Occasionally I like to check out what is being said on religious radio stations, and here in southwestern Colorado there are plenty of them, Mormon, Evangelical, and Catholic.
Yesterday on Catholic radio (EWTN) I heard a commentator scolding listeners for the habit of some Catholics who only abide by the doctrines of the church which they think are worthy of following. "Ripping pages from the catechism" is the way he characterized it.
One item that grabbed my attention was the statement:
"It says right there in the catechism, contraception is an intrinsic evil!"
Contraception an intrinsic evil?! The commentator didn't offer any attempt to justify this statement. It just is. "Contraception is an intrinsic evil." Can any rational person not see the absurdity of this DOGMA? Could any rational person defend this so-called teaching? The intrinsic evil is that the Catholic Church has been teaching and enforcing this doctrine in African countries where it has parishioners! This in turn has contributed to the spread of AIDS and the tragic suffering of millions people!
But wait it gets better. Today there was a commentator, an Archbishop, who said something like the following (I am paraphrasing):
"What is authoritarianism? Communism was authoritarian. It promoted dogmas, and it enforced obedience to them through fear. Our church does nothing like this."
It doesn't? The church doesn't enforce obedience to dogmas through fear?! What is it then when the Catholic Church says that one must be a believer and obey the catechism or suffer eternal torment in hell? And talk about the pot calling the kettle black!
Some people wonder why many atheists insist on their adamant criticisms of religion. Why not just let religion be? Permit me to speak for at least some atheists. The commentaries on Catholic radio summarized above are good examples of why we must criticize religion. Not only is dogmatism absurd, it also kills! We hope for and argue that people should be free from the dogmas and absurdities of religion because they are harmful. This doesn't necessarily mean that we think all people must "convert to atheism". What we would like to see is that religious institutions and individuals be less dogmatic about their religious beliefs. It would make for a better world if people would be more skeptical about all sorts of claims. Religious claims, political claims, medical claims, etc.. Skepticism is a virtue and can make the world better.
On a personal note. Believe it or not, I have been married to a Catholic woman for many years. And we have one child, not several. Fortunately for me and my wife, and fortunately for many other Catholics, they ignore this anti-contraception doctrine of the Catholic church. This is because people do have some basic common sense when it comes to such practical matters as choosing how many children to have. The prohibition on contraception is ridiculous and should be one of the first pages Catholics rip out of their catechism.