Feel Free To Think

I’m sitting here staring at my own title with ironic amusement.  I know what I want to say.  I just can’t seem to marshal my thoughts to say it clearly and tactfully.  Well, that’s the beauty of electronic editing, I can always change it.  Here goes.

I took the daughter to another meeting of the Free Thinkers Society.  It is possible to be a free-thinker and still be a Christian, although many “Good Christians” and all “Good Catholics” will deny that.  Free Thinkers, atheists, agnostics and *science* don’t wish to be enemies of Christianity, but they are all thinkers, and Catholicism in particular, denies the right to think for yourself.  I commented to my *recovering Catholic* wife, one time, about reading a Bible passage when she was a child, and was astounded to find that Good Catholics are not permitted to read the Bible.  They might *misinterpret* it.  They had to wait for a priest to tell them what it meant.

With the Catholic Church at the top of the list, all Christian denominations present their particular set of views, as a monolithic whole, indivisible, and unquestionable.  The Catholic Church rails against “supermarket religion”, and says that its followers can’t pick and choose what they will and will not believe.  Yet the same church picked and chose among divinely inspired gospels, written at the same time, by the same group of holy people, and found among the same scrolls.  The Church included in the Bible the ones which solidified their position and ignored the ones which did them no good.

The Catholic Church changes its dogma from time period to time period, and from place to place, yet its followers are expected to believe that it remains uniform.  I worked with a young woman who was the child of an English Catholic couple who had moved to Canada.  In England, when a child was taken in to be baptised, any name could be chosen. 

They had picked the name Lynne for her, but the priest demanded to know what saint’s name they had chosen.  He told them he could not baptise a child without a saint’s name.  He told them that they could pick any holy name except Jesus or Madonna.  Under time pressure, they chose Virginia, after the Virgin Mary.  Every third Latino is named Jesus (hay-sues), and the Detroit Madonna is still trying to keep British riff-raff from walking through her back yard.  The British Catholic rules are not observed in Canada, and Canadian Catholic rules are not obeyed in the US, or south of its borders.

It is said that some people believe they’re thinking, when all they are doing is rearranging their prejudices.  A recent column in the local paper would be amusing, if the writer wasn’t so darned serious.  He doesn’t say that he’s a vegetarian, just that he’s a member of Toronto Pig Save.  What he doesn’t say is as telling as what he does say. He wants to prevent pigs from being trucked and slaughtered at a large Toronto plant.  He plays the same language games that the churches play, and, to one who pays attention, sounds just as foolish.  He tries the *Own the Definition Gambit*, but fails, quickly and miserably.

He immediately stakes out the high ground by asking, “Is it moral to slaughter pigs just so we can have bacon?”  He quickly reckons that most Canadians would answer yes, to this.  “Moral” means actions or behavior based on right and wrong.  He would like most people to think his viewpoint is right, but morality in this case is subjective and the majority says he’s wrong.  I’m happy he’s got a hobby trying to save pigs, but he never mentions cows, steers, veal calves, turkeys or chickens.  Why so much heat about hogs, while ignoring the rest?

He writes about people from his group standing on the street, taking pictures and videos of pigs on their way to the slaughter-house.  He points out that the temperature one day was 36C (95F), and the trucks were not air-conditioned.  It would be illegal to leave a dog in a car on such a day – but a dog would be sealed in a car, whereas the pigs were in a trailer with airflow though many openings.  In fact, the pigs would be covered by the top of the trailer, and probably a lot cooler and more comfortable than the idiots out on the sidewalk taking pictures.

He feels the answer to his question above might change if the word pigs were changed to puppies.  Now he’s trying to play the *Define Cute* game.  Someone said that, if baby seals looked like lobsters, no-one would say a word when they were clubbed to death.  He says that pigs are notoriously smart, and have a habit of looking you in the eye – as if to say, “I know what you have in mind for me, and I’m disappointed in your lack of character.” He need have no such worry.  I’m sure even the pigs consider him quite a character, standing out in the sun, peering into passing trucks, in an attempt to change the millennia-old eating habits of the human race.

While I’m sure he wants to keep the pigs from being slaughtered, the main thrust of the article is their handling and transportation.  He complains a couple of times about the lack of air-conditioning.  How would he suggest they be delivered, one at a time, in limos?  That would stop people from eating pork.  It would drive the price as high as a communications satellite, with beef and chicken right behind it.

Do you want to be fed, or do you want to be Nice?  Here’s a nice tofu sandwich while you consider.  Pigs also provide ribs, roasts, stews and sausage.  Ignore that man behind the truck wheel.  Just click your heels twice and return to brunch.  He wrote a nice (there’s that word again.) little feel-good article.  I just don’t think that much thinking went into it.

