Thinking about Alpha Unit’s latest, I love the Catholic religion, and I even call myself a Catholic on Internet surveys, even though I have not yet converted, and may never. I moved to an Hispanic town, and the happening religion here is Catholicism, so I started going to Mass for the Hell of it.
Now, I happen to think that the Church is full of crap on a million things, especially birth control, gays, abortion and immigration. But there is something special about a Mass, and I’ve been going to them lately.
I hate going to just about any Christian Church, and I haven’t gone to the churches of my Protestant religion for many years. Further, I dislike most Protestants. They’re way too uptight, and it’s all about this sickening White middle class morality that I grew up with and came to despise.
Protestantism, to me, is all about how I’m an evil, scummy, disgusting, immoral sinner!
Why? Because I hate. Because I get high on dope. Because I drink booze. Because I’ve spent most of my life trying, often successfully, to screw any nice looking female that moves. Because I fight back when someone attacks me. Because my enemies aren’t always right and I’m not always wrong. Because I’m happy working less than 40 hours a week. Because I’ll live off free money if I can figure out a way to get some flowing my way. Because I support non-state armed struggle (“terrorism”), as opposed to state violence that everyone loves. Because I used to sell dope. Because I like to shoplift a piece of candy now and again.
It’s just guilt, guilt, guilt, and I’m evil, I’m evil, I’m evil. That’s been the message to me from these Protestant shits my whole life. On the contrary, Hispanic Catholics never tell me that. It’s assumed we’re all a bunch of scumbag sinners. Big deal. That’s what the confession booth is for, folks. We’re always trying to do better, but we keep on sinning anyway. It’s a neverending struggle, but as long as you’re trying, you’re a good Catholic. You get to feel guilty, but everyone else feels guilty too, and no one acts like you’re worse than they are.
A religion just made for me!
The Catholic Mass is great. I prefer the Spanish language Mass because Hispanics are so much cooler than White people, plus the music is way better. The White Catholic Mass is what you would expect, a bunch of really uptight White people! Who needs that? I’ve been living with that BS my whole life.
The whole Mass is a great big ritual with a number of steps. The priest waves, you stand up, cross yourselves, mumble something, and kneel down. Then you stop kneeling and sit. There must be 20 or so steps like this. The priest lights some candles, eats something, and drinks some wine. A religion where the Holy Man drinks booze at the ceremony! Yo! My kinda religion, baby!
At a Catholic Mass you do your own thing. There’s people here and there alone, tripping away. They’re off in their own worlds, praying, or crying, or heads down and silent. None of these folks are participating in the ceremony, but no one cares. They’re thinking of something important, maybe something sad. Maybe someone died. Maybe they can’t pay their mortgage. Who knows? There’s lots of stuff to pray for.
The artwork on the walls, the huge Jesus statue and the cathedral itself is good for a visit right there. There are all sorts of ritualistic shrine-type things along the walls. Holy water, flowers, a statue of Mary. The Hispanics go up to these shrine things and pray to them, kiss them, touch them, do all sorts of strange things. But I like that. That’s how a religion should be. Ancient, ritualistic, with genuflections and shrines.
I don’t know how much most of you realize how hacked up Protestantism has become recently. There’s my old-line Church, which I always hated anyway. This Church is practically devoid of religious substance anymore. It’s like it’s had all the lifeblood sucked out of it, except the Protestant “you’re a sinner” thing. It’s been so denatured that I wonder why anyone even goes to the services anymore. What does it stand for? What do they believe?
Probably in response to this boring decaf Protestant Church, a super-caffeinated fundamentalist Church has broken off in the past 30 years or so. Anywhere you have lots of regular White people, you will find legions of these fundamentalist boneheads.
You’ll never even recognize them. With a lot of them, they drink, they smoke, they cuss, they watch porn on the Net, they screw around, they smoke weed, but they’re all Holy Rollers. What the fuck, man? The ones that are nice and tidy often have a seriously sinful past. The Church is full of “I used to be bad” types. Reformed sinners are always the worst.
