Monday, March 10, 2008

God's administrators and New Sin.

Organised religions often do things that make me raise my eyebrows or shake my head in disbelief. Once in a while they do something that has me rolling on the floor laughing.

The Catholic Church just did one of those things.

I'll look for a more permanent link because Yahoo news links disappear after a while.

Edit: a more stable source, I think.

The gist of it is this: The Catholics have just made up a whole slew of new mortal sins. They don't even pretend to have received these from God. All these new sins are things the Catholic Church doesn't like. Drugs, genetic experimentation, pollution and so on. They include 'excessive wealth' as a sin.

That's where I lost it. I laughed until it hurt.

The Catholic Church condemns excessive wealth as a sin. One of the richest organisations on the planet. The organisation that has just accepted Tony Blair, whose income can only be described as obscene. Is he going to give it all away? Excuse me, I feel another bout of mirth coming on.

It gets better.

The only way to avoid the fiery lakes is to confess all to a priest, who will decide whether you can be forgiven. Again, God doesn't get a say in this. It's up to a man in a dress to decide whether you float on clouds or burning sulphur when you die.

Now, I've never been religiously inclined, but it's always been my understanding that, in most religions, God doesn't delegate. If he says you burn, then you burn. The administrators of his work don't have executive power. Even the Pope doesn't have final say. Watch out guys, the Boss might be around here somewhere.

Does this list of new sins sway me towards a religious life? Well, I haven't committed any of them although I'd quite like to try out the 'excessive wealth' one. Not permanently, of course. Only until I die.

All the same, adding random new restrictions to life isn't going to win any converts. Neither is the obvious implication that the members of this church are going to be subjected to new and changing rules on the whim of their leaders, at any time and for no reason. It definitely puts me off ever joining Catholicism and it's going to make any current Catholic wonder for a moment.

Where does God come into it? In this case, he doesn't. None of this makes even a pretence at being 'the word of God'. It's the prejudices of man, nothing more. Nobody is going to rush out and join a religion that does things like this.

In fact, it's going to make their existing congregations think 'Well, if they've just made up this part of it...'


Romulus Crowe said...

Forgot to add - if there are any devout catholics out there who are concerned for their immortal souls because they have too much money, I will be pleased to save you from yourselves. Just send me the excess money and we'll say no more about it.

ThatGreenyFlower said...

Romulus, I can SO help you save the sinners of this world from the dangers of excessive wealth. Please let me know when the cash starts rolling in. Thanks!

Romulus Crowe said...

TGF, that's serious synchronisation. I was just over at your place leaving a comment!

I suspect there are so many wealthy religious people to save that I might need a few assistants. Maybe even a whole organisation. Maybe even a TV show where I talk a lot and people send money... oh wait, I think that particular racket is in operation already.

Nah. Scratch the TV show. I don't look good in Brylcreem.

Dr. Brainiac said...

They've been making it up as they go all along. Religion is about nothing more than money (they want ours but now it's a sin to have very much of our own) and social control (nobody but them can do anything fun).

Romulus Crowe said...

A Scottish friend of mine once said that all religions suffer from one big flaw. Sooner or later, they want his money.

I agree - anyone who gets you to join something that promises spirituality yet costs money is running a scam or a pyramid scheme of some kind.

Religion isn't my sort of thing at all. If there's a God he's shown no interest in me so I show none in him. I've managed on my own so far.

Still, I don't think religion in itself is the problem. People can believe whatever they like. It's when the thing grows so large that a bunch of - well, politicians, I suppose - decide they're going to run it.

They always overcharge, those politicians. Funny they never seem to do anything useful with the money.

Dr. Brainiac said...

Well dear, the lollipops they use to seduce the altarboys probably aren't free.

Romulus Crowe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Romulus Crowe said...

The deleted comment was me. I messed up.

I hear Elliot Spitzer visited a prostitute who charged $1000 an hour. I bet she retires early. What if you take an hour and five minutes though? Hmm, I hope he had a timer with him.

British politicians have covered the whole range of sexual deviancy and have carried out scams nobody else has thought of, all paid for by the taxpayers.

One thing I'll say in favour of the religions - at least you can opt out of paying them!

They're all the same in the end. It's just that religious leaders don't have the revenue man on their side. Politicians in white dog-collars, and just as trustworthy.

Dr. Brainiac said...

Romulus Crowe said...

Hi Dr. B.

I took a look at the sites but they're unpreaching to the unconverted in my case.

My position on religion is a definitive 'don't care'.

There might be a God or Gods, there might not be. I don't care. I haven't been struck down for this view so far. I've been close to a few lightning strikes and have been pleased to call out 'Missed' each time. No smiting has come my way, even though I dabble in things that would have had me tied to the fiery pole not so long ago.

From what I've seen, there's nothing to suggest anyone is running the afterlife. It seems to be as much of a shambles as this one.

I'm not interested in joining any group that claims I'll get benefits after I die as long as I give them money now. That's what life insurance companies do. You die, you win. Somehow that's never worked for me. I remember laughing at 'Kissing Hank's Ass' on YouTube. It was on one of your Monday video sessions. Yet it does fit very well with religion - and life insurance for the single, for that matter.

Most religions require getting up early on a Sunday. Not for me. Sunday night is one of the best nights for investigations. Nothing supernatural in that - it's because all the children have to get up for school and all the drunks have spent their money on Friday and Saturday and now have to recover in time for work. Sunday nights are interference-free.

Some people like being religious. I won't join them but that's their choice. I won't accept the authority of someone who can't prove their right to that authority. I can't just 'believe'.

Sometimes evangelists take issue with this point of view and insist that I must 'seek Jesus now'. Well, okay, tell me where he's hiding and I'll go visit. If they've 'found Jesus' then they must know where to look.

None do.

Religion, to me, is rather like politics. Some belong to one party, some to another. Every party claims to be the only one with the route to Salvation and the route always lies along a toll road. The difference is that politicians can take your money whether you're a member of their party or not. Religion at least gives you a choice. I choose none of them.

But what if you do choose, and you pick the wrong one? All that piety, all that self-denial, all those donations and you end up joining me in Hell anyway.

Still, there are worse options than Hell. Reincarnation, for one.

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