More guilty pleasures for you guys! Fresh off the press!

Discussion in 'Philosophy & Religion' started by CrazyMoFo, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. CrazyMoFo

    CrazyMoFo Well-Known Member

    Here's more for your Sunday school reading! Enjoy....

    Robert Van Handel, Pedophile Priest, Reveals Molestations In 'Sex History' Document

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The priest always started his favorite "game" by having the young boy remove his underwear and put on loose-fitting shorts so he could fondle him more easily. Then, the Rev. Robert Van Handel would run his hands up and down the child's body as he stretched across his lap, Walkman headphones on his ears, pretending to be asleep.

    The recollection appears in a 27-page "sexual history" written by Van Handel, a defrocked Franciscan cleric who is accused of molesting at least 17 boys, including his own 5-year-old nephew, local children in his boys' choir and students at the seminary boarding school where he taught.

    The essay, penned for a therapy assignment and kept secret for years, provides a shockingly candid and detailed window into the troubled mind of a notorious pedophile priest. The narrative is believed to be the first of its kind to be publicly revealed through civil litigation despite years of lawsuits targeting sexually abusive priests.

    Most confidential files unearthed in court cases only hint at the existence of sexual histories, which are a common part of therapy meant to be seen only by the priest and his psychologist, said attorney Jeffrey Anderson, who has handled more than 2,000 church abuse cases.

    "This is unique," Anderson said. "It really is a glimpse into the mind of the molester."

    Van Handel's narrative came to light as part of a $28 million settlement between the Franciscans and 25 clergy abuse victims six years ago that also called for disclosure of the religious order's internal files. The accused priests fought unsuccessfully to keep their documents private in a battle that went all the way to the California Supreme Court.

    The Associated Press obtained more than 4,000 pages, including Van Handel's "sexual history," from a plaintiff's attorney last week.

    Van Handel's account, written between 1993 and 1994 during his treatment at Pacific Treatment Associates in Santa Cruz, is corroborated by letters, victim interviews and court papers from his file. A probation officer also cited the narrative in a sentencing report.

    In the essay, Van Handel - who was himself molested by a priest at age 15 - traces his perilous descent from a sexually repressed pre-teen terrified of puberty to a serial pedophile who handpicked his victims from the members of a prestigious boys' choir that he founded.

    He seems mortified by his crimes but also entranced by them: He describes his "most beautiful" victim, a tanned and tow-headed child of seven, and talks about molesting a trio of brothers and taking nude pictures of the youngest sibling that were "quite artistic."

    "Once, or perhaps more than that, I took him up into the tower which was stark concrete with steel barred windows and he posed as a prisoner with few clothes on. I took some photos of him tied up with a big rope," Van Handel recalls of the 7-year-old. "It was as though I could do anything with him that I wanted."

    The priest would fondle his singers under the guise of tickling games or back rubs during one-on-one choir rehearsals. He had the boys play dart games that ended in sexually charged wrestling. He rubbed the genitals of high school seminary students in their dorms and photographed young boys in the shower on a choir trip to Europe.

    Van Handel seems unaware of how serious his actions are and rarely expresses regret except to describe his paranoia when he thought he would be caught. Instead, he focuses on his own emotional needs in a rare moment of self-reflection.

    "There is something about me that is happier when accompanied by a small boy," he writes. "Perhaps besides the sexual element, the child in me wants a playmate."

    Van Handel, now 65, is a registered sex offender in Santa Cruz County. He did not return messages and his attorney, Robert "Skip" Howie, said he would instruct him not to comment. Howie said the disclosure of the private medical document will prevent the future identification and treatment of offenders.

    "You want the person to be open in the interview, but you totally destroy that avenue if you make these records public," he said.

    Seeing the document has been both painful and cathartic for those who recognize themselves in its pages. One victim said Van Handel's memories match perfectly with his own, despite the priest's vastly different perspective.

    "It is really validating to read - in his own words - that what we've been saying really did happen. We had spoken the truth," said the man, one of the brothers molested by Van Handel. He requested anonymity to protect his siblings, who are not ready to speak publicly.

    The priest begins by describing a lonely childhood with an authoritarian father who moved the family five times before Van Handel turned seven. The family of seven finally settled in Orange County when Van Handel was 10.

    At age 13, Van Handel's father forced him to read a sex education book that terrified the young boy. He dreaded the onset of puberty, when he imagined sexual urges would be like "poison candy," and prayed to remain a child.

