Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

  • [] Vatican causes chaos by invalidating baptism formula

    This is the story that had the whole atheist community in stitches this week. It’s so delightfully absurd; just the comedy we needed to get us through this last quarter of 2020. In Catholicism, to be baptized, you need water, and you need it to be applied specifically in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But apparently, the wording you use has to be precise. You cannot fuck with the formula. Some priests tried to be slightly less misogynist and use gender neutral terms like “the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sanctifier” (in place of “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”). In 2008 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the Inquisition) said, no dice; if you do that, the baptism is null and void: you’re not a Christian, so you’re going to Hell. That sucks… but now it just got a whole lot worse. See, what you’re supposed to say is: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” But in order to create a sense of community, some priests started saying: … “we (the community) baptize you…”. Unfortunately, the Inquisition just ruled that if you don’t say the magic words exactly right, the jutsu doesn’t work. Which means that if you were baptized using those words, as thousands… potentially millions of Catholics may have been… then you were never actually baptized… which means you’re not really Catholic. The article even tells the story of a priest who found out his entire membership in the fantasy club… was itself a fantasy. It breathlessly details the lucky resolution – they were able to properly baptize him in time! – but then adds the dramatic caveat that they’re trying to track down everyone else who had been baptized the same way, like they’re doing contact tracing for an STD. But the best part of the article is all the loopy reasoning it dives into, trying to “logic” away the problem. It’s not something you need to worry about, the article stolidly declares, because God will take care of it. What really just kills me dead, though is the closing sentence, stating that: [t]he church should not act like a computer; it should act like Christ. To which I can’t help but think: at least when a computer hangs, we don’t have to wait three days for a reboot.

  • [] PPC Leader Maxime Bernier Joins Anti-Mask Rally

    I really wasn’t sure whether to include this item in the Weekly Update or not. Maxime Bernier is really a bit of a non-entity these days, and I don’t want to give him any more oxygen than necessary. On the other hand, he was a very major political player very recently; he only very narrowly lost the Conservative leadership to Andrew Scheer, and he did ultimately manage to get over a quarter million votes in the federal election. Ultimately what really tipped the scale was how daffy the story is. First there’s the farce of an anti-mask rally… is that really a cause worth fighting (and probably dying for)? Quickly following that is the question of what the fuck the leader of a federal political party would be doing at such a rally. Then there’s the list of who was there: Chris Saccoccia/Chris Sky, The Rebel Media, various and sundry white supremacists – great crowd to be hangin’ around in if you seriously want to be Prime Minister of Canada. But the weirdest thing may be Bernier himself, and his mask. Yes, his mask. At an anti-mask rally. Apparently even the attendees thought it was weird. He walked around with it under his chin. Why? 🤷🏼

  • [] How To Tell Science from Pseudoscience

    If you’ve spent a lot of time reading atheist content on the Internet, you’ve definitely head about the demarcation problem, and the question of how to tell science from pseudoscience. You probably also already know the answer: falsification. “If a claim can’t be falsified, then it’s ‘not even wrong’,” the saying goes. That’s true… but it turns out there’s a lot more to it than that. This book excerpt really dives into the questions of what science is and not, and when something is pseudoscience versus when it’s just plain bullshit.

  • [] How One Man Built a Neo-Nazi Insurgency in Trump’s America

    Over the past year or two, the Weekly Update has included several items about the shenanigans of neo-Nazis in Canada and the US. There have been multiple items about Patrik Mathews, the Canadian Armed Forces reservist who fled authorities by crossing the border, hooking up with American Nazis, and getting embroiled in multiple murder plots – some with him as the intended perpetrator, others with him as the target. There have even been items about Atomwaffen Division, Combat 18, Blood & Honor, the Order of Nine Angles – a human-sacrificing, pedophile, Nazi, Satan-worshipping cult – and other such groups, and their connection to planned and actually accomplished real-life murders here in Canada. But thus far, all we’ve really had are a bunch of news stories emerging piecemeal and in no particular order (or rather, emerging when the journalists had enough evidence to back each item up, which could be days, months, or years after the fact), often making it hard to see how they were connected, and even harder to figure out a coherent narrative of what happened. That’s what makes this article so incredible. None of the facts it reports are new. But Lamoureaux, Makuch, and Kamel have taken everything we already knew and put it together into a single, cohesive story, focusing on the neo-Nazi group called The Base, and its founder, from start to finish. And it is a fucking incredible story. Buried in the interesting but otherwise mundane details of how Nazzaro leveraged social media to create and organize a neo-Nazi terror group are bits of absolute insanity like the acid-fuelled ritual slaughter of a ram (bungled, of course; these were not the brightest bulbs on the string). The Canadian connection turns not to be a side-note; Mathews may have been the trigger that led to the group’s downfall. The story is a mind-boggling read, made even more amazing by the fact that it’s not only all true, but that at several points it came very, very close to erupting into real, large-scale violence. We dodged a hell of a bullet, thanks to journalists and anti-hate activists.

