Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

What better time to gripe about the Catholic Church than the Easter Season

March 21, 2008

I was born and raised Catholic. I went to a Catholic grade school, a Catholic high school, and I’m at a Catholic university right now.  Thus, it’s become pretty hard for me to understand why I find myself parting ways with the Church on so many levels.

Perhaps it’s for reasons such as the Pope’s addition of Seven (new) Deadly Sins to the previous seven: abortion, social injustice, pollution, selling drugs, contraception, genetic engineering, and being obscenely wealthy.

Looking at the Church’s view of the fetus, abortion is not so far-fetched, but with the Church’s unflinching stance on “respecting life from birth until NATURAL DEATH”, why is the death penalty not on the list?
Social injustice seems ridiculously broad, but I won’t argue that…for now
Pollution though… As any of my regular readers will know,  I love the environment, and I think it’s important to care for it; however we can’t expect to  stop pollution on a dime (Does that make sense?). In order to find alternatives to pollution, we have to pollute. Research requires the burning of fossil fuels and natural gases, sorry. Helping Third World countries by flying food out to them (in order to prevent social injustice, mind you) requires that we pollute.
I don’t really have anything against the addition of selling drugs to the list. It ruins lives, but why isn’t using drugs, then on the list?
Contraception is an interesting addition to the Seven Deadly Sins. I feel like the Church might as well add premarital sex to the list, seeing as the majority of contraception products are used by non-married couples. However, adding contraception to the list seems to hammer home the Church’s already heavy-handed stance that once a married couple is done having children, sex too must cease. I see so many problems with this logic. We are animals, as much as the Church wants to deny it. Surely, if a husband or wife decides to follow Catholic upbringings and tell the significant other that they refuse to have sex ever again, couldn’t this encourage the husband or wife to have an extramarital affair? Wouldn’t continuing to have sex as a married couple only foster the love and intimacy marriage is meant to promote?
Genetic Engineering is a sticky subject. While the science is taking some actions that screw with nature, it is also searching for quicker methods to manufacture insulin for men and women with diabetes. It is helping scientists do more expansive research to study and cure cancer. We cannot make a sweeping statement and say that genetic engineering is all bad.
And finally… being obscenely wealthy too is now a deadly sin. Isn’t it possible to be obscenely wealthy and still be a good person? Donate to charity? Go to church? Love your family and others? Guilting people out of being obscenely wealthy is only going to serve to derail capitalism and turn us into a Communist State…. something else the Church is strongly against.

As confessions are on the decline, many speculate that the Church created these new sins to help up the number of confessions. However, one must wonder why the Pope hasn’t added “child molestation” to the list of sins. Perhaps because it targets too many of its own in ways that these other sins absolutely cannot?

You are absolved of your sins.

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Before you diss Islam, know your Christianity first… And quit generalizing, too.

January 1, 2008

While chatting with a friend the other day about religion, he cited this passage from the Quran: “Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home: an evil fate” (Quran 9:73) “Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil: so fight ye against the friends of Satan” (Quran 4:76), and of course, he referenced suicide bombings.

 

 

The direct correlation between Islam and September 11, the assertions that all Muslims are America-haters and Christian-killers, that the religion teaches them to either convert non-believers or exterminate them… all of this I’ve heard time and time again, and all of it I roll my eyes at. The overt hypocrisy, the vast generalizations, and the sheer idiocy of these remarks are so easy to see, yet even easier to overlook.

 

 

The Christian Bible’s Old Testament repeatedly calls on those of faith to either convert or kill non-believers. For example, Deuteronomy 17 states, “17:2 If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant; 17:3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 17:4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel; 17:5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.”

 

Why can we point out passages in the Quran that call for extermination of infidels while we continue to ignore the very passages in the CHRISTIAN BIBLE that promote the exact same actions? What makes our “peaceful” Christian religion justified in its writings urging murder yet labels Islam a violent faith?

 

After reaching this point in the argument, I am usually reminded of the events of September 11; I’m told that terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in the name of their faith, and thus, any faith that promotes such a thing must surely be a hostile one. I’d like to direct anyone who chooses to utilize this argument back to the actions of our peaceful Christian brothers and sisters. Think of the Christians who have blown up abortion clinics or attacked doctors and nurses who work there in the name of Christianity. Is this not a similar concept? European countries in the 16 and 1700s colonized and enslaved the people of Africa and Asia in the name of Christianity, in the name of saving the savage people from their filthy sin filled lives. Their land and resources were exploited and their human dignity ravaged all disguised under a veil of Christianity’s greater good, of a mission to bring the Christian faith to those who were too stupid and too uncivilized to know it.

