Monday, May 14, 2007

Religion! Consciously Pointless?

On his last day in Brazil, the Pope said that the Catholic Church would attract new members (a pipe dream, right there, buddy boy) because Catholicism is "[N]ot a political ideology, not a social movement, not an economic system."

On one hand, and some Christian types have said this before, why on earth would I complain that Catholicism is getting out of politics and economics? Well, it's true that I don't! I mean, not that I believe it that Catholicism isn't a political ideology -- they're excommunicating legislators that voted to make abortions legal in Mexico, for crying out loud! So, it's a lie. But more than just a lie, it seems to me that the idea that Catholicism isn't politics, or a social movement, or economics begs the question, then, "What good is it?"

One of the reasons I'm not religious is that it doesn't do anything useful. Nothing comes of religion, nothing in the here and now, that couldn't be done as well without religion.

It seems to me that the Pope is admitting this. He's saying that you can't judge Catholicism on the same grounds that we judge politics, social reform and economics -- on it's results. He seems, to my way of thinking, be saying that you can't judge Catholicism on the grounds that it does something better than another system.

The vexing part of this is the obviousness of the lie, too. It isn't that Catholicism doesn't engage in politics, economics or social movements -- it does so quite often. All the time you'll have the Pope giving a pronouncement about some political issue or the other, weighing in on war, or abortion, or what corporations should or should not do. And in Mexico, the Catholic Church is excommunicating politicians that aren't voting their way . . . and the Pope thinks that is all right. So, the Pope is lying.

Which makes a certain sort of sense. The Catholic Church wants to continue to interfere with politics and society, but it doesn't want to be judged for doing so. They don't want people to apply the same reasoning they apply to politics, economics and society to the Catholic Church -- to go up to it and say, "Hey, these things you are doing, can they be done better another way? That doesn't include a religious monarchy" - MONARCH!! - "that tries to terrify people into doing things through threats of excommunication from a non-existent god." They don't want that sort of reasoning applied to them.

But, to me, the most interesting part is the nigh public admission by the Pope that religion doesn't actually do any good. That it is not a political, social or economic system.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Popery! Ratzy in Brazil

So, like, The Big Catholic Daddy was in Brazil. He was there to tell kids not to have sex, use condoms or get abortions, and there are lots of people out there that'll go on longer than I will about how depraved and fucked up that is.

What struck me, attenuated to classism as I am, is that the Pope also told people not to seek wealth and power. I came full stop.

See, here's the thing. The Pope is one of the most powerful and richest people in the world. He lives in one of the greatest palaces in the world. He has a set of solid gold coffee service made by Michelangelo. He leads a religion that has over one billion people. His entire career has been ambitious, constantly seeking more power, with incredible success.

And this person is telling people not to seek material wealth and power!

I mean, corporate, earth-destroying CEOs are more honest than this! If you listen to some CEO, he's gonna tell you to embrace the system and with hard work and sticking to it you'll be as rich as Croesus, too. Sure, it's mostly bullshit, but at least he's not out there saying that people shouldn't try to be where he is -- he's not ridiculing and attacking the very wealth and power he possesses.

But the Pope, one of the richest, most powerful people in the world, a man that lives literally like a king, heading a vast world spanning religion, is telling other people not to seek wealth and power! The hypocrisy of it stunned me.

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