All Ain'ts Day?

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Like many (or at least some), I reacted to news about Pope John Paul II's beatification of Mother Theresa by thinking, "I wonder what kind of brutal screed Christopher Hitchens will write this time?" Well, the column in question is headlined "Mommie Dearest," and contains such lines as "It's the sheer tawdriness that strikes the eye first of all." More to Hitchens' point:

[W]e witnessed the elevation and consecration of extreme dogmatism, blinkered faith, and the cult of a mediocre human personality. Many more people are poor and sick because of the life of MT: Even more will be poor and sick if her example is followed. She was a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud, and a church that officially protects those who violate the innocent has given us another clear sign of where it truly stands on moral and ethical questions.

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  1. Jimmy,

    With all due respect, if one’s criticism of Rand’s writing style consists of “she sucks serious ass…” I can see exactly why you don’t like it. Is it true that people generally don’t speak as her charecters do? Perhaps. Is that a requirement of great literary style? No. How many countless authors are then thrown away because their charecters don’t speak like the average person?

  2. Ok, couple of points. 1)I’m not Catholic. 2)I never said that individuals claiming the name of Christ and, therefore representing Christianity, have not acted out in horrible manners. On the other hand the “modern secular world” was a direct result of that turmoil. Often, many of the individuals pushing for religious freedom claimed christianity, too. As for Galileo, he was claimed to be a Christian, too. A side note, so was Newton.

    As a libertarian and a Christian, I would say that many, many times over the message has been sullied by the acts of the “pious”. The Puritan tradition in America is a perfect example. Bush’s Faith based initiatives another. No where did Christ say go, my beloved, get involved in gov’t, tax the people against their will, and then distribute it to the church. In my readings, He seems to put the responsibility on the individual. go help the poor, the widows, the jailed, etc., etc.

  3. Beanie,

    Not perhaps, though, DEFINITELY people do not and never have (incl. during the time of the setting of “The Fountainhead”) talked like her conversations in that particular book. That to me just makes the book unrealistic. Yeah, you’ve got plenty of novels that aren’t supposed to be realistic, but I don’t think she meant it to be a fantasy book.

    As for James Joyce, Jeff, heck with him too. I’m sure I was force-fed some of his writing in school, but it obviously didn’t make a big impression. I think any lit. class that includes Ann Rand will do nothing but turn off your average Joe (no offense ha, ha) to Libertarianism.

    Better to have the class being force to listen to Rush – NO!, not the drug-addicted conservative, but the drug-taking Toronto-based rock band. You can’t go wrong with “Moving Pictures”, “Farewell to Kings”, and the Spirit of Radio. That’s rock and roll!

    As for “litratoor”, give me Ray Bradbury above all. That is what real writing is about: “Illustrated Man”, “Martian Chronicles”, and “Dandelion Wine”.

  4. Don’t ask me what that last post has to do with Mother Theresa. ;-} However, I’m sure both Ann Rand and Mother Theresa are connected within 6 degrees to Kevin Bacon. No, not Kevin Bacon the Silence-Vowed Monk, nor Kevin Bacon the Objectivist. I’m talking about that other Kevin Bacon, you know, that footloose one.

  5. I will say this, too. If she was saying that no one should get divorced, and then publicly said it’s a good thing for Diana. Then that definitely points toward hypocrisy.

  6. I’m with you on Rush, Jimmy. I had the good fortune to hear them AND set up their dressing room AND have a beer with them in Ames, IA on their tour last year. I work part time at the concert venue there.

    They are, as you no doubt know, Objectivists, as well as intelligent, literate rockers, although Neil Pert’s “spiritual journey” veered far afield according to his book.

  7. yelowd – You have a point there.

  8. I read the article. I’ve read other Hitchens pieces about this. I’m all for iconoclastism, in my time I’ve heaped my share of scorn on the invisible benevolent ghost theory (and since moderated my views,) and I understand that if everyone spent all of their time just trying to help the poor that the world would fall apart. There is room for discussion about how much good she was actually doing, but is there an appropriate reaction to Christopher Hitchens’s egomaniacal axe grinding against Mother Teresa besides “Shut up, you ranting jackass?”