 

But no, it is the Muslims who are violent.

 

The men who bombed the World Trade Center were not Muslims at all. The faith strictly forbids alcohol consumption, loose sexual values, and gambling, yet the terrorists of 911 drank heavily, utilized the service of prostitutes, and visited casinos all the night before their act of terrorism was to be executed. Wouldn’t it seem that men who are thought to be killing American lives all in the name of Islam would be interested in rigidly following the basic rules of their faith?

 

“Oh yes, well the Quran states that those who die for their faith will be rewarded greatly in heaven.” I would like to guide you toward Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount for a response to this argument. “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake/ Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12). We honor martyrs and pray to saints, many of whom have died in the name of their Christian faith. We immortalize those who have died for the sake of Christianity… Sound familiar?

 

Of course, at this point I must add a disclaimer, although I know that there will still be someone who chooses to point this out: I am in no way saying that Islam is never used by evil people as a shield for evil deeds. However, we have to remember to separate the religion from the people. By this I mean, while the faith itself may say one this, someone else may interpret it to mean something else, something violent and hostile, and may act on it. This does not mean that that is what all Muslims believe!

 

Again, to Christianity… Some Christians believe that only through baptism can one be saved. Even if one has never heard of Jesus Christ, because that person has not been baptized and does not accept Christ as his or her savior (again, not by choice but because the belief in Christ has never been made known to that person), that person will go to hell. Not all Christians believe this. Not all Christians believe that homosexuality is a sin; not all Christians believe that the death penalty is bad; not all Christians believe evolution is real; not all Christians choose to wait to have sex until after marriage. This means that Christianity, like Islam, is not a uniform belief. Some people believe and do one thing while some people believe and do another. It is not just to generalize a whole people, an ENTIRE FAITH on the actions of the few or with regards to the events that we see on the news. It’s not fair, and it’s not right.

 

I really am becoming more and more disgusted with the hatred and bigotry toward Islam. Yes, there are bad Muslims out there, and Christians and Jews, and Hindus and atheists. We have to stop judging and entire faith on our shallow predispositions and skin-deep generalizations. We have to let go of our contempt and judgmental attitudes and stop being so childish and inane.

 

More senseless idealism and bleeding-heart liberalism from an untainted nineteen year old youth.
“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
MLK Jr.

 

Perhaps it’s not too late…

Email forward reveals what thousands of years of philosophy could not!!!

September 17, 2007

So I’ve confided in a family member of mine (relation will be withheld for privacy) with some tensions I’ve been having with Catholicism and Christianity as of late. While I in no way am renouncing my faith or anything drastic, I’ve simply been contemplating anything and everything that I can.

In response, I received this email forward. I have done absolutely NO editing to what was sent to me. My personal comments are in blue:

KNOW THESE FACTS?
Death is certain but the Bible speaks about untimely death!
Make a personal reflection about this…..

Very interesting, read until the end…..
It is written in the Bible (Galatians 6:7):

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked:
for whatsoever a man soweth,
that shall he also reap.

Here are some men and women
who mocked God :


John Lennon (Singer):

Some years before, during his interview with an American Magazine, he said:

“Christianity will end, it will disappear.
I do not have to argue about
that. I am certain.
Jesus was ok, but his subjects were too simple, Today we are more famous than Him” (1966).

Lennon, after saying that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, was shot six times.
Um, how long after Lennon said these things was he shot? Lennon died in 1980, fourteen years after this statement was made. What a valid conclusion the writer came to.


Tancredo Neves (President of Brazil ):

During the Presidential campaign, he said if he got 500,000 votes from his party, not even God would remove him from Presidency.

Sure he got the votes, but he got sick a day before being made President, then he died .

Isn’t Brazil considered a developing nation? Disease, sickness, etc. are not a rarity there. He also died over a month after becoming ill. Not one day.


Cazuza (Bi-sexual Brazilian composer, singer and poet):

During A show in Canecio ( Rio de Janeiro ), while smoking his cigarette, he puffed out some smoke into the air and said: “God, that’s for you.”

He died at the age of 32 of AIDS in a horrible manner.

I do enjoy that the author made sure to include that this man was bi-sexual. So not only did he blow smoke up toward God, but he also lived a disgusting life of sin. Is there a “good manner” in which one would die from AIDS? Just wondering.


The man who built the Titanic

After the construction of Titanic, a reporter asked him how safe the Titanic would be.

With an ironic tone he said:
“Not even God can sink it”

The result: I think you all know what happened to the Titanic ..

Ah yes. To punish “the man who built the Titanic” God chose to kill 1,450 innocent people, just to teach him a lesson!


