In a study, researchers in Australia have confirmed a link between BMI and religious denomination. In a survey of nearly 10,000 people they found that Catholic and Baptist men have a higher BMI than non-religious men and Christian women have a higher BMI than others. In their paper “Religion and BMI in Australia”, Kortt and Dollery note that many religious occasions involve food as part of the celebration, thus condoning over-eating. We need more researchers to continue this important work in other locations. I have a feeling that the influence of religion on BMI is leading to needless health problems throughout the world. Images of Jesus keep popping up on foodstuffs. What does it all mean?
Congratulations to our 15,070 friends in the Czech Republic who listed their religion on the recent census as Jedi Knight. While it represents only 0.14% of the population, or 0.31% in Prague, the impressive turnout caused some ripples that could be felt in the Force. This recognition follows similar results in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada. Some people question whether the Knights of Jedi is a ‘real’ religion, just as they sometimes question Apathism. As JediChurch.org states
No religion is truth. It’s all just a matter of faith.
And let us not forget the words of Adi Gallia
Better a few faithful supporters than a wealth of false friends.
May the force be with you.
Dr Kara Britt and Prof Roger Short, from Melbourne University, are urging the Catholic Church to make the pill freely available to their nuns. This is not because the nuns are at risk of getting pregnant, but like other women who do not give birth, they are more at risk of developing some forms of cancer. Taking the contraceptive pill greatly reduces the risk of cancer of the breast, ovary and uterus for these women. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church has taken a strong stand against all forms of contraception since the Humanae Vitae was published in 1968. However, the same document does state that medicine with contraceptive effects can be taken for the purpose of combating disease. So watch this space. Will the Catholic Church buy the contraceptive pill for almost 95,000 nuns each month, thus providing funds for the people producing contraceptive pills, or will it let the nuns take their chances with developing cancer?
The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has decided that High School students will no longer use the terms BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini) to reference dates. All textbooks will use the more politically correct terms BCE (Before Common Era), BP (Before Present) and CE (Common Era) instead. BCE is equivalent to BC and CE is equivalent to AD, so nothing changes except the notation. The lesser known BP is used in scientific disciplines using AD (or should I say CE) 1950 as the origin, when carbon dating became possible. BP has also been called Before Physics. Australian Christians are outraged saying it is an absurd attempt to write Christ out of history. I think that is a very loose definition of history. We should just use the terms Backward Counting (BC) and Adding Dates (AD) so everyone is happy.
Why do religious zealots need everyone else to believe what they believe? Family Radio spent a fortune on billboards trying to convince us that the world would end on May 21st this year. The leader of this cult is now saying that believers were saved on that day and it is now too late for salvation for the rest, although other broadcasters on the station are giving a different message. The icon on their website (wecanknow.com isn’t that ironic) is still a little calendar date of May 21, but there is no other mention of the date. They still say the world is about to end, but they are not so certain of the exact date anymore. The latest set of religious billboards to upset people are appearing in Sydney, Australia, sponsored by the Islamic group MyPeace. The slogan that seems to be causing most offense among Christians is “Jesus: Prophet of Islam”. They seem to think that would encourage Christians to see the similarities between the faiths, but it actually shows one of the fundamental differences. More details at onislam.net. Last Christmas we had an Atheist group, in New York, putting up billboards about the birth in a manger being a myth, which was counteracted by Christian billboards saying it was real. Before that it was billboards on buses, in the UK, saying there is definitely no God, again counteracted by there definitely is a God. The Universal Church Triumphant of the Apathetic Atheist has a meditation on American religious billboards. Although it all provides great amusement for Apathists, who don’t care who is right, it is an awful waste of money that could be used for better purpose. So why do people spend so much trying to convince others to share their beliefs? My guess is that it’s easier to have strong beliefs in things that have no evidence or proof, if lots of other people believe it too. We can’t all be crazy, can we?