  9. JDM – You may have a point there, too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. amr,

    On “overpopulation.” I think it’s an oversimplification to ever blame a nation’s economic state on such. After all, where would one draw the line? And why does the world’s wealth increase while its population increases?

    But neither does that mean that population increases are inherently good either. The key factor is freedom. I believe that if you increase freedom, in the aggregate you increase wealth, whether or not freedom leads to more or less population in a particular circumstance.

    I don’t know the details of MT’s activities, but to the degree that she may have contributed to the curtailment of people’s freedoms to run their lives, she may have contributed to a sort of economicly disadvantageous “overpopulation.”

  11. As to Rand’s political views, as well as her prose, one of her very short nonfiction works, “The Virtue of Selfishness” does much to clarify her definitions of and attitude toward altruism and self-sacrifice. It’s a good read, brief, as I said, and no dialog. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    It also really pisses off Liberals and theologians.

  12. OK, Jeff, I’ll look for that short work – anything that pisses off Liberals is indeed a feather in her cap.

    I’m jealous about the Rush thing. That’d have been great.

    Yellowed:

    I totally agree with you on the faith-based thing. All it’ll do is force these well-meaning organizations to do things the US Govermnent way, and it’ll create paperwork out the ying-yang. Bush is an idiot in a lot of ways, I gotta say. Very disapointing.

  13. He’s such a rebel, tearing up a nun like that. I imagine a conversation with Hitchen’s going something like this :
    Hitchens –
    “I have a picture of her getting off of an airplane and shaking hands with Princess Di.”

    Any rational person –
    “Go hang yourself.”

    As far as Ayn Rand goes, I think her best book by far was We the Living. The other two were a lot of fun to read for the:

    “I’d like you to tell me what you think of me, you can use any terms you’d like.”

    “But I don’t think of you.”

    “But I’ve destroyed your life and ruined your career, don’t you want to know why?”

    “No.”

    [I’m sure someone can correct that.]

    Saying that no one acts like that or makes 56 page speeches about the virtues of selfishness in real life sort of misses the point.

  14. India, like most of the world, has been retreating from statism in recent years.

    “Overpopulation” is a bit tricky. Given a particular level of technology, there must be a point where population increase yields diminishing material returns. Beyond that point, the society gets poorer the larger the population grows. At or beyond that point, an arbitrary line can be drawn signifying “overpopulation.”

    I don’t know of any evidence that any contemporary society is actually at or above its population optimum, even taking its economic system as a given. In other words, if India or China were to reduce their populations, without reforming their economies, I know of no evidence that this would raise their average incomes, and for all I know it could lower them. Fortunately, both countries are in fact reforming their economies.

    It’s interesting that Africa is the least densely populated continent – and the poorest. Around the world, prosperity correlates positively with freedom, and does not correlate with population density either way.

    I wonder if Hitchens can cite a single example of poverty being “cured” by contraception and “empowerment of women”, without any other reforms.

  15. David,

    Is Africa really less population-dense than Australia? That’s surpising to me, but I’m not arguing about it, and agree with your post.

    (Oh, yeah, Antartica doesn’t count, I guess ;-}

  16. This doesn’t have to do with overpopulation, but there’s this little problem with women who are unable to carry a baby to term and live. They’d like birth control. MT was ag’in it. Using phrases like “I am doing everything I can to help” when you have, in fact, been denying women depo that might save their lives is hypocritical.

    She was also a little show with things like, you know, western medicine. A number of people were surprised to learn that the money they handed over to “help the poor” was going for foot-washing basins instead of amoxicillian. After the first few miscommunications, MT certainly knew that her funding was dependent on the idea that she was healing the sick, so she, being a hypocrite, made sure that was the message.

  17. someone just mentioned rand and joyce in the same sentence.

    dubliners has straightforward plot up the ass, btw.

  18. I think the up the ass part came later, with Christopher Isherwood.

  19. Jimmy,

    I know it might not matter to you, but Rand wasn’t trying to write realistic dialogue. She said she was trying write about the world as it is, and men as they could be.

