Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2013, 11:00 am
Briefs for Faith & Values for Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013
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Catholic hospital backtracks amid public outcry
A Catholic hospital in Colorado that recently came under fire for arguing in court that a fetus is not a person has backtracked amid public outcry. A man is suing the hospital, St. Thomas More, and its owner, Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), for the wrongful death of his wife and unborn twin sons. His wife was 28 weeks pregnant when she went into cardiac arrest in the lobby of the hospital's emergency room.
A lawyer for the hospital argued during the suit that under Colorado law, a fetus is not a person until it is born alive. The Catholic Church believes life begins at conception, causing widespread criticism of the hospital and church officials who allowed the argument to be made.
CHI released a statement saying, "In the discussion with the Church leaders, CHI representatives acknowledged that it was morally wrong for attorneys representing St. Thomas More Hospital to cite the state's Wrongful Death Act in defense of this lawsuit. That law does not consider fetuses to be persons, which directly contradicts the moral teachings of the Church." Bishops in the state have also denounced the use of the law in the case.
According to a Jan. 10 Gallup poll, the higher the level of education a person has, the more likely they are to be non-religious. Twenty percent of respondents with postgraduate education stated they had no religious preference, didn't know, or refused to answer. Eighteen percent of respondents with college degrees claimed no preference, as did 18 percent of respondents who had completed some college. Of respondents who had a high-school education or less, 16 percent claimed to have no religious preference.
"Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion," by Alain de Botton
What if religions are neither all true nor all nonsense? Alain de Botton's bold and provocative book argues that we can benefit from the wisdom and power of religion - without having to believe in any of it.
He suggests that rather than mocking religion, agnostics and atheists should instead steal from it - because the world's religions are packed with good ideas on how we might live and arrange our societies. De Botton looks to religion for insights into how to build a sense of community, make relationships last, overcome feelings of envy and inadequacy, inspire travel, get more out of art, and reconnect with the natural world. For too long non-believers have faced a stark choice between swallowing lots of peculiar doctrines or doing away with a range of consoling and beautiful rituals and ideas. "Religion for Atheists" offers a far more interesting and truly helpful alternative.
Quote of the Week
"Religion is the opium of the masses." — Karl Marx
Agnostic: Someone who is unsure whether there is a God or who believes it is unknowable whether God exists. Sometimes, the former is referred to as "weak agnosticism" and the latter is called "strong agnosticism."
Religions Around the World
Religious makeup of the Netherlands, according to CIA World Factbook:
42 percent: None
30 percent: Roman Catholic
20 percent: Protestant
5.8 percent: Muslim
2.2 percent: other
GateHouse News Service