The Koran, he says, is riddled with invocations to violence. There are so many of these, he says, that after about 50, or 60, or 70 pages, he stopped taking notes. He goes on to say that considered strictly on its own terms, Islam is not a tolerant religion and its capacity for far-reaching renovation is severely limited. And he points to the difficulty that scholars and commentators face when analysing the Koran, such as receiving death threats and violence when questioning the divine origin of the holy book.
EoR could waste his time going through the Bible and noting invocations to violence, but he probably wouldn't make it past Leviticus before his pencil broke. At least Christianity is much more tolerant. Ask your gay friends. Or your liberal friends. Or your evolutionary scientist friends.
Unfortunately, Cardinal Pell, having inserted one foot firmly in his mouth, in an amazing feat of gymnastics managed to also fit the other one in as well.
Green groups are bitter with the way he's described their concerns of global warming as "hysteric and extreme". In his speech, Cardinal Pell describes these worries as a symptom of pagan emptiness. And he says that in the past pagans sacrificed animals and even humans in vain attempts to placate the gods, but that today they demand a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
Unlike the vain attempts by contemporary religions to placate their particular gods. And just what is "pagan emptiness" anyway? And why is sacrificing animals a Bad Thing but sacrificing your god a Good Thing? EoR also feels compelled to point out, before any fundies try and justify their particular team, that god sacrifice is a pretty pagan thing to do as well, and was practised long before Christ came along.
So global warming is only a symptom of pagan emptiness. And it will probably just disappear if we all went to church on Sundays. That's church. Not the mosque.
Meanwhile, the Vatican is considering condoning condom use where a spouse is infected with AIDS.
In recent years, even as Vatican officials have criticized anti-AIDS condom campaigns, several bishops, theologians and Vatican officials have said they could envision situations in which condom use to prevent AIDS would be the "lesser evil" that can be tolerated.
So sex that isn't intended for procreative purposes, that isn't solely between married couples, that probably isn't in the dark, and probably involves removal of more clothes than is minimally necessary, is a "lesser evil". This seems like good news for Christians.
EoR suggests a religious syllogism... Murder is a heinous sin. Not killing people is the ideal. Assaulting people is not as bad as murder but worse than not killing. Therefore assaulting people presumably is the "lesser evil". Does this mean the Vatican will condone it?
And, in Brisbane, gay couples who have dual Australian and British citizenship are utilising a loophole to legally marry. Which makes the Catholic Church very unhappy.
And what we would like to do is to point out, you know, the implications that it has when we're talking about an institution that is recognised and supported by society. We're not out to go and bash, talk about bashing the people or whatever, disparaging the people who want to go down this path, we just think that they're mistaken.
That's the accomodating, tolerant church at work there.
Which all just goes to show, to EoR's mind, the confused, illogical and vituperative nature of a religion with its knickers caught in an ontological and theological knot.