    The next year, he entered St. Anthony's, the Franciscan junior seminary in Santa Barbara, to escape his father and his own sexual anxieties.

    Instead, the young seminarian was molested by a priest as he lay in the infirmary. The priest told Van Handel that the molestation would draw out his fever by making him sweat. "While I don't think it is of crucial importance in my life, it is curious that this is nearly the exact activity I would perform 10 to 15 years later," Van Handel writes.

    It wasn't until after high school, however, that Van Handel began to realize his sexual interests were abnormal.

    He discovered pornography near his college seminary and purchased magazines featuring naked children. He used a telephoto lens to take pictures of young children splashing in the campus fountain and bought photography books featuring nude boys.

    "I asked my best friend once if he saw anything `special' in pictures of children and he said, `No, not at all.' I began to realize that I was different," he writes. "Sometimes I worried about this, but I thought that as long as it was just a fantasy, there was no reason to panic."

    It wasn't long, however, before Van Handel's fantasies became reality.

    In 1970, he moved to Berkeley to pursue a master's degree and started a boys' choir for local children. There, he molested a boy of about seven, apparently his first victim. Around the same time, he molested his 5-year-old nephew.

    Van Handel tried on two occasions to address his blossoming pedophilia by talking to a Franciscan counselor, but he was so vague that the man never understood.

    "I would hint, he would stab and we missed each other entirely," he wrote.

    In 1975, Van Handel was ordained and was sent to St. Anthony's, where he had been molested more than a decade before.

    The young priest hated the assignment and started another boys' choir as a release - and was soon molesting its members.

    He preferred boys between the ages of 8 and 11, he wrote, and their parents always dropped their children off as requested because they trusted the priest implicitly.

    "It was clearly my choir and the fulfillment of my fondest dreams," he writes. "Now I understand that it was also a constant supply of attractive little boys."

    Van Handel is detailed in his confessions, but seems oblivious to the damage he is doing. He recalls his surprise when one of his most frequent victims resisted him for the first time at age 11, after about four years of molestation.

    "He started to cry and that snapped something in my head. For the first time, I was seeing signs that he really did not like this," Van Handel writes.

    In 1983, Van Handel saw an article about another boys' choir director arrested for sex abuse. It threw him into a suicidal depression.

    "For the first time it was before me that what I had been doing could be classified as criminal behavior," he writes. "I imagined every boy's parents read that article and decided to carefully question their sons about me."

    The priest revealed his sexual fantasies to a psychologist but "never gave him enough information to report me," he writes.

    In an attempt to reform, Van Handel dated three women, two of whom had children in his choir. He slept with one of the women twice and was terrified she would get pregnant.

    "I felt a whole new world was opening up for me, and for the most part I felt really good about the experience," Van Handel writes. "I felt that I was normal."

    Around the same time, Van Handel became rector of St. Anthony's and was assigned to investigate another priest accused of sexual abuse. He was shocked when he realized the priest's accusers - two brothers - were also victims of his.

    In 1992, the parents of one of Van Handel's victims wrote him a letter and copied in the Franciscan leadership. Within months, the priest was removed from the ministry.

    Two years later, Van Handel pleaded guilty to one count of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor and sentenced to eight years in prison. There were at least 15 other cases too old to prosecute, according to a police report.

    A psychiatrist evaluating him for sentencing once asked Van Handel about his worst fear.

    The priest's answer was specific: The public release of his sexual history.
  2. ralphrepo

    ralphrepo Well-Known Member

    My opinion about this has always been colored by my feelings about organized religion in general; in many ways, it's akin to organized crime. Take that entire article, but instead substitute it with a litany of horrors from the story of Murder, Inc., and one begins to realize how organized religion uses many of the same tactics to protect its members from prosecution. Thus, I've always stated that entities like the catholic church should be prosecuted under the RICO (Racketeering, Influence and Corrupt Organizations) laws designed to go after crime gangs.

    Sure, there are bad apples such as sexual predators or murderers, in every industry and every walk of life. We should not routinely indict a whole company simply on the criminal failures of a few of its members. However, the catholic church is unique in its status as a boss that, over time, has been proven repeatedly to be one that aids, abets, and provide safe harbor for pedophiles and other sexual predators within its ranks. In doing so, the church had crossed a distinct line separating that of a legally disinterested employer instead to that of an active co-conspirator. Further, it has often selectively used church (canon) law as a basis of its defense, supplanting or turning aside, the recognition of existing criminal laws of society. Indeed, the question of whose laws should be paramount (canon versus criminal) was resoundingly answered by Ireland, one of the most religious nations in the world.