Jesus is back on the pizza. He just can’t leave it alone. This time his face has appeared on a three-cheese pizza in Brisbane, Australia. Maree Phelan, who works at Posh Pizza, said her over was blessed with the presence of Jesus Christ. She insists the face got there by itself and it is not a fake. The power of this remarkable pizza has already been felt. Since discovering the pizza, the owner of the store has parked in a loading zone without getting a ticket. Incredible as this sounds, I wouldn’t go jumping off any cliffs. The entrepreneurial folk at Posh Pizza vacuum-packed the pizza and put it for sale on eBay. It was reported to have an offer of $65 Australian Dollars hours ago, but I can’t find it anywhere. There goes my chance of owning a genuine religious relic.
A recent study has concluded that organised religion is an endangered species. This follows a study of nine countries, selected because they have census figures with the relevant data over a significant time span. The countries involved were Australia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Canada, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Daniel Abrams and Haley Yaple of Northwestern University together with Richard Wiener of the University of Arizona predict a continued growth of non-affiliation, tending toward the disappearance of religion in 85 regions around the world. Even in Ireland, which is mostly Catholic, the figure has risen from 0.04% in 1961 to 4.2% in 2006. Another census is taking place shortly in the UK and Ireland, so perhaps there will be more data to back it up shortly. So do you as an Apathist belong to the non-affiliated group or others? That’s right, you don’t care. Let someone else worry about it.
For His latest appearance, Jesus has decided to visit an Irish pub. Rather than visit one in Ireland, He decided to support the Seanchai pub, in Warrnambool, on the Great Ocean Road in Australia, where they supply pints of the black stuff to appreciative locals. The black figure, which again bears an uncanny resemblance to a Jedi knight, appeared on the painted front of the hotel. As word of the apparition spreads, people are coming from all around to take photos of the miracle. One of the local patrons has claimed that Jesus is turning water into Guinness. The owners are installing a shield to protect the apparition from being defaced.
Two Irish Catholic priests based in Australia, continue to hold church ceremonies, despite being at the centre of abuse allegations. In Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady refuses to step down despite allowing Fr Brendan Smyth to remain free to abuse over an 18-year period. Fr Sean Brady, as he was at the time, failed to notify the proper authorities and had young witnesses swear oaths of secrecy to protect guilty parties.
Last night Australia’s ABC television named Fr Finian Egan, based in Sydney, and Fr Paddy Maye, based in Melbourne, in connection with alleged abuse. Church investigations found that Fr Egan groped two girls over several years in the 1980s and Fr Maye forced himself on a vulnerable 31-year-old woman and also groped two sisters over several years in the 1980s. Fr Maye has been told by the Archbishop of Melbourne not to continue working as a priest, but despite this he served mass for St. Patrick’s Day both this year and last year. The women allegedly abused by Fr Egan received a letter from Bishop David Walker of Sydney to apologise for the way they had been treated by Fr Egan. However, a month later, the same Fr Egan was honoured in a church ceremony across the road from the Bishop’s office, to celebrate his 50 years as a priest.
In much the same way, Cardinal Sean Brady pays lip service to the suffering endured by victims of abuse in the church, but takes away from that by remaining in a senior position in the church. The victims, including the One in Four campaign group are very clear that they want him to resign.
Some portion of the blame must also go to the congregation who attend ceremonies celebrated by these men. If you attend such a ceremony, you are acknowledging their right to the position they hold and denying the suffering of the abusers. Perhaps the easy confessional ethic of the Catholic Church is responsible. Just say a word and I shall be healed. Unfortunately many of the victims continue to suffer the effects, long after the word has been said. They want action, not words.
Last Saturday the Heaven on Earth Church in Australia, staged a re-enactment of the crucifixion outside shops in Geelong. I’m proud to say that most of the people who passed by displayed their apathy openly before police brought the spectacle to an abrupt end. The nice folks at the church have placed a video of the crucifixion on YouTube so you can witness the fine display of apathy yourself. Enjoy!