Tuesday, September 27, 2005

An Immorality Tale

As an atheist, I find myself attacked by both the religious right and the religious left as being "immoral" and "a tool of Satan." So here is just one of the things that makes Christianity totally immoral.

I'm going to construct the example tale around Catholicism, although it can be translated to almost all other creeds of Christianity (and I'll explain how after the example tale) not because I am a former Catholic or know more about it than other creed but simply because it makes the point more strongly and because this particular tale has strong resonances with known facts about Catholicism. For Catholics who want to chime in about Purgatory, that too comes after the example tale because it would complicate matters too much to work it into the tale (Purgatory makes no significant difference to the immorality involved). The tale will be told using the very common literary convention "third-person, universal" in which the author knows what the characters are thinking (it does not escape me that, ironically, in the real world such a perspective would be available only to God). Oh, and if anyone thinks this example is immoral, after the tale I'll briefly discuss "indulgences" (which are so immoral and sick that Bush and Cheney would be proud had they come up with the idea).

An Immorality Tale



An adolescent Catholic, getting those sexual urges experienced by all adolescents (but which are deemed sins by Catholicism) realizes that he is sexually aroused not by women, or even adult men, but by male children. He is truly shocked and prays devoutly that he will be aroused by women (remember, third-person univeral perspective, this is what he really wants, not a lie he hopes God will believe). However hard he prays, his sexual orientation (which disgusts him), remains.

Since he is very intelligent all his family have urged him to become a priest, he decides to enter the seminary because he thinks that being a priest will help him overcome his sinful thoughts. He knows that (according to Catholic doctrine) priests are not granted any special dispensation by God when they sin but are treated equally, so that is not why he enters the seminary. He knows that (according to Catholic doctrine) the prayer of a priest is no more powerful than that of anyone else, so he knows that being a priest will not make it more likely that God will remove his sinful thoughts. His reason for entering the seminary is that he hopes that by being constantly immersed in the symbols of his religion (not just the various crap in a typical Catholic household but a whole churchful of the stuff) he will always be reminded that buggering choirboys is a sin.

You might believe that most, if not all, Catholic choirboy-buggerers become priests purely and simply so that they can tell their choirboys that unless they drop their pants, bend over, and let the priest slip them a length that God will punish them for eternity. I suspect that most Catholic choirboy-buggerers have no faith themselves and join the priesthood precisely because of the power it gives them over gullible children (if they weren't gullible they wouldn't believe in an invisible friend called God). But third-person universal again: this particular person really does believe that being immersed in the church will allow him to overcome his inner demons and he really isn't joining up just so he can tell gullible choirboys to bend over.

Many years go by and (as I'm sure you've already guessed) eventually he succumbs to temptation. He tells the choirboy that it is God's will. He tells the choirboy that if he doesn't do what he is told then God will burn him in Hell forever. He tells the choirboy that if he tells anybody what has happened then God will burn him in Hell forever. I.e., typical Catholic choirboy-buggering stuff. And for the many sins he has committed, he gets a ticket straight to hell. He lied. He abused his position. I'm not sure if he broke his vows of celibacy because they were introduced to stop priests and bishops having kids that would inherit church lands, but his intercourse could not result in children so maybe the Vatican doesn't count that as breaking his vows of celibacy. He had sex with a male, but I'm not sure that counts either because the Old Testament says that men should not have sex with men, not that they should not have sex with male children. But the lying is enough, as is the abusing his position. "Go directly to Hell. Do not pass Heaven. Do not collect 200 bliss points."

But, afterwards, he really regrets what he has done (third-person universal, remember). This is not the post-coital angst many people feel (I've never felt that, I've always felt happy and relaxed after orgasm, and reached for the cigarettes, but many people do feel it). He really does genuinely regret what he did. And it's not because he fears it means he will burn in Hell for eternity for doing it. He knows what he did was wrong and that he did it in a moment of weakness and that he wishes he were a stronger person (do I need to remind you about third-person universal). This is a sincere regret, as per Catholic doctrine.

