Sunday, November 25, 2012

‘... a lying, thieving Albanian dwarf.’”

An atheist group at Dartmouth College is planning an event aimed at skewering the reputation of the late Mother Teresa. 
The Atheists Humanists Agnostics (AHA) club sent out a campus-wide e-mail announcing the program on Tuesday and promising a “full-out romp against why one of the most beloved people of the century, Mother Teresa, is as Hitchens put it… ‘a lying, thieving Albanian dwarf.’”

Mother Teresa is widely known for her life’s work of aiding the poor and comforting the sick. 
The e-mail says the group plans to screen an anti-Mother Teresa film, discuss Hitchens’ book, Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, and question how the public has been “conned into thinking this woman [Teresa] was good.” 
The e-mail states Teresa, who is on her way to sainthood in the Catholic church, “was not a friend of the poor,” but “was a friend of poverty.” 
The email links to a now infamous article by the late Christopher Hitchens which attempts to debunk much of the lore that surrounds Teresa...

I always feel a twinge of nausea at the title of Hitchen's book-- Missionary Position-- to describe this good and holy woman. Atheists are always trying to win hearts and minds.

Blessed Theresa devoted her life to caring for the poor and dying of Calcutta-- the least of our brothers. She was a tireless defender of innocent human life and of people who were cast aside, walked over, abandoned. Her moniker was "the Saint of the Gutters".

Santo subito, please, Holy Father.

The hard work associated with Mother Theresa-bashing leaves no doubt that the Atheists Humanists Agnostics Club will now have to postpone indefinitely their planned events skewering fellow atheists V.I. Lenin, J. Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, and the entire North Korean Kim family.  

When the final history of atheism's contribution to humanity is written, its title, pace Hitchens, will be Doggy Style.  


  1. Next semester--Muhammad: prophet or child rapist? No, they don't have the balls.

    It's never enough for an atheist/humanist club to sit around talking about their common disbelief. That gets boring fast. Everyone is in agreement that there is no God, so what else is there to talk about?

    And from there it devolves into an anti-Christian hate group, which is really what all of these organization are. That is their raison d'etre. They are the Godphobes, the jerkwads who go out of their way to wound and offend. "Missionary position?" Really, is there any other reason for a title like that than to defame a woman who practiced celibacy her entire life?

    Then the military doesn't want to host one of their hate rallies on a military base and they get all disjointed.

    The Torch

  2. I'm not actually interested in Mother Theresa, for or against. Amazon occasionally recommends Chris Hitchins' book 'the Missionary Position', and I ignore it everytime. Given the opportunity of attending such an event, I'd run as rapidly in the opposite direction to avoid it.

    But ... after you've argued so strongly for the free speech rights of the producers of 'the Innocence of Mohammed' to make their amateurish film and to post an Arabic-dubbed trailer on YouTube, isn't it a bit hypocritical for you to be complaining about the rather juvenile activities of an atheist student group?

    And anyway, as an atheist I don't feel any need to excuse the crimes of Communists. I'm not a Communist. Never have been.

    1. "But ... after you've argued so strongly for the free speech rights of the producers of 'the Innocence of Mohammed' to make their amateurish film and to post an Arabic-dubbed trailer on YouTube, isn't it a bit hypocritical for you to be complaining about the rather juvenile activities of an atheist student group?'

      NO! When are you thick-headed people going to understand that there is a difference between objecting to someone's speech and attempting to outlaw it? One is using one's own free speech to counteract the bile of others, the other is censorship.

      The Torch

    2. The Torch,

      Exactly. I objected to 'the Innocence of Mohammed' because it was deliberately offensive to Muslims, and posting an Arabic-dubbed trailer on YouTube was extremely likely to produce violent protests and deaths.

      The producers, if they had any sense, should have self-censored and not made the film, unless their aim was to invite violence.

      For the same reason, I don't think that the atheist student group should have has an anti-Mother Theresa day. It's not relevant to student activities, and basically, who cares a stuff about Mother Theresa. I don't give any consideration to whether Michael, or any other Catholic, regards Mother Theresa as a saint.

