’21 A To Z Challenge – U

 

 

I want to believe as many true things, and as few false things, as I can.
I want my internal, mental world-view to match observed reality as closely as possible.

The wife claims that, in the last 5 or 10 years, I have become intolerant and nasty toward religion and Christianity.

I think that it’s just that I’ve been more and more exposed to people who believe – and want me to believe – religious positions based on observably false claims, and I’m just getting more chances to express my discontent.

The wife’s Catholic Father died of cancer when she was 13.  He was sick for 5 years.  His teen-aged children cared for him for a year, but he was moved to the Catholic hospital, and given palliative care for 3 years.  Hospices did not exist back then, and hospitals finally realized that they could not afford to take up space with someone who would not recover.  He was discharged, to die at home.

At the end of the fifth year, he was terminal.  Four times, the local Catholic priest had to put on his cassock, and come over in the middle of the night, to give him last rites.  The first time, he rallied.  Two weeks later, the priest was back with another serving of last rites.  Again, he rallied.  Two weeks later, the tired priest made a third late-night house-call.  Once more, he rallied, but the end was inevitable.

The wife told me that, on his final visit, the priest gave her Father, not the last rites, but

EXTRA MUNCTION

I had been exposed in my youth to Baptist, Presbyterian, United, Pentecostal and Anglican, but not much Catholic.  I knew that The Church had all kinds of rites and rituals, and amulets, and potions, and spells, but I’d never heard of MUNCTION.  I asked, “What the Hell is munction?  Why did he need any, much less, extra??  Is it some kind of herbal remedy, or an opiate to ease his suffering??”

“I don’t know, but he must have needed it, because the priest gave him some extra.”   😯

Years later, I was reading a book about a Catholic who was dying, and the priest attended him, to give him

Extreme UNCTION

noun Roman Catholic Church.
anointing of the sick.
From: unction
an act of anointing, especially as a medical treatment or religious rite.
an unguent or ointment; salve.
something soothing or comforting.

I can’t fault the wife.  Shortly after that, she left the Church because she asked questions that they wouldn’t/couldn’t answer, so she didn’t get the complete indoctrination into the arcane, magical, mystical, mythical, mumbo-jumbo.  I have talked to other people who have been Catholics all their lives, but are no better informed about the Church’s tenets and ceremonies.  From the wife’s aggressive defense, even half a century later, I don’t think that she’s shed all the propaganda, but has obvious discomfort at my criticisms and doubts.

I am strangely reminded of the ‘60s British comedy movie, Carry On Doctor, which revolves around a hospital ward, with 8 stereotypical English males.  One is the brash, loud-mouthed know-it-all, who irritates fellow patients and staff alike.  Finally, a long-suffering nurse tells him to roll on his stomach, and get up on his knees.  She is going to take his temperature rectally.

He hoists his butt into the air, and something slender, round and cool is inserted.  Almost immediately, The Matron enters the ward, and demands to know from him, why his jiggly bits are hanging out in the breeze.  He says, “Have you never seen a man having his temperature taken?”  She replies, “Yes.  Many times.  But never with a daffodil!”   😯  😳  Just go along with it, because someone who claims to have authority, tells you to do something ultimately meaningless, no matter how foolish you look in the end.

It is difficult to take Christian Apologists, and their claims and arguments, seriously, when it appears obvious that there is something going on behind their…. back, and they have no idea that it’s happening, or what it is.

Ego And Insecurity – Episode 2

Bible

Trying to debate the existence of God, with someone who has renounced critical, rational, logical thinking, is like trying to administer medication to a dead body.

A Fundamentalist Christian recently declared that, if he found a passage in the Bible which stated that two plus two equaled five, he would unquestioningly believe it. Another was quoted as saying that, if it was proved to him that the entire Bible had been written by forgers, he would still believe that they were Divinely-inspired forgers. Who could have a meaningful debate, or even an intelligent conversation, with someone with such desperately hidebound assumptions?

A recent Christian response to anyone presenting Biblical mistakes or contradictions, has been to defensively ask (demand), “Do you think that you are smarter than me?” That question is as vague, insecure, irrelevant and meaningless as all their unproven beliefs and claims. Smartness is almost impossible to define or measure. I’ve written of a woman so clueless that she didn’t realize that she had Polish ancestry. Yet she owned three homes, while my MENSA-grade IQ was still paying rent.

“Smart” is not the matter at hand. Instead, it is the gullible, sheep-like, unthinking, dogmatic rejection of any portion of evidence of reality that conflicts with their (and their church/religion’s) unthinking hope/wish that their existence was exactly the way they needed it to be, to make them feel good about their life choices.

I realize that ‘salvation’, and ‘eternal life’, are very important concepts. It’s just that far too many people put far too much belief and energy into things that have no real connection to God. In a legal sense, I’ll stipulate to the existence of God. That means that I may, or may not, accept the concept, but I’ll allow it for the purposes of discussion. I’ll also, grudgingly, agree to ‘Christ as Savior.’

ALL the rest, is bullshit! Petty rules and orders, dreamed up by men, for the benefit of men. God doesn’t need you to kneel. Even if He did, he’d want you down on BOTH knees, not just the right one, with the left foot forward. He doesn’t care if you accept Him, dabbed with ashes, or oil, with a little water sprinkled on you, or dunked whole-hog in a creek or pond.

I can manage to get born, married and die without some guy in a funny hat and dress being there to demand his 10% – not for GOD, but for him, and his church. Ritual actions can be important, not in terms of God, Jesus, and salvation, but for ‘the group – the congregation,’ as well as those performing them, so that the group will accept them.

They are an external indication of an internal decision of belief, but no specific rites or actions are any more “right”, (or wrong) than any others. Lutherans will not go to Hell, just because they don’t genuflect, no matter what your priest/preacher tells you. In the Old West, preachers were often not available. Many couples were ‘married’ by gathering friends and family, and performing some overt, ritual act, like ‘jumping over a broom,’ with a Bible present.

“Church” becomes a place where we go once a week, to pass judgement on others. A lot of folks would do well to dispense with the irrelevant details, dreamed up and enforced by men, having nothing to do with God, Christ, or salvation, and concentrate more on ‘Love thy neighbor’, and ‘Do unto others….’

Episode 1 is here, if you’re interested.