Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Secular World Attacks Organized Belief

By Father John Flynn

LONDON, NOV. 26, 2006 (Zenit) - Organized religion is coming in for harsh criticism in many parts. English singer Elton John said religion turns people into "hateful lemmings." He also accused it of lacking compassion. His comments came in an interview with the Observer newspaper's Music Monthly Magazine, published Nov. 12.

The aging pop star's criticisms were sparked off by the matter of how religion deals with homosexuality. "I think religion has always tried to turn hatred towards gay people," he said.

He is far from being alone in this view. In the United States, talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell likened Christianity to radical Islam. Her attack, in a nationally broadcast program in October, was not well received, according to a Nov. 13 press release by the California-based Barna Group.

A nationwide survey by the Barna Group found that although few Americans would challenge O'Donnell's right to make such statements, just as few share her point of view.

Across the Pacific, Pamela Bone, writing in the Australian newspaper on Aug. 15, rejoiced over data which, she argued, showed that "in nearly all prosperous liberal democracies, atheism is strong."

Bone accused religion of being "directly responsible for countless world conflicts, resulting in the loss of millions of human lives." Religion is still a danger today, she contended: "The truth is that it is now too dangerous for religion to be given the special status it has always had."

Bone added: "The best hope for a less religious and thus safer world is for religion -- all religion -- to be open to rational and stringent examination and criticism, and yes, to ridicule."

Meanwhile, in Canada, author Christopher Hitchens recently explained why he "hates religion," reported the National Post on Nov. 18. Speaking at the University of Toronto, Hitchens declared he hates Islam because it exhibits a "horrible trio of self-hatred, self-righteousness and self-pity," while making a "cult of death, suicide and murder."

He also hates Judaism, because it leads to Christianity. His negative view of Christianity is well known, particularly after his infamous attacks on Mother Teresa of Calcutta in the 1990s.

In the midst of declaring his multiple hatreds, Hitchens declared: "I am absolutely convinced that the main source of hatred in the world is religion."

Anti-religious books

During the Toronto address Hitchens gave some details of his forthcoming book, "God Is Not Great." The book, he said, is "a general case against religion."

Anti-religious books are in fashion these days. American author Sam Harris has just published a brief (112-page) sequel to his 2004 book, "The End of Faith." At a recent presentation at the New York Public Library, Harris condemned the God of the Old Testament, in addition to the New Testament, "likening the story of Jesus to a fairy tale," the Washington Post reported Oct. 26.

For good measure Harris also attacked the Koran, calling it "a manifesto for religious divisiveness."

According to the Washington Post, "The End of Faith" has sold more than 270,000 copies. In that book, Harris described religion as "a desperate marriage of hope and ignorance." He also slammed religion for promoting intolerance. Nor was his argument limited to extremist groups. "One of the central themes of this book," Harris declared in the opening chapter, "... is that religious moderates are themselves the bearers of a terrible dogma."

In a curious use of religious terminology, Harris concludes the book by describing faith as "the devil's masterpiece." The book also appeals for a sustained campaign against religion, and faith in general: "We must find our way to a time when faith, without evidence, disgraces anyone who would claim it."

British author Richard Dawkins also recently published a book decrying religion, "The God Delusion." Dawkins is well known for his hostility to religion. "The celebrated atheist and high priest of popular science" is how a review of the book in the Observer newspaper on Oct. 29 described him.

Dawkins is not limiting himself to publishing. The Sunday Times on Nov. 19 reported that he plans to set up a charity that will subsidize the publication of educational materials for distribution in schools.

His organization, according to the article, will also attempt to divert donations from the hands of "missionaries" and church-based charities. His foundation, which is in the process of seeking registration in the United Kingdom and the United States, will have a database of charities free of "church contamination."

The Times article cited the concern of Anglican clergyman John Hall, dean of Westminster. Hall criticized the project as not being based on reasoned argument.

Dawkins and other critics of religion have often come under fire for their superficial view of religion. This was repeated recently by Verbite Father Vincent Twomey, a retired professor of moral theology at St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, Ireland. He took part recently in a debate at the College Historical Society in Trinity College Dublin, on the topic "That Religion Is a Block to Progress."

"Apart from the crass vulgarity of some student speakers, what shocked me most was the apparent ignorance of many speakers about what constituted religion in general and Catholicism and Christianity in particular," Father Twomey noted, writing in the Irish Times on Nov. 13.

