In my opinion religion has only two positive consequences. Firstly, in times of trouble, like the death of someone close, it can be of great comfort. Secondly, religion can be useful in maintaining stability in society in general. Every other aspect of religious belief is negative. War, death and destruction, unnecessary guilt, discrimination, stunting of mental creativity, massive waste of resources (on temples and priestly castes), brain-washing of innocent children – the list goes on.
Furthermore, I believe that the tendency to believe in a god is an evolutionary development necessary for the survival of early humans and that given enough time, the need will evolve out of existence.
For the above reasons religion should be taken seriously but at the same time robustly challenged. But there are times when a religious opinion/belief needs to be totally rejected, to be laughed out of court, to be derided as an idiotic imbecilic notion.
Such a case appears in the Irish Catholic newspaper The Voice Today dated 31st March. The author of this idiotic article is none other than George Weigel the biographer of the late Pope described on the internet as a Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a Roman Catholic theologian and one of America’s leading commentators on issues of religion and public life.
Weigel apparently believes that the Tsunami disaster was caused by fallen angels.
Here is a sampler:
Creation is ‘groaning’ because creation has not experienced the finality of redemption….And when creation ‘groans’, its travail can have devastating effects. In the Biblical view of things, nature is not unsullied and innocent; nature suffers from the after-effects of the angelic fall; nature awaits its final redemption. Until that happens, nature is capable of, and will do, terrible things.
This harebrained notion is a deep insult to the hundreds of thousands of people who died in the disaster, it’s an insult to the intelligence of human beings in general, it’s a notion so stupid that it deserves the contempt of all rational humans.
Here’s my interpretation of events according to George:
The Devil calls a meeting of his fellow fallen angels.
Lucifer: “Right you fuckers, I want some suggestions and I want them quickly. Things have gone from bad to worse ‘topside’. Humans have been making all the running lately, wars, disease, environmental damage, George Bush, global terrorism, Charlie Haughey. We devils have been almost forgotten, we’re not taken seriously anymore and we’ve got to do something about that.”
Fallen angels:“How about killing the Pope, oh evil one?”
Lucifer:“Bollix! We sent an apprentice devil to do that in 1981 and the bastard missed. And with the state of JP’s health he’s due to join us shortly anyway.”
Fallen angels:“We could arrange for an asteroid to strike and vaporise the whole shebang”
Lucifer:“Jesus, save me from stupid devils, if we vaporise, who will be left to suffer, who will be left to agonise over the existence or not of ‘Mr. oh so fucking holy’ above in heaven?”
Fallen angels:“I have it, oh master of darkness, we could impose Irish political standards on every government in the world.”
Lucifer:“Fuck, even I’m not that evil. No my son, you have great potential for causing suffering and destruction, but while we want something terrible we also want to give humanity some hope of survival.”
Fallen angels:“I have it, oh prince of all that is perfidious, pestiferous and putrid. An underground earthquake in the Indian Ocean topped with a massive tsunami and finished off with a thick coating of dead humanity.”
Lucifer:“Brilliant, brilliant, but how will we convince the humans that it was our handiwork?
Fallen angels:“We could use George, your evilness, you know? George Weigel, one of your most successful creations, designed so that humans see an intelligent, philosopher/theologian when in fact you scraped him from the bottom of the barrel in the deepest pit of slime and stupidity.”
Lucifer:“Yes, yes I knew George would prove useful some day. Make it so, you bastards, get out there and create mayhem. You, minion, Get me George on the line now!”