Marilyn Monroe (Actress)

She was visited by Billy Graham during a presentation of a show.
He said the Spirit of God had sent him to preach to her.
After hearing what the Preacher had to say, she said:
“I don’t need your Jesus”.

A week later, she was found dead in her apartment ..

The fact that Ms. Monroe had many affairs in the course of her life, all while being a giant sex symbol in American culture probably had nothing to do with the fact that she was murdered.

Bon Scott (Singer)
The ex-vocalist of the AC/DC. On one of his 1979 songs he sang:
“Don’t stop me, I’m going down all the way, down the highway to hell”.

On the 19th of February 1980 , Bon Scott was found dead, he had been choked by his own vomit.

What a peculiar way for rock stars of the 70’s and 80’s to die: as a result of a drug and alcohol binge. Completely unheard of!

Campinas (IN 2005)
In Campinas , Brazil a group of friends, drunk, went to pick up a friend…..
The mother accompanied her to the car and was so worried about the drunkenness of her friends and she said to the daughter holding her hand, who was already seated in the car:

“My Daughter, Go With God And May He Protect You..”
She responded: “Only If He (God) Travels In The Trunk, Cause Inside Here…..It’s Already Full ”

Hours later, news came by that they had been involved in a fatal accident, everyone had died,
the car could not be recognized what type of car it had been, but surprisingly, the trunk was intact.

The police said there was no way the trunk could have remained intact. To their surprise, inside the trunk was a crate of eggs, none was broken .

Why did the mother let the daughter travel in this drunk stupor again? Surely, she is not to blame! God’s vengeance came down upon the girl… although he did spare her eggs!

Christine Hewitt (Jamaican Journalist and entertainer) said the Bible (Word of God) was the worst book ever written.
In June 2006 she was found burnt beyond recognition in her motor vehicle.

To be fair, it’s not the most interesting book…

Many more important people have forgotten that there is no other name that was given so much authority as the name of Jesus.

Many have died, but only Jesus died and rose again, and he is still alive

“Jesus”

P.S: If it was a joke, you would have sent it to everyone. So are you going to have courage to send this?.

No. I would not have sent this to everyone if it was a joke. I choose not to bother people with annoying email forwards, thank you.

I have done my part, Jesus said

“If you are embarrassed about me,
I will also be embarrassed about you before my father.”
“And I’ll have him kill you by having you strangled, shot, or giving you AIDS.”

You are my 8 in 8 seconds. I am not breaking this. No way!
Yeah! No way!

I’M TOLD THIS WORKS!!!!! Bishop T.D. Jakes “8 Second Prayer.” Just repeat this prayer and see how God moves!!

“Lord, I love you and I need you, come into my heart, and bless me, my family, my home, and my friends, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

All you have to do is say this prayer and don’t bad mouth God, and you’ll be in heaven for sure! Do whatever the hell else you want, but this will save you!

Pass this message to 8 people {EXCEPT YOU AND ME}. You will receive a miracle tomorrow. I Hope that you don’t ignore and let God bless you ..

I’m not even going to comment on this. It’s too easy…

So, here I am again, ranting about religion. It’s funny, really it is. It’s funny that God chooses to violently murder people who speak ill of Him, but JonBenet Ramsey’s killer(s) wanders free. I guess this shows us the real way to appease God: sweet talk. I’m sure Ramsey’s killer prays to God every night asking that he/she/they will never be caught. It seems to have worked.

If only John Lennon had praised Christianity a little more thoroughly, he would still be alive today. I wonder if Abraham Lincoln said the Bible was outdated or something. God got angry, sent John Wilkes Booth on his ass. That explains a lot.

I think the worst part is that the people who write this stuff to promote Christianity miss entirely what Christianity is about. I could have sworn Jesus was saying something about that infinitely loving and forgiving God… You know, you turn your back on Him, but he never turns his back on you? Something like that. Instead, the author of this piece truly believes that God, a being that is beyond human comprehension, beyond the capacity of the human mind, gets pissed off when someone talks garbage and decides to have that person wacked.

To anybody with any sort of intellectual mind, this should not make a lick of sense. I responded to this family member and asked her not to send me things like this anymore, and she merely replied with, “Sorry to see that you have not gotten off of your soapbox yet.”

Ah yes. My soapbox. As I struggle to figure out my faith, as I aim to wrangle with the meaning and significance of Christianity, I am merely standing up on a soapbox.