So many things that are taken for granted today -- education, hospitals, the very notion of a person, the distinction between sacred and secular -- owe their origin to Christian inspiration. "Cultural amnesia is a dangerous condition for any society," he observed.

Bring forth treasure

While not referring to these recent attacks specifically, Benedict XVI recently addressed the issue of how religion is portrayed as a negative force. "So often the Church's countercultural witness is misunderstood as something backward and negative in today's society," he commented to visiting Irish bishops on Oct. 28.

What the Church needs to do in these circumstances, the Pope recommended, is to act like the wise householder who brings forth from his treasure "what is new and what is old" (Matthew 13:52). In this way the faithful will be able to discern what society offers them today. "Help them to recognize the inability of the secular, materialist culture to bring true satisfaction and joy," the Holy Father continued. "Be bold in speaking to them of the joy that comes from following Christ and living according to his commandments."

Moreover, even though the bishops need to warn against the evils around us, "we must correct the idea that Catholicism is merely 'a collection of prohibitions,'" Benedict XVI said. In order to do that Catholic teaching must be formulated in such a way that it communicates "the liberating power of the Gospel."

The Gospel is good for society, the Pope argued in his Sept. 28 address to the new German ambassador to the Holy See. Commenting on the favorable reception by the German people to his recent pastoral visit, Benedict XVI noted: "Wherever society is growing and people are strengthened in good, thanks to the message of faith, this also benefits social coexistence, and the readiness of citizens to assume responsibility for the common good is reinforced."

This message is not imposed by the Church, and therefore faith exists in the context of tolerance. "Tolerance, however, must never be confused with indifferentism, for any form of indifference is radically opposed to the deep Christian concern for man and for his salvation," the Pontiff pointed out. A concern that means the Church will not allow itself to be intimidated by those who wish it to remain silent.

Contact

Catholic Online
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000

Email

info@yourcatholicvoice.org

Keywords

Religion, Flynn, Catholic, Family

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 250 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity
DAN SHEA

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Priestly Identity: Crisis and Renewal (Part 1)
Catholic Online

Al Qaeda...afraid of Benedict's message!
Hugh McNichol

Benedict XVI...calling all to hope...
Hugh McNichol

Perfect Women
Cheryl Dickow

Papal Palm Sunday Address - 'Enough With the Bloodshed'
Catholic Online

Spotlight on China
Catholic Online

Papal Homily for Palm Sunday
Catholic Online

Holy Week...Holy Time!
Hugh McNichol

Mary and Motherhood
Cheryl Dickow

The Void
Paul Sposite

Islamic violence wounds the global community!
Hugh McNichol

The Seven New Deadly Sins!
Hugh McNichol

Catholic benefits include Catholic principles!
Hugh McNichol

Remembering Father Alfred Kunz
Matt C. Abbott

David vs Goliath
Theresa Lisiecki

Happy Lent!
Paul Sposite

Diplomacy...Vatican style!
Hugh McNichol

Sub umbra Petri! (Under the Shadow of Saint Peter)
Hugh McNichol

Cuba...a neonascent Church!
Hugh McNichol

Kids in Conflict
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On the Writings of St. Augustine
Catholic Online

The Relevance of Lourdes at 150
Catholic Online

Hillary...what would Saint Norbert say!
Hugh McNichol

Lent...questions, answers and involvement!
Hugh McNichol

Mary, Mother of all Humanity, Hic et Nunc!
Hugh McNichol

Catholics...WAKE UP!
Hugh McNichol

Catholic Brotherhood with the People of the Covenant
Hugh McNichol

Have mercy on us O Lord! - Ash Wednesday
Hugh McNichol

Vote early, vote Catholic!
Hugh McNichol

Christ, our global Alpha and Omega!
Hugh McNichol

Being Catholic means...total affirmation of being Catholic!
Hugh McNichol

Seeing the World through New Eyes
Sarah Reinhard

Emulating the Angelic Doctor!
Hugh McNichol

Priests defend, commend Archbishop Raymond Burke
Matt C. Abbott

Saint Paul...a continued example of radical conversion!
Hugh McNichol

A renaissance of faith, reason and global cooperation....
Hugh McNichol

Cardinal Rigali's Homily at Life Vigil
Catholic Online

Angelus: On Christian Unity
Catholic Online

Silencing the Pope
Catholic Online

Papal Homily on Feast of Christ's Baptism
Catholic Online

Education and Gender
Catholic Online

The ignominy of Roe vs. Wade
Hugh McNichol

Papal Message for World Day of the Sick
Catholic Online

Angelus: On Christian Unity
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Planned Lecture at La Sapienza
Catholic Online