  • [] Wilkinson’s family-first defence of candidate opposed to rainbow crosswalk creates new avenues for NDP attack

    Well, well, well, colour me impressed. Of all the things I might think to accuse the CBC of, having a backbone is not high on the list. And yet, here they pull no punches shining a light on the cravenness and hypocrisy of the BC Liberals. If you haven’t been keeping up with the story: A few weeks back, a dozen or so members of the BC Liberals were outed for using public money to pay for advertisements in a homophobic, transphobic Christian magazine. Most of them did what you’d expect politicians to do: sob publicly about how they didn’t know what they were doing was wrong, make a few wishy-washy statements that may-or-may-not indicate actual concern for LGBTQ2S+ people, and then hope the whole thing blows over. But a couple… didn’t do that. Instead, they doubled down, and not only did they continue buying ads in that magazine, one of them – Laurie Throness – even made public statements in support of conversion therapy. BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, in a display of… whatever the opposite of “principled leadership” is… has thus far refused to do anything at all to discipline Throness, all while parroting empty platitudes about how much he oh-so-loves LGBTQ2S+ people. In the past, nothing would probably have come of all this. But it turns out that times have changed, and the BC Liberals are now facing real consequences for their lack of integrity. First they were banned from Vancouver Pride, and now… this: getting shade thrown at them from the fucking CBC of all places. Not that they don’t fully deserve the criticism, but damn, this article is surprisingly blunt, and scathing. And you know things are bad when you need the support of the fucking Christian Heritage Party to get reelected.

  • [] Science & Religion Aren’t Compatible (But Only in America)

    You’ve probably heard some thick-headed atheists insisting that science and religion cannot possibly coexist… a completely logical claim undermined only by its complete and absolute refutation by virtually all of human history. Everyone whose head isn’t up their ass knows that science and religion can operate side-by-side, and, except for a few glaring exceptions, have always done so. And it turns out, that’s still true today: In most of the world, religion and science exist in proximate harmony… except for a few glaring exceptions. Thing is, one of the most glaring of those exceptions happens to be: the US (and by extension, everywhere that has been infected by the States’ particular flavour of evangelical nuttery). In other words, if you think you know for a fact that religion and science must be at loggerheads, that’s probably only because you think of when you think of “religion” happens to be a particular flavour of religion that has consciously taken on an anti-science position. Most people’s idea of religion, in most of the rest of the world, allows for a peaceful accord with science… and in some cases, even an enthusiastic symbiosis. I think it’s very important that we understand this, because if we don’t, then when we encounter religiously-justified opposition to science, we leap to the conclusion that the proper way to fight it is to fight the religion. That’s probably going to be a quixotic battle, draining our time and resources, and the whole thing may be completely wrong-headed. Rather than fighting the religion, a smarter tactic may be to focus on fighting the particular doctrinal quirks that gave rise to the anti-science attitudes. Doing that will not only give us a much more precise and easier target, it will also allow us to leverage all forms of that religion that aren’t anti-science – which will probably always be the vast majority of that religion – so that instead of it being us taking on a whole religion, instead we will be able to find allies in the moderates… and we can even let them deal with the anti-science extremist nutters in their faith.

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One thought on “Weekly Update: to

  1. Here is a good bit of history for you…..during the last days,of WW2 the Vatican and it’s priests not only aided Nazis personnel to escape thru the “ratlines”(underground escape network) from Germany to either Spain, Italy, Switzerland then to Peru, Chile, Argentina or Brazil, and Uraguay. But also protected the senior members of the Croatian Ustase(Nazis Party)The vatican had a large network of officials, an experts in forgery to make the proper documents for these people. And to further add insult to injury, when the Pope was asked to punish those “rogue priests” for their actions, the pope and the senior officials did nothing, but promote them further within the ranks, or offers them new positions of authority.

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