So he goes to his Confessor and admits all. He is told to say seven "Hail Mary"s (or whatever) and that's it. His sins are forgiven by God. If he'd been lying about regretting it (I already told you that he isn't lying) his sins would not be forgiven. But because he is sincere his sins are forgiven. Debt cancelled. He has his ticket back to Heaven again (possibly via a stop in Purgatary, which I will cover after the end of this tale). He is once more destined for eternal bliss (as far as I can tell, "eternal bliss" is something like "perpetual orgasm" but without the bodily fluids and you don't need Viagra or cocaine to make it last as long as you want).

Ashamed of his weakness, he vows never to bugger another choirboy. The months go by and eventually, of course, he succumbs again. Once more he has a ticket straight to Hell. Once more he sincerely regrets what he did. Once more he confesses. Once more his ticket to Heaven is restored.

As time goes by the interval between buggering choirboys becomes less and less. As time goes by the number of choirboys he buggers every week becomes more and more. Each time, though, he sincerely regrets his weakness (third-person universal, he really, really does). Each time, though, he goes to his Confessor and God forgives his sins (he's racking up the Purgatory miles, but they're trivial, as I will explain later).

There are so many choirboys being buggered that some of them complain to their parents. Only to be punished (wrongly) for telling lies about a Catholic priest. But eventually one buggered choirboy convinces his parents that he is not lying. They go to court. The priest, prior to giving his testimony, swears on the bible before God that he will tell the truth, but he is lying his fucking arse off when he swears the oath. He perjures himself throughout the whole case. But his Bishop (who is also his confessor) also perjures himself by giving the priest an alibi. The buggered choirboy loses the case and the choirboy-buggering priest wins the case.

The choirboy-buggering priest (and, of course, the Bishop) get a ticket straight to Hell not just for lying but for swearing before God that they will tell the truth and then lying. But you know by now what comes next. The priest sincerely regrets those lies, goes to Confession and says a few "Hail Marguaritas Marys" and his ticket to Heaven is restored.

The buggered choirboy is disowned by his parents for lying about a Catholic priest and thrown out onto the streets. He loses his faith in Christianity because he has been physically abused by a paedophile and abused in a court of law by the Catholic hierarchy. He has never done any harm to anybody. One day, sleeping in his cardboard box under a bridge, he freezes to death. Because he lost his faith, he goes straight to Hell. No argument, no mitigating circumstances: if you don't believe at the point of death no matter what the reason then it's an eternity in Hell for you.

That is Christian "morality" for you. The criminal gets eternal bliss; the victim gets eternal punishment.

My ethical standards are not what they could be. And I don't always manage to live up to them, loose as they are. But what the Catholic standards of "morality" permit as acceptable behaviour make me vomit.

Judaism (I am not of Jewish descent nor have I ever followed the Jewish faith) has a requirement that at least once a year, on Yom Kippur (the "Day of Atonement") one must atone to God for one's sins to God. And before one can atone for one's sins to God one must atone (make restitution) for one's sins to one's fellow man (i.e., if you've ruined some kid's life by buggering him you have to make it better). Actually, according to Judaism you must only atone to your fellow Jew (you can atone to Gentiles but because they are not required to atone to you then you do not have to). And Judaism is almost as immoral (by my atheistic standards) as Christianity, but not quite because Judaism requires you to make amends to the person you have harmed for the harm you have caused.

Other Creeds



Only Catholicism (and the variants such as Anglicanism) have confession. So if you belong to one of the Protestant creeds you could belive this does not apply to you. Most Protestant creeds, however, have some version of being "reborn" or "baptised" or whatever. In some creeds no matter how evil you are you can always be "reborn" in Jesus and wipe out the debt. In other creeds being baptised means that you literally cannot sin, therefore anything you do that appears to be sinful actually isn't because Jeebus wouldn't allow you to do anything that is sinful. In other creeds being baptised means you literally cannot sin and therefore no matter what you do, no matter how evil, it isn't really because Jeebus has given you carte blanche to kill your father or have sex with your mother or rape your sister because you can't sin once you are baptised.

