PZ Myers has done it again. He has quite a habit of doing it.
A recent entry in his Blog is not only funny in its own right but has resulted in a lengthy and highly hilarious interchange among blog followers.
I would strongly recommend that you find an hour or so to devour it. I suggest that you refrain from drinking while doing so. It is dangerous to your health to drink and laugh.
For those of you have not been following the Pharyngula blog, PZ recently publicized the fact that he deliberately drove a nail through a consecrated wafer in an attempt to highlight the moral idiocy of the Catholic Church.
The post outlines the mind-boggling details of what the Catholic hierarchy have determined to be "sinful". It turns out that wafer whacking is a very serious sin on the Catholic ladder of sinfulness.
In this system murder is less serious than facilitating abortion. Helping with abortion is considered to just a tad less heinous than trying to murder the Pope (but not succeeding) and wafer whacking comes somewhere inbetween assisting with abortion and trying to kill the Pontiff.
On the other hand, priestly buggery of little boys is a relatively minor crime (er, sin) compared with the seriousness of inflicting damage on holy crackers.
Paul Meyers (aka PZ) has been summoned to appear before His Holeyness under pain of ex-communication. It is a little difficult to understand the internal logic of this as PZ was apparently never subjected to the partial drowning ceremony that allows the Roman branch of the Christian Church to mark one as a "Catholic" for life, and for whatever eternity it chooses to define after that.
Did I get that right? It's a little hard to tell exactly what the Church intends to do. I don't think PZ has got a formal summons notice yet. Is PZ to be made an international example of how the church deals with such serious sinfulness? Which of its many forms of human torture, suffering and misery would it try to inflict in this day and age of inquisitive secular media and human rights watches? Perhaps the Papal Publicity Department has determined that it would be a better exercise in public wool-over-the-eyes for the Pope to pardon PZ for skewering this allegedly temporary part of the Church's undead invisible boss.
Whether PZ goes to Rome for the ceremonial censoring is uncertain.
There were questions raised over whether the Vatican would pay for the trip or expect PZ to foot the bill. PZ might find a visit to Vatican City to be professionally profitable if a sizeable percentage of Rome's respected biologists are able to cross the border into Catholicland. I wonder if they would need to carry passports containing a copy of their baptismal certificate?
There were questions raised about the possibility of PZ being extradicted from the US and of how this might be accomplished. There were pen pictures painted of goose-stepping Swiss Guards and Papal submissions to the US government.
Should PZ feel that it is too risky to make the required trip several people have offered to enable him to do so by proxy. I suspect that the pages of the Vatican Visitor's Book are about to be littered with increasing number of signatures from "PZ Myers". Will that mean that the Vatican posts guards in the neighborhood to ensure that each signature is consistent with the name on the passport carried by the visitor? Of course, there are ways around that one.
Perhaps there will be mysterious writings that appear on the walls from time to time (when the temperature is just right) proclaiming that "PZ MYERS WAS HERE"? Would the Vatican staff proclaim this as a "miracle" or an act of bio-chemical vandalism? If the latter, where would it fall in the serious sin hierarchy?
Entry 122 of PZ's blog contains a delightfully funny poem by the pseudonymous Cuttlefish. I have taken the liberty of reproducing it here on the presumption that the author will not not be displeased. I recommend, however, that you read it in its original hilarious context on the Pharyngula site.
Oh, the Pope'll make you pay fer
What you did to that poor wafer
And you oughta be just mortified for doing what you did!
It's a sin to take a nail an'
Poke a cracker, cos impalin'
Is a Godly thing, that only He can do unto His Kid.
If you'd only done, say, homicide,
Or broke some sacred promise, I'd
Expect some lower lackey is authority enough
But to drive a nail through Jesus
On your blog, no less, to please us,
Why the Pope himself's required, when it comes to cracker snuff.
The essence of the blog highlights the insanity of the Catholic Church's claim to promote the highest moral standards in the world. The moral stance of this religious body, like all others, reflects the moral development, intellectual level and attitudinal prejudices of its followers. It does not even come close to reflecting the internationally agreed upon ideals of humanitarian behaviour or even conform to what is defined as acceptable justice in the laws of developed countries.
There is a minor spat between several participants of the discussion and one contributor (ironically sporting a pseudonym with a -NIT ending) over whether the internal consistency of the Catholic belief set justifies the immorality which it promotes when these beliefs are put into practise. To do the NIT justice, he (or she) does finally acknowledge that the NIT-pick is pointless in the overall scheme of religious insanity.
Others bring up the problem which the psychiatric classification systems (such as the American DSM) have with separating highly prevalent socially sanctioned delusional systems from other delusions. I wonder how long it will be before these manuals actually include religion as a type of delusion capable of impairing cognition, behavior and the way a person deals with the real world. I predict that such a formulation would follow the type of restrictions placed on the inclusion of sado-masochism in the current manuals. It would specify that the belief set has to be clearly dysfunctional and clearly causing harm and distress to the believer.
The interesting problem to follow would be how a mental health professional could determine who is NOT affected in this way.