Capitalism and Religion (Redux)

September 2, 2013 at 10:44 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

Now after the televangelist scandals of the eighties and beyond died down, I confess I didn’t really keep track of those wacky snake oil salesmen. But when the story is plastered over the front page of the Toronto Star, I had to read it.

Joel Osteen, arguably America’s best known preacher is coming to Toronto. and he has a special message for you: God loves the rich.

“When God started Christianity, the man he chose was Abraham, the wealthiest man in the East,” (Toronto Star September 1, 2013)

Now, I’m not a Christian, but that doesn’t sound quite right to me.  I’m not certain Abraham was the “wealthiest man in the east,” but the notion that God thought, “Hmm, I know, I’ll started a religion called Christianity, and use a Greek word  (Christos – the saviour) to name it, even though that part will come a bit later, and I’ll start with those rich people too. They need saving.”

None of this namby-pamby easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven nonsense, God loves a winner:

“There’s the teaching that we’re supposed to be poor to show that we’re humble. I don’t buy that. I think we’re supposed to be leaders. We’re supposed to excel.” (ibid.)

Osteen has a $10 million house with three elevators.  If Jesus existed, I suspect he would be appalled.

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Firenze: I Visit a Church

July 21, 2013 at 9:13 am (Uncategorized) (, )

We visited the Santa Croce church yesterday, and neither my wife or I burst into flames. Still, maybe that’s not for Hindus and atheists, but if we were former Catholics who knows. On a related note, I wonder what the vampire population of Firenze is. It’s sunny all the time. And wasn’t twilight filmed in Tuscany (the second movie?). I digress, but I haven’t seen any goths here.

Anyway, the church is beautiful. Built in the 13th century, it is the final resting place for heavy hitters Galileo, michelangelo, and Machiavelli. Dante is buried elsewhere , but has a memorial in the church. Quite interesting too is the collection of art and the underground areas near the courtyard. remarkable too is the restoration after the flood of 1966.

Say what you like about organized religion,it knows something about presentation. After the need for it is gone, I hope the buildings main. As a reminder of times past, but also as a testimony to the creativity of our species.

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Jesus is Coming: Look Busy

March 14, 2013 at 4:43 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

Phew! Well, that’s a relief; the Catholic Church has chosen a new Bishop of Rome, God’s Ambassador on Earth.  Glad that’s over as I felt at a loss for spiritual guidance these last few days.

Actually not so much. Even if I were a believer, the idea that the, ahem, institution which systematically concealed and covered up abuse of children committed by its moral guardians is a bit rich. Oh don’t get me started…

When I sat down to write this post, I was going to trot out my usual caustic comments about religion, but in this case, it’s a bit like shooting fish in a barrel. Instead, I decided to post a series of quotations about religion from A Book of Surrealist Games.

“Our revolution will never succeed until we have eradicated the myth of God from the mind of man” – Lenin

“You say that you believe in the necessity of religion. Be honest! You believe in the necessity of the police” – Nietzsche

“All religions lend despotism a hand: but I know none that does so more than Christianity” – Marat

“”A man must be very lacking in any moral sense if he needs religion to make a gentleman of him” – Ninon De Lenclos

“Christianity is religion par excellence, because it completely exposes and manifests the nature, the absolute essence, of all religious systems – that it involves the impoverishment, subservience ad abasement of man for the benefit of divinity” – Bakunin

“Priest: (n) – one who controls our spiritual affairs in order to improve his temporal affairs” Ambrose Bierce

“The Priest and the Tyrant share the same policy and the same interests. All either one of them needs is imbecilic and craven subjects. Both are corrupted by absolute power, licence and impunity. Both corrupt – one in order to rule, the other to expiate. They come together to snuff out the light, to crush reason and drive the desire for liberty out of the hearts of men” – D’Holbach.




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From The Department of Unintentional Irony

October 8, 2012 at 9:48 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

Doug Sanders wrote an interesting column in Saturday’s Globe and Mail about the Conservative government’s decision to create an Office of Religious Freedom within the Department of Foreign Affairs. My guess is that whatever its stated purpose, the Office will be promoting religious freedom only when it’s:

a) a religion persecuted by a government the Canadian government doesn’t like (Falon Gong in China, but that might be a bit much)

b) when the people being persecuted are Christians ( e.g., Pakistani Christians might get a hand; Pakistani Shiites not so much)

My own call would be for freedom from religion since by my guess, the majority of people suffering from persecution over their religion are being persecuted by people in the name of other religions (the cynic in me also says that given state power, the current sufferers would be quite happy persecuting others for their religions, but I digress)

So after hearing all this claptrap, it struck me as particularly funny that the Vic Toews (who once suggested that anyone who didn’t agree with him on a “cyber-snooping” bill was standing with the child pornographers – a remark he later denied even though it was widely documented) announced a few days ago that the prison service was essentially cutting all of the non-Christian prison chaplains in Canada’s prisons. The Christian chaplains will now provide services in other denominations.

Perhaps the two departments just don’t talk to each other. Hilarious.

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