Pope's Letter to Jesuits' 35th General Congregation
Catholic Online

Fr. Cantalamessa - Behold, the Lamb of God!
Catholic Online

That We May Be One, and Never Lose Heart
Catholic Online

Sowing Hope in Sierra Leone
Catholic Online

God-incidences are the gift of kairos moments
Mary Regina Morrell

St. Augustine's Last Days
Catholic Online

Liturgy: When There's a Medical Emergency
Catholic Online

Marriage and Celibacy: Love's Link
Catholic Online

Developing a Global Catholic Awareness
Hugh McNichol

Rooms in My Father's House
Cheryl Dickow

Resolutions for New Year 2008
Chris Anthony

Keep teaching Holy Father!!!
Hugh McNichol

Dangers of anti-Catholic academic extremism....
Hugh McNichol

The liturgy war
Matt C. Abbott

Some Answers to a Few Common Questions about Vocations
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Developing a Global Catholic Awareness
Hugh McNichol

Christmas reflections
Chris Anthony

The Lasting Contribution of The Servant of God Pope John Paul II
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

No more bobble-head Jesus'!
Hugh McNichol

Pope's Address to Baptist World Alliance
Catholic Online

The Virgin Without Sin
Catholic Online

Cardinal Vingt-Trois on His New Mission
Catholic Online

Archbishop Forte on Religion & Freedom: Part 1
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Chromatius of Aquileia, Pope, Benedict
Catholic Online

Pope's Address for Consistory of Cardinals
Catholic Online

Trafficking in Lives
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict - On Hope
Catholic Online

The Hidden Costs of Gambling
Catholic Online

A Vital, Life-Giving Message
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Christianity's Contribution
Catholic Online

Youth and Fashion's Modest Twist
Catholic Online

Papal Homily at the Consistory
Catholic Online

Love, Marriage and Happy Kids
Catholic Online

The Virtue of Obedience: Our Duty, Our Crown
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Vere dignum et justum est!
Hugh McNichol

Pope's Address to Bishops of Kenya
Catholic Online

Democracy in Danger in Venezuela
Catholic Online

The Life-Sapping Human Virus
Catholic Online

'You Alone Are The Lord': A Brief Summary of Catholic Teaching
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Sacred Time...Come Lord Jesus!
Hugh McNichol

How Christ-like are we in our lives?
Chris Anthony

A Retreat for Today's Christian Woman
Cheryl Dickow

Pope Benedict - On Trust in God
Catholic Online

God and Caesar Seen From Down Under
Catholic Online

Praying the Luminous Mysteries for our Clergy
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Culture's Pressure on Our Girls
Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle

Papal Message on the Common Good
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - St. Jerome on the Bible
Catholic Online

What Every Parent Should Know About 'The Golden Compass'
Catholic Online

Cardinal Poupard on 'Populorum Progressio'
Catholic Online

A Richer Liturgical Translation: Interview With Bishop Roche
Catholic Online

U.S. Bishops' Statement on War in Iraq
Catholic Online

The 'Golden Compass' is no treasure for children
Mary Regina Morrell

Bishop Skylstad's Address to U.S. Bishops' Fall Meeting
Catholic Online

Rewarding Failure
Catholic Online

On St. Martin of Tours
Catholic Online

Undermining Parents
Catholic Online

God...our theological E.F.Hutton!
Hugh McNichol

The Secular Vs. Religion?
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Jerome
Catholic Online

The Scourge of Poverty
Catholic Online

Sons and Daughters of God...EQUALLY!
Hugh McNichol

On Zacchaeus the Tax Collector
Catholic Online

Why Dads Matter
Catholic Online

Archbishop Chaput on Citizenship and Evangelization
Catholic Online

God Created Man for Life, Not Death
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for November
Catholic Online

Imposing 'Tolerance'
Catholic Online

Evangelizing a Digital World
Catholic Online

A Turn to the Fathers: Interview With Father Robert Dodaro
Catholic Online

Aborting Viable Lives
Catholic Online

Women Religious on Human Trafficking
Catholic Online

Chicago law firm fights for civil rights, against death culture
Matt C. Abbott

Fr. Cantalamessa - The Pharisee and the Publican
Catholic Online

Media Benefits and Dangers
Catholic Online

On the Call to Martyrdom
Catholic Online

'You Alone Are The Lord': A Brief Summary of Catholic Teaching
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