    September 17, 2011
    Rupture With Vatican Reveals a Changed Ireland


    DUBLIN — Even as it remains preoccupied with its struggling economy, Ireland is in the midst of a profound transformation, as rapid as it is revolutionary: it is recalibrating its relationship to the Roman Catholic Church, an institution that has permeated almost every aspect of life here for generations. This is still a country where abortion is against the law, where divorce became legal only in 1995, where the church runs more than 90 percent of the primary schools and where 87 percent of the population identifies itself as Catholic. But the awe, respect and fear the Vatican once commanded have given way to something new — rage, disgust and defiance — after a long series of horrific revelations about decades of abuse of children entrusted to the church’s care by a reverential populace.

    While similar disclosures have tarnished the Vatican’s image in other countries, perhaps nowhere have they shaken a whole society so thoroughly or so intensely as in Ireland. And so when the normally mild-mannered prime minister, Enda Kenny, unexpectedly took the floor in Parliament this summer to criticize the church, he was giving voice not just to his own pent-up feelings, but to those of a nation. His remarks were a ringing declaration of the supremacy of state over church, in words of outrage and indignation that had never before been used publicly by an Irish leader. “For the first time in Ireland, a report into child sexual abuse exposed an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry into a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago, not three decades ago,” Mr. Kenny said, referring to the Cloyne Report, which detailed abuse and cover-ups by church officials in southern Ireland through 2009.

    Reiterating the report’s claim that the church had encouraged bishops to ignore child-protection guidelines the bishops themselves had adopted, the prime minister attacked “the dysfunction, the disconnection, the elitism” that he said “dominate the culture of the Vatican.” He continued: “The rape and torture of children were downplayed, or ‘managed,’ to uphold instead the primacy of the institution — its power, its standing and its reputation.” Instead of listening with humility to the heartbreaking evidence of “humiliation and betrayal,” he said, “the Vatican’s response was to parse and analyze it with the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer.” The effect of his speech was instant and electric. “It was a seminal moment,” said Patsy McGarry, the religious affairs correspondent for The Irish Times. “No Irish prime minister has ever talked to the Catholic Church before in this fashion. The obsequiousness of the Irish state toward the Vatican is gone. The deference is gone.”

    While both sides are talking in more emollient terms now, there is no question that Mr. Kenny’s declaration deeply angered the Vatican. It immediately withdrew its ambassador from Dublin, ostensibly to help fashion the Vatican’s formal response. (The ambassador has since been reassigned to the Czech Republic.) The position of Irish ambassador to the Vatican is currently vacant, too, and there is talk here of merging it with the ambassadorship to Italy. While government officials say the question is part of a general re-examination of the diplomatic budget, such a move would be seen as a pointed snub to the Holy See, a sovereign state to which countries generally dedicate separate embassies.

    Meanwhile, in what has developed into a tit-for-tat war of words, the church’s latest formal communication with Dublin — 24 pages of densely argued prose — took issue with both the Cloyne Report and Mr. Kenny’s remarks, saying that a crucial document had been “misrepresented” by the inquiry and calling “unsubstantiated” Mr. Kenny’s assertion that the Vatican had tried to “frustrate an inquiry” into the abuse scandal. Sympathizers with the church’s position say the Vatican made valid and nuanced points. And they say Mr. Kenny went too far. “Personally, I think it was excessive,” David Quinn, founder of the Iona Institute, a right-leaning religious advocacy group, said of the prime minister’s speech.
    In an interview, Mr. Quinn said that the relationship between the Vatican and the Irish government was “at a very low ebb.” The state of affairs had not been helped by the fact that newspapers in China, he said, had written editorials using Mr. Kenny’s remarks as an argument for “why the church should be under government control.”

    Mr. Kenny, who took office in March after the long-dominant Fianna Fail party imploded over the financial crisis, has been accused of opportunism by some critics. But his position as a practicing Catholic from a conservative area helped give moral weight to his speech. And his government’s feisty new tone has been met with widespread approval in a place that feels doubly betrayed: first by the abuse itself, and second by what many see as a cover-up by the church, compounded by the often opaque, legalistic language with which it defends itself. “You can talk about the finesse of diplomatic ties and maneuverings, but what Kenny was actually saying was that you have to prioritize the victims of abuse, and you have to assert very loudly that this is a republic and civil law has to take precedence over canon law,” said Diarmaid Ferriter, professor of modern Irish history at University College Dublin.

