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02 July 2008 @ 11:24 am
*drums fingers. DRUMROLL, PEOPLE*  
Soooo. I don't bring up religion on this blog, much. Ever? Do I? A little background: I was Catholic. I did the whole nine yards - Baptism, Communion, Confirmation. I went to Mass every (I was going to say Sunday, but it's not) Saturday night. I got the ashes on Ash Wednesday, went to confession a dozen times a year, and gave up chocolate for Lent. HOURS OF MY LIFE ON MY KNEES. I kid you not, that shit isn't fun. Maybe one day they'll design a church pew that's comfy. But I have my doubts.

When I was sixteen, I stopped going. The readings I heard every week (from the Gospels, mainly, although we accept the Old Testament into our lives too, it's just Jesus is bester) didn't jive with either the Church's teachings or my life. I wasn't happy saying that I believed in a one true god, father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, when I kind of thought he didn't. Equally - and this was a bee in my bonnet since I found out I couldn't become a priest - I didn't like the misogeny or the homophobia or, well, all of it, really. Okay. That's ME.

Then ... there's everyone else. Catholicism, in Ireland, is a habit. You just do. When I said I didn't, to my own friends, they looked at me askance and said '... why?' They never question. I don't know how they can bear the hypocrisy - not of the Church, but of their own lives. To go along and mouth the words and then live in 'sin', as proclaimed by the religion they adhere to, is just ... my biggest problem.

And nowadays I read liner notes in CDs. The things you can find out! (RAY TORO. LOOKIN' AT YOU.) I bought Paramore's Riot yesterday. They all thank Jesus. Now this makes me feel icky. Paramore isn't a bandom band, I couldn't tell you if they're defaulting Mormons or whatever. They could very well be faithful Christians of another denomination - one of the ones that doesn't make a habit of paedophilia and child abuse, for example. Even one of the ones that has female vicars. I suppose it mainly makes me feel icky because I don't like any religion. At all. Any. But also because I feel a lot of people use Jesus - not even God - as sort of their standby god. Because he invented Christmas or whatever. I don't like that. I also didn't like in the film version of Circle of Friends, when they were dressed up in Holy Communion dresses, and the narrator said they were getting their 'confirmation.' WHOLE DIFFERENT SACRAMENT, YO. I don't know where I'm going with this. Maybe in Pterry's direction: I don't believe in gods, but I'm not sure they know?

BLAH BLAH, on a lighter note, they credit 'P Weezy'! I thought that was a purely fandom term. (Then again, in RPS, nothing we say is sacred. And rightly so.)
Current Mood: distresseddistressed
Current Music: misery business (paramore)
mrsquizzical: bobmrsquizzical on July 2nd, 2008 10:43 pm (UTC)
as far as i know, paramore started as a church band. or they were all in church youth group bands or something. it's a very different 'brand' of christianity to catholisism. in fact a lot of those churches don't think catholics are 'really' christians at all... whatevs. so they have female pastors and stuff. but then it depends. some are more 'forward thinking' than others. i'm sure some of your americans can answer with more actual information.

(speaking of liner notes. can i sign off with 'smoooches' now?)
Kladyphoenixia on July 2nd, 2008 11:55 pm (UTC)
When I was in high school, our christian studies teacher said that Catholics all went to hell. And i have several christian friends who think that they don't count as christianity.

To which I'm all... dude, they were first, YOU'RE the heretics. Learn your own religion or stfu. (As a christian-raised atheist, it irks me that so few christians seem to actually understand the religion they claim to believe in, it's like they're not acually christian at all. Gr.)

The churches that are highly musical in that kinda sense are usually among the 'Charismatic' grouping, like pentecostals or Hillsong. Very odd churches, if you ask me.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Audrey Hepburnscoradh on July 3rd, 2008 07:44 pm (UTC)
That's just what I said to quiz - we were here first. Basic history - leaving aside the God part - will tell you that. Martin Luther didn't like the selling of indulgences so he made a church that was a pared-down version of christianity. Whatever, I actually can't believe that OTHER Christian churches hate Catholics so much! It's honestly quite shocking to me. 'Christian' is nearly a secular term meaning open and forgiving or whatnot.

Then again, there's hints, here and there in literature, that the opulence and hysteria of Catholicism is distasteful to other churches. But yeah. STILL JESUS', YO.

