Atheist group at Dartmouth plans anti Mother Teresa event


#1

Atheist group at Dartmouth plans anti Mother Teresa event
By Oliver Darcy


on Nov 16, 2012

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.’”

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.”

This article does not say how this atheist group defends its contention that Mother Teresa “‘was not a friend of the poor,’ but ‘was a friend of poverty.’” One approach I’ve seen before is to attack her for opposing birth control, which attackers say would alleviate poverty by curing over-population. How such attackers account for the relative prosperity of high population density places like Hong Kong, SE Honshu, Singapore and the Taipei metro area (not to mention “First world” regions in EuroLand and North America), I don’t know. How such attackers account for the poverty of low density areas like Somalia or Sudan - if they really believe high population density equal poverty! - I don’t know. How such attackers blame mother Teresa for the millennia of Indian poverty before Mother Teresa was born, I don’t know. Frankly, this attack on her - BTW, I’m not a Catholic - is a pretext, something its irrationality demonstrates. They “need” to attack her - they can’t stand religious people, Christians especially, be seen as good - so they seize on a pretext, however full of holes and rely on the factor of surprise to avoid being instantly refuted as the hateful cranks they are.


#2

I know of few Christians that are no Catholic that have anything negative to say about Mother Teresa.

Heck, I even have a Jewish coworker that has use the analogy, “One doesn’t spit on Mother Teresa and NOT expect to be hit by a lightening bolt.”


#3

Christopher Hitchens wrote an entire book on the topic: The Missionary Position - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


#4

I consider Mother Teresa someone who would be eligible for Sainthood for her good deeds. This is not a discussion on sainthood but the fact that from what I have read she is the embodiment of someone who lived simply and devoted her time to helping others rather that garnering wealth and position


#5

Christopher Hitchens wrote an entire book on the topic: The Missionary Position - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The book, with its full title, is mentioned in the third sentence of the article, and in my quote from the article. When it comes to Christians, Christopher (unlike his brother, Peter) Hitchens and his ilk seem to be very willing to select or ignore facts to support their purpose, tar all with the acts of a few, decline to consider whether those few acted in total contradiction of the teaching of of Christianity, pretend to believe real atrocities of 4 or 8 centuries ago are a present danger, and even tar Christians with the acts of non-Christians.

The seeming irrational “need” of some atheists to denigrate Mother Teresa and missionaries generally suggests that the need arises from a need to diswguise their own lack of proportionally similar humanitarian action (directly or indirectly). It wasn’t Indonesian government officials or even the US military who were the first non-locals to begin to render aid in the Indonesian earthquake/tsunami of several years ago; it wasn’t Chinese government officials who were the first non-locals to begin to render aid in the Yushu Earthquake of a couple of years ago in China. And it certainly wasn’t the likes of Christopher Hitchens or people he supported! It was the missionaries the likes of Hitchens so contemn - who were already on the ground - who threw what they had and themselves into bringing relief!


#6

Mother Theresa can be criticized like all people, but I’m not well-educated on who she is so I can’t really make an educated opinion yet. However, I believe that no person is “Holier-than-thou”.


#7

I think she would have agreed. Holier-than-thou is a poor attitude for a Christian. The attitude should be: “I’m in the boat, and you’re in peril in the sea. Let me give you a hand and help you into the boat with me.”


#8

Bingo!


#9

Some people just need to grow up.


#10

Is there no limit to their hate?


#11

Nope


#12

For verily I say unto ye, if they hate and plot against Me, so shall they you, for they hated Me first - Jesus


#13

Christopher Hitchens published The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, a pamphlet which repeated many of the accusations in the documentary. In articles with Free Inquiry and Slate magazines Hitchens said Mother Teresa is widely and falsely seen as selflessly devoted to serving mankind. People who would normally think rationally fail to examine claims about Mother Teresa because she is considered holy. The pope (Pope John Paul II) abolished the traditional wait of five years after a person’s death before starting the procedure for canonisation and also the “devil’s advocate”, both safeguards against unsuitable people being declared saints and against irrational thinking. Further the pope nominated Mother Teresa a year after her death. There was in Hitchens’ opinion no reason to pay so much attention to Mother Teresa rather than to very many other people working to relieve Third World misery.

Further Hitchens claimed Mother Teresa promoted an extreme fundamentalist view of Roman Catholicism and that was never investigated. Under Pope John XXIII Mother Teresa spoke against doctrinal reform.

Hitchens also claims that Mother Teresa accepted money from Charles Keating despite knowing it was obtained illegally.

I post this because I know some here respect Hitchens. I think this is the primary argument against Mother Teresa.