Well, email forward, I guess you’re right: I don’t know the facts. I didn’t know that the God I was worshiping will give me AIDS if I insult him. I did not know that God kills humans out of anger, despite all refutations of such a notion in the New Testament. I was unaware that God would even concern himself with killing those people, while letting rapists, murderers, child abusers, torturers, terrorists, whatever, roam free over the green earth. I really did not know. Thank you for curing me of my ignorance. It was a plague on my very soul. I will be sure to write to every theology teacher I have ever had (there are six, I believe) and let them know that they are wrong. I will speak with the Pastor of my church and recommend that he work this information into a sermon sometime (this is important for everyone to know). Most importantly, I will be sure to, in my own mind, know the character of the God that I have been worshiping all my life.

Philosophers dating back to the time of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle have been struggling to determine the true nature of that which creates and guides the universe, but finally, this author has figured it out.

If ever there was a post on which I sought comments, this is it.
Please. Tell me I’m wrong; tell me you hated it; tell me you don’t believe in a God period.
I just want some responses. I just want discussion.

A Christian Bless on Our U.S. …Maybe?

August 23, 2007

I know a couple of my past entries have, in some way or another, involved Christianity, but I get on kind of a “roll” with topics and just end up with a lot to say about them.

If you’d like to know what the point of this entry is without reading the entire thing, here it is: The United States is NOT a Christian nation. It never has been. Anyone who tells you otherwise a.) is full of bologna or b.) honestly has no clue.

I first stumbled upon the significance of this fact during my freshman second semester at Marquette. I had possibly the most wonderful Western Civilization teacher I could have ever asked for, and while studying the Enlightenment period in England, we discussed all the ways in which England’s government influenced America’s own setup- even our Bill of Rights is based off one that Parliament created years earlier. All of America’s earliest and greatest leaders modeled themselves off of the great Enlightenment thinkers from France and England.

A key point of the Enlightenment Period was the search for logic and rationality. Intellectuals of this period sought reason in all things… including religion. It was at this time that deism flourished.

In short, deism is a belief in a creator, usually referred to as God. This was a replica of Aristotle’s “unmoved mover” who sets the world in motion. However, once the Creator winds the watch (the analogy that is commonly used) he steps back and observes as it all unfolds. This god does not intervene in human affairs. Ever.

Following along the same lines, deists do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. They believe that he did indeed exist but that he was in no way divine. Why is this? Because it was not reasonable. It did not make sense that the Creator would interfere with the world. Thomas Jefferson even created an edited version of the Bible in which he censored ALL of Christ’s miracles (miracles are things that defy the laws of nature, and why would the Creator violate the natural laws which He himself established?).

Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, all of them were deists. They were not men of Christianity, and in fact, they believed that Christianity was a religion that should be taught to children and to the uneducated.

The truth is, even today, many people who identify themselves as “Christian” are not TRULY Christian. The one single thing that makes Christianity different from any other religion is the belief that only through the acceptance that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, can an individual be saved. I personally cannot agree with this. Can an African living in one of the poorest countries in the world not be saved, simply because he/she has never HEARD of Jesus? That seems to counter the whole notion of the infinitely loving God we hear so much about in the New Testament. Simply because we were lucky enough to be born in a Western nation where Christianity is talked about frequently we are also lucky enough to be saved.

I don’t think so.

[Also, as a side note… for those of you who argue that the phrase “under God” should not be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance because it has “always been there” and would “change the originality of the Pledge”, please review your facts. The phrase “under God” was not added to the Pledge until 1954 by the Knights of Columbus, while the ORIGINAL Pledge was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy. Here’s a good quick read on that history by Dr. John W. Baer.]

I’m really not trying to bash on anybody or tell you that your faith is wrong (because I don’t believe in doing that), but I think it’s important that we be well-informed before we go on yelling and causing a ruckus about this or that. This is a government absolutely based on the notion of separation of Church and State.

However, I feel that both sides of this argument can take things wayyyy too far. Yes, it’s wrong to have the Ten Commandments posted on a courthouse wall, but at the same time, I don’t think it’s wrong to offer a moment of silence in public schools. A Christian may take this time to ask Jesus for guidance for the day; a Muslim may ask Allah to bring him or her strength during a time of need; a Buddhist may take a moment to peacefully meditate; while an atheist can just take a second to relax and unwind. As long as no mention of God, Mohammad, Krishna, etc. is mentioned, then who cares?

Certainly not me. You are not infringing on my right to worship as I please, nor are you forcing me to believe what you believe. I’m not being harmed; I’m not being bothered. End of story.

But perhaps that is a discussion for another day. I feel I’ve begun to ramble, so I’ll end here with this that is something that I’ve been trying to live by for the past couple months:

“Judge not lest ye be judged.”
-Jesus (Matthew 7:1)