Tag Archives: religion

A Polar Bear Proselytizing

Excuse me sir, do you have a moment to talk about Jesus Christ? Sir?


Nailed it. That’s pretty much exactly what it feels like.

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via Cheezburger


Pope Francis Doesn’t Know The Difference Between Evolution And Intelligent Design

On October 27th, Pope Francis gave a speech to the Vatican’s science academy, on the occasion of unveiling a bust of the previous, still living Pope Benedict VXI. In it, after praising Pope Benedict, he talks about evolution briefly, and how the theory is not incompatible with Catholic faith. The entire text is printed below, but these are the relevant parts that were used in virtually all of the extensive English media coverage:

“When we read in Genesis the account of Creation, we risk imagining that God was a magician, with such a magic wand as to be able to do everything. However, it was not like that. He created beings and left them to develop according to the internal laws that He gave each one, so that they would develop, and reach their fullness.”

“The Big-Bang, that is placed today at the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine intervention but exacts it. The evolution in nature is not opposed to the notion of Creation, because evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve.”

Even without actually reading the whole context, it’s obvious that he’s not really talking about unguided natural selection. Phrases like “He created beings” and “evolution presupposes the creation of beings” very clearly show that he doesn’t think all life on earth descended from the Last Universal Ancestor through the various mechanisms in the Theory of Evolution, but rather that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause”, which is the very definition of Intelligent Design.

Pope Francis: evolution in nature is not in contrast with the notion of creation

One of the extremely few news sources that picked up on this was CNET, which included this paragraph along with its report:

The pope’s views differ radically from those of some eminent scientists, such as Stephen Hawking. Hawking recently made it clear that he dismisses the idea of God. He said: “Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation.”

The other error that should’ve been caught by just by simple common sense is a translation one, which would have had the Pope supposedly say — emphasis added — that “God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life.” Now, regardless of anything else, we can surely all agree that the Pope thinks God is a divine being. Him saying otherwise really should raise an alarm, but maybe every reporter thought that now that he’s cool with science, the Pope is coming out of the atheist closet, too.

The actual Italian word translated as “divine being” in that quote is “demiurgo”, which — and this is where the incompetence really becomes obvious — has a very good English translation: demiurge. If you’re not a student of philosophy though, the term probably bears no meaning, so it generally gets translated into “creator”, with a small c. It comes from Plato, and it refers to an imperfect being that did his best to bring order to the chaos that the universe used to be, and who fashioned what we know the universe to be. However, the universe is still flawed because it was made from flawed materials.

Later, in Gnosticism, the term was used for a similar being, except that he was malevolent, and was trying to keep humanity from knowing the true, benevolent God. Thus, everything material was created by the demiurge and was bad, and everything immaterial, or spiritual, was created by God and that’s the world which Gnostics tried to learn about — the term Gnostic meaning “learned person”. Clearly, a person like the Pope — very knowledgeable in philosophy and heretical religions — meant demiurge, and not divine being.

But back to the main issue, about evolution and creation. If there’s any doubt that Pope Francis was actually talking about intelligent design, here’s the entire paragraph of his speech on the matter, in which he says that creation has been going on for millenia until it became what we know it to be, and the world did not arise out of chaos. In other words, evolution has been guided the whole time, and the Big Bang was too.

“You are addressing the highly complex topic of the evolution of the concept of nature. I will not go into it all, you understand well the scientific complexity of this important and decisive question. I only wish to underline that God and Christ walk with us and are present also in nature, as the Apostle Paul affirmed in his address at the Areopagus: “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). When we read in Genesis the account of Creation, we risk imagining that God was a magician, with such a magic wand as to be able to do everything. However, it was not like that. He created beings and left them to develop according to the internal laws that He gave each one, so that they would develop, and reach their fullness. He gave autonomy to the beings of the universe at the same time that He assured them of his continual presence, giving being to every reality. And thus creation went forward for centuries and centuries, millennia and millennia until it became what we know today, in fact because God is not a demiurge or a magician, but the Creator who gives being to all entities. The beginning of the world was not the work of chaos, which owes its origin to another, but it derives directly from a Supreme Principle who creates out of love. The Big-Bang, that is placed today at the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine intervention but exacts it. The evolution in nature is not opposed to the notion of Creation, because evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve.”

The entire transcript, in Italian, can be found at the official Vatican News network, and a (correct) English translation can be found at Zenit, a Catholic news agency.

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From Zenit and NEWS.VA

Some Things Are Only For Symbolic Reasons

The universe is a simple place


Also, why a rib and not, say, a hair or a pound of flesh? Or even a tooth.

Via FAIL Blog

People Pretending They Know Anything About The Pope

On late night talk shows, they love to show just how much people would lie to look good on camera. Jimmy Kimmel’s version of this is called “Lie Witness News”. Since the pope quitting has been big news lately, they went out and asked the ignorant among us questions about the new pope, who doesn’t yet exist because the cardinals still have to choose one.