(As a christian-raised atheist, it irks me that so few christians seem to actually understand the religion they claim to believe in, it's like they're not acually christian at all. Gr

Tell me about it. *facepalm*

every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: cavescoradh on July 3rd, 2008 07:38 pm (UTC)
That puts a different complexion on it (in the sense that I don't think they're hypocrites, but it still bothers me because religion DOES, THE END).

in fact a lot of those churches don't think catholics are 'really' christians at all

That's TOO hilarious, considering that Catholicism is essentially the original church from which all the others branched off - hi thar, Martin Luther. And why am I getting defensive over this? *smacks head*

hahahaha, who does that? Don't tell me ... Gerard Way?

mrsquizzical: bobmrsquizzical on July 3rd, 2008 09:45 pm (UTC)
it's a doctrinal thing. too long and boring to go into. to do with mary and priests and stuff. *hands*

oh man. it wasn't gerard. it was BOB!!!! yes! it was! *dies*
bananaandpeelbananaandpeel on July 3rd, 2008 12:40 am (UTC)
It seems like with organized religion in general you just have to kind of take what you want and leave the rest? Because there are some aspects of the Christian religion that are really cool, and were probably revolutionary for their time in terms of acceptance and kindness, and Jesus was all "noo, an eye for an eye is BS, be nice to people," but also (IMO) Christianity or catholicism or whatever you're talking about, with the rituals and the "fear god, we are sinners" bit, is kind of an accepting ignorance/refusing to question/maybe a little bit of self-hatred thing. so for me it's just been kind of like the anti-gay aspect is bad, the rituals are a little disturbing, the concept of god as I see it squicks me, but a lot of it's good, too.

So. Maybe they like jesus more than they like this all-powerful relatively unforgiving god. Although actually that's not very likely.

(Am saying this all as an American raised by atheist parents who didn't really focus on the concept of religion at all. Most of what I know about it is from effing history class, not actually from, y'know, reading the bible or anything, so my understanding of it is very, um, limited.)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: butterfly bookscoradh on July 3rd, 2008 08:38 pm (UTC)
First off, before I say anything on a topic that leaves me quite heated: this is just my opinion. It's very important that I think this way because to me, hypocrisy is the only sin (in the Book of Rachel, verse 1, volume 1). I'm not attacking you, per se, just the concept. Okay!

It seems like with organized religion in general you just have to kind of take what you want and leave the rest?

Just. NO.

Religion isn't a BUFFET. Doing what you said there - taking the bit where JESUS SAVES! and forgetting the bit where HOMOSEXUALS BURN IN THE HELLFIRE, just to take your example, is the definition of hypocrisy. Same with all my friends, who go to church and listen when they're told to be chaste before marriage and not use contraception, and nod, and then go out and buy ten packs of durex and the OCP and shag everything moving. (That's kind of an unfair representation of them, but you get what I mean.)

And basically, unless you believe in the chasteness before marriage, and the gay-bashing, and all the rest - to me, you AREN'T Catholic. You're just ... an atheist who hasn't realised it yet, as jehnt put it (quite aptly). What people think religion is about is comfort and giving you hope in the dark times. IT'S NOT. The universe doesn't owe you comfort. It doesn't owe you a sense of hope. You do all that yourself, whether or not you credit a god for it.

And if you start picking and choosing, you end up with the Magdalen laundries, which said: premarital sex is bad, god said so! But forgot the part where god forgives, and god is the only true judge. I reckon it's also where you get suicide bombers and the Taliban, athough I don't know the Korah so I can't say for certain.

In the end, as usual, Terry Pratchett gets it best:
"You say that people don't burn folk and sacrifice people anymore, but that's what true faith would mean, y'see? Sacrificing your own life, one day at a time, to the flame, declarin' the truth of it, workin' for it, breathin' the soul of it. That's religion. Anything else is just .. is just bein' nice."

Eh ... half of this had nothing to do with your comment. Sorry. I'm weirder about this than I realised. :/

Edited at 2008-07-03 08:43 pm (UTC)
Emo Spicyemo_spicy on July 3rd, 2008 04:12 am (UTC)
i'm catholic too--not my choice let me tell you. I just can't take anything the Catholic church does seriously. It's probably why I'm wary/weary of most organized western religion.

This is also why I hate people who have fun at church. Because I didn't.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Attention bunnyscoradh on July 3rd, 2008 08:44 pm (UTC)
This is also why I hate people who have fun at church

I actually had fun, towards the end. I passed remarks on the priest's weird habits and the crazy outfits and my mother giggled so much she looked like she was having a seizure. And my aunts - who doubtless use the time to write shopping lists - were Not Impressed.
Emo Spicyemo_spicy on July 4th, 2008 01:58 pm (UTC)
jehnt: dw - doctor + glassesjehnt on July 3rd, 2008 10:09 am (UTC)
Maybe one day they'll design a church pew that's comfy. But I have my doubts.