  20. A virgin,

    Per my earlier observation:

    Please go die somewhere.

  21. dhex – I agree, I did like Dubliners, but Ulysses? What was he on when he wrote that piece of gibberish, and where can I get some?

  22. It turns out the population density of Africa is almost ten times that of Australia. My apologies for the factoid.

  23. It would be good to have some direct quotes of what MT said about the Duvaliers, rather than take Hitchens’s word that she “praised their rule”.

    Was the proposed “ban” on divorce absolute? Did it allow no grounds at all, even the biblical grounds of adultery?

    In Diana’s case, I understand there was adultery on both sides.

  24. Brutal, yes. And if any of it is not true, you’re free to refute it instead of simply assaulting it. (I’m also not impressed with MT, btw)

  25. All you really need to know is that she was
    pals with Princess Diana, the other great
    fraud of our time.

    Jeff

  26. I too think that this one of the greatest frauds of our era, and am ecstatic that at least one person in the press is not afraid to call “Mother” Theresa out for being a hypocrite and a fraud. My fear is that people will ignore Hitchens and this refreshingly honest piece on MT.

  27. I’m not familiar with her acts of hypocrisy. anyone want to elaborate with a few examples?

  28. It warms my heart to see that some Catholics would still feel comfortable wearing hairshirts and whipping themselves. She sounds like she’d fit right in with the other Saints.

  29. Who ever made her an activist? Did she advertise as one, or was that the box into which the media put her for viewership? Hitchens doesn’t show how she was a fanatic, fundamentalist, or a fraud. The Catholic Church as a whole for breaking its rules on beatification and all that nonsense, maybe, but that is not news. He gripes that she had a not-so-progressive view of abortion – how dare she – and named some convents after her order. What else should she have named them? “Holy HoJo’s”? People expected to find an activist, and they were disappointed. If Hitchens knew anything about the ministry of Christ (“Blessed are the poor…How difficult it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God…”), he’d probably understand the difference between the activist and the advocate.

  30. I am not a big fan of Mother Theresa, either, but I don’t see what is fraudulent about her. For all intents and purposes, Hitchens’ criticism focus around two things:

    1. She took money freely given and used it as she saw fit. Many people consider that money from dictators and the like should not be accepted. But if she took the money and did something good with it, that is not worth criticizing. I can hardly see what exactly is wrong with using money donated to an order of nuns to set up convents. That seems to me obvious; at the very least, it is how things work in the Catholic Church. If you don’t like it, don’t donate.

    2. Mother Theresa strictly adhered to Catholic doctrine, particularly about birth control and abortion. This is hardly fundamentalism. The holding and peaceful propounding of anti-abortion views can hardly be seriouly compared to real fanaticism, the examples of which I don’t need to name, but generally kill large numbers of people. And, in the end, this is what Hitchens accuses her of.

    The process by which the Catholic Church designates those to be beatified and canonized is hardly a matter of public interest. If Hitchens doesn’t like Mother Theresa, he should avoid praying to her. But since he’s probably not Catholic anyway, it’s not likely he would.

    I have read Hitchens before, and he strikes me consistently as a mudslinger who, for whatever reason, has taken a mere dislike to Mother Theresa, and searches and stretches and exaggerates to support his gut response.

    Ultimately, I fail to see how anyone not Catholic can get so excited and upset about all this.

  31. Hitchens has called belief in God an evil. I think you pretty much have to start there when trying to understand what he writes about religious people.

  32. I’d agree, he says she takes money from the rich or from dictators. She would be corrupt and a fraud if there were strings attached to the money that violated her views (Diana’s divorce fitting this category if that was part of the money, though I don’t think Diana was a Catholic, which means she operates under a different set of rules).

    As for my favorite quote: She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction.

    What type of BS is that? The only known cure?

    Why is it that it seems so many folks on these forums are so quick to attack christianity as if it is some sort of plague on the earth. The history of Western Civilization shows a pretty strong correlation between the growth of christianity and our current values. True, there are always fanatics and there are always occasional struggles between ideas of judeo-christian heritage and greco-roman in its history. Nonetheless, people need to be a lot more honest with history.

