Whatever Happened To Hell?

Hell used to be a central part of Christianity, playing as big a role as Heaven. Yet growing up as a practicing Catholic and even as an altar boy, I don’t remember ever hearing anything about Hell. It is as though priests are embarrassed to mention it and would rather forget all about it. In some places Hell as been down played to the point of merely being the absence of Heaven. Yet the thing about religion is that you can’t throw any of it away and the threat of Hell still simmers on. It still exercises a grip of fear over many believers and revulsion among non-believers. Continue reading “Whatever Happened To Hell?”

Legacy Of The Catholic Church

It is said that when Ireland received its independence from Britain in 1921 it handed it over to the Catholic Church. For the next seven decades the Church dominated Irish life and shaped it to suit its teachings. While Ireland never became a theocracy, it came pretty close. Irish politicians of all parties declared their loyalty to the Church and gave the hierarchy unquestioned influence over policy. Politicians declared themselves Catholics first and Irishmen second. And what was the result of this influence? A stagnant society dominated by narrow mindedness sectarian pettiness. A socially suffocating society where all common sense and flexibility was abandoned in place of rigid dogma. An authoritarian atmosphere where all signs of modernity were repressed. Where brutality was condoned and ignored and unimaginable cruelty was shown to women and children, the extent of which is only coming to light now. This is the legacy of the church. Continue reading “Legacy Of The Catholic Church”

The Time I Thought Of Becoming A Quaker

Let me tell you the unusual and slightly strange story of the time I almost became a Quaker. It’s one of those stories which seem fairly normal at the time and from my point of view but seem completely bizarre to other people (I have a lot of these stories).When I was 16 I stopped going to Church. Although I still believed in God at the time, I was completely disillusioned with the Catholic church (for reasons so obvious as to need no elaboration). I thought that perhaps my problem was that I had the misfortune to be born into a religion that didn’t suit me, so the problem could be fixed if I switched denominations. This is where the Quakers stepped in. Continue reading “The Time I Thought Of Becoming A Quaker”

Did Jesus Really Rise From The Dead?

The Resurrection is the key event of Christianity. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead then Christianity simply wouldn’t exist as a religion. I have elsewhere discussed the contradictions in the crucifixion narrative and how claiming Jesus died for our sins doesn’t make any sense, so today being Easter Sunday, I thought I’d investigate whether the core of Christianity is actually true. Did Jesus really rise from the dead or is it just a myth? Continue reading “Did Jesus Really Rise From The Dead?”

What’s The Point Of Prayer?

One of the central features of religion is prayer, yet it is something that doesn’t make any sense. While praying seems like a natural and harmless action, if you think through the logic of it, you realise that it is neither possible, probably or desirable. The only reason the laws of the universe function is because prayers are unanswered, a point even religious people subtly acknowledge. If prayers were answered, the world would be a chaotic, unstable and illogical place. Continue reading “What’s The Point Of Prayer?”

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”

How Did All The Animals Fit On Noah’s Ark?

If anyone ever claims the Bible is completely true and a book to be taken seriously, I’ll point to the story of Noah’s Ark. This story demolishes any claims Christians may have that the Bible is true, that God is just or religion makes any sense. It is a ridiculous and preposterous tale that is almost too easy to knock down. But it shouldn’t be. Christians aren’t idiots they should recognise how little sense the story makes and drop it. We shouldn’t teach children this daft story based on the extermination of humanity. We shouldn’t blindly accept the story, but instead question it and ask, how did all the animals fit on Noah’s Ark? Continue reading “How Did All The Animals Fit On Noah’s Ark?”

A Better 10 Commandments

In my last post, I pointed out the obvious flaws with the Ten Commandments. If I’m so smart and know so much then why don’t I create my own Ten Commandments? If the old commandments are so bad then what should they have said? Am I just or a moaner who complains about everything or can I offer constructive criticism? So here is my attempt at a better 10 commandments. I think it says a lot that a mere mortal, still in his youth could improve on rules supposedly given by God. Continue reading “A Better 10 Commandments”