John Crosby on Von Hildebrand's Understanding of the Person
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Ambrose of Milan
Catholic Online

On Peace, Missions and Justice
Catholic Online

Address of Holy See on Religious Liberty
Catholic Online

Recovering subtle signs of our Catholic Identity!
Hugh McNichol

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on 'Populorum Progressio'
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Eusebius of Vercelli
Catholic Online

Christ's Parable About the Need to Pray Always
Catholic Online

Prostitution: Legal Work or Slavery?
Catholic Online

Escaping Poverty: Interview With Archbishop Silvano Tomasi
Catholic Online

Congratulations to His Eminence John Cardinal Foley!
Hugh McNichol

Giving Ourselves Completely to Mary
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

The 'Courage' to go 'Beyond Gay'
Matt C. Abbott

When Bioethics Turned Secular
Catholic Online

Confession Comeback
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On Hilary of Poitiers
Catholic Online

Reemergence of Global Catholic Identity!
Hugh McNichol

Father Cantalamessa on the Leap of Faith
Catholic Online

Month of the Rosary
Catholic Online

Why Technology Needs Ethics
Catholic Online

Cardinal Lozano Barragán on Future of Health Care
Catholic Online

How Can Catholics Understand Mary as Co-Redemprix, Mediatrix of All Graces and Advocate?
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

New Saint Book is Visually Stunning and Filled with Detail
Lisa M. Hendey

Papal Homily in Velletri
Catholic Online

Father Cantalamessa Analyzes Relationship
Catholic Online

Wednesday'a Audience - On St. Cyril of Alexandria
Catholic Online

Holy See Address to U.N. General Assembly
Catholic Online

Homily From Red Mass in Washington
Catholic Online

Pope Remembers Cardinal Van Thuân
Catholic Online

Faith in Politics
Catholic Online

The brave monks of Myanmar
Chris Anthony

On Lazarus and World Hunger
Catholic Online

Fighting the Good Fight: Resisting Temptation
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Media frenzy buries U.N. goals

Holy See Statement on Climate Change
Catholic Online

China's Seven Sorrows
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On Chrysostom's Social Doctrine
Catholic Online

Vatican Message to Muslims for Ramadan
Catholic Online

Father Cantalamessa on the First World and Lazarus
Catholic Online

Angels, God's Messengers in a world of fragile peace and Broken promises!
Hugh McNichol

Memo to Mrs. Clinton: Why Not Baby Bonds When Life Begins?
Deacon Keith Fournier

Reorienting the Mass
Catholic Online

Report Card on Religious Freedom
Catholic Online

On Wealth and Poverty
Catholic Online

A Response to Hitchens' 'God Is Not Great'
Catholic Online

Vetoing children's health care?

The ideal family
Joseph Sinasac

Who does the judging?
Dennis Heaney

One mistake away

The Big House ban

In praise of the parish

Text of the USCCB statement for Respect Life Sunday 2007

The Outstanding Purity of Our Blessed Mother
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Educated flock

Religion and politics

Facing a door to the future
Dennis Heaney

A long debate

Who Are the True Progressives?
Deacon Keith Fournier

Petraeus offers a dose of reality

Insurgence
Robert Storr

Papal Address at Vespers
Catholic Online

Papal Coat of Arms Still Relevant
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Address at Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Catholic Online

On Loving Jesus as Mary Did
Catholic Online

Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos on 'Summorum Pontificum'
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On the Trip to Austria
Catholic Online

Father Cantalamessa on the Joy of Fatherhood
Catholic Online

Commentary on Artificial Hydration and Nutrition
Catholic Online

Vatican on Nutrition to Patients in Vegetative State
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Q-and-A Session With Youth in Loreto
Catholic Online

Take a Risk, Follow Your Call: the challenge of a lifetime!
Sisters of Bon Secours

Papal lessons

Family matters

Lessons from a tragedy
Dennis Heaney

Shopping blues
Joseph Sinasac

Marriage Breakdown: Expensive and Divisive
Catholic Online

Her darkness was a warning

Wednesday'a Audience - Gregory of Nyssa on Perfection
Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Job 1:6-22
6 One day when the sons of God came to attend on Yahweh, among them came ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 17:1, 2-3, 6-7
1 [Prayer Of David] Listen, Yahweh, to an upright cause, pay attention to ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:46-50
46 An argument started between them about which of them was the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 26th, 2016 Image

Sts. Cosmas & Damian
September 26: Sts. Cosmas and Damian were brothers, born in ... Read More