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13 thoughts on “Feel Free To Think

  1. kayjai says:

    I am a recovering Catholic, and think I have recovered from that horrible excuse for any ‘religion’ pretty well. I’m not a church goer…same for my kids. Just not on our ‘to-do’ list. AND, we don’t club baby seals…we SHOOT older adult seals. Clubbing went out with the moratorium, I believe. The propaganda and Paul McCartney would like you to think that Newfoundlanders are scavengers and mean murderous villians out to pillage wittle baby seals. Please.

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    • Archon's Den says:

      I knew I could count on you to think, and teach your kids to. How ’bout the long arm of the law? Why is the phrase Always “recovering Catholic”, never “recovered”?

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      • kayjai says:

        The long arm was raised Salvation Army. He has respect for others but the whole religion thing is not his thing, either. Yeah, I think I can be termed ‘recovered’ now.

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  2. Jim Wheeler says:

    My wife was raised Catholic, so I know something whereof you speak, Archon. She has a good number of tales to tell about it, including the nun who described to the terrified little girl how hell would be like holding her hand over the stove burner forever. She had a “missal”, a book of selected biblical quotes to be used in services, but as you say, no bible. Good Catholics are required to trust their priests, to confess their sins to them as a necessary intermediary between them and God, and to have a priest on hand when they depart this earth. I guess it helps getting in the Pearly Gates to have a priest vouch for you.

    Relative to your interesting story about christening, I had never heard of the Church insisting on a biblical name before, but I can readily believe it. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. And it’s not just Christians. Consider how many Mohammad’s and variations of that there are!

    AP item headline from today’s (3 August) Joplin Globe:

    Priest Pleads Guilty To Child Porn Charges
    Kansas City man had been ordained only a year before the crimes began. (He is expected to serve a full life term. His Bishop goes to trial next month for trying to shield him from justice.)

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  3. Jim Wheeler says:

    PS – I just remembered one more thing my wife told me about her Catholic experience as a little girl. The priest told her that it was mandatory that she confess her sins every week, and some weeks she couldn’t think of a sin to confess. So she would make one up. 🙄 🙄

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    • Archon's Den says:

      The wife also remembers the horrors of Hell stories designed to terrify a barely school-age little girl, the Don’t-think-for-yourself missal, and the mandatory confession after first communion at age seven. How many sins does a seven-year-old girl have? But it was Catch-22, if you didn’t go to confession, you were defying the Church’s power. If you went with no sins, the priest accused you of lying or gave you shit for taking up his time. The wife says the lay teachers were worse than the nuns at the school. While they had no right to pry into private matters of faith, they would demand of these little kids whether they had attended confession. The wife said it was less stressful to just lie to them and claim she did.

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  4. How come we’re “recovering Catholics”? Seems no matter how old we get there is still some of the brainwashing propaganda that always sticks with you like dog doodoo to your sneakers………..:-D

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  5. If I were to give you my honest opinion of religions, Catholic or otherwise, I would consign my soul to hell. I consider myself a christian, even if not a good one, but I won’t be a part of any church.

    Having said that, I think Jehovah’s Witness is probably closer to the real truth than any of the others.

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    • Jim Wheeler says:

      Wow, harem, Jehovah’s Witnesses? Really? I gather then that you are in disagreement with Archon’s sentiment expressed in the title of this post?

      Just for review I visited the jehovah’s Witnesses Wikipedia page, and toward the end of it I found this:

      Witnesses are strongly discouraged from formulating doctrines and “private ideas” reached through Bible research independent of Watch Tower Society publications, and are cautioned against reading other religious literature. Adherents are told to have “complete confidence” in the leadership, avoid skepticism about what is taught in the Watch Tower Society’s literature, and “not advocate or insist on personal opinions or harbor private ideas when it comes to Bible understanding.” The religion makes no provision for members to criticize or contribute to official teachings and all Witnesses must abide by its doctrines and organizational requirements.

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  6. kayjai says:

    I forgot to tell you the story of Father Leslie. I went to a Catholic school from kindergarten to grade 8. The priests made it a habit of visiting the nuns when they taught. Father Leslie came in for a visit in Grade 5 while we were just getting our math tests back. I passed but didn’t get a great grade. He looked at me and said “well, I guess you can be a good homemaker then”. Asshole. 35 years later who Eulogized at my mother’s funeral? Ugh. Painful..it was painful. My mother really liked him, so I had no choice. Asshat. Ugh….The whole time while up there he kept saying shit about making peace with God before we die and confessing our sins, blah, blah, blah. Luckily, my family has good sense and thought the guy was an idiot…

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  7. […] have three of them. Two on the the left hand, one on the right) I dare to comment on Archon’s Feel free to think post. I’m not contesting his assertion that the worlds religions attempt to control our […]

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  8. Thinking is a good thing I do it when I have to. The only bad thing about thinking is it can be very taxing to the brain. What little bit of a brain I have left. lol

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