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Before leaving on summer vacation to check out the new Harry Potter theme park, the Pope gave us a teaser of his autumn plans:

Pope Benedict XVI is creating a new Vatican office to fight secularization and “re-evangelize” the West — a tacit acknowledgment that his attempts to reinvigorate Christianity in Europe haven’t succeeded and need a new boost.

I like to think that I know a little something about “secularism.” In that spirit, I offer up 10 commandments suggestions to help the Pope with his, um, crusade:

10. Create colorful infographics showing that more children are molested by wicked (presumably secular) step-parents than by priests. (If anyone complains that the priests would look worse per capita, excommunicate him.)

9. Point out how “secular” referees can’t even judge whether a soccer ball goes in the goal or not, whereas the Pope is infallible.

8. Highlight how postponing retiree benefits until after death has allowed the Vatican to escape the fiscal woes plaguing its European peers.

7. Contrast between Papal support of gun control and “secular” American love of firearms ought to appeal to gun-hating weenies.

6. Start own MMA league (e.g. “CatholicForce”) and pay whatever it takes to get Brock Lesnar to join.

5. Sponsor a Judd Apatow movie starring Will Ferrell as a wacky priest, or a Michael Bay movie about robots that turn into priests. Or both!

4. Somehow convince Lady Gaga to use Catholic imagery in one of her videos.

3. Announce a ban on Your Religion Is False. (It could really help with sales!)

2. Reverse the Church’s position on masturbation. (That doesn’t just mean “use the other hand,” although I guess it could.)

1. Abandon mysticism and superstition, embrace science and reason.

They’re yours to use if you want them!


6 Responses to “Advice for the Pope: 10 Ways to Fight Secularism”

  1. Publius Cato says:

    I see the comedy in the first nine and it’s an interesting critique on pop culture and its inability to engage in contemplation. But to ask any religion to “embrace” science and “reason” is a tall order because of what religion seeks to answer as opposed to science. Of course if you mean the Catholics should reconsider their conclusions on the meaning of the Bible and the functions of the cosmos, I completely agree. There is no way the creation stories can be taken as the literal truth revealed by God, at least not the literal truth about creation of known existence. Indeed, all religion needs to abandon its facile attempts to explain how creation came into being, the scientists have a pretty good handle on that and it should be left to their sound abilities. But religion, especially Christianity, cannot abandon to science the metaphysical questions of life and the scientists should not even try to answer them.

    Of course, you mention the Catholics should embrace reason, which I suppose you mean to answer the metaphysical questions. But why is your definition of reason superior to the one proffered by Catholicism? Metaphysical reasoning requires assumptions about things for which people lack concrete evidence. Is there a God? What kind of God(s) is(are) he/she(they)? Is there an afterlife? What happens in the afterlife? Why is there evil in the word? etc. etc. People of many beliefs will have different answers to these questions but will any of them have absolute proof to support their assumptions? No. When I studied economics about a decade ago, I was told never to attack someone’s assumptions when discussing an economic model. You can attack the conclusions of their model, you can create your own model based on your assumptions and you can argue why your model provides a better explanation, but never their assumptions.

    When I read the works of many atheist apologists, I notice a sense of chauvinism and a an effort to monopolize ownership of “reason” and what is “reasonable.” But this is far from the truth, how could anyone claim to be reasonable when they possess an unwavering animus to a group of people. Is it an exercise of reason to shut off all feelings of sympathy and replace them with contempt. This is not to say the theists are perfect, or even correct. Indeed how can a person assume that a loving and merciful God would punish the wicked with eternal hell. Asking hard questions about a person’s metaphysical conclusions might make the person reconsider their metaphysical assumptions, but the acceptance or rejection of one assumption or set of assumptions does not make a person reasonable or unreasonable per se.

  2. Bubba the Clown says:

    Publius Cato:

    The problem is that you are wrong. There are no supernatural forces at work in the world. There’s not a shred of evidence for it.

    There’s loads of evidence that general relativity is a good description at the macroscopic level of the geometry of the universe in which we live. What corroborates this is not just that we can calculate the orbit of Mercury correctly, but that we can send space vehicles out past Jupiter and they can send back photos of its moons. What “proves” that religion is a load of nonsense is that after millenia of energy invested in nothing but religion, it has not produced a single device or idea the utility of which is apparent even to a small child.

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