A Fool Among Fools

Regular readers of Sparrow Chat will be well aware of the opinion of this writer on matters of organized religion. There are two distinct ways to control and manipulate the human species. Both have been practiced and perfected over millennia. One is via the political process, and the other is through religion.

Quite what it is that draws thousands of otherwise normal human beings to assemble en masse before a gray-haired old geezer in a frock coat and silly hat, while he spouts a load of mumbo-jumbo in the guise of producing a saint out of a long-dead monk unknown to 99% of humanity, is beyond normal comprehension. Nevertheless, that is what happened in Sao Paulo, Brazil this very day.

Years ago, as a young boy, I remember watching on TV, black and white film shot by explorers in Africa. The quaint rituals of witch-doctors were fascinating to a child experiencing such strange wonders for the first time, so different from the mundanity of everyday British life. The antics of Pope Benedict the whatever, share a startling similarity with those voodoo witchdoctor’s rituals that held me spellbound fifty years ago.

Part of the ritual involved this Catholic Pontiff embracing a women and her son. The woman had a uterine malformation that should have prevented her from bearing children, but after swallowing paper with a Latin prayer inscribed on it, the lady became pregnant. Friar Galvao, the Church of Rome’s latest No 1 hit in the Top Ten of Catholic Saints, is credited with inventing the idea, though how the good lady managed to swallow one of his Latin prayers for lunch is a mystery, given that Friar Galvao lived in the eighteenth century.

The more serious aspect of Benedict’s visit to Brazil has to to do with his biased opinions regarding abortion, and the state’s intention to legalize the operation. Benedict doesn’t approve, and is attempting to dissuade the government from its actions. Today, during the canonization of long-rotted Friar Galvao, the hypocrite Pope encouraged his flock to help the needy “in an age so full of hedonism”

“Hedonism” is the pursuit of happiness or pleasure as the chief good in life. Pope Benedict the whatever doesn’t want us to be happy. He believes pleasure is a sin. He wants us all to be miserable, just as he isn’t. He has all the trappings of luxury: fine food, beautiful villas, magnificent works of art, everything his heart desires, but he expects his flock to seek misery, poverty, unhappiness.

Never mind if an unwanted pregnancy ruins the life of a young woman; it’s God’s will that she should die from a back-street abortion rather than be granted modern medical care. Never mind that it’s the dogma of a bigoted old fool that caused her pregnancy, by denying her the contraception that would have prevented it. Never mind that it’s the dogma of a bigoted old fool who says she should deny her natural desires and instincts, and not have sex unless she is married according to the dictates of the old fool.

The old fool will tell you it’s God’s will.

How does he know it’s God’s will, when the rest of us haven’t a clue what God’s will is, or even if “God” exists at all?

If there is one person on this planet that can answer that question satisfactorily, then I personally will ordain that person a saint.

I defy anyone to answer it, because the old fool is just an old fool, and those who flock to hear his rantings are even greater fools than he.

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9 Replies to “A Fool Among Fools”

  1. You leap rather quickly from “the Pope says don’t fall for hedonism” to “the Pope thinks pleasure is a sin”. Actually, the Pope thinks pleasure is a gift from God, and that it’s a mistake to mix pleasure with sin. If you put pleasure or anything else before God, it is bound to sour. If you put God first, everything else assumes its proper proportions.

    Actually, the Pope’s message has included a great deal about the connection between Christianity and true joy and happiness, as opposed to the unhappiness caused by fleeing God or not listening to Him. (For example, in the Pope’s speech to youth the other night.)

    Of course, following Christ means taking up the cross, and accepting sorrow and pain. But sorrow and pain happen to hedonists, too, and they have no means of coping built into their philosophy.

    Meanwhile, your vision of a woman’s modern medical care seems a lot like devastation than a road to happiness and pleasure. Better that a woman should be treated like dirt and sent to doctors to have her children cut out of her, than that she and her boyfriends should hold back a little.

    Yet our society expects people to learn all sorts of complicated things with computers. It expects people not to follow their natural instincts to eat sugar and fat, and we look down on those who stuff themselves as instinct bids. And smoking and carbon production are clearly sins worthy of damnation right here on earth.

    We know God exists and cares for us, because God came down and told us so. He created us to love Him, to serve Him, and to be happy with Him forever.

    If you want a more detailed explanation, go read the old fool’s Introduction to Christianity. You’ll find it starts with him admitting that he sometimes feels like a clown trying to warn the town that it’s on fire.

  2. As hard as I try, I can’t recall whether I stopped believing in Santa or God first. All I know is, that I have conducted my life without both of them a longest time. Without too much damage to myself, I might add.

