Saturday, December 18, 2010

Secularism Is Bad, Except When It's Not

Okay, let's be realistic: the Pope says a lot of dumb things. I mean, it's difficult to take seriously a man that claims the ultimate moral authority derived from his invisible friend that he alone is able to talk to, yet spent years enabling and covering up child sexual abuse. Morality? Apparently the Pope's heard of it.

Anyways, Pope Benny has apparently been putting his Direct Line To God to good use. But not really. He condemned religious violence committed against Christians in many parts of the world. To be one hundred percent serious, I agree that nobody should ever be murdered for their beliefs. I might disagree with his claims that Christians are the "most persecuted religion" in the world, and I was a little bothered by the fact that his holiness only seemed to be concerned about the safety of Christians, but if there's one person that's allowed to preach to his choir, I suppose it would be Benedict.

Unsurprisingly, after his initial comments, Pope Benny's thought process ran off the rails:
"I also express my hope that in the West, and especially in Europe, there will be an end to hostility and prejudice against Christians because they are resolved to orient their lives in a way consistent with the values and principles expressed in the Gospel"
Yeah, because if there's one thing noticeable about Christianity in the west, it's how Christians are terrified of sharing their religious views with others. Christians in Europe and North America find it nearly impossible to drum up public and political support for their views. Perhaps if Christians would like to be well regarded, they could actually try following some of Jesus' teachings, because I certainly don't remember Jesus commanding his disciples to use political systems to crowbar Old Testament rules onto people who might hold different values and viewpoints.
"May Europe rather be reconciled to its own Christian roots, which are fundamental for understanding its past, present and future role in history ..."
What about the Pagan roots that existed long before Christianity came along and displaced it, in many places by violence and force? Is it not fundamental to also be reconciled to the worship of Odin in order to understand how Wednesday got its name? Yeah, we know: the only thing that's important is Christianity, because acknowledgment of druids and the gods of thunder won't help fill the Vatican coffers with more gold.

Benny goes on to accuse "aggressive secularism", claiming that it is as bad as, if not worse, than religious extremism. Seriously? How many secularists do you hear calling for the decapitation of people who convert from agnosticism or atheism to Christianity or Buddhism?

Here's what the Pope's comments boil down to: non-Christians need to be more secular, because secularism is good. However, Christians don't need to be secular, because... well, I'm sure there's an important reason. I mean, it's not like Christians ever slaughtered swaths of people who didn't hold what were considered "orthodox" beliefs, right?

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