The Gospel According To Joe



‘Holy’ Joe Humphreys, of the Irish Times

Anything unusual/unsettling in the Irish Times?

Catholic Church is one of the only institutions in Irish society that talks about fundamental values, meaning and human purpose.

On top of that, it promotes an egalitarian ethic that is highly commendable in both ambition and scope. The command to “love your neighbour as yourself” sets a moral benchmark for Christians that, despite bordering on the unattainable, is nonetheless capable of inspiring benevolence in its adherents.

What’s not to like about Jesus’s anti-capitalism? Or Pope Francis’s social conscience? Secular humanists may baulk at the theological reasoning behind the claim that “everyone is equal in the eyes of God” but they must surely observe its sentiment.

The Catholic Church also serves a particular purpose in Ireland by providing the basic unit of community. For historical reasons, the parish remains a key identifier around which sports clubs, fundraising efforts, political campaigning and educational activities typically revolve. It is also the place towards which many people gravitate to commemorate important events like birth, marriage and death.

This poses a challenge for humanist reformers. Should one try to dismantle existing community bonds in order to build a better and fairer society? Or should one work with church bodies to try to achieve the same goal?

Joe Humphreys, more at link below

Crucify HIm!


Why Irish atheists still need the Catholic Church (Joe Humphreys, Irish Times)

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80 thoughts on “The Gospel According To Joe

  1. DubLoony

    The egalitarian ethic only applies if you are male and celibate or male and married.
    Everyone else is second class.

  2. MoyestWithExcitement

    “Should one try to dismantle existing community bonds in order to build a better and fairer society?”

    Has there been talk about dismantling the church?

    1. Dόn Pídgéόní

      He’s basically admitting that using the church as the basis of a community is not achieving equality.

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        “it promotes an egalitarian ethic that is highly commendable in both ambition and scope. The command to”

        It “promotes” an ethic with a “command”. I just don’t think this chap is the brightest.

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      Thanks. Knowing that people can get paid for badly thought out pieces like this by influential national media outlets really is upsetting. I used to assume grown ups were all smart when I was a kid.

    2. scottser

      it’s actually hilarious. do you honestly think anyone here would take a piece like that seriously? it actually must be more upsetting for you to have such a moron speak for you.

      1. newsjustin

        If there’s one thing the Broadsheet commentariat hate more than people disagreeing with them, it’s people not hating the roman catholic church.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          I do enjoy how hardcore social conservatives frequently try and take the moral high ground when they don’t actually have anything of substance to say.

        2. jeremy kyle

          In fairness, most people on the internet hate people disagreeing with them.

          Like if you agree.

        3. ahjayzis

          Well, yeah like.

          If it was the Roman Swimming & Golf Association that had raped and then covered up the rapes of thousands of kids, imprisoned women, terrorised people generally you’d hate them too.

          You let a church off with crimes and negligence you wouldn’t dream of accepting from any other organisation – that says far more about you than the people who rightfully think the institutional church is a rotten cabal and about as far from Jesus as you can get.

        4. nellyb

          If your logic was used to build medical equipment, human population would have dropped to BC levels. Do you reserve reasoning for your bank account only?

        5. Kieran NYC

          You mean the organization that engaged in the systematic abuse and cover-up of the same abuse of women and children for decades? That one?

          Ah yes. The Really Cuddly Church.

  3. Serv

    In fairness Hitler was great at community building. Can’t we get him over from Argentina for a conference?

  4. CousinJack

    The ideology and idolatory of the Catholic church has little to do with the teachings of Jesus, read the sermon on the mount, the money lenders in the temple, etc, no commonality.
    It would be reasonable for humanists to be supportive of Christain values, but these are not the same as the catholic values (a misogynist sect of christianity)

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      I’ve never appreciated people referring to ‘Christian values’ as if they invented the concept of being nice.

      1. CousinJack

        Fair enough, but when has the majority of humaity not been practising believers in religions?
        TBH, I don’t really care as I don’t believe that their is any inherent goodnesss in religion or humanity.
        We’re chimps not bonobos

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          There is definitely inherent good in humanity. Evolution depends on it. We’d have wiped each other out by now otherwise.

          1. CousinJack

            Please provide link to scientific peer reviewed study that demonstrates altruism in human society. Can’t find one that hasn’t been refuted by Dawkins et al.

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            Yeah it is. That is a clip of humans selflessly helping another human who is in danger, with no regard for themselves. That is the definition of altruism. So, let’s see your proof that humans are “chimps, not bonobos”, whatever the fupp that means.

          3. irishstu

            Charity workers & donors?
            Volunteer firemen?
            St Johns Ambulance people?
            Grannies that knit baby hats for maternity wards?
            People who ask a question on Stack Overflow, figure out the answer, and then post the answer so that other people who have the same problem can find the answer too?