    While most people have not abandoned their religion, many seem to have abandoned the habit of practicing it. The archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, recently estimated that only 18 percent of the Catholics in his archdiocese attended Mass every week. The government has announced that it will introduce a package of new legislation to protect children from abuse and neglect, including a law — considered but rejected as too contentious by previous governments — that would make it mandatory to report evidence of crimes to the authorities. It has also established a group to examine how to remove half of the country’s Catholic primary schools from church control. In a recent interview, Eamon Gilmore, Ireland’s deputy prime minister, said that Ireland had asserted its role as a “modern democracy.” No longer would the church enjoy its previous privileges and powers as in times past, when it, with the government’s collusion, “effectively dictated the social policy of the state,” he said. “Historically, there was a view within the Catholic Church that there was a parallel law, that they had their own system of law, and that was the law to which they were accountable,” Mr. Gilmore said. “At a minimum, that blurred the understanding of the necessity for full compliance with the law of the state.”

    He added: “The Catholic Church is perfectly entitled to have its own view and its own rule and to view matters according to its own light. But this is a republic. And there is one law.” When it comes to protecting children, Mr. Gilmore said, “Everybody in the state — irrespective of whether they’re ordinary citizens doing everyday work, or a priest or a bishop — has to comply with the law.”

    Douglas Dalby contributed reporting.

    Thus, as horrible as the details of that child rape diary (in the OP article above) it pales in comparison to the realization that the church itself, is willing to protect and save harmless such individuals that can perpetrate such crimes. Like a nest of vipers, it is the church itself that is the problem that must be remedied.

    ***Sidebar*** Organized religion has always been used as a route for sexual predation. It appears that such crimes are extant to varying degrees in just about all religious activity whether it be Judeochristian, Hindi, Muslim, or Buddhist. There seems to be a historic penchant for wolves to preferentially lie in sheep's clothing, so to speak; where those who seek to prey on others will routinely don the clothes of helpers.
    #2 ralphrepo, Jun 3, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  3. CrazyMoFo

    CrazyMoFo Well-Known Member

    Ralphrepo!!! Thanks for understanding. What a breath of fresh air, someone finally gets what I've been trying to say all along. I just like to add, it's not just child molestation these guys are guilty of. Like you said they are like an organized crime empire that has the support of many followers. I bet if we start taxing the churches of all religion, our country would be out of recession quicker! Just think how many churches are in your neighborhood, if they are taxed, we can use the tax dollars for our schools and education system.
  4. Hmmmm...

    If you are up for it, I'd like to give this a try again, as I rather enjoy this level of discussions. I promise to retain a high level of respect to your responses if I am returned the favor.

    I do agree that religion has been a vehicle for sexual predators, even Buddhism. But can one make the claim that religions promote these crimes? And can one accuse its followers of the crimes committed by individuals who claim to represent the religions?

    As Ralph said:

    If we could rid the world of religious institutions like the church, corrupted mosques, corrupted temples, we'd have done the world a great favor. But corruption is a human nature flaw. Religion is a product of man, and is inherently flawed, but morality and ethics derived from the religion, though not complete, is still positive, and that's what many (not all) religious people follow. We should thus be prosecuting and minimizing corruption, not prosecuting religion as a whole.
  5. CrazyMoFo

    CrazyMoFo Well-Known Member

    Dan, I never meant to disrespect you in any of our discussions. I apologize if I did, but I assure you it's not intentional because I too enjoy our debates. As you can tell I'm passionate in religious and politic discussions. Because I really do feel something must be changed to better our world for the next generation. And if I have shed some light into the dark side, I would feel I have accomplished something. A lot of these younger generations do not see a lot of the things we talk about. They think the world is perfect because most of them are sheltered from it. But with current technology and the internet, it has given me more ways to share knowledge of the real world and an ugly one at that. It's up to them to make this world a better place for my children and possibly yours.

    As for my tactic and my way of expressing myself. Well....I guess I still need to work on that. Honestly, I didn't feel I was being condescending or arrogant. Maybe when I said your sentences made me laugh was the wrong choice of words. But I answered all your questions with true facts and examples. It may sound a little harsh, but it wasn't meant to be disrespectful to you, but to the religion.