  33. There’s a wide gulf, Yelowd, between attacking Christianity and attacking Mother Theresa, though Hitchens admittedly engages in both. I’ve read his anti-Theresa book The Missionary Position, and I found it a compelling argument. Not being a Catholic, I don’t care one way or another whether she’s made a saint, but I’d think that those of you who are Catholics might want to look at some of the dirt Hitchens has dug up before casting aside what he has to say.

  34. Ah. At last the Hitchens we know and love has returned from the fog of warmongering.

  35. As an apostate Catholic, I have to say it doesn’t really matter what the Saint did in life, so much as what they do (and is done in their name) that really matters. So what if she really wanted everyone to be poor. The Church will just edit her life a little and make her into someone who cared about all the poor little children and wanted them all to live nice happy, prosperous lives.

  36. Yelowd writes:
    Why is it that it seems so many folks on these forums are so quick to attack christianity as if it is some sort of plague on the earth. The history of Western Civilization shows a pretty strong correlation between the growth of christianity and our current values. True, there are always fanatics and there are always occasional struggles between ideas of judeo-christian heritage and greco-roman in its history. Nonetheless, people need to be a lot more honest with history.

    You want honest with history? Try these on for size:
    The Persecution of Gallileo – http://evolution.mbdojo.com/conflict.html

    The Spanish Inquisition – http://www.bibletopics.com/biblestudy/64.htm
    (there were other inquisitions as well, but none so infamous)

    The Scopes “Monkey” Trial – http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/scopes/evolut.htm

    Vatican claims condoms no protection from AIDS – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3176982.stm

    Not to mention the pervasive historical and ongoing prejudice against women in the christian church.

    Christianity has, for much of the history of the world, not aided the progress of man, but rather stood in its way, attempting with all its might to thwart it.

    And that is why so many prople treat it as though it were a plague upon the earth.

    It is.

  37. Morpheus, the Catholic Church’s hands are clean on the Scopes monkey trial. The official RCC actually had little trouble with Darwinian theory. (This is not to say individual Catholics, who are frequently as unversed in the Church’s “teachings” as they are in the King James Bible, do not in many cases think it’s all monkey business.)

    On at least one topic, Devo and John Paul II are in solid agreement: God made man, but the monkey supplied the glue.

  38. “Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me” was the first assertion of universal human rights in history.

    I don’t recall reading about a worlwide network of charity hospitals staffed by atheist Randoids.

  39. Jeff Smith,

    That’s not a halo, that’s a steering wheel!

  40. joe – “I don’t recall reading about a worlwide network of charity hospitals staffed by atheist Randoids.”

    And you won’t, as Rand is against what is commonly referred to as “altruism.” MT’s life is an archetypical example of altruism, which Rand did see as an active evil, as it tends to perpetuate whatever wrongs or ills it outwardly seeks to alleviate. It’s the old “give a man a fish/teach him to fish” argument. MT was a fish-giver of the first water.

  41. First off, it’s gratifying to see that Hitchens the iconoclast has returned. His column is valuable for the same reason that a “nay” vote in the midst of otherwise unanimous consent is valuable-the conventional wisdom must always be questioned.
    It is also entirely fair to point out that opposition to birth control and abortion in a land already grossly overpopulated hardly jibes with a true desire to help, at least in the temporal world.
    As for Hitchen’s oppostion to christanity-it’s a respectable postion. While one can say a number of good things about the historical influence of Christianity, one can also say an equal number of bad things. Ultimately, any ideology that arrogates to itself absolute, divine truth is one that should be regarded with suspicion, if not outright hositilty.
    The same can be said, by the way, of “atheistic randroids.”