What’s amazing is the level of detail in some of these lies; while most people are vague and just throw out plausible guesses to questions presented as fact, one woman said the new pope was awkward, another that he was from New York, and a guy said the pope’s ex-wife is hillarious.

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From YouTube, via Jimmy Kimmel

Parody of ‘House Of Cards’ Set In Vatican

The Netflix-produced series House of Cards is set in Washington, D.C. and is about the machinations of a Congressman to get more power in the government. This parody, called House of Cardinals, is about the machinations of a Catholic Cardinal to become the next pope, following the resignation of Benedict XVI. If you watch House of Cards and aren’t the Church’s biggest fan, it’s that much funnier.

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From YouTube, via Happy Place

The Pope Quit — Round-up

Few major events have produced more ridicule than the first pope to quit his job in 600 years. Daily Theology and Religion Dispatches have some great serious pieces on the matter, but here’s the lighter side:


Pretty clear the Pope was just using the church to build up his Twitter following. — @yoyoha

Citing his advanced age, the Pope is stepping down, adding, “Protecting pedophiles is a young man’s game.” — @FrankConniff

The Pope is really setting a high bar for giving something up for Lent. — @kjhealy

This is just a classic Pope negotiation tactic. He’s just looking for a pay day. — @seanoconnz

“Mouthpiece of God, 2005-2013” -Pope’s Resume — @weismanjake


Happy Place, which found the above tweets, also came up with a preview of what else is coming from the first Pope to be on Twitter:


And finally, the BBC is reporting that God followed the resignation announcement with a lightning strike on the Pope’s church a few hours later:

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From imgur, Happy Place, and BBC, via Neatorama

Hard Times Are Causing Blasphemy Laws To Be Used Again In Europe

When you hear the term “blasphemy law”, the countries that come to mind are probably Afghanistan, Iran, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. But in reality, most European countries also have blasphemy laws. That rather large group includes Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, and Greece. (Until recently, the UK and the Netherlands also had blasphemy laws.) Still, just because outdated laws are on the books, it doesn’t mean they get used. In most of the countries above, the last prosecutions for blasphemy were decades ago. Not in Greece though. In Greece, they had two of them in the past year. Spain also had one in 2012, Finland’s last prosecution was in 2008, and Germany’s in 2006.

The prosecutions in Germany and Finland were against people that made comments about Islam, probably in retaliation for terrorist attacks. The more recent ones in Spain and Greece were against people that made comments about Christianity. What’s interesting about this is that in both Spain and Greece, the unemployment rate is as high as it was during the Great Depression: 26%. Times are hard, and during hard times, people turn to religion, and then use religion as a “righteous” channel for their anger to form mobs against the infidels who are drawing God’s wrath and destroying the economy. During the Great Depression in Germany, Hitler won a lot of support in part by blaming the Jesus-killing Jews for the country’s problems. After Afghanistan’s devastating war with the Soviets, the Taliban also blamed the infidels, and instituted Sharia law. Yemen, another haven of religious tolerance, has an unemployment rate of 35%.

NPR has an article highlighting the two blasphemy cases in Greece:

  • One was against a 27-year old scientist who created a Facebook page making fun of a famous monk
  • The other was against the author and cast of a play, called Corpus Christi, which portrays Jesus and his disciples as gays in modern-day Texas

The scientist faces six months in jail, and the author, two years. In October of 2012, the Greek neo-fascist party Golden Dawn led a mob — which included priests — to a production of the blasphemous play, where they screamed about God’s love and threw forgiveness at the patrons. Just kidding: they screamed obscenities and threw rocks — because their hearts are filled with Jesus, not hate.

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone” — John 8:7, the verse that Golden Dawn forgot

via NPR

Islam’s Got Nothing On Apple

That first one is Hinduism.


Let’s hope the Apple extremists don’t start making Improvised Explosive iDevices.


Via Cheezburger

Shoe Repair And Jesus Puns

The Hesus sign is clearly photoshopped (look at the Hs and Ss), but hopefully the rest is real.

From imgur

Pascal’s Wager


Pascal’s Wager says that since there are only two possibilities (either there is a God or there isn’t), if you’re a selfish ass just looking to save your hide from eternal damnation in the fires of hell, you might as well just believe in God. If there isn’t a God, you don’t lose anything — but if there is, you gain a lot. The two main problems with this way of thinking are:

  1. the one shown above: the probability of choosing the correct god out of the hundreds of religions — without any actual evidence to help you out — is very low.
  2. assuming you somehow choose the correct religion, once reaching the Pearly Gates or their equivalent, they would probably kick you out anyway, because you’re nothing but a self-serving coward who only believed out of convenience and fear, not out of conviction.

Ergo, Pascal’s Wager is asinine. Good thing Pascal also had triangles and pressure on his resume.

From imgur, via Adam