    You may be more fortunate than me when growing up. But I've seen the crap the church has done to my friends and the people around me. I really don't want to get into the details. But lets just say the article I posted above happen to a close friend of mine, he has never been the same again and the only thing that happen to the priest was a quick transfer to another church in another state. I have many more horror stories including my cousin who is married to a man who follows the Islam religion. She's not allow to see our family, because her husband thinks we are evil and we would be bad influence to her (and my family is catholic). This is some of the reasons why I am so against religion. Even though I know there are some really good people in churches and I know they really do mean well and want to help people. But can't they just help out of the goodness of their heart and not give the credit to a deity? That's what I do and it's a lot more gratifying then giving credit to the invincible man.
  6. ralphrepo

    ralphrepo Well-Known Member

    But, that's a pretty tall order, isn't it? Religion itself, is a philosophical framework that always has to co-exist with the rest of society. Religions are only just extensions of social beliefs, and must generally conform to what their surrounding civilization accepts. If not, then they cannot exist without wholesale persecution and incurring the wrath of civil authorities. Minimizing corruption does not necessarily protect religion. Rather, religion itself must always align itself with the social and political values of the society it serves, else it would always be subject to be disdained and maligned. Once those values of a religion no longer reflect society in general then that religion cannot hope to exist in that form.

    Take for example, the precepts of religion during the Shang or Aztec (ancient China or Mesoamerica), in which wholesale human sacrifice was performed to appease various gods; could such a religious paradigm exist in contemporary society today? Would society move to prosecute such a religion? Of course we would.

    Aside from the extremism of human sacrifice, what about the more contemporary attitudes expressed by the tragic Branch Davidians, in which Vernon W. Howell (later renamed as David Koresh), their spiritual leader, could have spiritual marriages, and thus real sex, even with under aged girls? Or how about the Hindu practice of the Devadasi, in which young girls are dedicated, or given as offerings to temples and they're then required to have sex with parishioners? Should such religious practices be persecuted (as it has been outlawed but nonetheless still exists) ? Or what about the Nikah Mutah, in which Muslims are allowed to engage in temporary marriages (only allowed by some sects), but otherwise enjoy all the sexual benefits of regular matrimony? Should such practices be legally denied and labeled as the prostitution that some feel it is? Mormonism, as practiced by its major sect during the 1800's and until it officially renounced pluralistic marriages, was considered a legal pariah and subjected to prosecution as a whole. Even with knowledge of this history however, Warren Jeffs, leader of one of the Mormon off shoot sects (the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints aka FDLS) was nonetheless recently convicted of committing child rape. Their splinter group has long maintained that plural marriages are vital to their religious needs, and that these should include sexual relations with minor girls. Because of their religious stance, they are currently under intense government scrutiny. Should we consider them persecuted wrongly because of their religious beliefs or should we prosecute them for committing crimes against children?

    IMHO, thus, when religion acts in manners that are considered socially inconsistent and afield of precepts acceptable to the people that they live under, they cannot expect to exist without persecution and or prosecution. Additionally, by acting in manners that behaves more like a criminal organization rather than what society believes a church should be, the church itself lays the seeds of its own demise. True, one should not lay blame on a religion for the crimes perpetrated by its individual organizers. But when such crimes become so chronic and a church's methodology of dealing with them has been widely institutionalized, then it is no longer a fault of individuals, but has been elevated to be that of the organization at large. One can no longer separate the two as the organization has become an active participant; it has become the problem.

    Example, if it was proven that only priests in New York were raping kids, then there is a problem in the New York Archdiocese. However, if it can be shown that catholic clerics in every major US city were raping kids; that priests in Ireland, Germany, Spain, and Italy too, and had been doing so for centuries; then there is an inherent problem with the religion as practiced by the entire Catholic church. If they were any other company (like GM, IBM, M$) one would expect that they be shut down. Thus, IMHO religion itself must learn to toe a line. Once they've cross it, they should not expect to be treated any better than the criminals they've become.

    Frankly, with the recent release of information on how the Vatican is run, it sounds like RICO is exactly what is needed to deal with the Catholic church.

    And msg to CrazyMoFo, while taxing religion has emotional resonance with many, the Catholic church itself is no longer as deep pocketed as some believe. In the last decade, Catholic schools and hospitals have been forced to close or merge as church finances haven't been able to keep up with the needs of their services.
    #6 ralphrepo, Jun 4, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013
  7. CrazyMoFo

    CrazyMoFo Well-Known Member

    AMEN BROTHER RALPHREPO!!! Couldn't agree with you more!
  8. I understand your passion and I appreciate your intentions. And I agree in every word you said about the crap the church has done, so I see your need to help those who are blinded by the church. I must confess, I have never experienced a situation where religion has "stolen" my friends or family, so I can't honestly comment on how it must feel for you.