    To suggest somebody, who is a believer, that they could use their short time on earth in more useful pursuits than, for instance, kneeling on front of a religious ikons and prayin is useless, so, I will not. This has to be a personal matter of hard-wireing within us – one either believes or not. I don’t, I can’t and I haven’t found any reason to do so. This should not present too much of a problem for those who do, but it does. That’s the part I detest since it really is my damn business.

    The belief, that there is a all powerful, supreme being who created the universe and all the known and unknown creatures in it is simply a bit too much for me. What really takes the cake is our arrogant belief that in this mind boggling vastness, the supreme being has made us to his image and is intimately interested in my need to score the next touchdown, to get that high paying job or get my drunken, no good for nothing son out of jail. I also suspect, that the person with the mindset like that has given away his ability to think for himself and has limited his growth as a human. And yes, we are just a bunch of monkeys going neither heaven nor hell. Why is this so awful for so many, that they can’t face it?

  3. I would second Pekka. I, too, have not been given the gift of faith and find it hard to understand how people can get so worked up about their religion that they do the evil things that are so prevalent in the world.

    R.J. is right in comparing his childhood reaction to the voodoo priest to that of virtually any religion. The mumbo jumbo that is part of any religious service is designed to keep the infidels out, rather than bring people together.

    The older I get, the more convinced I become that religion is one of the greatest evils we have wrought in this world.

  4. Religion is often a symptom of a pathological disorder, a numbing of the mind and often of the spirit. Just the argument that we know God exists because he came down and told us so, is subject to suspicious concern. People believe that statement only because it has been repeated over and over to them in a type of brainwashing. Now it is parroted back and being reality. Sad that so many intelligent people are willing to speak false words only to sustain a human imposed world order that can not h

  5. I have no idea why that jumped into submit mode!

    Finishing the sentence: Sad that so many intelligent people are willing to speak false words only to sustain a human imposed world order that can not hold up under it’s own weight.

  6. Providing that Peachchick is right, and I have no doubt that she is, isn’t it scary that all your Senators, Congressmen and presidents are required to have a pathalocigal disorder? Unless, of course, this is just the manifestation of the American hypocracy gone wild. The freedom of religion should always include freedom from it!

  7. My old great grandmother used to say (in her best Highland accent): ‘E’s a MEERRRRRRE MON!’

    Nobody dared to contradict her.

  8. Maureen – welcome to Sparrow Chat. Your views may not be agreed with here, but they will be respected. Like many of your faith you suffer from the misplaced notion that the only way to true happiness is through your “God” or Jesus. This is not surprising, for it is a mantra constantly voiced by the churches. It is, however, a false notion, for there are many truly happy individuals who long ago gave up blind faith in a divinity somewhere “out there”, in favor of a belief in their true inner selves. To do so, however, demands full personal responsibility for one’s life and judgments. Not having the fall-back to, “Oh, it’s God’s will”, means taking absolute control of one’s life, the bad times as well as the good.
    Adherence to a divine belief, should they choose that path, is anyone’s right. Each being’s belief system is sacred, for it is the path they have chosen to walk through life and should be respected, provided it in no way infringes on the belief systems of others. Sadly, this has always been the primary goal of organized religion, to induce others by any means available – including fear, torture, exhortation and bribery – to “join the club”. Indeed, it was the stated primary purpose for Benedict’s visit to Brazil, to stem the flow of Catholics out of the Church. Personally, I have no issue with anyone who wishes to dress quaintly and address his followers. Freedom is a wonderful thing; we call it “having choices”. When that freedom is abused and the quaintly dressed individual and his followers use political ends to define and limit the choices of others, then he deserves the title “Clown”, and he will certainly never merit my respect.

    Pekka – each person’s beliefs are their own and the writers of the Constitution were wise in insisting religion has no place in government. We have seen, in the last six years, the chaos caused when that rule is allowed to lapse. The idea that no one is electable in America without a “Christian passcard” is utterly ludicrous to someone who has spent most of his life in Europe.

    Al – as most things, its not so much “religion” that’s evil, as what we’ve done with it.

    PM – your last sentence says it all. Sorry you had to write it twice!

    Anan – Yay, Grandma! I do believe I have more respect for her than for Benedict.

  9. Gee, RJ…how can you doubt something announced by a Ratzinger in a pointy hat, flanked by bishops and choirs and backed by a giant wooden cross? How can you doubt the weasel at all? He is probably very clean!

    In fallibility is a wonderful thing, just ask Bush.

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