Another black mark for Christianity

Another black mark for Christianity

YESTERDAY was Palm Sunday, and in my neck of the woods, during the entire week before the pre-Easter event I saw vendors of palm crosses flogging the things on just about every street corner.

Palm Sunday, according to this report, is staged to:

To recall Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem for Passover week nearly 2,000 years ago, when cheering crowds waved palms, hailing what they expected to be a political savior.

A 'blasphemous' cartoon from an early issue of the Freethinker.

A ‘blasphemous’ cartoon from an early issue of the Freethinker. See others here.

The Rev Kevin Bazzel, pastor of St Paul’s Cathedral in Alabama, elaborated:

Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week; it’s a time when we enter into the mysteries of our salvation.

It’s making present those mysteries. It’s a time for us to encounter Christ as he enters Jerusalem, as he carries the cross to Calvary and as he comes out of the tomb. It’s entering into the mystery of the Lord’s suffering, death and resurrection.


What Bazzel did not say is that the tradition comes at a high envirionmental cost.

According to this report, the demand for palm leaves by churches on Palm Sunday has created a market for illegally harvested palm leaves from the rain forests of Belize and is leading to deforestation and land degradation.

Palm Sundays are also precipitating the loss of biodiversity in Chiquibul National Park, one of the last great rainforest preserves in Central America, so we can add one more black mark to Christianity.

26 responses to “Another black mark for Christianity”

  1. Bubba T Flubba says:

    It is also a primitive ritual intended, like all christian rituals, to diminish and riddle people with guilt. This is how the religion works. Make credulous people feel guilty useless powerless and inadequate then you get can easily exert authority and power over them. I remember this as a child. I was sent to church every Sunday morning and Sunday school in the afternoon. I was repelled by the drinking blood and canabalistic communion rituals, by the threatening malevolent demeanor of the vicar, his cold crushing handshake and cold eye of contempt as we left the service, the unbelievable stories, the obsequious grovellings of the congregation. I always felt very guilty, unhappy and disturbed by the experience to the extend that one sunday I locked myself in the garden shed and refused to come out until my parents promised to stop forcing me to go. My dad did not tolerate bad behaviour but in this case he backed down without too much trouble. When I unlocked the door and stepped out into the sunshine the faint smile in his eye and the firm arm around my shoulder told me all I needed to know….he was like me. I never went to church again except for weddings, funerals and christenings. But even at these events I fail to understand how the pious continue to exert their influence over people. I am sure the misery and grief of the bereaved is exploited and prolonged mercilessly by the priests who wield the power of dispatching the expired to hell. No sex until give you permission by going through the ritual of marriage. Your child will go to hell if not baptised. This is blackmail and exploitation on a gargantuan scale. And it goes on today. Unbelievable.

  2. Stonyground says:

    Here in the UK, Easter is a mainly a celebration of Chocolate.

  3. thrashermax says:

    Bubba T Flubba, brilliant post, love it. Good on you and your Dad.

  4. Broga says:

    In order to believe this fiction they have to put their critical faculties on hold. It is amazing that supposedly intelligent people can play this game. The BBC will go the distance with this nonsense.

  5. Trevor Blake says:

    Dan Barker’s “Easter Challenge” is a delight. Ask a Christian to describe the resurrection of Christ as described in the Bible. No further evidence is requested. Go on, tell us the story…

  6. barriejohn says:

    B T Flubba: I don’t know where you are, but have watched this?

    As I have said many times before, if only I had seen through it all much earlier as well!

  7. John the Drunkard says:

    ‘I saw vendors of palm crosses being sold on just about every street corner.’

    I thought Abraham Lincoln put a stop to that….

  8. barriejohn says:

    Trevor Blake: Very good. I spent countless hours, as I have also said before, in a vain attempt to “harmonize” the four gospels. It’s an exercise designed to drive any sane person to distraction. “John” tells a very different story to the other writers, but then his gospel is an attempt to “put the record straight” on many points, so why expect him to be in agreement with them?

  9. barriejohn says:

    JtD: Barry is in Spain!

  10. AgentCormac says:

    Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week; it’s a time when we enter into the mysteries of our salvation.

    The only mystery is how so many people still fall for this load of old bollocks.

  11. Broga says:

    ” it’s a time when we enter into the mysteries of our salvation.”

    What is not expected when this incomprehensible statement is made is that anyone should try to understand it. The Christian, notional most of them, are expected to respond at some emotional level which by-passes thinking. And that is what happens. They sense that they understand a statement without examining the nature of that understanding.

    What does the word “enter” mean in the statement. Just how do they go into or penetrate “mysteries” which are by definition unknown and inexplicable. If they were not they would not be mysteries. And what is meant by “our salvation”? That is an obscure, contentious and slippery word which depends on the existence of a man who was also a God.

    The phrase is gibberish which makes no sense. But that is the name of the game. Clarity is the enemy of religious belief.

  12. Carl Kolotylo says:

    Too funny, not only is religion bad for your brain now it wrecks the environment. But wait, how can it be bad when god created the environment, palm trees and the wingnuts who believe this crap?

  13. Barry Duke says:

    Oh boy. John the Drunkard you’ve taught me never blog before necking coffee No 3. I have adjusted that opening line. Funny though, wasn’t it!

  14. Matt Westwood says:

    “But wait, how can it be bad when god created the environment, palm trees and the wingnuts who believe this crap?”