  42. at the same time without the wars between catholic and protestant forces in europe our modern secularized society might still be embryonic.

    so i guess they were good for something. ๐Ÿ™‚

    and the degree of altruism present is certainly modified by the evangelizing involved, with a few exceptions. (doris day’s soup kitchens come to mind, serving the “undeserving poor” and the like)

    in all seriousness, i think there’s such a heavy degree of antipathy for christianity – and islam, though judaism remains a protected species for the most part on these boards – because at least in my lifetime it has been used as a justification for all sorts of intrusive laws, as well as social sandpaper for getting into all sorts of fights with students and faculty throughout middle and high school. the notions of human guilt, body hatred and original sin are some of the most damaging ideas ever created in the history of humankind, imo.

    the big difference, however, is no matter how little i like these notions i’d never want to interfere in the lives of the religious, most of whom have no interest interfering in my life, thankfully. sadly, our government is filled with more than a few practicioners, who whether their religiousness is sincere or an act, use it as a club to justify all sorts of idiocy. and i do occasionally worry about the eschatological nature of christianity – or any religion that has an expiration date, so to speak. the idea of the world coming to an end is so strong in western culture it has found its way into secular religions as well, like eco-mysticism.

  43. at the same time without the wars between catholic and protestant forces in europe our modern secularized society might still be embryonic.

    so i guess they were good for something. ๐Ÿ™‚

    and the degree of altruism present is certainly modified by the evangelizing involved, with a few exceptions. (doris day’s soup kitchens come to mind, serving the “undeserving poor” and the like)

    in all seriousness, i think there’s such a heavy degree of antipathy for christianity – and islam, though judaism remains a protected species for the most part on these boards – because at least in my lifetime it has been used as a justification for all sorts of intrusive laws, as well as social sandpaper for getting into all sorts of fights with students and faculty throughout middle and high school. the notions of human guilt, body hatred and original sin are some of the most damaging ideas ever created in the history of humankind, imo.

    the big difference, however, is no matter how little i like these notions i’d never want to interfere in the lives of the religious, most of whom have no interest interfering in my life, thankfully. sadly, our government is filled with more than a few practicioners, who whether their religiousness is sincere or an act, use it as a club to justify all sorts of idiocy. and i do occasionally worry about the eschatological nature of christianity – or any religion that has an expiration date, so to speak. the idea of the world coming to an end is so strong in western culture it has found its way into secular religions as well, like eco-mysticism.

  44. Wow, I agree with “joe” today. What a concept!

    That’s not a statement against libertarianism at all, Mr. Clothier. Libertarians have no problem with good works of individuals, churches etc. They just don’t like said individuals and churches asking the government to supply the bucks and do their work for them.

    Plus, Ann Rand sucks as a writer. I only got all the way through “The Fountainhead” due to the fact that I was gainlessly unemployed at the town. What is her problem?

  45. WAS: “at the town …” S/B: “at the time…”
    Dagnabit.

  46. Jimmy A. – Actually, Rand had no problem with individual acts of kindess either. What she was against was the concept of “self-sacrifice” as an ideal. Saving a drowning man, or giving a crust of bread to a hungry one is a perfectly acceptable act provided – as you pointed out – it is not a coerced one, and provided that the act is perceived as a value *by the one who performs it.*

    Mark – “The same can be said, by the way, of “atheistic randroids.” The difference between, say, the RC church and “atheistic Randroids” is that A.R.’s don’t evangelize by threatening one’s immortal soul or the wrath of BSG (big, scary God.) They simply stake out a philosophical position, as Libertarians do. Except, of course, that the Libs’ “position” is a religiously sacrosanct *lack* of a position on practically everything except the dangling concepts of “liberty,” and “non-coercion.”

    An Objectivist would say “I may be wrong, but I’m not uncertain. Show me where I am wrong, and I will change my position.”

    A Libertarian would say “Our positions differ, so you go your way and I will go mine.”

    A religionist would say “I’m right, and unless you get right with both me and God, you will be persecuted, damned and go to a miserable Hell for all of eternity.”

  47. What was remarkable to me about Hitchen’s piece was the relative respect with which he described the former canonization process early in the article. I would think he’d dismiss the whole thing as purest poppycock, which, of course, would have rendered the purpose of the whole article moot.

