The staples are gone, and it didn't hurt.
Amanda and I went for a quick breakfast after my appointment. Niko's restaurant, across the street, was the obvious choice.
We had been eating for a few moments when two guys came in, and were seated behind us. We soon learned that both men were Catholic clergy. I can't say what their exact positions were, but both spoke of recently holding Mass...so they're obviously active.
The restaurant was very quiet, so we couldn't help overhearing their conversation. It wasn't long before we heard a remark that stopped us in our tracks.
One man brought up a member of his congregation, and how the gentleman in question had recently been diagnosed with a serious illness.
He said, "I'm not saying God is punishing him with this illness, but he has been a lot kinder to his wife since the diagnosis."
Where do you start with that?
Did God give me ALS because I haven't been good to my wife? Am I sick because I'm a bad guy? What kind of spite or malice must God have to inflict terrible illness on people? If God is forgiving and omnipotent, what must I do to be forgiven and cured? If I am good and God does not cure me, is God unforgiving, or simply without power?
Regardless, at a time when Amanda and I are in deep discussion about how/when/if to introduce religion to the girls, this comment has cast new light.
Is religion really about morality and ethics? If so, why can't we guide our children as parents? Our values hardly exist in contrast to common religious values. Love, kindness, forgiveness, charity - to name a few - hardly require a deity and scripture to be instilled.
I think the point I take real issue with is the frequency with which religion is self-serving to the faithful, and seemingly ignored when a teaching doesn't line up with a need or belief.
Do you need to believe to have faith? I have faith, but not belief. You may well question what I have faith in. I have faith in myself.
I hope my girls at least grow up with the same faith.
Oh, Tony, I am so sorry that you have been exposed to such awful example of an reminder that clergy is human. This is one of the reasons why although I attend worship I am reserved about "rules" and try to keep my spirituality firmly direct between myself and my higher power. One does not need organized religion, although that has its values, but this example is exactly one where detriment is shown as well. I am Catholic but I consider myself and my religion, no matter what the "tide" the Church is in, all inclusive and loving to everyone. I believe that the unconditional love is the greatest power of all and it is a crux to true religion. One who knows and accepts that is the one who leads life that is meaningful and rewarding, if not by current social standards, if not in this world but somewhere where the real really matters. Ah, my friend... forget about this example of misery of humanity. Forgive them because they in their weakness could not let true love shine.ReplyDelete
My 2 Cents:ReplyDelete
Teach your children your values, and let them decide on religion for themselves. If you do decide to teach them with religion, distance them from that kind of thought. If God punished people with sickness/disability/death, then we'd all be sick/disabled/dead. Everyone is an asshole at one point or another, and no one is perfect, but God loves everyone anyway.
You're a great guy, don't let those who go around "casting stones" get you down. They are usually blind to their own faults anyway.
You mustn't think too harshly of these two poor dimwits. Their brainwashing probably began at a very young age. The principles of fear, guilt, shame and obedience were drip fed or even, 'lovingly' beaten into their young impressionable heads. Now as grown men their brains are just wired up wrong.
We all love the Christmas nativity stuff, but it beats me why we cannot let it slide, along with Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy; when the moment is right.
What to tell your girls?
Tell them to read up on 'Yahweh' when they are older and invite them to replace the name 'God' with 'Yahweh' whenever they read or hear any religious propaganda. Then see how silly it looks. :-)
Tell them to avoid the phrase, 'Christian principles' as it is a major strand of the con job perpetuated for so long. Explain that humans showed altruism and support and love for hundreds of thousands of years before a small sect of Yahweh's followers stumbled upon the concept as a great new angle.
Tell them the truth; that Daddy doesn't believe in any gods. A little seed will be planted which hopefully, one day, will allow them to flourish into strong and independent free thinkers.
I have to sign off now and we haven't even started on Islam or the Chineese yet! :-)