it is, then why invent questions about what supposedly happens afterwards?

It is also common for religionists to claim that atheists have faith in science. I can only speak for myself here. I have faith that the sun will rise tomorrow, and faith that physicists know enough about quantum mechanics to answer questions about the universe. Unlike theism, there are good empirical reasons for my faith in sunrises, even though past evidence does not guarantee the sun will rise, it is reasonable to assume that it will. Religious faith, which is a state of "ought to" rather than "just is", does not come close to other forms of faith, yet all too often, anti-atheists nonetheless create ambiguous arguments in order to pretend that they're the same thing.


Alan Mackenzie said...
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Alan Mackenzie said...

"though theists now like to blur the distinction and frequently describe their faith as belief, thus implying that there is empiric evidence to support their claims when in actual fact there is not."

A good way of clarifying what belief means in a theistic context is this:

The belief that one will enter into an afterlife is an uncountable state of believing. This is not based upon past experience. Even if religious claims were true, they would be unjustified true beliefs, and so could not be classed as knowledge.

If religious faith is false, it can never be classed as knowledge, even if religious people believe it to be true. I believe that this fact buries any claims that theology is rational. A good analogy is flat Earth - a person cannot believe that the Earth is flat and know it.

The secular uncountable belief: I have a strong belief that it will rain tomorrow. This is based on past experience.

The religious plural of belief is thus - "I cannot do that, because it is against my beliefs". This may be based on past experience, such as upbringing, and reading scriptures, but is more concerned with the way things ought to be rather than what is likely to be so.

I think the synonym for faith in things based upon inductive reasoning accounts for my own belief that it will rain tomorrow, or the sun will rise. I am justified in having faith/trust/confidence in these events, because past experience suggests that they are likely. It rained this evening, so I am justified in trusting my knowledge of meteorology that the current weather systems will persist until tomorrow morning.

BTW. I deleted the last comment, because I wanted to add more to it.


The Merchant of Menace said...

Even if religious claims were true, they would be unjustified true beliefs, and so could not be classed as knowledge.

There is no need to tie oneself up in knots over this. The simple fact is this: a claim is only true if it is not false, yet religious claims as a class contain so many contradictions, irrationalities and manifest falsities that they cannot be true.

What's more, none of the claims made by religious believers of any persuasion for a supernatural being of some kind are capable of being substantiated empirically, thus there is no more credible evidence that Yahweh exists than the Invisible Pink Unicorn or Cthulhu.

Psychiatrists have no problem in acknowledging that people who genuinely appear to believe in the the Invisible Pink Unicorn or Cthulhu are delusional psychotics, yet there is absolutely nothing to distinguish their supplicants' 'beliefs' from those made by those of Yahweh.

Whilst evoloutionary biologists and psychologists have done much to explain the reasons for religious belief, it is in the field of neuropsychiatry where the latest developments are beginning to prove that religious belief is both delusional and pathological.

In short, so-called 'religious belief' is insupportable logically, rationally and scientifically, which is why even devout Xtian philosophers such as Kierkegaard said that to be or become a Xtian required one to commit oneself to make a 'leap of faith' in the face of objective reality, echoing the declarations of Ignatius Loyolla some centuries beforehand.

Just because a delusion is widespread, it is no less a delusion - as the Reverend Dr. Charles Mackay pointed out in his book 'Extraordinary Popular Delusionions and the Madness of Crowds', published in 1841. Incidnetally, Mackay omitted to point out that Xtainity was itself a delusion, but then he did have a vested interest in keeping his job.

The Merchant of Menace said...

Correction: my reference to 'Extraordinary Popular Delusionions and the Madness of Crowds'(sic) should have been to 'Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds'