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Why I Love The Pope - The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal
August 2nd, 2003
12:18 pm

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Why I Love The Pope

Kibbles posted an angry screed the other day that the pope had denounced gay sex, calling it "serious depravity" and "deviant." She was furious about it, and on many levels she's perfectly right.

But me? I love the Pope, and in some ways I'm glad that he said it.

Don't get me wrong; I don't hate gays, and I don't think that gay sex is immoral. (Just shoot me if that's the case, punkie - I've had my summer camp experience.) I think that in this particular case, the Pope is 100% wrong. But one of the things that always irritates me when people denounce the Catholic Church is their surprise and irritation that the Church is so far behind the times. Don't they realize that most people support abortion rights and gay rights?

Let's get something straight: The Church is, first and foremost, intended to be a moral organization - something that tells people what's right and what's wrong. (Whether they accomplish that on a consistent basis is another debate, but let's set that one aside for the moment.) For thousands of years, the Church has held to its beliefs and traditions - and that's because when you boil it down, the church believes there is Good with a capital "G" that gets you into heaven, and there is Evil that condemns you to eternal fire.

It also believes - and this is the amazing part - that we don't get to define which is which.

That's right, folks - if God really is in charge, then our whining bullshit to argue what's right and what's wrong is completely fucking irrelevant. In the Pope's world, this isn't a democracy. It's his job to figure out what God really wants - and what the Devil doesn't - and to work his ass off so that people don't fucking do bad things.

I love that.

It's misguided sometimes, but I love it. There's such a insidious tide of moral relatavism in America these days, a slippery slope where every action can be justified. That's partially evaporated once the planes hit the towers, but there's still a frightening willingness to say, "The people in Africa and the Middle East aren't bad or backwards - they're just differently-cultured! If we talk to them, we'll surely get through..."

In other words, hey, we're all just good people; some of us just do bad things because they're not properly enlightened. Maybe everyone has a good point.

Bullshit. Some people are wrong, and they do bad things, and it doesn't matter. I don't give a shit about your bad childhood or your cultural upbringing, if you're cheating on your partner behind her back or hitting your kids, you're fucking wrong.

Sometimes, there are moral absolutes.

People mock Christians for their beliefs, as if morality was really just a big democracy. Whatever we decide is right. And if we say that hey, killing kids in the womb is right, you should agree. If we say that your most morally-abhorrent taboos are right, you should just cave. If we say that Jews are bad and should be gassed, you should just cave.

Oh, wait, that last one was also decided by the majority? Oh, fuck.

I don't agree with the Church's stance on abortion or gays or even women... But I respect the fact that they believe it and they're not fucking changing for you or anyone. Yeah, you might disagree... But to them, it's a very clear line between heaven and hell, between right and wrong, and it's not something that everyone gets to vote on.

Sometimes, I think we could all use a little bit of that steel in our lives.

Current Mood: impressedimpressed

(39 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

Comments
 
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From:llemma
Date:August 2nd, 2003 09:51 am (UTC)
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To be fair, what you're praising is the ideal of the Church, not how it's actually operated - since it tends to sway with the wind only slightly less than purely political institutions. They didn't put up much of a fuss about those Jews at the time.
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From:theferrett
Date:August 2nd, 2003 05:08 pm (UTC)
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Actually, that "The Church did jack-all about the Jews" is mostly myth. No, they didn't denounce the Nazis openly for political reasons, but the church (and, yes, the Pope) carried out several underground railroad-style situations where Jews were rescued. And he did pressure the Alliance to try and save the Jews specifically. They probably could have done more, but they didn't just stand there and whistle.

I wish I had the links to all of these, but they got lost in the computer crash. It was pretty interesting when I did the research on it, though.

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From:shawnj
Date:August 2nd, 2003 10:12 am (UTC)
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Sometimes, there are moral absolutes

To you.
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From:theferrett
Date:August 2nd, 2003 05:09 pm (UTC)
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No, they exist. The only question is whether you choose to acknowledge that evil exists, or not.
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From:force_of_will
Date:August 2nd, 2003 10:14 am (UTC)

I'm not sure I've ever done this one in front of you before...

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I think there is a rift between Christ and the Catholic church.

I think the biggest link in this is that the bible as we know it was put together and edited by the Romans, and I am always smacked by an underlying tinge to use the conversion to Christianity as a method for control. I have theorized that the churches mideval state of high control in the dark ages could possibly have been the fallout of this Roman edit/organization.

I have gotten these ideas mostly from ideas surfacing after the finding of the dead sea scrolls, where they have found such things as a gospel of mary magdelene and such.

With this are such ideas as the practices of early gnostic christians whos basic tenent was that moral behavior wasn't the issue but only the understanding and acceptance of God's infinite mercy. As such they committed the most dispicable acts they could to give the man a chance to comtemplate his extention of the hand of infinite mercy and forgiveness. The more tame view of course is the folk with whom Christ mingled and embraced. The taxman, the probable whore, the unclean, the diseased, in short the sinners. Perhaps more rightly the whole of mankind.

Further ideas include that the new testament is a code and that there was a split in the church involved. The easy key is that St Peter is not IN heaven but stands outside the pearly gates. The idea is that he wasn't actually, ahem, smart enough to grasps Christs teachings, but had ultimate faith in the son of god. Not for his understanding but for his faith is he given the ring and starts the line of popes. The other side is that outside of the Catholic church, if you can crack the new testament code, you can glimpse Christs actual Church of heaven, recieve a direct gnostic experience, etc, what Peter was not able to do.

Other radical ideas that go with this are stories that revolve around the grail legend. What we now form as a translation of "san greal" or "the cup" may actually have been "sang real" or "the blood of a king" and the secret that the Templars wound up guarding was that Mary Magdelen walked out of Israel and into what is now France carrying the "blood of the king" and the heir to the line of king David in her womb. This, I'm afraid was no immaculate conception.

Christ did not die on the cross. When on the cross he was not flanked by criminals but zealots, allied with his cause. He was given vinagar with poison, collapsed on the cross, was taken down and revived. Later when he was seen on the road by the disciples it was really him, and he lived a rather long life in hiding but still teaching.

Such are a few of the stories I know.

I do not disbelieve. The stories and so on, the ideas of divinity, the idea of divinity, are a part of this existance. If not for the individuals witness of the world there would be no divine. It must be transcendant.

As far as morality goes, well, I don't know that the Pope is right. I'm not sure why consenting homosexual activity is wrong. I'm more into intent. Yet evil may be the most subtle of things. Subtle and slippery. In the end I have decided that I fear not an afterlife of hell nor am I enticed by a vision of heavan. I am however wracked daily by a conscious that is central to my being.

I hope, that the mercy and forgiveness is indeed, infinite. That this is a paradox, well, the world may be seated as one.

Will
(Deleted comment)
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From:the_siobhan
Date:August 2nd, 2003 10:51 am (UTC)

gay rights

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I think it depends on where you are getting your statistics. It's probably a majority in urban centres, especially in the north-east.

It's a majority in Canada overall. Barely, but a majority nonetheless.

(I think that proves that we win.) :-)

(Deleted comment)
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From:theferrett
Date:August 2nd, 2003 05:16 pm (UTC)

Re: A short lesson in church history

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Well, I hope I have said enough to establish that the Church is as timebound as any other human institution.

No, actually what you proved is that the Church occasionally shifts positions on things. That's not nearly the same.

The Church changes. I never said it was timeless, and influences of the real world seep in - as they should. Many people may take different approaches to what the right thing is... And time may prove whether something is sinful or not.

What you are saying is that the Church varies its approach, and weights different sins. What I am saying is that the Church keeps its traditions and doesn't shift just because people think it's about time. The two statements aren't mutually exclusive.
From:toiletduckagd
Date:August 2nd, 2003 10:54 am (UTC)

Nitpicking aside..

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I fully agree with this, well put :)
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From:icyphoenix
Date:August 2nd, 2003 11:36 am (UTC)

Random promotion post that has nothing to do with the Pope

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Submit stuff to my bad poetry contest! ^.^
Hoping Ferrett at least will do so because he's a good writer. =P
Everyone else is invited as well.
Please?
It's in my journal.
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From:lysana
Date:August 2nd, 2003 08:13 pm (UTC)
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I'm with you about moral absolutes. There is a core foundation which should be agreed upon, or else we're building our entire philsophy on shifting sands. I shudder to think that "evil" can be called relative past a certain point. That way leads to justifying serial killers.
From:iain
Date:August 3rd, 2003 04:54 am (UTC)
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Reading this triggered a thought in my mind: If a gay person never had homosexual relations and settled down with a wife and family for the rest of his life as some kind of cover, not repressing his desires in the strictest sense of the word but never giving in to them either, would they still be sinning? Is the sin in the act of sodomy, or is it in the desire? I wonder what the church's position on this is.
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From:theferrett
Date:August 8th, 2003 02:49 pm (UTC)
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Sin's the desire, technically - as George Carlin says, "If you say, 'I'm gonna go downtown today and commit a mortal sin,' save your carfare! You did it, man!" However, it's a lot easier to repent for desires than it is for actions.