      Catholics, fortunately, aren't going to react batshit crazy as many Muslims will.

    3. I will also back the notion they have the 'right' to express their vitriol.
      But that does not make it any less hateful.
      That said, I think it is an utterly despicable display of intellectual dishonesty and cowardice.
      Should they self censor? Hell no.

      Let the world see what cowards they are. Singling out a dead woman revered and admired by BILLIONS for her kind works, while ignoring REAL ongoing issues within the worlds remaining theocracies.

      Remember the days when campus protest groups made the news for protesting war, civil rights violations, and corruption? I do. They may have been naive, but they dreamed of a better world.
      These people? They're worse than many of the people I fought against.

      Perhaps a counter movement is required. 'Stop the hate - stop the indoctrination of our youth!' could be a banner.

  3. The abuses of Agnes Bojaxhiu are many and are well-documented, both in Hitchens' book and in the book of Aroup Chatterjee. She did not provide adequate care for her charges, and took pleasure in their suffering. Anyone with integrity will admit this, but that leaves Egnor out in the cold.

    1. Hitchens was a militant atheist with an agenda, with a booked called "The Missionary Position." In other words, not to be taken seriously. I hadn't heard of this Chaterjee, but I found him on Wikipedia and apparently he's a compatriot of Hitchens.

      Apparently your only defense of the Hitchens book is that he wrote it and one of his buddies concurred. That's "well documented."

      You, being a militant atheist with an agenda, lap it up. I wonder if you'd show a little skepticism if Martin Luther King were the subject of a negative book. Would you ask yourself if their was an alternative--racist?--motive at work?


    2. And of course Hitchens was a life-long admirer of Leon Trotsky.

      I take his disparagement of Blessed Mother Theresa as an uncommonly strong endorsement of her.

    3. Martin Luther King was a plagiarist and adulterer. Any fair appraisal of his life will include these facts, just as any fair appraisal of Agnes Bojaxhiu's life will include the fact that she provided substandard care for her charges, and that she consorted with dictators.

    4. FDR consorted with dictators. Mother Theresa understood that you need to use savvy if you want to accomplish good (Luke 16; 1-8).

      MLK was a flawed man-- like the rest of us. But he fought passionately for very good things, and he was one of the great writers and speakers in American history. His I Have a Dream speech in my view almost ranks with Lincoln's Second Inaugural (our greatest speech), and his Letter from the Birmingham Jail is a rhetorical and philosophical masterpiece.

      I hold him in very high esteem.

    5. Don't forget his communist party connections. His close adviser was a top-ranking CPUSA official named Stanley Levison. Levison, like all good CPUSA members, took orders from Moscow. That's why the Kennedy/Johnson administrations were bugging him in the first place. Pres. Kennedy warned MLK to stay away from Levison because it would jeopardize the whole movement if people ever found out that a Moscow stooge had his ear. King said he would cut ties but it was confirmed later that he continued to seek Levison's advice, albeit secretly.

      Now, let me ask you this. If a white racist militant with an agenda wrote a book called, "Martin Luther King: Commie, Liar, Adulterer, Plagarist" and lodged his protests against a Martin Luther King holiday, might you be a little suspicious of this person's work? I'm not talking about a person who mentioned these details within the entirety of an exhaustive biography, I'm talking about a person who wrote only about what a fraud this guy is.


  4. Well, dogs do return to their vomit.

  5. Dartmouth students are certainly entitled to their opinions. My wife, a Dartmouth alumna ('81), has regularly tossed their endless begging brochures in the mail for quite a few years.

    The Board of Trustees has been hijacked by a cadre of left-wing lunatics. The Psi Upsilon fraternity was punished for chanting "Wah-hoo-wah! Scalp 'em!", an utterance that was found to be "offensive" to an Anonymous "victim". (Dartmouth Review, 2002)

  6. And I'm a big fan of another lying thieving dwarf-- Tyrion Lannister.

  7. Wait, we're in 2012 and there still are morons who think "how can you be moral if you are an atheist?" is not a ridiculously stupid question?

