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Friday, March 15, 2013

God the Libertarian.

I watched the first episode of The Bible on the History Channel the other night. My own history with the church–and the Church–is odd, and even though I know most of the stories in the Old Testament, I have to admit watching Abraham interact with his son Isaac on Mount Sinai kind of left me with the impression that Isaac had some serious baggage to carry around later in life. My dad only took me fishing once, but at least he never tied me to a bundle of sticks and threatened to cut my throat because God asked him to.

I was also struck this week by the fact that Pope Francis has predecessors who negotiated with Genghis Khan and who brought the Roman Empire to its knees. That’s some serious history.

Here’s something else I was struck with: a Facebook status that sarcastically read “Welcome to the new leader of the "pro-choice" Church.”

I found this to be a peculiar thing to say.

I’m not Catholic, but I am catholic. What you think, how you pray, and what your faith is, is none of my business. The fun thing about God is that He* gave us the ability to discern for ourselves what we like and think.

To have a problem with an institution that you choose to belong and to expect that institution to change to solve your problem strikes me as exceedingly narcissistic and childish. Of course the Catholic Church is pro-life and anti-abortion, and if you disagree, so what? Go to another church, or better yet, start your own church. What could possibly make someone think that their beliefs about the morality of procreation and sexual relations carry more weight than the beliefs of a 2,000 year old institution?

After the love affair with Pope Francis subsides a little, we’re going to be treated (by the corporate media) to the following complaints about him:
  • He is against gay marriage
  • He is against birth control
  • He is against abortion
  • He is against women
Right. He's the Pope. His positions shouldn't be so hard to understand. I disagree with him on those points, simply because it's none of my business: I am not in the business of judging other people. I do however, admire him for who he is. If you don't, that's fine, but who the hell are you to insist that he see things your way? Kind of narrow-minded of you, wouldn't you say?

If I was a member of an organization that I disagreed with on these issues to the point that it made me angry, I would just leave the organization. If I'm confident what I think is right, who cares what anyone else thinks? Unless of course I'm not so confident in my beliefs so forcing the Pope to agree with me gives me the validation I so desperately crave. Go believe what you believe and don’t pull my fingernails out (literally or figuratively) if I happen to have a different opinion.

God gives life to Adam. DaVinci placed God inside of a brainstem.
Mind. Blown.
(Painting courtesy of Leonardo DaVinci)

“Well, that means I would have to leave my Church,” you might whine at me in response, to which I would reply, “no it doesn’t, you’ve already left your Church, your Church did not leave you.”

Are there problems with the Catholic Church? Of course there are because it is unfortunately filled with human beings. Human beings suck. They foul up everything. That’s why I don’t trust them to do anything for me. I don’t understand why we’re here or who or what God is, but I’m pretty sure God is not happy with people who have hurt others in His name. However, to broad stroke an entire religion because of the deeds of a few is simply intellectually dishonest.

Is it my sacred duty to force the Catholic Church to change to fit my agenda? No, and when you look at it that way, anyone who would say ‘yes’ is kind of a jackass.

We’re going to hear a lot of code words about “re-energizing” and “changing” and “modernizing” the Catholic Church in the next few weeks (until the media gets bored with the discussion), but all those words really mean is that the intellectually selfish and narrow-minded among us want a 2,000 year old institution to bend to their earthly needs and desires. Isn’t that kind of why the Church was founded in the first place, to foster discipline amongst its faithful to follow a higher calling?

I see no reason to get all mad at something you disagree with that you don’t have to be a part of in the first place. As for me, I’ll continue my own intellectually tortured path of faith, but I’m fairly confident my relationship with God is far more pure and ethical than that of someone who rants against something because it doesn’t fit his or her modern view of morality.

* I’ll use ‘He” because ‘It’ sounds so disrespectful, but I have to agree with something a very smart person once told me, “trying to describe God is like a computer trying to describe the engineers who designed it.” I don’t think God is either a He or a She, so knock it off.

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