Embroyonic stem cell research, abortion & the immortal s

Discuss church-state separation issues that are relevant in Ireland.
CitizenPaine
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Embroyonic stem cell research, abortion & the immortal s

Post by CitizenPaine » Sun Jun 03, 2007 5:08 pm

Here's a little something I've sent off to Village magazine. Comments are welcome:

State policy should not be driven by religion

Despite claims to the contrary by members, the Catholic Church’s position on abortion and embryonic stem cell research is not about saving lives. It’s about saving souls.

Catholicism does not show the same kind of commitment to anti-war movements, road death prevention or the elimination of the death penalty, where it is still legal, as it does to preventing abortion. In history, the Church was quite ready to kill anybody who disagreed with it. Up to recently in Irish, state-run maternity hospitals, the life of a mother had no value beside that of an un-baptised foetus, and this only changed in response to massive public outcry about the bizarre situations it brought about in practice.

These facts are only explicable in the light of a belief that the soul is more important than mortal life, and that only baptism can save the soul. However, the soul cannot objectively be shown to exist and, for many people, it does not exist.

Catholics will say it’s a matter of faith and freedom of religion demands that their faith be respected. The problem arises when they can influence the incorporation of this faith into the laws of the land. Then everybody, Catholic, non-Catholic and those of no religion at all, are bound by the same principles. It’s as if, where it wants to force all citizens to conform to its beliefs by having them in legislation, it rejects the idea of religious tolerance.

The position is made worse by a refusal to recognise that those who hold a different view on these matters are moral, responsible people. Take away belief in the soul and their standpoint becomes more than reasonable, particularly relative to Catholicism’s historic attitude to adult human life.

According to the Church, you may not believe in the immortal soul, but you will be forced by the laws of the land to behave as if you did.

That’s not right.

CitizenPaine
Last edited by CitizenPaine on Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The moving finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

From the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (FitzGerald version)
FXR
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Post by FXR » Sun Jun 03, 2007 9:52 pm

Very good CP.

If you read the Vicars of Christ by Peter De Rosa its very instructive in tracing the devolepment of the vaticans thinking that led to their standpoint on these issues.
Human communication is a very rickety rope bridge between minds. Its too narrow to allow but a few thoughts to cross at a time. Many are lost in the chasms of noise, suspicion, misinterpretation and shooting the message through dislike of the messenger.
Martha
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Re: Embroyonic stem cell research, abortion & the immort

Post by Martha » Sun Jun 03, 2007 11:34 pm

CitizenPaine wrote:
State policy should not be driven by religion
That goes without saying - for any normal adults.
CitizenPaine wrote:Up to recently the life of a mother had no value beside that of an un-baptised foetus, and this only changed in response to massive public outcry about the bizarre situations it brought about in practice.
Anyone (of the age of majority, i.e., over 18 :wink: who takes any real notice of the Catholic Church's definition of humanity, is effectively non compos mentis = insane!
CitizenPaine wrote: the soul cannot objectively be shown to exist and, for many people, it does not exist.
We humans are not just a one-dimensional piece of meat, as it were. We are not merely material (physical) beings. We have our flesh and bones and skin and we also have our feelings and emotions, which some might describe as soul or spiritual.

Put it like this, I am vehemently opposed to organised religion - whether its called Roman Catholicism, or Christianity, or Islam, or Mormonism or Barneyism - or whatever. Yet, I don't perceive myself as a purely material, physical being. There is another dimension to me: my emotional being. I love and I hate, in equal measure, as it were. And often I feel indifferent to others. And when I die, that's it, I am dead. And when I'm dead, the only thing of me that lives on after me, is what I did when I was alive. When I was both body and soul, as it were.
I did what I did - good, bad and/or indifferent. So what? I lived my life to the best of my ability. To each according to his own....
Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end.

Woody Allen
CitizenPaine
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Post by CitizenPaine » Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:31 pm

FXR wrote:If you read the Vicars of Christ by Peter De Rosa its very instructive in tracing the devolepment of the vaticans thinking that led to their standpoint on these issues.
I'll order it from Amazon immediately, if not sooner (Do they have it in your favourite bookshop, Eason's?)