  8. Of course you can be moral if you are an atheist. No one denies that. Morality is written your heart by God, and you obey your heart (usually).

    But you can't be a consistent atheist and believe in objective moral law. If there is no God, there is no source for moral law.

    That is, all moral atheists (ie all atheists) hold views that are nonsense.

  9. Morality is written your heart by God
    You're wrong, it's written by Odin.

  10. Michael,

    No you're wrong again. Morality is objective. It's not decided by the individual. It's decided by the community, the society, in which the person lives. Morality has obvious objective benefits. A society that tolerates homicide as justifiable for trivial reasons isn't going to prosper.

    A neurosurgeon (I won't call you a scientist) shouldn't be using metaphorical language to describe where morality is implanted, if it is, that is. But actually, morality isn't implanted, it's learned. Because a lot of people never learn it.

  11. "No you're wrong again. Morality is objective. It's not decided by the individual. It's decided by the community, the society, in which the person lives."

    The community/society is the aggregate of individuals. The question is: can something be morally wrong, even if every individual alive believes that it is right?

    Spare me the tap dancing (unanimity would never happen, people can be wrong about objective benefits, etc)

    My question is simple and it gets to the heart of the question about objectivity/subjectivity of moral law. Can everyone ever be wrong about moral law? If yes, then moral law transcends human beings. If no, then that would be consistent with morality being entirely a human creation.

    "A society that tolerates homicide as justifiable for trivial reasons isn't going to prosper."

    How about a society that tolerates contraception, below the replacement rate?

  12. Another weird comment, Johann.

    If morals are decided by a community, they're not objective.

    The speed of light is objective.

    Moreover, any number of sociobiologists / evolutionary psychologists would debate you about whether morals, like altruism, are learned. And win.

    "In 2009 the researchers [at the Max Planck Institute] reported that infants younger than 18 months engaged in altruistic acts, such as helping adults reach objects or open cabinet doors. The infants’ attention to the needs of others most likely preceded their full understanding of the social pressures associated with being selfless."
    Scientific American, 2010.

  13. George,

    Why do you call me Johann? It's PDQ, thank you.

    The opposite of 'objective' is 'subjective'. Morality is objective, because it isn't decided by the individual.

    And anyway, your example of altruism in an infant younger than 18 months isn't morality. And it's just story telling. There's no way that anyone can determine what is going on in the mind of another individual, particularly one who is unable to verbalise his or her thoughts.

    The infant might just be curious as to what's in the cabinet or the nature of the object and his or her curiosity might have just overlapped coincidentally with the adult.

    Michael might write a thread decrying this as another case of evolutionary story telling. Or perhaps he won't, if he can spin it into support for his worldview.

  14. Michael,

    Give me an example of something that is morally wrong despite everyone alive believing it right.

    And anyway, if everyone is wrong about moral law, then it means that morality is a human invention, not the reverse, as you argue. And the reverse, if everyone is right about moral law, then that would mean the reverse of what you are arguing - that morality is implanted, not a human invention.

    Your logic stinks.

    A society that tolerates contraception with a birth rate less than replacement rate is a society that doesn't know its demographics. Individuals decide whether to use contraception depending on their personal situation; the children they already have, their work commitments, their financial situation, their social obligations to other family members, such as caring for elderly parents, etc.

    If a society, a country, decides more children are needed, then the society or country needs to make it easier for the individual to have more children, not to ban contraception. Providing financial incentives. Making employment more parent friendly. Making child are affordable.

    All the things that you think government shouldn't be doing.

  15. Argh. Spell check! Childcare not child are.

  16. Wait, we're in 2012 and there still are God-damned morons who try to pretend that the question "on what objective ground are you basing the moral assertion you just asserted?" equals the assertion that "God-haters do not know, and cannot conform themselves to, the objective moral law!"

