No, I’m Not Giving Anything Up For Lent

Today is the start of Lent where Catholics traditionally give up something they love. Now as a child I had to go along with this like everyone else. It was just something that was done, we never thought about it. Since becoming an Atheist, I’ve looked at Lent in a whole new light. Why does everyone celebrate a period of suffering? Why do we deprive ourselves of the joys of life? Why do we self-flagellate and call it good? Continue reading “No, I’m Not Giving Anything Up For Lent”

Who Will The Next Pope Be?

The world has been stunned by the shock resignation of Pope Benedict. Once this sinks in, the inevitable question is who will replace him? Who can best represent the one billion Catholics in the world? Who will be able to make the reforms the Church needs to avoid sinking into irrelevance? Who can repair the Church’s severely damaged credibility? Who will face the Church’s dark history of abuse? Who can make the Church relevant in a world that is increasingly abandoning faith? Can anyone? Continue reading “Who Will The Next Pope Be?”

The Magdalene Laundries

Yet another relic of Ireland’s dark and disturbing past has come to light. We are haunted by yet another example of abuse and exploitation by the Catholic Church that went unchallenged for decades. This is the Magdalene Laundries, centres of shame run by nuns from the foundation of the State in 1922 until 1996. A new report has been released detailing the plight of the inmates. Here women were detained and forced to work inhumane hours for no pay. The stigma of being in a Magdalene Laundry was so great that most never spoke if it and left the country. More than 10,000 women were forced to work in essentially labour camps that many have described as slave labour. It is an injustice that forces us all to hang our heads in shame. Continue reading “The Magdalene Laundries”

A Catholic Majority In The North?

The results of the 2011 census show that the population gap between Catholics and Protestants has narrowed significantly. In fact, at current rates, the Catholics will be a majority after 2016. This has the potential to significantly destabilize Northern Irish politics. The fragile peace established by the Good Friday Agreement could fall apart. Republicans are excited with dreams of a United Ireland and Unionists are terrified with similar nightmares. However there is the lurking threat of a return to violence and a second wave of Troubles. Continue reading “A Catholic Majority In The North?”

Religion As A Cause Of War In Ireland

In my last post I argued that religion was a major cause of war. Now I want to discuss this in an Irish context. In fact the history of Ireland is basically the history of Protestants and Catholics warring among each other. There are numerous incidents where Catholics or Protestants were killed solely because of their religion. Continue reading “Religion As A Cause Of War In Ireland”

How I Became An Atheist

I wasn’t born an Atheist; in fact I was a Catholic for the first 20 years of my life, only becoming an atheist 6 months ago. Like 99% of people my religion is down to the luck of my birth. Had I been born in the Middle East, I would have been a Muslims, had I been born in India, I would have been a Hindu, but I was born in Ireland, so I was a Catholic.

Like most young people I knew next to nothing about my religion. Growing up, I doubt a single one of my classmates could tell you what being Catholic meant. We were Continue reading “How I Became An Atheist”