Thursday, 19 March 2009

Thursday 19/03/09

The French (among others) have had a go at Pope Benedict XXXXXXXXXVIII’s pontification (if you’ll forgive the expression) on condoms not being a solution to combat the HIV/Aids epidemic in Africa. A foreign minister is quoted as saying: "While it is not up to us to pass judgment on Church doctrine, we consider that such comments are a threat to public health policies and the duty to protect human life." I would contend it is EVERYONE’s earthly duty to pass judgment on illogical and harmful dogma, regardless of its source.

Rebecca Hodes of the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa said: "His opposition to condoms conveys that religious dogma is more important to him than the lives of Africans." Can’t argue with that.

Only yesterday I was corresponding with someone in South Africa who said Jacob Zuma, the probable next President of SA, takes showers to prevent AIDS. That’s about as effective as Sellotaping an aspirin to your forehead for a headache (which I have actually seen done in Africa when I was at sea).

I was reading a BBC article about a study that shows how terminally ill religious people are, paradoxically, three times more likely to opt for intervention and treatments in a last-ditch effort to prolong life than the non-religious – even if those interventions reduce the quality of life dramatically. The conclusions are that either they are uncertain whether there is in fact an afterlife, or they think they’re headed straight downstairs to visit the eternal Guantanamo Bay.

I posited these conclusions on an atheist Facebook group yesterday. For some inexplicable reason it’s infested with religious people who keep telling me I’m going to burn in Hell forever, despite them not being able to back that up with unequivocal evidence that would satisfy our legal system. To be fair, it’s also infested with atheists who want to do nothing but shout and stamp their feet in a similar manner. Anyway, one person in Japan came back and made the bald statement he was not afraid of death. He made it in capital letters, so one presumes he felt strongly about it. I had to ask him to qualify the statement, as in order to gain any intelligence from it I needed to know whether he was:

1) Religious,
2) Non-religious, or
3) Already dead and helpfully communicating from the other side that death is OK and he’s enjoying it.

Talking of the terminally ill……. Bugger it, I won’t, except to say OK Magazine has already published Jade Goody’s tribute edition with the headline 1981-2009. I’m reminded of Mark Twain’s quip that: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,” when he read his obituary, which had been published by mistake. The news of the passing of Natasha Richardson, who gave joy to so many, will pass with a whimper, whereas I’m certain we’ll receive communiqu├ęs from the other side on the part of Jade for many months to come.

I’m having enormous fun on this Facebook group discussing a variety of philosophical concepts, like free will and it’s juxtaposition with omniscience, predestination and prophesy. It’s quaintly paradoxical how the vast majority of religious people seem to think free will and prophesy are mutually compatible and simply haven’t sat down and thought logically about the implication of each on the other. There again, few religious people actually take the time to study the religion they profess – and more importantly, its history and the milieu in which it developed. If they did, they would more as likely have second thoughts.

Reverting back to the Pope and his African trip, he warns of a threat to the Catholic Church in Cameroon from evangelical movements and from the "growing influence of superstitious forms of religion". The words pot, kettle and black spring to mind. Lee, over at the Hen Buddhism blog, has a nice chart showing the demography of belief in evolution vs creationism. The US is interestingly placed one position above Turkey. I know the Pope has come out of the closet and said evolution is compatible with Catholic doctrine, but it was said rather reluctantly and it took the Vatican rather a long time to find the right weasel words, which still aren’t unequivocal.

Had a look at PETA’s (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) website this morning. Seems they’ve been protesting about pig farming outside Jamie Oliver’s restaurant – that’s protesting outside Oliver’s restaurant about the condition pigs are kept in, not protesting about pig farming taking place outside Oliver’s restaurant. This is an extract from their site:

“Going vegetarian has never been easier. The explosion of vegetarian foods means that you can pop everything from bean burgers to veggie 'sausages' into the microwave and finish the meal with frozen nondairy 'ice cream'. You can order a latte with soya milk in the neighbourhood coffee shop, enjoy a veggie burger straight from the barbecue and stock your kitchen with wonderful products we could only dream of 20 years ago: flavoured rice mixes; a whole host of microwavable ready-made meals; soya-based 'cheeses', 'cream', 'mayonnaise' and 'milk'; and imitation meat products that can be used on their own or in your favourite recipes.”