CitizenPaine
The moving finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

From the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (FitzGerald version)
CitizenPaine
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 462
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 8:49 pm

Re: Embroyonic stem cell research, abortion & the immort

Post by CitizenPaine » Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:44 pm

Martha wrote:We humans are not just a one-dimensional piece of meat, as it were. We are not merely material (physical) beings. We have our flesh and bones and skin and we also have our feelings and emotions, which some might describe as soul or spiritual
Using the word soul to describe your unique(!) emotional characteristics is not a problem. The point of my contribution is that this entity is not immortal; the belief that it is, and that it is stained by original sin and must be babtised to be cleansed thereof, is causing untold damage to public health and individual (especially female) well-being throughout the world.

CitizenPaine
The moving finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

From the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (FitzGerald version)
zhollie
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Post by zhollie » Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:37 pm

What is this 'thing' called the soul? It's a word that I wouldn't use too frequently because it is laden with religious and supernatural connotations. Are words like consciousness, personality, instinct, intellect etc too cumbersome for atheists? Why do we need such an all encompassing adjective with it's quasi religious meaning?
brianmmulligan
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Re: Embroyonic stem cell research, abortion & the immort

Post by brianmmulligan » Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:34 pm

Martha wrote:
We humans are not just a one-dimensional piece of meat, as it were. We are not merely material (physical) beings. We have our flesh and bones and skin and we also have our feelings and emotions, which some might describe as soul or spiritual.
Sorry, Martha, I'm afraid that we are (merely physical beings). You need to read some more Dawkins along with other current writers on psychology and philosophy. These feelings and emothions are just chemical reactions whose purpose is to increase the chances of our genes surviving into future generations. Now any more of this talk about things like souls and we will have to refer to you as Sister Martha. It does have a certain ring.
Brian
Martha
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Re: Embroyonic stem cell research, abortion & the immort

Post by Martha » Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:35 pm

CitizenPaine wrote:
Using the word soul to describe your unique(!) emotional characteristics is not a problem. The point of my contribution is that this entity is not immortal; the belief that it is, and that it is stained by original sin and must be babtised to be cleansed thereof, is causing untold damage to public health and individual (especially female) well-being throughout the world.
When I use the word soul, - which is another word for mind or psyche - I'm well aware of its religious connotations, I'm not using it in that conventional sense. I'm using it to describe the feeling, emotional part of myself. My very being, if you like. And yes, I believe I am unique, complete with an (!) mark - just as you are and everybody else is - or ought to be (!). For example, my offspring might be similar to me, but they are uniquely themselves, as individuals. The only people who are so like their parents you can hardly tell them apart (except for their age difference) are those whose parents oppressed them into submitting to their belief system, when they were children.
Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end.

Woody Allen
Martha
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Post by Martha » Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:44 pm

zhollie wrote:What is this 'thing' called the soul? It's a word that I wouldn't use too frequently because it is laden with religious and supernatural connotations. Are words like consciousness, personality, instinct, intellect etc too cumbersome for atheists? Why do we need such an all encompassing adjective with it's quasi religious meaning?
One has to remember that the religionists have hijacked language to suit themselves. My mother tongue happens to be English, so unless I rapidly invent or learn another language, I'm going to have to use the words I know and understand to describe what it is I'm trying to convey to others. Too bad that some others interpret those words in a different way than I do.
Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end.

Woody Allen
Martha
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Re: Embroyonic stem cell research, abortion & the immort

Post by Martha » Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:56 pm

brianmmulligan wrote:
Sorry, Martha, I'm afraid that we are (merely physical beings). You need to read some more Dawkins along with other current writers on psychology and philosophy. These feelings and emothions are just chemical reactions whose purpose is to increase the chances of our genes surviving into future generations. Now any more of this talk about things like souls and we will have to refer to you as Sister Martha. It does have a certain ring.
I am well past the reproductive stage of my life, yet I still have strong feelings of love for my children, for example. Such feelings, or emotions have no purpose in terms of my personal chances of reproducing my genes - I've already done that - yet I still have them. These "chemical reactions" are part of what makes me human. If I didn't have them, then I wouldn't be human, in the proper sense of the word.

And, Father Brian, you may call me Sister Martha if you wish. Makes no difference to me :lol:
Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end.

Woody Allen
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