Well I hear God likes you to suffer to prove your love for him. Hung his own son on a cross and all that. Self-flagellation, etc. Good times.

I don't know how they can bear the hypocrisy - not of the Church, but of their own lives. To go along and mouth the words and then live in 'sin', as proclaimed by the religion they adhere to, is just ... my biggest problem.

I have issues with this as well. It's why I adhere to my theory that most people are closet atheists... they just don't know it yet. Because surely, surely if they ACTUALLY believed the things they say they believe, they would behave differently? And if you're just picking and choosing the things you want to believe from the bible, that's not really ADHERING to it, that's just making your own shit up and then being too lame to ADMIT that you're just making your own shit up because you don't like some of the Christian things. And if you're just making your own shit up, it's probably just because you're afraid to think that in the end you will be cold and alone and there will have been no point to it all. I've had religious people tell me that it makes sense to them that there is no god but they simply can't live like that... I don't even get it. They need to just like, idk, MAN UP* and accept that there may be no greater purpose in life and the ultimate authority they have to answer to is themselves. It's not seriously that difficult to do.

Christian bands are entertaining. They sing all these things that sound like love ballads but are about JESUS, and to me it always sounds really freakin' gay, and then my mind goes places that would probably horrify the bandmembers.

*I recognize that "man up" is an extraordinarily sexist phrase... but I like saying it anyway. I don't meeeeean it in a sexist way, I just like it because it sounds coool. My tongue has fun with it!
jehnt: sw - han + falconjehnt on July 3rd, 2008 10:14 am (UTC)
ahahaha who am I kidding? I LOVE that "man up" is so ridiculously sexist. I do try to not tell it to actual male people though because I'm afraid of damaging their fragile egos. Unless they're jackasses, then I will impugn their manliness with abandon.

eta: Also, I can't think of another phrase which carries the particular undercurrent of contempt that "man up" does, which is the main reason I end up using it. (And sorry for commenting like thirty times on this one entry, lol!)

Edited at 2008-07-03 10:16 am (UTC)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Balloonsscoradh on July 3rd, 2008 08:55 pm (UTC)
It's kind of like how all the synonyms for 'idiot' also mean male masturbation. Did you ever notice that? Jerk-off, wanker, dick, prick, I can't think of the rest right now BUT IT REALLY IS TRUE, I SWEAR.

Edited at 2008-07-03 10:13 pm (UTC)
jehnt: st - ds9 - kira - up in flamesjehnt on July 4th, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC)
I've never noticed that... but I will certainly now be paying attention.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Disney: Enchanted windowscoradh on July 3rd, 2008 08:49 pm (UTC)
The crucifix is FUCKING WEIRD, that is fact. I grew up with this naked, beat-up man everywhere - on my jewellery, for crying out loud. It's only now that I'm starting to see: oh yeah. FUCKING WEIRD. (It's a pity, because I have a lot of pretty crucifixes - the more abstract ones, where they leave out the blood and guts - and I can't wear them. Because, you know, hypocritical.)

'Closet atheists.' You win at life FOREVER. That's exactly what they are. I watched a debate with Richard Dawkins once and this young girl, my age (so ashamed) stood up and asked, What about the sense of hope that religion and god bring to people? And he was all, the universe doesn't owe you a sense of hope. Go Dick go!

I'm not sure if Paramore is singing TO Jesus - I hope not, that'd be ten quid wasted - or just, whatever. Like him a lot. Their bridges are kind of painful either way.

I LOVE the phrase 'man up.' And I think if we claim it it stops being about sexuality and just about - manning up. :D
jehnt: dw - dawkinsjehnt on July 4th, 2008 05:41 pm (UTC)
COINCIDENTALLY, I had a whole group of Dawkins icons in my latest icon post. So I will use one here.

re: hope and religion, I'm not sure what sort of hope religion gives you that you can't just get on your own. Some people are all, "but it's more a sense of awe at god's creation, really" but personally I think it's more awe-inspiring that it all just sort of... evolved on its own. Over millions of years. How is that not just fucking THE GREATEST THING EVER? But yeah, I sort of think god is like the easy way out... I see so many people using their religious belief as a crutch and, idk, maybe it makes them feel better about themselves or something but it seems to hold them back in so many ways. I know a number of religious people who aren't hampered in this way by their beliefs, but it seems to be the exception rather than the norm (whereas it's the other way around with the nonreligious population). And maybe it's just that I grew up on too much Star Trek, but I really think that if people just reach forward and progress a bit, everything will be shiny and happy and good and the whole universe will be there for the taking! And happy shiny hearts and fun and joy etc. But I think we need to shrug off religion and prejudice in order to get there.

