In other words, you've reached the juicy stuff. Watch me burn in Hell for this entry.
If all the Christians/Catholics/Presbyterians/Methodists/All other followers of Jesus/Joshua/Jehovah/Yahweh/God have been right all along, I'm on a one way route, no U-turn, no get-out-of-jail-free path to Hell, please don't stop to collect $200 thank you very much.
Went for Bunnygirl's [GF of the Turtle] baptism mass with Juls tonight, at Turtle's church. [Yea, they share the same church. How romantic is that? :p]
It struck me how much of the Catholic Church is so ritualistic, formal, and unyielding. Everything is about ceremony, and God forbid [pun intended] you disturb the ceremony in any way. People around you will glare at you with holy righteousness, as if they could smite you then and there.
So what's so important about ceremony? About ritual? If I remember my [extremely limited] knowledge of the Bible, Jesus didn't come to earth and dictate that his church had to be run as a religious bureaucracy. All the hierarchy, structure and unquestioning obedience to ritual came courtesy of [ta-dah] the Romans, glorious conquerors and onetime worldwide [or rather empirewide] persecution of Christians.
So Jesus didn't teach us to do this, do that, and do this again during mass. All that came much, much later with the Romans and 2000 years of Church hierarchy.
Then there's the part about "Believe in God and thou shalt be saved" bull that I never really believed in. The priest presiding over the mass [if Turtle or Bunnygirl be reading this, forgive my brutal opinions] talked about how some people were "called", and answered the call, while others were called, but didn't answer, or weren't ready to answer. I don't know if I was oversensitive, but I seemed to detect a faintly condescending tone as he said it, like "Well, too bad for them then. *sniff*"
Then later, he specially announced 5 other people, who used to be Presby/Method/Christian but were now accepting the Catholic Church, and welcome to the great Catholic family!
I believe Juls said it best when he described them as 'poaching' people from other denominations. Please, people, this is not a contest between how many people believe in your idea of God. God is God. He is Who He is.
Believe in God? Which God? Only your God? Or other people's versions of God? What if I don't believe in God? What if I have doubts about God? What about my friends who don't believe in God but are good people? What about a lifelong bastard who is baptised? Does he go to Heaven? What if I'm ok with God but I can't stand his fan club? And all its different branches?
The main question being: Is God such a petty, egoistic God that if I don't believe in Him as much as he would like me to, He'd send me straight to Hell?
Questions, questions, questions.... How do we separate the real essence of God apart from what His fan club has joyously proclaimed over so many years? How do we separate His teachings from the Church's teachings? [oh trust me, there are many examples where they are plenty different]
Can we believe everything the Church tells us? Can we even believe the Bible?
Am I a blasphemous whore for asking such questions? Should I have more faith? But then, did Christ not teach us to question? Did Christ not go against the authority of his day, the Pharisees? Overthrow established practices when he knew that the Temple was rotting from within?
And the worse question of all: Was there even a Christ?
Cue to the lightning falling from the sky and blasting my computer into pieces, yet miraculously sparing my parents sleeping upstairs and my neighbours next door.
*groan* It's harder to be a heretic than most people think. So much easier sometimes, to just blindly accept the answers given, as I used to do, and just take it that "God works in mysterious ways". [The Church's standard answer to anything that doesn't go anyone's way]
But then again, I never was one for following established authority. Ha.
My final stance on religion: I believe in God. I just don't believe most of the propaganda and marketing merchandise his fan club churns out.