“Host-age” Update — THE END!

Wow! Ok, let me catch you up. College student walks out of Catholic mass with communion wafer to show to friend. News gets out and inflamed Catholics harass student until he fearfully returns said wafer. Biologist PZ Myers posts a scathing review of events on his blog, ending his commentary with an invitation for someone to send him a “consecrated” wafer.

Time goes by. Threats are made; someone gets fired (not PZ). Many thousands of posts accrue on PZ’s blog — here are some, and here and here. They make for fascinating reading.

Then, finally, he desecrates the cracker (and the Koran, and the God Delusion) in this post The Great Desecration

You really should read the whole thing.

Although I’m still a bit ambivalent over PZ’s tact and technique, I do feel he did an impressive and somewhat “gutsy” thing. I may be a bit more moderate in my expression, but people like him are necessary to get the conversation going (which he has done fantastically). I guess I’m just concerned by the fire and flame around the whole issue. It shows how far we have to go before the irrational aspects of religious faith can begin to loose their grip on so many people…


14 Responses

  1. Bill Donohue: The University must now take action and apply the appropriate sanction. We are contacting the president, Board of Regents and the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office at the school, as well as Minnesota’s governor and both houses of the state legislature; the Catholic community in Minnesota is also being contacted. Moreover, we are also contacting Muslim groups nationwide.

    I noticed Donohue is not contacting Richard Dawkins. Why not? PZ abused his book.

    I bet the American Muslims will think Donohue is nuts, and will ignore the whole thing.

    We already know what the Catholics will do. They’ll prove they’re more like terrorists than any Muslim. The out of control Catholic spam on this thread is a good example of their fake morality.

  2. What an asshole. Seriously, total 100% jerk move. I am neither a catholic nor a “person of faith” by any means. But this guy is a complete scumbucket.

    I happen to disagree with him about “nothing should be sacred.” I believe that your beliefs don’t affect me. Never have, never will. Something sacred to you? Fine! No problem! Whatever blows your hair back.

    To me, the only thing that matters is action. When your beliefs lead you to take action that infringes on my rights, my person, my property, THEN you and I have a problem. But, my problem is not with your beliefs. It’s with your actions.

    In this case, assuming that the wafer this guy desecrated was indeed consecrated, I infer that he stole it. Theft is the real crime here. The thief is the dangerous one, not the believer. He has somehow convinced himself that stealing a cracker, infringing on the property rights of a church/congregation, is okay because he thinks that congregation is guilty of thinking wrong.

    And he has the GALL to skewer believers for doing the same thing.

    What an asshole. (I’m repeating myself, I know.) I predict he doesn’t see how circular the whole thing is. He’s behaving the exact same way as the objects of his ridicule.

    With everyone racing to be thought police, I fear we’ll never climb out of the morass of tribalistic violence that has described our history as a species.

  3. I think PZ would reply that it’s the tribalistic violence that he is working to overcome — by attempting to show the unsacred nature of the sacredness such tribalism is based on…

    The difference between belief and action, as you have pointed out, is important… but the line is thin… religion motivates, one can cite many examples of historical and continuing violence which religion has fomented… if you read the bible or koran, one can easily see where the violence comes from, they are great promoters of it…

    so yeah, the stealing aspect of this is an interesting one, but one could at least argue that carrying the wafer out in your hand is not that different than carrying it out in your stomach…

    Automatic “respect” for any belief is, from my perspective, a dangerous and undesirable thing… we do not respect bigoted or prejudiced thinking automatically, why should we respect religious thinking, especially when the actions of “true believers” are demonstrably dangerous?

  4. Because of the slippery slope.

    I don’t ask that you respect any belief. I merely ask that you respect everyone’s rights.

    Blogging about how stupid and deluded religous people are is A-OK in my book.

    But, be mindful of the line you mentioned between thought/debate/belief and action.

  5. The violence is the problem, to me. Not whatever motivates the violence.

  6. Don’t you see that PZ is just preening for his own tribe? He’s not speaking to people of faith. He has no honest desire to change the way they view sacredness. He’s dancing around the fire to the beat of wardrums.

  7. “Those crazy catholics have crazy ideas, right guys?”


    “They are crazy tribalists who incite violence, right guys?”


    “They’re not independent thinkers like us, right guys?”


    “Let’s go get a cracker and show them what we think of their sacredness!”


  8. I can see how one could be drawn to the parallel, but I think the analogy quickly breaks down… there is no dogma behind atheism/agnostism, there is just an effort to sort things out… as they are.

    Did you read the whole Desecration post, about the persecution of Jews for wafer abuse? PZ is not persecuting anyone… he is making light of a set of beliefs, beliefs that have caused persecution. So yeah, I’d say overcoming tribalism is precisely at the heart of his efforts (guided or misguided as they may be)…

  9. “…beliefs that have caused persecution…”

    I suppose that is where you and I differ and will never agree.

    I will never admit that ANY belief has EVER caused persecution. PEOPLE cause persecution. Their beliefs are irrelevant.

  10. Never? Wow… Anyway, i would say almost exactly the opposite… all we have are our beliefs about the world, and whatever actions we take are a consequent of those beliefs… i don’t understand how it could be otherwise…

  11. I’m Catholic and I receive the Eucharist. I am not a “clean” Catholic meaning I recieve the Eucharist without confession. But when I’m in mass, I offer up my prayers and ask to “feel” Him and ask Him if He thinks I should participate in this sacriment. If I feel His answer is yes then I will. So I have respect for the Eucharist and what it stands for and what it is suppose to be. However, this hullabaloo disgusts me. I almost feel like cheering. It sickens me the hypocracy of the church. The response that he’s gotten the idiots condemning him and his family. Those who think they speak for God by threatening him. Those who over-reach with their importance to “pray for his soul”. Give me a break. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:5-6. This is all I see in our churches today. If there is a God and PZ is intended to ever meet Him, it won’t have a damn thing to do with anyone else. There’s a story of Jesus walking through a village with Peter at his side. A Gentile woman (I think) comes up to merely touch the hem of his robe. Peter goes to kick her away and Jesus stops him. This woman had so much faith that merely being in his presence would cure her, that it did. So who’s more Christ-like? Christ’s friend who would deny an old woman to touch his hem? Or a stranger who had unconditional love and faith for another stranger? I’m rambling but DAMN, this burns me.

  12. I’m curious… why do you refer to yourself as “a Catholic”?

  13. It’s like the Hotel California, “you can check in any time you want…but you can never leave”. I think technically speaking, you are too. Confirmed in the Church, in Christ…whatever that means. I have my problems with my priest. I have my problems with hypocrits who think they have a better shot at this heaven because even though they rage against gays, they go to mass every week. My father, my dad not Father, has encouraged questions. So I do. My religion is personal. It’s between me and this God-thing. I find beauty in the stories and struggles of this man Jesus Christ and the ways in which my church acknowledge them. Many of my “problems” are with man, not God. The only God problem I have is…where’s the proof?

  14. […] Evolution, Morality, PZ Myers, Religion | I wasn’t planning to write more about this after my previous post on it, but having read through some of the letters that PZ has received, I wanted to share one that […]

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