I mean, I think, based on what I've read in your replies to other people here, we basically agree about this sort of thing, and other things you've said are very similar to the other things I might say in this comment, so I'm mostly going to just go ahead and not say them so we don't write out paragraphs of "YES, I SO AGREE WITH YOU ON THIS, HERE ARE MY FURTHER OPINIONS," which could get tedious to read, lol. (Also I love that Pterry quote you've been using. I'd forgotten about it but wow is it awesome!)

Although I guess the one other thing is that, like, I don't think there's a god... but I don't KNOW for sure. I've not yet unraveled all the mysteries of the universe. There is the (imo highly, preposterously unlikely) possibility (just like there's also a possibility of the Invisible Pink Unicorn or Flying Spaghetti Monster, lol). And whenever I tell people I think this, they're always like, "well wouldn't it be better to believe, then, in case, so you don't go to hell?" and it's like, well, NO, because I honestly don't think, if there is a god, that I'm any worse off than like 99% of "believers." Plus, it's a long-running joke with everyone who knows me that I am one of god's favored because I just have this INSANE good luck that is so unbelievable that I don't even know how to describe it to you without recounting half my life so you can just SEE how many freakishly auspicious things happen to me when all logic says they should absolutely NOT have happened, and further logic says they should not ALL have happened TO ME. I've always put it down to my, uh, natural charms, or something, but if I was inclined to believe in the supernatural it would appear that I must be in the good graces of the creator. I guess I even have a kind of mock belief in luck or chance, but I think it's really just more "faith that everything will work out," which isn't really a RELIGION so much as it is just stupid levels of optimism. But anyway, in weaker moments this whole "insane levels of luck" thing tempts me to believe because sometimes it feels like things might make more sense that way or that there's only so much coincidence one can take before ascribing a higher purpose to it... but that's the thing about chance, really. You COULD roll snake eyes every time you pick up a pair of dice, and it wouldn't necessarily be because the dice were loaded. It would just be highly improbable. And so it makes me sympathetic in a way to people who are all, "but how could the world exist like it does if someone didn't create it," but damn, they just need to be strong and resist the conspiracy-theory temptation! Because I really think part of religion is the same motivation that makes us all conspiracy theorists in that we look for overarching reasons to connect unrelated events, etc. idk people are silly creatures.

And re: the discussion below about being a heretic... I've always just gone with "godless heathen." It's got a certain appeal.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: blue bustierscoradh on July 6th, 2008 06:36 pm (UTC)
My entire reaction to this is mainly a huge NODSNODS. Like:

But yeah, I sort of think god is like the easy way out... I see so many people using their religious belief as a crutch

I remember using a line almost like that in a fanfic - um. Queen of Hearts, yeah. And the other part about evolution is backed up by another Pterry quote from Small Gods. '... and what impressed them? Water turning into wine! As if that wouldn't happen anyway with enzymes and millions of years'. (Which is not, okay, verbatim, rather really crap memory at work.)

I've decided that if there is a god who started everything, its ways would be so far beyond our understanding as to be unimaginable. So, don't even try, in other words. Besides, has it escaped anyone's notice that all the holy books were written by PEOPLE?

I happened to be at Mass this week (see: aforementioned funeral). It's quite hard not to mouth along with the prayers, I discovered, but I was with my extended family and they would have had Things to Say if I just stood there with my arms crossed, as I'd have liked to. ANYWAY. The priest said the dead dude was commended into the arms of god etc, and that no one had anything to fear from death since Jesus died and was risen. Because everyone (except non-Christians and atheists and other faiths, OBVIOUSLY) got to do the same. And I thought: well, what about the people BEFORE Jesus? Where are they now, in limbo? Or did they just rot away like the non-Christians and the atheists and people of other faiths?

It's shit like that - so obvious to me - that makes me reeeeeeeeeeeally wonder about religious people.
dirtylaugh: stfudirtylaugh on July 3rd, 2008 01:18 pm (UTC)
I think I like calling myself a lapsed Catholic cause it sounds faintly glamorous - like I've been to spiritual rehab or something - but even though it's true, I was raised as a good ol' Catholicker, I should probably call myself an agnostic, because that is my belief (or lack thereof).

