My blog hatching takes place at five in the morning, in the dark, in bed, with a cup of strong coffee stimulating a half-asleep brain. The hatching process is linear, something like this.
- I saw the priest driving down the barangay road yesterday afternoon. His car was packed full of young boys.
- The Catholic Church can't seem to rid itself of its problems with child abuse.
- The Church expects its priests and nuns to live artificial lives in which natural urges are stifled. So the urges squirt out in unnatural ways.
- All religions expect us to accept on faith what they explain. They ask us to believe the unbelievable, like a man swallowed by a fish and a boat with every creature in the world on it (there are billions) and Moses living 900 years.
- I believe in allegory, and have faith in the lessons taught.
- That would be a good blog.
- Christ, now I have to explain my religious beliefs to my readers.
I believe in God as the mystery and power of the universe. He is not of human shape or intellect. He runs through us all, connecting us in a shapeless, invisible, indefinable, universal mist of unknown composition.
He does not direct our actions. Our actions are wholly ours to claim. So while there is connection, there is also independence of thought and act.
God is the context, we are the incidents.
The bible, the churches, the priests and preachers, the lessons taught. They are of man. Most are good.
Religious literature and lessons originated as a way for man to explain the unknown. The buildings and preachers were schools that also gave comfort in a mysterious and dangerous world. They offered knowledge, pre-science. Explaining the unknown. Those holding the knowledge claimed a place above man. Rather like BongV and BenignO (but not your venerable, humble JoeAm, who has no interest in shaping his subjects in his likeness). (Horrors! God forbid!)
Churches have persevered because they were also pre-medicine and pre-law. They kept us healthy (don't eat diseased pigs) and in line (obey the ten commandments). They helped us function as a community that is not animalistic and at each others' throats, and enabled us to deal with the pains imposed upon mankind for no reason we could figure out.
Because we needed a reason, we made stuff up.
But churches have held onto their outdated knowledge while modern awareness, shaped by science, moves on. The recalcitrant churches, those that insist on being narrow, stubborn, dogmatic places, are in a position of growing irrelevance.
But God is the same as He always was.
Church values and abuse of those values can be found around the world. They pop up in the Philippines where good Catholic Filipinos always seem to have one hand on a gun, ready to shoot anyone who would dare slap them on the cheek. Many intelligent, upstanding Filipinos have one hand on the bible and another in the people's wallet.
I hold to my faith in the lessons of the Church - how to live healthy and peacefully within the community of man - whilst taking their preachings as so much aging argument and self-serving bluster. And I view most church-goers as handicapped people, people with good intent who are bound to the devil through the weakness of their needs and our humanity.
I don't know why God imposes so much pain on people. I do know it is within our grasp to ease the suffering. It is within the grasp of man, apart from God, to be responsible, and to achieve . . .
Looking about the wretchedly poor and unhealthy Philippines, I am amazed that people here care so little to do that.