    However, I would like to clarify that I am not 100% biased to religion. As a kid, I used to go to Buddhist temples to pray, however my family in general has determined that all the available temples in Montreal and Toronto lean towards money, to some extent. They always ask for donations, and do things that we don't condone. That is why we left the temples and never went back (unless for funeral purposes).

    I can't speak for other religious people, but I can assure you that I will not give credit to a deity, for my good doing. My good deeds are my own doing, and that of my society, not religion.

    1) Actions are the products of my own doing, as a human being.
    2) Knowledge on how to perform the actions are the products of scientific understanding.
    3) Knowledge on how to perform the actions morally and ethically stem from values I learn through my way of life, which happens to be Buddhism.

    I must also clarify, the purpose of religion, to many in general, is the need to rely on a supernatural belief to explain the unknown. To me, the unknown can be explained through science. I'm sure we both agree on that. So my reliance on religion is not for the purpose to explain the existence of things.

    In fact, I'm hesitant to even call Buddhism a religion, as religion is stereotypically used to describe a belief in a theist/deity. Buddhism is a way of life, that was invented by an Indian prince who was proven to have existed. Buddhism rejects (or rather ignores) the concept of a theistical deity, like a god. Yes Buddhism believes in supernatural stuff like reincarnation (which I also believe can be explained scientifically), but that's a topic for another day.

    Buddhism offers a set of moral and ethical values. Nothing more, nothing less. These moral and ethical values are shared by every beings on this world (expect criminals, but nvm that for now). They include stuff like: do no harm, don't do to others what you don't want done to yourself, compassion, help others etc. You may seem this as something that is common and can be acquired without the need for a religion, but to some, it may be difficult to discover these values without a source. These moral and ethical values cannot be discovered by means of science, but by philosophy. And theist/deity aside, religion is an extension of philosophy, hence, a source from which to acquire moral and ethical understanding. It just so happens that after thousands of years, philosophical understanding of religion has been skewed to corruption.

    So you see (I hope), I completely agree with you in terms of theistical religions. However, I find myself the need to defend (not defend, clarify. Defend is too harsh a word) the purpose of Buddhism (not the corruption of course), because:

    A) It's not a theist-based religion
    B) It's a way of life
    C) It's a source of moral and ethical understanding that already exists. Instead of having to do research and waste extra resources, why not rely on research that has already been done?

    Many Atheists, once they understood what True Buddhism is, believe that Buddhism is compatible with Atheism. Atheism is defined as two types of Atheism, Implicit and Explicit Atheism:

    1) Implicit atheism is defined as "the absence of theistic belief without a conscious rejection of it"
    2) Explicit atheism contends that the belief in god is irrational and should therefore be rejected. (There are subsets of explicit atheism, but the core is the same).

    So having defined atheism, as Buddhism does not hold a theistic belief, it therefore is compatible with Atheism. Q.E.D.

    However, when Buddhism becomes corrupted, your entire mindset regarding religion as a whole still applies to me. I don't blindly follow Buddhism and condone criminal actions. Hypothetically speaking, if the Dalai Lama committed a crime, I'd hold him to it. In fact, though he is considered an "enlightened" individual, when it comes to politics between China and Tibet, he becomes as savage as any human. That, I don't condone.

    So you see, I feel slightly offended that I (and by extension, my family) am being classified as a blind religion follower, when as demonstrate to you, we critically and logically scrutinise our own "religious" teachings, before turning them into a belief we hold.

    Thus, the question arises: Why are those who have critically and logically analysed their belief in religion in a scientific manner being grouped with those "who need help" to see the truth of religion? This obviously does not include your friends in Christianity or Islam where she is not allowed to see her family. Your friend happens to be a victim of someone who hasn't critically and logically analysed his beliefs in Islam.
  9. Damn it, my previous post is another long essay. I had to reply to your post by double posting.

    I completely agree with you. And yes, minimizing and eliminating corruption is a tall order; an exponentially tall order in fact. I'm just stating the obvious, in that if corruption is eliminated, then the world would become a better place.