  48. I would say no such thing. And I’ve seen libertarians argue their position a lot more forcefully than that, Jeff.

    Of course, the distinction isn’t between “religionists” and libertarians, but between believers and atheists – who don’t exactly have the cleanest hands, either.

  49. Mark,
    Do you believe that India is overpopulated rather than having distibution systems are out of whack? (I’m not sure where it’s economy is now, but I believe it was very command for most of its existence).

    Do others here agree with the concept of “overpopulation”?

  50. I guess I misapprehend your point, joe.

    Cards on the table – MY position both philisophically and politically is closer to Rand’s than to the classic Libertarian one. But, to the extent that O-ism and Lib-ism are both individualist creeds, I consider myself a “fellow traveller” with much of what passes for a political agenda among Libs – which, due to the nature of the beast, seems to be more against a perceived status quo rather than for any assertive proposition of what’s right and good.

    I’ve tried to get positive political and philosophical positions out of members of our state party, for example, and usually get nothing but hostility.

    Be that as it may – The individual acts of members of a particular sect, creed or philosophy don’t necessarily damn the entire sect, creed or philosophy. Often, people act AGAINST the tenets of what they purport to believe or hold as axioms. That is individual hypocracy, not a damnation of the tenets or axioms.

    To that extent, I do not believe MT was a hypocrite. It is clear to me she acted according to the tenets of her church as she understood them to the best of her ability. She may be a martyr, a fanatic, even a great fool, but she was not a hypocrite.

    Bad or hypocritical things are, as you say, done by members of all belief of philosophical groups. Pointing this out is tangental to the argument of which system or systems are better or more true than others.

  51. “Often, people act AGAINST the tenets of what they purport to believe or hold as axioms. That is individual hypocracy, not a damnation of the tenets or axioms.”

    It’s only hypocrisy if you believe that the key test of legitimacy is conformity of belief, rather than identity. There is a long and noble tradition of Catholic dissenters.

    I am a Catholic heretic. And the first is as important to me as the second.

  52. joe – Now you’re talking definitions. Can a Catholic who dissents from the tenets of his or her own church – one of which holds that all truth comes from God through that church – truly be called a Catholic? Your Church apparently does not think so. Nor did Luther, Calvin, or Henry the Eighth.

    I certainly agree you are a heretic, and congratulate you on that status, and the good sense which no doubt caused it.

  53. I get the biggest kick out of watching people discuss religion, and then equating it with Christianity.

    Christianity has always been about God becoming man, and then making a way for man to approach God.

    The Romanists, their myriad offspring, and a gazillion other denominated groups espouse religion. What they don’t espouse is Christianity. Equating the two is intellectually bankrupt in the extreme.

    Let the attacks on my intellect, understanding, and breeding begin! I look forward to the humor potential of the replies. Things are quiet in my little corner of Baghdad International Airport tonight…

  54. Jeff, the RC Church does have a Doctrine of Conscience. Apparently, I’m allowed to believe things at odds with Church teachings and remain a good Catholic, as long as I don’t talk about them.

    Oops.

  55. Okay, Allen, I’ll bite. What you’ve proposed, from a non Christian point of view, is a distinction without much difference. All religion, including Christianity, is based on faith, “revealed truth” and a distinctly magical view of the universe as opposed to a scientific, investigative, skeptical and, well, a non-abracadabra world view. How, in that vein, is Christianity any different from, say, the other two religions based on the same theocsophic literature?

  56. Jeff, I will take your word on Ann Rand’s political positions. However (at the risk of pissing off the whole Reason.com site, including the servers and routers), I’m just saying that she sucks serious ass as an author. All the conversations in the book I read were completely unrealistic – nobody talks like the people in the book (“The Fountainhead”). Give me the cliff notes any day, so at least I could get the gist of her writing.

  57. Jimmy, I feel just the opposite. Her writing is great, for what it is. It’s here ideas that suck.

  58. Jimmy A – Your views of her prose are not uncommon, and they are certainly a matter of taste. I will say, however, that other popular novels and movies of the day sported the same kind of stilted dialog.

    At least there’s a plot. Jame Joyce? Please….

