In many things, God, country, people, law, love, the afterlife and a host of many other common household beliefs, but, in the age of reason, that all slowly changed. Some of them returned, while others worsened until what once meant something to me now only bothers the hell out of me, like Government and the tooth fairy. And it's not like I just one day woke up and thought, nah, Fuck it, I quit you Love. I, like so many others, am victim to life's relentless games. A constant flow of bullshit pounding me day in and day out. And you can't escape it. I wake to it on the morning news, battle it on the drive in to work, deal with it throughout the workday, curse at it on the drive home, and throw my hands up at it at the nightly news. The only real solace is when I am asleep, and that can sometimes be chock full of more headaches, nightmares, night sweats, wet dreams, morning wood and the dreaded insomnia. My God!
There are six (probably more, but six is enough for now) reasons why I used to believe. They are, in no specific order;
Manipulation of words and events.
Generally it only takes one good reason to cause the balloon of faith for me to deflate. Someone good natured and full of love died of a terrible disease, when someone vile and evil to the core dismembers a few children, sends photos of this to the parents, gets caught and serves life in prison without parole. That's life, they say. Bullshit, I rebut. That is the system being to lenient on the real assholes. Another pin to the elastic is blatant horrors that can never be replaced, no matter how much money you pay someone. That's right, I am talking about priest touching little children. Specifically, my religions priest. And before my fellow Catholics get any ants in their pants, I know it's not just Catholic priest; however, if I cast a stone in a random direction, chances are it would smite a Catholic pedophile, before any other religious leader.
The central argument for the reason abuse is so rampant in the Catholic church happens to also be the keystone of reason that set off countless inconsistencies, and my eventual muffled admission of being Catholic whenever someone asked. If Father Flanagan could flog Molly rather than Pete in the privacy of his own confessional, a lot of this debauchery would end in the church, but someone went and made up this rule that God says in order to serve Him you must do so with a vow of celibacy. And I will not get into the reason Priest take the oath, nor the ludicrous symbolism behind the covenant, and how nuns are the multitude of wives for the Father to enjoy at his leisure. I am aware of the rules, so don't waste the time explaining them to me in the comments. If, and I stress this with enormous bold lettering not found on my drop down menu, the world worked the same way it had two hundred years ago, one could see how this vow of celibacy and faith to the All Father made logical sense. The purest of being, or at least the purest humans can be at anything, God's soldiers in the sinful world to assist the wicked, offering them a way out from their unholy lives and into the hands of Jesus. The problem with this is that times changed, but the church remained firm in its traditions.
And though it made no sense to me, I still went along with it. My thinking was this. If a man can remain a virgin his entire life and not be the least bit excited by a huge pair of tits (and was not gay, which would be awfully inconsiderate to the other Priests) he must be far more god-like than I was, so why not trust in him to an extent. Confess to him on Sunday's and feel as though I had spoke to God. Which reminds me. For those who think Mary is not a conduit to the LORD and feel pushing her aside seems a better alternative, then you might as well give up your religion because you are doing the same thing to each pastor, each "Faith Counselor", each Rabbi, each Man of God every time your confide in Him through him. Back to my point. Today's God surely compensates a little on the naughty list, because you can't have some of the values and traditions of God from 200 years ago and the God of tomorrow. It would be like asking a Caveman to teach the physics of the wheel to a bunch of Neanderthals. Think about that for a moment.
For me, asking a Priest to remain celibate is not only cruel, but not exactly what God had in mind when he created us in his image, which begs the question if God is the most powerful Hermaphrodite in the known universe. He would have to be in order to work out all the nuances of women, and how to make them mesh with men long enough to procreate. But deeming women as the forbidden fruit just contradicts, for me, a few commandments. Would this solve all of the abuse in the Catholic church? I doubt it, but it would certainly cut down on all of the abuse currently running rampant. Child touching, without all of the other stigmas attached to this, child molestation alone is enough to strip the holy representative of any God-like attachments. The accused should be (if convicted) immediately castrated. Keep in mind, The Crusades did far worse to innocent people for far lesser reason. But (and it still fucks with me to no end to know this) not only are those Priest who openly touch children not reprimanded and ostracized from the church for life, they are moved to more secluded parishes in the world with a slap on the wrist. Their victims are paid ungodly amounts of Shut-The-Fuck-Up money (settlements for those wondering) and the demon that is the media exorcised by Out of Sight, Out of Mind. But this is not the topper for me. There is one thing I have heard many times by Catholics, Priest and supporters from all around the world. I am willing to bet each and every one of you reading this has heard it, at least, a dozen times. "The Bible said His Church Would Be Condemned." This was the moment I no longer cared about my faith, and nearly dropped God in the process.
Really? One of the more heinous human acts has become, in biblical speak, an excuse for the travesties occurring in our church. And AMAZINGLY people accept this. "There are bad apples in every basket" or "you can not judge a whole religion on a few bad seeds." Yes. Yes, you can. I can because of all the other religions, only Catholics try their own. Only Catholics have a "city" to call their own. Only Catholics can openly settle cases and ship those fucking bad apples to a new basket elsewhere. In a word, I was Floored. Embarrassed. Humiliated. Ashamed. Shocked. This was not a religion I wanted to be a part of. With the information age, other religions started to have their own unbelievable stories as well. Wives killing their pastor husbands who abused them, had affairs on them, touched their kids inappropriately. Religion was suddenly the place where completely evil fucking people came together a couple of days a week to have some child touching, neighbor coveting, child porn loving dill-weed tell them God says you are all forgiven. See you same time next week for more sin forgiving. Don't forget to tip your baskets on the way out.
No. I do not believe in Religion as much as I once had. So, am I a Catholic? Someone commented that if I am not following their rules then I am not one of "them". I tend to disagree. I do so because I sat in a tiny room with a Priest. A statue of the Lord God sat on a table, a statue of the virgin Mary stood in a corner, the Pope John Paul II hung on the wall in a nice little Rembrandt painting, all looking back at me as Father Pontichello looked me in the eye and asked me. "What is God to you?" When I emerged from that confessional, a decision to baptize me (without the schooling) was made. Whatever I told the Priest, a man of God, the assigned hall monitor to the gates of heaven, it was enough for him to break and bend some rules of his church, The Catholic Church. And like any gang, once you have been jumped in, you're in for life. I may not follow the rules, but I believe in what the institution was built around. I just do not believe in the representation. When I realized there was no rule with God, when I removed all of the outside distraction, when I looked tradition into the face and spat, when I no longer allowed someone else to tell me how to believe, I found My God again...and I am grateful for that, even though my refusal to follow the rules can sometimes make me feel like an outcast. I have one advantage, I think, over my fellow Catholics. When I step inside our church and pay homage or respect or just to say hello to the best idea we have of My God, I do so without the stigma of bullshit that comes with the process. I go and I worship. I go and I make peace with my sins. I go and I listen for those few moments when Jesus is even part of the discussion (90% of the time its about everyone else) and I save face. And then I eat My God. I consume his flesh and drink his blood...wait a minute...What?