    The word verification for this post was "7 Arminan" ... which is the "perfect number" and a slight misspelling of "Arminian".

  17. bach:

    1) Answer my question-- is it possible? It's a simple obvious question. The answer is either yes or no.

    2) A society that tolerates contraception with a birth rate less than replacement ceases to exist. All the rest is busywork awaiting extinction.

  18. Michael,

    No, it's not a simple question. It's a rhetorical question. Provide an example of something, anything that is morally wrong but which is accepted by everyone alive as right. You won't be able to do it.

    It's like asking 'If unicorns exist, then does that disprove evolution?' Unicorns don't exist. Morally wrong whatevers accepted by everyone alive don't exist.

    And you're mathematically challenged. Societies with a birth rate less than replacement don't go extinct. Not due to contraception. Never has happened. Point to one instance in which it has occurred.

  19. bach:

    My question is hypothetical/conditional-- if everyone agreed morally, could they be wrong.

    By evading answering my question, you have answered it. You understand that answering it blows your argument, so you squirm.

    "Below replacement" means that population drops each generation. That means extinction.

    Why are you so afraid of simple questions and concepts?

  20. Michael,

    OK. I'll attempt to answer your hypothetical question. 'Yes' I can imagine that everyone in a society could regard something as right that we in a different society would regard as morally wrong in our society (but that's not the question you asked). And 'no', I can't imagine anything that's morally wrong that is accepted by everyone alive in all societies.

    I bet you're going to provide some dubious smartarse riposte. Go ahead.

    A population whose number is decreasing from generation to generation hasn't gone extinct. And you can't point to a single case of a population going extinct due to contraception. Not one.

    The only group I can think of that has gone extinct due to an inadequate birth rate are the 'Shakers', a Christian sect, which had celibacy as one of their tenets. They relied on recruitment to maintain numbers (rather like the Catholic priesthood). You don't see any Shakers around today.

  21. "And 'no', I can't imagine anything that's morally wrong that is accepted by everyone alive in all societies."

    So if mankind were reduced by a plague to 100 survivors, all of whom are Nazis, then the Holocaust would be morally right.

    Atheist logic applied to morality is not pretty.

  22. Michael,

    Christian logic applied to hypothetical scenarios is even uglier. 100 survivors from a population of 7 billion in a plague is an enormous mortality for any epidemic, never seen before (God would have to design a particularly nasty disease, with a definite teleological aim).

    And then to spare Nazis, and only Nazis, would be a miracle of monumental proportions.

    It would be easier, as a hypothetical, to warn the 100 Nazis that He was going to send a worldwide flood to drown everyone, and give them enough time to build a boat.

    No, wait... That's already been done...

    And actually, you're still wrong. If you took a random collection of 100 Nazis from the time of the Third Reich, a considerable number of them would not have known of the Holocaust. And the neo-nazis nowadays spend a lot of time denying that the Holocaust actually happened.

    And actually, my first answer does apply to your hypothetical. 'Yes, everyone in a society - a population of 100 surviving Nazis - could regard regard something as right that we, in our society regard as morally wrong'

    How does this advance your case that morality is 'objective'. That is God-given?

  23. The Holocaust was immoral, regardless of human opinion.

    Therefore moral law is not of human origin.

    It's not difficult to understand, bach.

  24. You're just talking nonsense, bach.

    Moral law is from God. Men understand and obey moral law to varying degrees.

    Moral law has existence independent of human opinion.

    There is no debate about this among honest rational people.

  25. Michael,

    There's no debate about morality coming from God among dishonest irrational people who desperately want even the slightest bit of doubtful evidence supporting their concept of God.

    You don't have the slightest idea of logic. You can't assert the premise 'Moral law comes from God' to 'prove' something that is just a rewording of the same thing 'Moral law has existence independent of human opinion'.

    Why don't you run your 'logic' past a professional philosopher? And I don't mean one of your Apologist friends.