    In fact, your entire post overflows with truth. I honestly agree with each and every point. If a beaker of purified water is contaminated with a virus, sometimes it's best to throw away the entire beaker. The logic of your post is honestly irrefutable.

    I'd like to make a proposition. Though those who represent their religion (in this case Christianity) have done irrevocably wrong doings in the name of Christianity, does that really negate the possible moral and ethical teachings that that specific religion offers? I guess that's definitely an irony, since any moral and ethical teachings Christianity offers are, in essence, violated by its own representatives.

    For the sake of argument, assume Christianity, Islam and whatnot religion do offer moral and ethical teachings. We agree that the said religions have been contaminated/corrupted by those who are essentially criminals. Does this fact still negate the moral and ethical teachings of said religions?

    I don't know if you guys watch Stargate, but there's a straight-to-DVD movie called the "Ark of Truth". The goal of the antagonists in the movie is to convert populations to the religion of "Origin", or destroy them. This parallels the criminal actions of Islam and Christianity and its corruption. There's a man who used to blindly follow his religion of "Origin", and did their bidding, much like how many Christians, Muslims, Islams and even some Buddhists are doing with their respective religions. He happened to see the truth, in that his religion "Origin" was used for criminal purposes, and thus, was tortured for it.

    During his torture, he stated that what kept him going was, ironically, his beliefs in "Origin". His wife then says (paraphrasing) that though "Origin" was used for evil, it still holds moral and ethical values. I understand this is simply a work of fiction, but it does bring forth the argument that, though a religion is used for criminal purposes, could it not contain moral and ethical values that one could adopt?

    And if one should choose to adopt these moral and ethical values, why should one be prosecuted for the crimes in which his/her religion was used for, and for following said religion?
  10. kdotc

    kdotc 안녕하세요빅뱅K-Dragon입니다

    Why not tax temples too or mosque or any religion that accepts donations? why only churches?
  11. Well considering Christianity is the topic at hand, he focuses on the church. But I'm sure it applies to all other religious institutions as well.
  12. CrazyMoFo

    CrazyMoFo Well-Known Member

    Dan, you have to stop thinking that I am attacking you by grouping you into the "who need help group" by now you should know what my objectives are. I have repeatedly said I have much respect for those who have done the research and understand their religion and still choose to follow it because that's what feels right for them and that they are happy doing it. As long as they are not trying to brainwash and convert me.

    I know I may seem a bit hard on the xtians and religion on this board. But this is a platform for this type of discussions and I am in the right section of the forum. In real life, I do not go hunting down xtians and throw this kind of stuff into their face. I would only engage in religious discussions if they were the ones who initiates it. In general, I'm a closet atheist but always ready to come out. So I'm sorry if you feel offended with the things I post here. I'll try to behave! hehe

    I also studied Buddhism when I lived in HK for 4 years, so I know exactly what you are saying about the religion and the some what similarities between atheism. Matter in fact my parents are Buddhist, my in-laws are the ones who are catholic. So I'm surrounded by religion on a daily basis. And I hope this gives you a warm and fuzzy, LOL I respect Buddhism a whole lot more than I do Catholicism.

    And looks like you've answered your own question:

    Your Q: Why are those who have critically and logically analyses their belief in religion in a scientific manner being grouped with those "who need help" to see the truth of religion?

    Your A: If a beaker of purified water is contaminated with a virus, sometimes it's best to throw away the entire beaker.

    Kdotc - Dan is correct, I did mean tax all churches, temples, mosque of all religion. :)
  13. Yes, it does give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. All joking aside, I'm glad this is the case. I guess it just wasn't clear to me, but now it is.
  14. CrazyMoFo

    CrazyMoFo Well-Known Member

    That's because they spent all the money paying off people and covering up scandals. The local churches may not have deep pockets but the Vatican I'm sure is loaded. Roman Catholics: The Vatican's Wealth
    If anyone has WSJ access, please post full article! thx
  15. ralphrepo

    ralphrepo Well-Known Member

    Religion, whether right or wrong, from a standpoint of a moral argument, really depends on one's point of view, doesn't it? Recalling the extremism that I alluded to in my previous quip, human sacrifice, cannibalism, were supposedly even desired by some of their victims as it was thought to have been a way to please the gods, much like a suicide bomber thinks that by donning an exploding vest to oneself and killing others is a direct route to heaven.

    It's all in the mind.