Technically, you shouldn't feel that way at all, but I think the Church would be happier to have a converted gay who fights desires. Even though that trick never works, Bullwinkle.
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From:usmu
Date:August 4th, 2003 09:11 am (UTC)
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For thousands of years, the Church has held to its beliefs and traditions - and that's because when you boil it down, the church believes there is Good with a capital "G" that gets you into heaven, and there is Evil that condemns you to eternal fire.

That the Church (capital letter to signify the organization as opposed to the congregation) believes in both Good and Bad is a obvious conclusion.

Christianity can not seem to ultimately agree though which Good and Bad are though. In my town, with 25.000 inhabitants a reasonable but not big Dutch town, there are ten active Christian denominations. I'm not including two mosques, a Turkish and a Moroccan, here even though they seem to be applicable to me as well.

When it comes to sin a lot of religions do name a lot of the same sins, but sometimes never completely agree and almost never agree what is the right thing to do or if it indeed gets you into heaven. Jehovah witnesses for example, even though according to them they are the true believers, won't all go to heaven, only a chosen few.


It also believes - and this is the amazing part - that we don't get to define which is which.

The Christian Church has broken up, reformed and argued it's way through at least the last thousand or so years trying to find the "right" way of believing and getting into heaven.

Even though they might not believe that they have the ultimate say in what's Good and Bad, they did decide it what was the "Good way" of doing things, of defining morality.

In the Roman Catholic Church it once was considered Good behavior to literally pay for your sins and you buying your way into heaven wasn't uncommon. To a certain extent this is still true in the RC-church, giving money is still concerned a thing which might get you to heaven. This is not true though in Protestant believe in which the life you lead does not guarantee you a place in heaven period, God does.

In other words it seems there's a gap between belief and practice and between the different practices.


Sometimes, there are moral absolutes

Moral absolutes are always or never, not sometimes. You can't have your cake and eat it. Thou shalt not kill also means thou shalt not kill in self defense. Even though the latter is considered less of sin then the former.


Sometimes, I think we could all use a little bit of that steel in our lives

Where the organization is not working for me, I do respect people who have firm beliefs and stick with them. I know people who have suffered because they're gay/bi and struggled with that because of their religion. It does take steel.

The Pope speaks not as an individual, but as a representative for the organization. In that respect he's speaking for a defective organization and I don't care much for him, not as I do for him on a personal level. The pope is entitled to his own piece of steel, as long as he doesn't want to ram it down the throats of anybody else who doesn't agree with him. And organized religion mostly wants to do just that.

Philosophical side note:
Having a deterministic view on life, as you well know, morality is a bit of a mood point to me personally, as predetermination ultimately does not give people a choice in how they behave and what they do. As such morality, or the justice system for that matter, are artificial constructs to keep society functioning.
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From:zigurat
Date:August 8th, 2003 09:08 am (UTC)
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The commandment is not "thou shalt not kill". Bad translation. It's actually closer to "thou shalt do no murder".

Translation is a real problem.
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From:lordreaibn
Date:August 4th, 2003 11:51 am (UTC)
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amen.
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From:zigurat
Date:August 8th, 2003 09:25 am (UTC)
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You may be a sinner (who isn't?--that seems to be the point any christian church I know of makes), but at least you're intellectually honest. I definitely admire the pope, though I quite disagree with anyone taking such a high position on themselves--there's only one intermediary. But that aside.

The intolerance of those who preach tolerance in the name of advancing their own agenda has gotten to a really absurd level. If you're going to be tolerant, that means you have to accept those who are trying to change the world counter to the way you're trying to change it--without of course accepting their actions. The only people I know who can do this are Christians. I don't know of any other system of belief that is both internally consistent and tolerant.

Of course, this all means that I have to accuse you of some level of intellectual dishonesty, because you can't really be tolerant. ;-)

Real liberals seem the worst about this--intolerance for anyone with a different point of view, because the opposing view also embraces changing the world to it's image. It's about power to advance your own agenda, to most people. It is absurd that people are ignorant that it's all about power, or won't admit it. Ultimately, the power of good v. evil, God v. Satan. I've met so many people who really believe in world peace, that everyone could agree to disagree and let it rest. It's sad.
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From:theferrett
Date:August 8th, 2003 02:52 pm (UTC)
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Tolerance is a very funny thing. If you want to change the world, you are by definition INtolerant. What you really WANT to be is "loving," since you can love someone and actively work to undermine the life they want for their own good, as opposed to "tolerant," which means you'll sit there and take it. It's possible to disagree with respect.

My entire point is, as you seem to have picked up on, that it's not wrong to want to change the world, and it's not wrong to be honest about your agenda.
Good to have you back, chief. Missed ya. Real thrilled when I found out who you were.
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