Hardly a mention – if any – of just plain, wholesome vegetables. They seem to want to tempt people into veggiedom with pre-processed crap you sling in the micro. They then paradoxically go on to extol the health benefits of veggie diets. There again, if you are the kind of cook who uses nothing but the micro in meal preparation, even pre-processed veggie food might stand a good chance of producing an improvement in your health. The problem is that microwave divas are the least likely to want to eat healthily in the first place. Given the way Hay cooks, I don’t think I’d have too much of a problem going veggie, as her veggie recipes are simply to die for. However, giving up the odd bacon butty would be a step too far. I do believe I was intelligently designed as an omnivore – if the Pope is any authority.

7 comments:

  1. C.B., Back from to you on Pope Benedict: If he has so much regard for souls, he should turn over some of the riches in the Vatican to families whose children were abused by his sheperds. It turns out sheperds eat their sheep anywhere. They could definitely live by the very dogma they are force feeding the rest of us. What are we, in his eyes, fattened geese to be slaughtered for our livers?

    You've opened up a major sewer vein. When are the churches going to admit that absolute monarchies are past their prime?

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  2. That sanctimonious soya argument really winds me up, every time.

    How about poor farmers in third world countries planting miles of soya beans for export, and not growing food for themselves or their own population? Not to mention the impact on the environment, the chemicals used, the food miles and the farm workers put out of work and forced to migrate because of the industrialisation of huge soya bean plantations? On a scale of one to ten, I think the fate of the planet is more important than some towny vegetarian being able to smugly sip a latte, while banging on about Jamie, who is also an irritating toad, but at least is trying to promote home grown food and some food sense into the ignorant society that we have become.

    As an ex-vegetarian of fifteen years, my advice would be to have a nice baked potato. It always worked for me. (But is much nicer with a bit of British free range bacon)

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  3. "There again, few religious people actually take the time to study the religion they profess – and more importantly, its history and the milieu in which it developed. If they did, they would more as likely have second thoughts"

    Spot on! Ha!

    On the veggie theme - I love veggie food. Lived veggie for years because all my friends were veggie at the time, so it was easier. I used to cook with lots of pulses, fresh herbs, experimented with spices etc, I found that real veggie food was much more interesting in the end because when cooking with meat one can get a bit complacent, whereas when cooking veggie we tended to experiment more.

    Excuse me for sounding thick, but if we all went veggie what would happen to the pigs, cows, sheep etc? Would all the veggies watch as they slowly died out? Or not so slowly because surely they wouldn't survive long without the intervention of us humans. Or would they set up little retreats for them? Who would fund it? I've never really thought about it but guess that the veggie movement must have an answer.

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  4. Lake - Pate de foie Pope.

    PG - Soya don't like industrial scale farms?

    HtD'sM - in a word, dog food!

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  5. Being a veggie, I love seeing the little lambs in the fields, but I am more pragmatic and wholly understand that if we all went veggie, there would be so many farm critters to gawp at... I also choose to wear leather shoes and have leather bags. I am often aghast at strictly vegan friends who wear plastic (or 'pleather', TC!) shoes and yet smoke like chimneys... Whereas I could not reconcile their beliefs with the image of 'smoking beagles'!

    So, I don't have the answers, but nor would I ever try to convince the world that all should follow my path...

    Unlike the Pope, and er creationists!

    Sir, what are you doing on the Yoof-full Facebook?!

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  6. ...there wouldn't be so many farm critters to gawp at - Sorry! Dyslexia strikes again!

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  7. My thoughts have been wandering, and I find myself wondering what experience of condoms the Pope actually has. If he's seen some of the sex education videos that are doing the rounds, he probably thinks that they are putting the condoms on bananas and/or cucumbers. If so, then it's no wonder the man's a moron!

    I think about being veggie every now and again - but have the same weakness as you do....damn those bacon butties!!!

    I was slightly worried to hear you say that Hay's veggie recipies are to die for....... Should we keep a close watch on the obituary column, or was it perhaps a compliment? I only ask, as I know what people mean when they say it about my cooking.

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