    As for the "truth" found in that Star Gate movie, one then begins to understand thought control and politics of governments. The real aim in that Star Gate movie was for the "Ori" to gain control of the universe by using a religion they created, called Origin. The allegory here of course, is how Mao used communism to gain political control of China. Mao didn't care a whit about the peasant, but needed several million dumbassed chinks to die for him as he took control of the country. Thus, he had to offer them something in an illusion worth fighting for. Stalin did much the same in Russia. Origin indeed, eh? In the end, after Mao had won, what did the peasant get? Nothing. What finally lifted China was conversion to a market economy as it was jump started with western trade. Ironically, there is still a cult of people who paradoxically worship Mao as the father of modern China even as abundant history shows he almost destroyed it.

    But, going back on track in the discussion of people, society and religion; religions, regardless of their moral thrust, can only exist insofar as its acceptance by a population. Suicide bombers, human sacrificial offerings, soldiers who cover exploding grenades with their bodies all have one thing in common; their mind, as supported by a community of collective social thought, all supported this type of activity as a methodology of "good" or something to be desired. Thus, as with the case of religion based child sexual abuse, in places like Colorado City, Arizona or Pedo heaven; it's all good then, isn't it? That's what happens when a group of like minded people form communities. This is why IMHO, the Catholic church is seemingly filled with pedo priests; they find comforting birds of a feather. Tellingly overlaid on top of this, certain individuals arise to organize and control such like minds, getting them to go so far as to die in order to defend it. But in reality, their actions were used to manipulate something else favorable to their handler.

    As for religion offering good outcomes; yes, it is possible. But only so when the purpose or direction had a moral basis. But there's the rub, religions are orchestrated by men. As such, any religion is already tainted by imperfection as any man is subject to the frailties of his own personality. Thus, IMHO, religion is only as good as the man who espouses it.

    As for whether or not a religion offered something good, or holding moral and ethical values, I ask this; in the final sum, was it worth everything considered in its cost? One has to then use their own moral compass and decide on the cost v benefit. There isn't any right answer, IMHO.

    Well yes, but the problem here is that the Vatican isn't subject to taxation by other nations. Their wealth is the product of centuries of looting BTW. As a business model, the Vatican would rather cut their losses in countries that had church closures as those nations would be considered money losing ventures. So rather than supporting them with more funds, Rome would just let them die on the vine.
    #15 ralphrepo, Jun 4, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  16. CrazyMoFo

    CrazyMoFo Well-Known Member


    Bravo! Another great write up! I would also like to add, It's because of these men who can't come to the same agreement in their own faith that's why there are approximately 38000 Christian denominations. Which one of these is the true religion? What if they are all wrong? What if the true religion is actually Rastafari? Hmm...I might even consider joining the Rastafari movement. They practice their faith through spiritual use of cannabis, the only way to talk to god! hahaha

    Dead on regarding Mao too! I'm not a Star gate fan, but now I might have to look up this episode. thanks guys!
  17. Ah. Excellent points. The truth in the statement "religion is only as good as the man who espouses it" is infallible. To that extent, I honestly have no counter-arguments.

    And there is also no way for me to prove that religion was designed for the purpose of promoting goodness, or designed to be a mechanism to control a population.

    All I have to say is, GG. LOL.

    Anyway, if religion was designed as a mechanism to control a population, and by extension, a flawed and wrong concept, where do you propose one acquires the understanding of moral and ethical values?
  18. ralphrepo

    ralphrepo Well-Known Member

    The problem of moral decision making is having enough ethical wherewithal in the first place. One who is ignorant of anything else other than a singular doctrine can be easily subjected to manipulation. Perhaps that's why peasants were so suited to be political fodder, whether one talks about Mao's communism or the Ori's origin. Ethics are derived from education, knowledge, experience; the stuff of a lifetime which is unfortunately imparted upon us at too late a stage to matter much. I know I'm a bit biased, but IMHO, history remains the best teacher. The more I read, the more "truths" are revealed in other seemingly unrelated things; truths that I never realized had been just staring me in the face.

    I often laugh at my own ignorance and lament that there is so much more to learn and so little time left to do it. Alas, the fate of man, it seems.
  19. CrazyMoFo

    CrazyMoFo Well-Known Member

    you beat me to it Ralph. I also have another example of morals not derived mainly from religion. Do you guys watch discovery channel such as Animal planet, planet earth etc?? How do animals appear to have an innate sense of fairness, display empathy and help other animals that are in distress. Surely they didn't read the bible to know what's wrong and what's right.