  59. joe – Mother T would certainly agree with you, as would her Church.

  60. OK, Joe, then things are back to normal.

    ;-}

  61. Jeff, thanks for the thoughtful rejoinder.

    I think you are defining religion far too narrowly. Religion is nothing more than a discipline. It is what constitutes the primary focus in your life. For some, weightlifting and bodybuilding is a religion. For some, blogging seems to be a religion. Whatever is most important and the central focus in your life is your religion. Every person on earth has a religion of one form or another. Some of those religions are deistic. Others most assuredly are not.

    So, Christianity is indeed a religion for many of us. But, there are many who practice a religion that, while claiming Christ, shows no relation to Christ. The same could be said about Mohammed, Buddha, Ra, Baal, and a host of other non-Christian deistic ‘faiths’.

    All I’m saying is that you can’t equate religion and Christianity. You can certainly say that those who practice Christianity and put Christ first in their lives are practicing Christianity as a religion. But you can’t equate the Romanist religion with Christianity. For anyone who has even a cursory knowledge of God’s Word, equating the Romanist system with Christianity is almost laughable.

  62. Mother Theresa will be a Saint in good time. The Holy Father wants it, so it will be so. And why not? Who amongst the posters above would do what this simple peasant did? The basic fact is this: Mother Theresa went from a (relatively speaking) comfortable existence to a place of unimaginable desolation,both spiritual and physical, of her own accord, to bring the comforting hand of God to a population desperately in need. My Catholicism has lapsed, but I pray Hitchens finds a very lonely place in Hell when the time comes.

  63. All the “atheist regimes” have been Marxist. Most atheists aren’t Marxists. Non-Marxist atheists don’t claim their metaphysical opinions justify their monopolizing political power.

    . . . a better prayer.

    Much better. The first was too stark a revelation of what Christian charity really looks like.

    The fun of seeing your enemies in eternal hellfire has always been one of Christianity’s big selling points.

  64. Those who criticize the history of Christianity make some good points. The persecutions of Galileo and his like, not to mention the Inquisition (nobody expects that).

    But, the record for atheist regimes in the last hundred years or so is perhaps even worse. Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China — hardly utopias.

    Oh, an thank you, Allan, for bringing up the “information” required in any internet discussion of Catholicism. Yes yes, Jack Chick is right! The Romish religion and its Popish priesthood are just evil, no doubt in league with the Masons and the Illuminati, set to take over the world through a villainous cabal, what with their Death Cookies and all.

  65. Allen,

    While I understand what you’re getting at, I’m not sure I can go along with your definitions. The idea that “whatever is the central focus of your life is your religion” has been a red herring used often by, shall we say “institutional Christians,” to force their beliefs, and the symbols of their beliefs, on those who do not share them. The theory of evolution has been referred to as a religion – it clearly is not – atheism has been referred to as a religion when it is the absence of one, although some atheists practice it as if it were, indeed, a doctrinaire belief system. Science itself, and the scientific method, have each been referred to as “faiths” when they are based on skepticism, not belief. I hope you see my point, it’s very early for me.

    It is very hard to discuss anything without clear and distinct definitions of things. If a foot fetish happened to be the focus of your life rather than Christ, would you still refer to it as your religion? I don’t think so.

  66. A better prayer, nm156, would be that the wound in Hitchen’s soul that causes him to write such things be healed.

    The man is obviously unhappy, and unwell.

  67. It just shows that I have a long way to go before I’m worthy of the reward that has come to Mother Theresa. By which I mean Heaven, as I am sure I’ll never be a saint.

  68. You make a good point, joe.

  69. Mother Theresa was one of the greatest heretics of all time and is most likely burning in hell.
    Why? Visit this website and find out about what the REAL Catholic church teaches.
    http://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com

  70. EMAIL: krokodilgena1@yahoo.com
    IP: 62.213.67.122
    URL: http://small-penis.nonstopsex.org
    DATE: 12/20/2003 07:15:56
    A good friend can tell you what is the matter with you in a minute. He may not seem such a good friend after telling.

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