Religions’ effects on non-religious issues

The signature section of my personal emails since late 2011 carries a brief quote labeled “Bimonthly Religious Idiocy.” (OK, it’s a bit nerdy, but you have to have some fun with this serious stuff.) It replaced an earlier practice in which I would quote one of the many Biblical passages that describe some horrid behavior of the Hebrew’s God (adopted by Christians and Muslims). These are stories that most Christians, so fond of their “god of love,” find convenient to ignore. I discontinued those quotes after a frequent correspondent complained that they were tiresomely depressing.

Not to be deterred, I simply attacked in a different direction (my thanks to Gen. O. P. Smith, 1950). Having noticed for years that religion can make mush out otherwise intelligent brains, I decided to post quotes from religionists’ own mouths and pens, quotes that demonstrate how the religious style of thinking can result in idiotic conclusions and positions. This is not about attacking intellectually wobbly dogma itself, but the results of that dogma or way of thinking as it shows up in other arenas such as public policy and evaluation or misuse of science. Originally I labeled these quotes Monthly Religious Idiocy. Soon, however, the abundance of material led me to retitle it as Bimonthly Religious Idiocy. I established a few restrictions on quotes I would use, to wit:

-Nothing from “sacred” texts—I’m not demeaning religious beliefs per se in this exercise.
-No person-on-the-street sources—I only quote persons in some leadership position; crazies can discredit any group or belief. I’ve made a few exceptions when a quote clearly represented a large group.
-No religion exempted—Christianity gets more than its fair share, but Islam, Judaism, and others are used as well.
-Ancient sources not exempted—They’d be included, though not as much as contemporary voices.
-No lengthy quotes—These are brief idiocies that can stand alone, not essays.

Below are a few examples from the forty quotes that have been used so far (I keep the references, but for brevity’s sake, do not show them). I have a stockpile of as-yet unused quotes with more popping up regularly:

“[American needs a president who will] “reject the morally and scientifically bankrupt theory of evolution.” Bryan Fischer, American Family Association, addressing the 2011 Values Voter Summit, Washington, DC.

“Columbine, remember that? They were believers in evolution. That’s evidence right there.” NH State Rep. Jerry Bergevin, R-Manchester. Concord Monitor, December 29, 2011.

“[Planned Parenthood] is teaching kids to fornicate, teaching people to have adultery, every kind of bestiality, homosexuality, lesbianism – everything that the Bible condemns. Rev. Pat Robertson.

“I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots.” President George H. W. Bush, August 27, 1987.

“I believe the earth is approximately 6,000 years old.” 55% of 1000 pastors randomly chosen from all Protestant churches by LifeWay Research (of the Southern Baptist Convention), 2012.

“[Contraception is] not what the God of nature and grace, in his Divine wisdom, ordained marriage, to be; but the lustful indulgence or man and woman . . . Religion shudders at the wild orgy of atheism and immorality the situation forebodes.” Archbishop Patrick Hayes 1925.

“The dangers of carbon dioxide? Tell that to a plant, how dangerous carbon dioxide is.” Former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum, March 2012.

“Moral rapist.” Monsignor Francis W. Carney of Cleveland, referring to John Rock, M.D., due to his co-invention of “the pill” for contraception, ca. 1960.

“We want to give [public school] students good sound scientific reasons to support their faith in the seven-day creation and the young Earth.” Joseph Kennedy, force behind Alabama state senator Blane Galliher’s introduction of HB 133, 2012.

“Contraception is Corruption—[says the Catholic] Church.” Story by Evelyn Macairan. P 1. The Philippines Star, Aug 5, 2012.

“We don’t have to protect the environment; the Second Coming is at hand.” James Watt, U. S. Secretary of the Interior, 1981-1983.

“Calamities are the result of people’s deeds . . . . women who dress inappropriately . . . cause youths to go astray, taint their chastity, and incite extramarital sex in society, which increases earthquakes.” Iranian Ayatollah Kazem Seddiqi, April 2010.

“The following colors must be avoided: Red. Nude. Orange, yellow or green, in bright shades. Gold, silver or shining cloth.” Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Jerusalem, speaking of a dress code for women and girls. Jan 6, 2013.

[Comments on, challenges to, or requests about this or any other posting can be sent to johnjustthinking@bmi.net.]

About John Bruce Carver

I am a U. S. citizen living in Atlanta, Georgia, having grown up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, graduating from Chattanooga High School. I served in the Electronic Security Command of the U. S. Air Force before receiving a B.S. degree in business/economics and an M.Ed. in educational psychology, both at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I then completed a Ph.D. in clinical (and research) psychology at Emory University. I have two daughters and three granddaughters. An ardent international traveller, I have been in over 70 countries for business and pleasure. My reading, other than novels, tends to be in history, philosophy, government, and light science. I identify philosophically as a secular humanist, in complete awe of the universe including my fellows and myself. I am married to my best friend, Miriam, formerly of the United Kingdom and Canada.
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