Sunday, July 30, 2006
In the Catholic Church, you have the problem with so many diseased priests and a corrupt, autocratic hierarchy. In the Protestant Churches you have so many junk of people who participate in the rituals and the higher echelons of the Churches, even if they are not clergy. The issue is if you are going to make a Church open to anyone, it will always result in this problem. Apparently it does not bother too many people. In fact, it seems for many Church-going people, the more pigs in a Church, the more they fit in or the more they have things to gossip about. I personally find it repulsive.
So I was thinking about a different format. I think going to Church once a week is cool if there is an important message from the clergy each week. For me, that should be the main objective of a service. However, then I think people could form very small groups (such as 4-6 people) to discuss what was preached. And you have to like and respect the other people, it's like a mutual choice, not groups one is assigned to. I don't like Bible study groups, because on the whole I find the discussions so stupid. I don't think the Bible has much to offer alone, a lot more has been written in better and more sophisticated ways for guiding people about their lives. Evidently you can see that I am not a Christian by certain criteria, but am partially by others. Just as I am partially a lot of other religions. Or if there cannot be a "partial" definition to belonging to a certain religion, than I have my own religion.
On a related note, but a completely different subject, a couple of weeks ago I saw a documentary that had a most promising title, but turned out to be another junkumentary production. A "junkumentary" is one of those cheaply churned out television "documentaries" that have no intellectual depth whatsoever, more like a series of inane comments filling the junctures between endless meaningless glossy film takes. On the whole, highly unsatisfactory and a waste of time. But the subtitle was regarding the transition of cultures who had many gods to a monotheistic system that remains quite prevalent still in our modern times in many of the main mass religions. Why did this monumental shift happen and became dominant? I know there are some good books on the subject (polytheistic vs monotheistic), but apparently no one has produced a good documentary on it yet. And I am not about to go and read the books because this subject is of tangential interest to me.
I have always perceived Catholicism in particular to be polytheistic - but a certain disguised polytheism, in a different way than the ancient Greek or Roman religions, for example, which stated outright their polytheism. Because in Catholicism, first of all, you have the duality of God and Jesus (more than one) and then you have the whole pantheon of saints - who for many people function as second-level gods - they worship them, they pray for them, etc. Just like for the Romans and Greeks you had the big celebrity gods and then the minor ones, but for which people prayed for as well regarding different deeds, pledges, situations. In Catholicism, in addition, you also have Mary, who became revered like a semi-god, and is of course, female. So Catholicism to me is far from being strictly monotheistic.
Another related subject I find fascinating are the changes in the representation of God, specially in this last century. The modern "God" I see portrayed in many protestant churches nowadays seems to have completely lost the punitive, terrorizing, brazen aspects that were one of the main imprints in the Middle Ages and closer up to the modern ages, although many Christians seem to still love the "lord/master" aspect of God.
The "lord" characteristic relates to what is a really sick aspect of a lot of Christians: how they love to resign to other people's suffering and malaise - to the point that many revel in it. "It's the will of god" is the explanation dogmatically applied in millions of situations that could have been 1) avoided, because they were the result of human evil doing; 2) not gone unpunished or unresolved, because again, people could have acted differently in the aftermath. Many religious folks are really shamefully egoistic and insensitive and this passivity is nothing but a tremendous self-serving cowardice in the face of evil. Another thing that makes me disgusted with many religious people I have contact with.