    2. newsjustin

      Any fair analysis of the sacraments and teaching of the Catholic Church would dispel your notion that it is not based on the teaching of Christ.

      1. CousinJack

        If you read those teachings, rather than dogma/doctrine, you would realise that you lose as soon as you mention sacraments that are fundamentally irrelevant to those teachings

        1. newsjustin

          The sacraments all have a firm basis in Christ’s teachings (and actions).

          He was baptised. He forgave sinners. He instituted the Eucharistic. He recruited and sent out preachers, etc

          1. CousinJack

            But the beatitudes have precedence over that superficial stuff. (Conveniently overlooked by your dogma)

        1. Dόn Pídgéόní

          The question should be want would Jesus’s view of the Church be? Pretty sure it would not be WJWD

        2. newsjustin

          I don’t know. But I can take an informed guess based on what’s known of him. I can’t say weather he’d be in favour of e-voting, meat-eating or renewable energy either.

        3. CousinJack

          Seen as the bible says Jesus hung out with people otracised by society at the time, that christains shoudl take that as meaning that they should be inclusive.
          As Jesus hung around with prostitutes (the red sea srolls, and uncanonised gospels, indicate that he was married possibly to a prosittute) it doesn’t seem to likely that he would have been to concern with sex outside of marriage
          (Red Sea Scrolls are probably more accurate historical sources than the gospels, given that they have not had 2000 years of editing)

          1. newsjustin

            Dead Sea Scrolls Jack.

            Christians are, indeed, called to be inclusive. Read the catechism and compendium of social teaching of the RCC to see how that’s prioritised. See prison chaplaincies, homeless services, addiction treatment, protection of exploited sex workers, etc, etc by catholics to see how it’s borne out in practice.

          2. Coddler O'Toole

            the 12-step addiction model has the lowest rate of success of any existing tratment paradigm, with the highest relapse rates – 95% within the first year. and relapse is seen as negative or a problem rather than a learning tool. real success comes from supported interventions that are judgement-free, one-to-one and empirically-based.

            just sayin. i appreciate the church found a lot of recruits from the marginalised but there’s always been an element of guilty manipulation in what the church calls its ‘good works’. it never provided a service without one eye on stats – they wanted sinners, not equals.

          3. MoyestWithExcitement

            There’s something very seedy about the AA programme. You take people who are low and desperate, enough to seek help, and try and convert them to your religion. That’s just creepy.

    1. Markskids

      You’re referring to the line “I, however, am not one of them” ? I wasn’t sure what way to interpret that to be honest. Either he’s not an atheist or he’s an atheist who “longs for the disappearance of religion and spirituality from the public domain ”

      Either way I’m pretty sure an atheist wouldn’t say the catholic church promotes an “Egalitarianism Ethic” unless as others have speculated here, and he is actually really dim ? That said I’m not familiar with this mans writing so who knows :D

  5. Tony

    I hope the BS posse see the massive contradiction between their views on “equalideee” and “inclusivideeee” and their absolute bigotry when it comes to people who are religious. It really devalues all other pretensions of concern.

      1. Clampers Outside!

        I think he’s referring to the many, many lapsed Catholics/Protestants on here who tend to have a go at the church (RCC for the most part).
        And in his rush to make them all sound like evil-agenda-driven-unthinking-anti-religious-humanist-atheist-scumbags he used the word “bigotry” incorrectly. You cannot be bigoted about a faith you were brought up in. You can be ignorant of it still, but you can’t be bigoted, if you lived it.

        So, in conclusion, I’d say Tony is the bigot. What say you Tony?

        1. Nicolas Roche

          Ha? That’s not true at all! What definition of bigotry are you working off? You can of course be bigoted about the faith you were raised in. You talk a lot of sense but this comment is nonsensical.

          1. Clampers Outside!

            It’s a flaw of mine, I often carry with ‘bigot’ a sense of an unwillingness to understand the other side.

            To make no attempt to understand, in this case the RCC’s role in Ireland, in which so many of us grew up in, and so it could not be said were lacking in understanding any such influences of that church-lead life growing up.
            Anyway, must stop doing that, I’ve done it before! :)

    1. CousinJack

      The laws and functions of the Irish state is founded in RCC bigotry, so once that is addressed you might have a point (give schools and hospitals to the state, pay a fairshare of compensation to teh abused, etc, etc)

      1. scottser

        is protestant hell different from catholic hell? cos i’d convert to the handy option, just in case like.

        1. Janet, I ate my avatar

          you have to have more fun to get a ticket as you’ve no original sin, it’s a it more effort like and that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it

    1. PaddyIrishMan

      That’s me and I object to his treating the Roman church as if it was the only flavour of Christianity.

  6. postmanpat

    stopped reading after “ of the only..” . just another die hard catholic stream of consciousness rant where logic and grammar take a back seat. The times and indo are a mixture of Sun/Mirror and Alive articles.

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