    Because God is going to build us a new heaven and a new earth, and it’s going to be even better than this one — but he’s not going to do it till we’ve completely wrecked this one first. (Revelation of St. John, a.k.a. The Apocalypse.) Get wrecking.

  15. L.Long says:

    Easter is one of my favorite holi-daze as it produces the best day of the year….Cheap Candy Day!!!! Right after it. This also true of my other favorites Halloween and xmas as they also produce the wonderful Cheap Candy Day soon after.

  16. Dioniogi says:

    First of all the palm crosses shown in the picture do not appear to be made from palm leaves but from some form of grass leaf which is long and fairly parallel. One palm frond contains 50 to 80 palm leaves and palm trees are the most prolific trees in the middle east and probably the tropics, with 50 palm fronds to every tree I find it difficult to believe that there are enough christians around in any country to start denuding rainforests. As much as I hate religion I could keep a few churches and congregations running just from the trees in my garden.

  17. Robster says:

    Have these environmental vandals considered using plastic palms or fronds for their silly ritual? They would last for many years, would only require a quick hose off before use and could be used for some of the many other silly rituals observed by the religiously afflicted. They already paste their halls of delusion with plastic Baby jesus’ on the bronze age torture instrument and I’m sure the same factories in China would be more than happy to churn ’em out as required. Environmental problem solved and jobs created! Joy to the world.

  18. 1859 says:

    ‘…it’s a time when we enter into the mysteries of our salvation.’

    O G..r..o..a..n – surely the only mystery here is how people can willingly abdicate their power to reason and to think, in favour of the superstitious symbolism of a green leaf. ‘Salvation’!!?? O F..u..c..k – I give up….

  19. barriejohn says:

    Talking about the environment, I see that arch-religiot Tony Abbot has announced a second airport for Sydney on the same day that a report states that atmospheric pollution in Asia is strengthening storms around the globe, but no doubt all his business chums will be rubbing their hands together with glee. Are politicians actually capable of joined-up thinking?

  20. barriejohn says:

    Re the “mysteries” of religion: it has to be this way. Religion has always been the realm of secrets and mysteries hidden from the vast majority, as this empowers those in control. In the case of Islam and Christianity there is the ultimate threat of ETERNAL PUNISHMENT for those who get things wrong, so the power is almost without limit.

  21. Broga says:

    I think one of the persistent attractions of religion is that people want certainty. In the same way they often welcome authoritarian leads: Hitler, Stalin, Putin. The want someone to tell them what is right and what to do.

    With religion they will hold at bay anything that threatens that spurious certainty. So they accept the “certain” information from the priests. Freedom and the readiness to exercise it can be uncomfortable. A cosmos indifferent to the fate of humans seems a cold and terrifying place. Better the comforting fairy tale, with doubts repressed, of the religion.

    The consequence, as I see it anyway, is that much of the fun and excitement of life is lost. It is replaced by the narrow and shabby context provided by religion. As, of course, is the loss of the sense of the splendour and majestic scale of the cosmos around us. The religious live in fear of their own mortality as they cling to the fantasy that heaven awaits.

  22. Paul Cook says:


    I am not so sure “they” understand anything to be frank.

    On your point:
    “So they accept the “certain” information from the priests. Freedom and the readiness to exercise it can be uncomfortable. ”

    I would agree. It is usually referred to as brainwashing. Where one who is perceived as all knowledgeable is able to manipulate the less able or the unthinking into believing what the priests say is credible so it must be true.

    I mean this is blob mutton on his rant about the gay marriage bill as he refers to it:

    “………This law would be a clear example of trampling underfoot the precepts of God’s inspired, infallible and inerrant word.”

    The ‘belief/statement” is frightening. who in their right mind still believes the bible is that?

  23. Broga says:

    @Paul Cook: I have a devout relative who cannot resist attempting to convert me. When I asked her to explain to me some simple but incredible difficulties with belief her reply was that “I am sure there is an answer and I will ask the vicar.”

    I have suggested she decide for herself, think about the bible contradictions, the all loving all powerful God problem etc and decide for herself what she thinks. Her answer was “It’s not my place to decide these things. That’s for the vicar and those who have studied and know about them.”

  24. Paul Cook says:


    and I bet her mouth, never once, twisted into a smile.

    The thing is, is we know they have studied & they know this is not the ‘truth’ or the word of god and was written over hundreds if not thousands of years by people who had a penchant for falsehoods and lies and were recounting oral stories many false and many borrowed in an effort simply to control.

    Archeology generally does not lie. It is pretty hard to fake it. And a lot of archeology proves the bible utterly false in many many respects.

    The issue is that those who read the bible don’t actually read it and work it out, they start to re-cite the bits they like as it makes them comfortable and feel good. If they actually read it they would, like a normal human being, think oh I don’t believe the mustard seed is the smallest seed in the world, or that snakes and donkeys do talk.

  25. Broga says:

    @Paul Cook: Her husband has asked me not to discuss religion with her as, after one of our infrequent encounters, she cannot sleep and has to increase her dose of sleeping pills. As we usually meet at the occasional family gathering she heads for me like a torpedo headed for a ship.

    I’ve told him I never raise the subject of religion with her but he says she always thinks that next time she will persuade me. He did say once that he was inclined more to my view than his wife’s. I learned much later that he had said to another relative, “I hope to God he never tells her what I said.” Because of a dominant, bullying, know-it-all wife the man is living a lie and can’t say what he thinks.