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poor banished children of eve

June 29, 2011

With a minor rant on facebook (man do I need to quit fb for my own sanity), I thought I’d post something on pre-cana, and maybe religion in general.

First, a quick background. I was raised Roman Catholic and, while I know it’s the trend to basically switch over to either straight up atheist or _____ insert most extreme eastern religion here, I suppose I still identify myself as Catholic. Most religions –– especially Catholicism and especially recently –– get a bad rap. And while there have been just as many huge positive things the church has done throughout its history there have been just as many awful ones, as within any manmade institution. But I will say, relating to its tradition and wisdom, there is a big part that gets ignored, the part of mysticism and asceticism that seems to only get recognized or even mentioned in relation to the saints.

Anyway. I’m far from being “a good Catholic” and I’m far from not taking issue with some of its more fundamental teachings, if only to push and learn more. I think most of the issue comes when the dialogue gets shut down.

So the lady and myself have just finished the mandated pre-cana classes everyone is required to take to get married in a church. They’re basically doing two things: teaching the church’s stance on marriage and “sharing” personal experiences. Inherently, nothing wrong with that since we’re getting married in a church. The problem is the problem with religion in general, that they end up using an overly simplified version that misses the point. Everything gets put in a nice little box with a bow on top, which I guess is the problem with creating an organization out of a spiritual ideology. But that’s another debate..

One example, is looking to the 60s and essentially saying that the “sexual revolution” brought on more varied STDs. Except that AIDS originated in Africa prior to the 60s (I should probably check this..) and I’m pretty sure they weren’t sexually revolutionizing over there. Maybe people are unhappy these days because of huge egos and a decline in marriage, but I’m pretty sure the folks in ancient Greece and Rome underwent similar issues. (See: decadence and pederasts.)

Because everything fits into a nice, neat package, each priest or teacher thinks they can simply “teach” a religion, as if it was ever as simple as learning the steps and following the rules to get to heaven. And the best part, was that JC blasted the Pharisees for just that, for focusing too heavily on meaningless rules and thus missing the point entirely.

Instead of a running dialogue of exploration and discovery, you get a cut and dry version of ancient teachings that have huge implications.The over-simplification of exceedingly and immeasurably important issues almost feels like a crime. Like glossing over the finite nature of your body and the infinite nature of your soul. And the idea of a personal god. These are not easy topics and just the assumption that any of it can be simply written down and understood, tends to bug me because it cheats people out of a fulfilling religious or spiritual experience. It takes lifetimes to sort out this kind of stuff and people have been trying to do just that for as long as they’ve been in existence.

Another idea put forth is that it’s your moral responsibility to have children. The only reason the governments and religious institutions of countries with declining populations are worried is not because of a moral decline, but because of dollar signs. “It’s all economics,” as one certain wise man once –– and continues –– to say. They’re worried about competing in the global market and their military numbers once China and North Korea decide to start WWIII. It’s also not your business to tell people what their business should be. The church isn’t worried about families falling apart because it’s sad and signaling a turn away from God –– it’s sad because a decline in Catholic kids and families, means a decline in Catholic dollars.

But sometimes you gotta suck it up and get married in a church. There are a lot of things I love about Catholicism and it’s only fair I do a future post about those as well. I guess I’m just better at being bothered.

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