#14

Who?..


#15

Anyway, but in regards to Mother Teresa, it seems the only real criticisms of her have to do with questionable financial activities and haphazard medical practice. However, any criticism of her is met with hostility because she is seen as above normal people, as holy, and people like Hitchens think that this clouds people’s judgement of her.


#16

:Thud:


#17

Mother Teresa lived the life that many in the higher hierarchy of the Catholic Church should embrace. She lived humbly and simply and she spend her life working to help others unlike many “Christian” leaders who support themselves with wealth and worldly goods. One can hate her for her efforts but she was never holier than thou. She was not sitting up on some throne having people kiss her ring. This is why I feel she embodied the true meaning of Christ.


#18

No Hitchens was an attention whore, he accuses Catholics of exploiting her yet he was the one doing so.

As to what he accuses her of.

  1. He seems to think hospital and hospice are the same thing. The Daughters of Charity are an example of a medical order the charism of the Missionaries of Charity is, quite specifically, to provide solace to the very many poor patients who would otherwise die alone.

  2. She occasionally accepts the hospitality of crooks, millionaires, and criminals. But it is hard to see why, as a Christian, she should be more choosy in this respect than her Master, whose bad frequentations were notorious, and shocked all the Hitchenses of His time.

There are two ways to react to the poorest of the poor as they lie on a street dieing. First, to cluck one’s tongue that such a group of people should even exist. Second, to act:to provide comfort and solace to these individuals as they face death. You and Mr Hitchens are the former.


#19

There are accusations that many of those people could have been saved with proper medical care.

There are also accusations of using money pledged for charity and giving it to the Vatican’s general fund, i.e. not charity.

I’m not saying charity is a bad thing. I’m saying that I think there is legitimate concern that Mother Teresa might not have been as saintly as some like to pretend. That isn’t to say she was a bad person. She did better than 99% of people on the planet for helping others. She is not flawless, though, and other people have done as well if not greater good for the world than her, but she was pronounced a saint, so any criticism of her is apparently not allowed.


#20

Mother Teresa lived the life that many in the higher hierarchy of the Catholic Church should embrace. She lived humbly and simply and she spend her life working to help others unlike many “Christian” leaders who support themselves with wealth and worldly goods. One can hate her for her efforts but she was never holier than thou.

I think what you’re saying is that :Thud: she lived what she preached :Thud:.

… an extreme fundamentalist view of Roman Catholicism …

Not sure if the phrase is of Hitchens’ or your usage, but do you know what a ridiculous oxymoron it is? Catholics aren’t Fundamentalists (who coined and defined the term, BTW), and historically there has been (and yet is in some circles) considerable animosity between Fundamentalists and Catholics. "Fundamentalist! has been remolded into an epithet used to circumvent discussion of certain types of issues. More specifically, it’s an epithet used for people who walk their talk, who practice what they preach, who live what they say they believe.

… which repeated many of the accusations … claimed … also claims … There are accusations … There are also accusations …

People who would normally think rationally fail to examine claims about Mother Teresa because she is considered holy.

I could claim that Mother Teresa was an ambisexual vampire (and I’m sure there are at least a few people who hate her enough that they would believe it without asking for a definition of “ambiseual”). IOW, anyone could claim anything that ranges from pure malevolent fantasy to half-truth to total truth. But the New Testament (drawing from the Old Testament standard of evidence for capital crime accusations, BTW) sets a standard by which claims against Christians and Christian leaders should be judged within the church:

2 Corinthians 13:1 - Every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.

1 Timothy 5:19 - Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.

Implicit in those scriptures is that the burden of proof is on the accuser: the accuser must establish guilt; the accused is not under obligation to prove innocence except as a responce to evidence.

From what I’ve seen of some (not all) atheists the credulity problem is with the folk shoveling unsubstantiated mud. They seem blinded by their hatred and/or even consciously selectively mixing facts, half-facts and falsehoods. But as regards Mother Teresa, let the accusers present evidence. For example:

… Hitchens said Mother Teresa is widely and falsely seen as selflessly devoted to serving mankind …

Well and good! Let the accusers produce the pix of Mother Teresa in her mansion with gold-plated faucets … or of Mother Teresa shopping for shoes and handbags in NYC or Paris. Or evidence less spectacular, yet clear and unequivocal. Let the accusers produce the clear unequivocal evidence that proves the accusation. I’m neither a Catholic nor a Fundamentalist, but I’m pretty sure that this is the standard of proof Hitchens criticized as a “fail(ure) to examine claims about Mother Teresa”.