Purgatory



According to the Babbel Bible, you are not allowed to take anything away or add anything to it. A lot of Catholic doctrine adds to the Bible. In particular, Catholic doctrine adds the concept of "Purgatory" (because a lot of what the New Testament says would be sickening without a Purgatory). There are many reasons for entering the Purgatory Zone (such as being stillborn before a priest can sprinkle some holy water over you), but one is for being an evil choirboy-buggering priest who somehow manages to be sincere when saying "I really, really, really regret ramming my dick hard up that choirboy's arse and coming like a steam train around a mountain".

Eternity is a long fucking time. Compared to eternity, a human lifetime is but the blink of an eye. Compared to eternity, a million human lifetimes is but the blink of an eye. Think of the largest number you can. Double it. Double it again. Now multiply it by a gazillion. Compared to eternity, that number is but the blink of an eye. So our hypothetical Catholic priest spends a trillion years being punished in Purgatory - compared to an eternity of bliss (which is like a perpetual orgasm but without the wet spot) that is but the blink of an eye.

Oh, and then there's the matter of how you can escape Purgatory. Well, you can escape it by doing "good deeds" for the (Catholic) church. What constitutes a "good deed"? Giving a fuck of a lot of money to the Vatican counts as a "good deed." Being a Catholic priest counts as a "good deed."

Indulgences



Indulgences were the final insult that triggered the Protestant revolution and enraged Martin Luther.

As you've seen above, you can do despicable things then go into the Catholic "sorry box" (known more formally as a "confessional") and say "forgive me, father, for I have sinned" and get away (as far as God is concerned, if God exists and if God behaves as Catholics say He does) Scott-free. But the rich and powerful (really the two are opposite faces of the same coin: if you're rich then you can have power and if you have power then you can be rich) aristocracy had problems. They had urges to kill their fathers, or rape their mothers, or have sex with their sisters on any day of the week. Between committing the vile act and going to confession (after which the vile act was forgiven) they might die for various reasons (ill health, eldest son wants you out of the way, the clap from the whore you screwed a few months ago, a duel, etc.) which was rather worrying. They wanted, like Bush and Cheney, to be evil fucking bastards while escaping the consequences.

If you are a decent person then do a google search on "indulgences" and be prepared to vomit. Then compare "indulgences" to "confession" and be prepared to vomit. Then compare "confession" to "I am saved and therefore cannot sin" and be prepared to vomit.

Do you BELIEVE in the power of JEEBUS?



Of course, you should not google about "indulgences" if you believe in an imaginary, invisible, super-powered sky being who punishes you when you are bad and do not wish to learn that you have been deceived. I believed in an invisible super-powerful sky being when I was a kid. That super-powerful invisible, imaginary sky being took note of everything I did. He knew when I was good and I was bad. He balanced his books once a year (not on Yom Kippur but another date) and treated me accordingly.

Once a year I had firm, tangible, substantial, physical proof of this superbeing's existence. Once a year, Santa left presents at the end of my bed. When I was six, I realized that, despite the physical evidence, Santa didn't exist. I was five when I realized that God was another fucking tooth fairy, because God didn't leave any presents at the end of my bed.

Another Time



When I have more time on my hands and less wine to drink I'll expand on all those points. Wait for the tale of Sister Sarah...

Meanwhile, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny have as much evidence of their existence as does Jahweh, God, Christ, Allah, Krishna, etc, It's all in a book written hundreds or thousands of years ago. I expect you are so upset at what I've written that you're going to tell me that I'm wrong because God speaks to you. If so, you don't even have the beginnings of the nervous system of a nematode (google for it) that will warn you that I will rip the fucking crap out of you for expressing that sentiment. It's not "did I fire five shots or six" but "are you talking total fucking crap. C'mon, punk, make my day.

Hint to aspiring punks: facts and logical deduction are an absolute necessity if you wish to prove me wrong. Not being as fucking thick as rancid fucking bullshit would be an advantage.

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