Anyway, the religion itself is completely insane. They’re all anti-abortion, they hate liberalism, and they’re not too wild about gays. These are nice middle class White types, often with money. They seem hip and cool, they have nice houses, nice clothes and are often well-educated. But every damned word in the Bible is true!
Nowadays, if you meet a White person who is at all religious, they are usually one of these whackjob types. As long as you keep away from their idiot religion, you can talk about anything under the Sun and they seem like normal people. But as soon as you venture into the religious area, it’s clear that they are Pod People.
I know the Catholic Church sucks ideologically, but at least they are tolerant. Plus they don’t try to convert you. I talked to some of them, told them I’m pro-choice, and they just said, “Well, we have pro-choice Catholics, you know. That’s your problem.”
A nun (!) told me, “Well, we don’t agree, but really, that’s between you and God.” I like that! Of course it is! Of course it’s between me and God. Damn, why didn’t I think of that?
The Catholics don’t really have any litmus tests, while the fundies have about a million. Talk to a fundie, even if if you’re a Christian, and pretty soon the fundie makes it clear that you’re actually not really a Christian! Why? Because you just failed one of their million and one litmus tests. The fundies are quite clear that all of the mainline Protestant churches are not Christian.
The Catholic Church is definitely not Christian, though they started the whole thing. A lot of them really hate Catholics, and a number of them are on this, “Catholicism is the source of all the world’s evil” thing, like anti-Semites except substitute the Pope for the Jew. Try to give them some Church history about how the Catholic Church was the first, and their eyes glaze over.
Many, or most, of them, claim to not be practicing Catholicism or Protestantism. Well than what are they practicing? The “original Christian religion,” I guess from 60 AD.
Try to tell them that the oldest Christian church is the Syrian Orthodox, a bunch of evil Catholic scum, and their arguments start twisting like snakes. Try to tell them that the “original Christian Church” was a bunch of Jews and was little more than modified Judaism (with most of them still keeping Kosher I think), and their arguments start doing 180’s. They’re engaged in a Belief system that elides history and common sense.
The fundies love the Old Testament, even though it’s a bunch of Jewish nonsense to me. It’s ok for history, but that’s it.
Jesus showed up to erase the OT and replace it with the New Covenant, the NT. The Law (the OT) was gone. In its place was Mercy (the NT). Israel (the Jews and the OT) was no longer the Church. The Church was the new Israel, and the new Chosen People were the Christians.
Following this Replacement Theology further, Judaism (the OT) has been replaced, and the Jews don’t even get Israel anymore. This is why Replacement Theology is so popular with Arab Christians. From a theological perspective, a good case can be made that Christian Zionism is not only oxymoronic but also heretical.
One cool thing about the Catholics is that they seem to have junked the OT. It’s still part of the religion, but you never hear about. All of the little sermons they hand every Sunday are NT stuff. Even more than that, they always deal specifically specifically with Jesus himself. It’s the four main NT books, and that’s about it.
I’d give the Apostles some theological leeway too. Because those books were just written by guys (apostles) like me. Not Gods, or Gods in Flesh. There’s only one Guy in the NT with God’s phone number, so He’s the only one to pay attention to. The rest are just guys like you and me. Sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re wrong, but there’s no reason to believe that their every word is Godly.
So Catholicism almost seems to be pure “Jesus-ism,” which is all Christianity ought to be anyway. If you study the very early Christians from the 1st Century, that was the original Christianity. Jesusism. No OT, no apostle BS, no Pope, no Vatican. Just one Guy. Listen to what He says and try to live your life by it.
Thing is, once you strip away everything else and just listen to what Jesus himself actually said and did, Christianity is a pretty cool religion. Jesus was a very tolerant dude. He never said anything about fucking, queers, abortion, drinking or dope, or if he did, it’s not too prominent. He hung out with sinners. He thought greedheads were assholes. He threw money-changers out of the Church.
And he was a nice Jewish boy who adored his Mom and was still living at home at age 33, so even the Jews ought to dig him for that alone if for nothing else.