January 17, 2012

No Way Out!

Category: Religion — Cranky @

I’m comfortable with my views of religion and those who practice it. I’m tolerant, I’m remarkably free of prejudice, and I bear nobody ill will. Those who take their views to extremes and harm others – whether through terrorism, the suppression and harm of women, or any other form of, frankly, evil – those people I would like to see go away. But there are those people in every religion. I would no more automatically consider a Muslim suspicious than I would a Christian.

I first realized religion was not for me at the age of 15. I distinctly remember the first time I opened my Bible and realized I no longer felt it contained anything but old stories.

Am I richer for having no religion? No. But I don’t feel any poorer for it either. I do charity work on occasion, I’m a United Way contributor, and I sponsor a child in Ethiopia. I believe in good works, and I believe in doing right by others. “Good” doesn’t require an afterlife. It feels just fine without such a promise.

The Roman Catholic Church, however, claims me as one of its own. To this day I’m a bit miffed that they asked me to confirm my baptism by sacrament before I was old enough to meaningfully consider the question of whether or not I wanted to do so.

So recently it occurred to me that membership in the church is a loose end that I’d like to make right. Turns out that I need an “Actus Formalis Defectionis ab Ecclesia Catholica”. Basically it’s a written declaration of the intent to leave the church, filed with the bishop in charge of the area where my baptism was performed.

I also need a time machine. In 2009, the Catholic Church struck all mention of the process from the Code of Canon Law. In August, 2010, the Holy See confirmed that it is no longer possible to formally defect. In essence, “Haha! We got you forever.”

Well, poop.


November 18, 2010

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

Category: Religion — Cranky @

Today I read about Asia Bibi, a christian in Pakistan who is awaiting her fate. She has been condemned to death because she’s been accused of blasphemy.

Now I’m about to break my own rule. You can search my entire site, and you will not find naughty language. I keep it friendly here, so it’s with more than a little sadness that I resort to swearing for emphasis.

Religion has got to fucking go.

It’s religion that keeps a third of the world in the dark ages with respect to women’s rights. It’s religion that fuels hatred across the globe. Religion has passed the point where it is necessary or useful. It is not worth the price we pay for it. Why can’t we all just get along? Because religion explicitly prevents that.

It’s time for the world to put on our freaking big boy pants and evolve past the need for a mystical bed-time story. There’s no reason why we need religion to form a moral compass. I don’t believe in God, but I give to charity, sponsor a child, and do unto others as I would like them to do unto me. No ever-watchful, all-good, but still somehow perfectly willing to burn you for eternity God is required.

The charitable works done by religious groups don’t have to stop, they just need to recognize that God doesn’t need to be attached. There are plenty of secular organizations doing that kind of work.

God is a crutch. Religion is too expensive. Mankind can go without both, and be better for it.


October 15, 2010

When Does the Fall Begin? The Decline's Nearly Complete.

Category: Religion — Cranky @

The Catholic Church has been through a lot in its 1700 years. It was created under Constantine’s “Edict of Milan”, and it took a scant 67 years to become the state religion of the Roman Empire. That’s impressive.

From that point began an evolution that would play out across centuries. The Church has worn a lot of hats, and wielded terrible power, often in terrible ways. To be sure, they’ve done good as well, but we’re talking about the body in charge of the Episcopal, Papal, and Spanish Inquisitions. In 1252, Pope Innocent IV issued Ad Exstirpanda, which specifically authorized the use of torture to extract confessions. Imagine that – an organization that can simply publicly declare that torture is okay. Now that’s power. The Church has owned governments, and declared war.

The 17th century brought the Age of Enlightenment, and things began to change. The French Revolution brought the Cult of Reason, moving power from the Church to the state. The Spanish Inquisition was finally brought to an end in 1834, after 356 years of horror. The power of the Church was becoming more abstract.

The 20th century was particularly hard for Catholic Church. With the power to punish essentially gone, they’ve endured scandal after scandal. The state exercised its power over the Church (and continues to do so) by trying some of the 4,392 clergymen accused of abuse. The ability of the state to apply this power is a significant milestone in the decline of the Church. Rewind the clock a few centuries and there’s no way the Vatican would have permitted such interference.

Today I read that Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, former model and pop singer, and current First Lady of France, is not welcome at the Vatican. This decree comes straight from the pope. Apparently it would be bad p.r. to be associated in any way with somebody with a racy past. Perhaps he should have thought about that before covering up Juan Carlos Patino-Arango’s molestation of little boys. Jesus said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Apparently it’s okay to close the door on a sinner if you’d rather not be seen with them.

Here in the 21st century, the Church has lost its identity, and is searching for a new one. Even though their population holds strong at over a billion people, I’m calling it. At 12:45 p.m., mountain daylight time, on October 15, 2010, the Catholic Church has become…