Wait, wikipedia has told me that "a Catholic who rejects an essential part of the Catholic religion" is a heretic, and that sounds much cooler than agnostic, so that's what I'll take to dinner parties.

I find the way some people use religion extremely silly and depressing. Imo thanking Jesus, especially in America, has become like people saying 'I'm sorry' to practically everything - they don't really mean it, and they don't really understand the context in which it's being used, but it's something to cover your bases with, to throw out randomly to accompany a feeble train of thought. I don't mind if people have strong beliefs and voice them because they're an essential part of their life - I just hate when religion is employed a garnish or an afterthought.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Discworld: Librarianscoradh on July 3rd, 2008 08:53 pm (UTC)
I call myself that too, because I found out the only way they ever let you go is via excommunication. Which requires, first, murder. I'm not quite that fanatical about my atheism, kthanx.

I'll go with heretic too! That's very sexy.

I'm going to use my favourite Pterry quote again, because it's so relevant:

"You say that people don't burn folk and sacrifice people anymore, but that's what true faith would mean, y'see? Sacrificing your own life, one day at a time, to the flame, declarin' the truth of it, workin' for it, breathin' the soul of it. That's religion. Anything else is just .. is just bein' nice."

I mean, hello? Following Jesus is a way of life, something you apply to every. single. thing you do. Even when you personally don't agree. That's what the 'belief' part means. He's not a fricking bandaid, or the spiritual equivalent of 'my bad.' I MEAN REALLY.


Edited at 2008-07-03 10:21 pm (UTC)
meddie_flowmeddie_flow on July 3rd, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC)
I'm an orthodox. At the beginning of high-school, I was trying to believe in my religion, mostly out of fear of the consequences, but later on I got pissed of with all of the interdictions, some of them pointless and old-fashioned in my view, such as "no contraception" (wtf?!!!), "no women allowed in church when they have their period" (though of course no one would know).

The hypocrisy bugs me as well. Most of the people I know only go to church to weddings, baptisms and funerals, Easter and Christmas. And sometimes to light candles if they're feeling down on their luck.

But it gets worse when you go to confess. The whole system tries to make you be very humble. To live your life asking forgiveness for your sins and so on. If you want to marry in church, you sort of have to lie to your priest during the compulsory confession, since you wouldn't be a virgin. I've never been there, but if your "sins" are too heavy as they're perceived by the priest, you can't receive communion for a (sometimes very long) period of time.

On the other hand, it's very good for someone to have something in which they believe. And unfortunately, it's very hard to believe blindly in an invisible deity.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: treesscoradh on July 3rd, 2008 10:26 pm (UTC)
I do go to church on Christmas, but that's because I think my mom would literally cry if I didn't. That's about the only thing I'd let stand in the way of my principles. To be fair she's been great about the way I dropped the religion she brought me up in like a hot potato, and sometimes diss it when I just can't help myself.

I do believe the church here has become a lot more lax about the marriage issue - they had to, I guess. People just imagine this big white wedding in a pretty setting and never think what it MEANS. That galls me.

Why can't they just believe in themselves? It's no harder.
meddie_flowmeddie_flow on July 5th, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC)
It is much harder, actually! Because for most of us there are often times when we (desperately) lack a purpose, a something in which to believe. And then the religion is conveniently there, and some might find in it solace. I, for one, can't, though there are times when I delude myself into "believing" for a little while.

Er, what I was trying to say was that it's quite hard to keep believing in oneself and not question the whys and hows even if sporadically. Though that depends on the person in question.

It's much easier to tolerate the existence of a deity who holds all the answers and to whom you revert when the odds are overwhelming... :)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: rose petal bowlscoradh on July 6th, 2008 06:29 pm (UTC)
I can dig that. My life - aside from exam stress and boy stress and a touch of depression - hasn't exactly suffered any major trials yet. Maybe when I do, I'll change my tune entirely. :D
ravurian: Catholicism Yay!ravurian on July 3rd, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC)
I always file my lapsed Catholicism under 'I may not practice my religion, but at least I know the right one'. Catholic bigotry is the best kind. Mwahahaha. Er.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Eddie Izzard: cake or death?scoradh on July 3rd, 2008 10:36 pm (UTC)
I can imagine it'd be so much harder to lapse from, idk, Anglicanism. IS THAT A WORD. They'd be like - oh? You were gone?