Archive for September, 2011

Outgrowing religion

Monday, September 12th, 2011

I used to be a seminarian but now I have outgrown religion and, although I’m pushing 50 years of age, I’m still trying to unlearn the nonsense I picked up having been raised in a Catholic family, gone to a Catholic school, been born into what was in all but name a theocratic State, and having spent nine years of my life in a seminary.

I’m interested in education and especially in the need to teach children to think for themselves. This is impossible within any school which seeks to ‘inculcate’ (i.e., indoctrinate) faith. By definition, they are not teaching children to think for themselves. They are presenting the party-line and hoping it will stick.

Having been abused myself as a child by a Christian Brother in school, I find Cardinal Brady’s remaining in his post unconscionable, given that he failed to act like an adult and report abuse to the civil authorities and that he hides behind it not being his call. Of course it was his call. He is, and was at the time, an adult. But then again, an adult who believes that Mary was a virgin before, during and after the conception of Jesus, which, let’s face it, isn’t exactly an adult belief to maintain. However whacko the ‘before’ bit, how exactly can a baby be born without breaking his mother’s hymen? And yet that is what, as a Cardinal of his Church, he is obliged to believe. It being a dogma of his Church, one gathers he believes it too.

I am appalled at the emotional abuse of children in Catholic schools, or any faith school for that matter. Rather than teaching children that today is all we have, they peddle lies to children. They inculcate fear and obedience in nonsensical beliefs. They insist on the ‘right’ of indoctrinating children because they know that most adults of sound mind would never for a second believe the gibberish they teach.

I’m angry as hell about the Church, to be honest. Their dogmas are loopy. Why are they afforded such ‘respect’? Historically, they controlled what people could think and say. They usurped rationality. They burned people who didn’t fit in. They laid down, and still lay down, heavy burdens on those they claim to serve. As a recent poster I saw said: ‘Jesus, protect us from your followers.’

If I die without this said my life has been in vain, so let me say it. I do not believe in ‘god’. Today is all we have. Live this day to the full. I abhor that the civil authorities permit people of religious faith to indoctrinate young minds. In time to come, and I hope sooner rather than later, it will be considered a crime to fool children into the lie of any religious doctrine. When I think of the years I wasted, nine years in a seminary, trying to believe the incredible. And the nonsense that somehow those who didn’t believe were morally inferior. Absolute hogwash! I remember meeting a girl at university whom I used to know in a prayer group. She, good for her, had moved on. She no longer believed and it was manifestly obvious that she was in ever fibre of her being a person of conscience and moral courage. Her presence and goodness alone challenged me. Pity my lesson took so many more years before the penny dropped.

And when I think about the ghastly attempts to live celibacy during nine years in the seminary and how unnatural it was. And when I think about the so-called virtue of obedience when the real virtue is in obeying yourself. And when I think about the lie of religious poverty when, in fact, few millionaires enjoyed the financial security of being a priest or member of a religious order and the real poverty was the risk of leaving the congregation and having to find my way in the world. When I think of all that and then see little children today being indoctrinated into a heap of lies as I once was, yes, I get mad as hell.

Children: do not listen to your so-called ‘betters’ if they are trying to fool you to believe in a religious myth. They are not better than you. Most of them don’t really believe the bilge they try to ‘inculcate’/indoctrinate into you. And if they really do believe what they peddle, then protect yourself. Find someone of sound mind to support you. Someone who will tell you not to worry about going to Hell: it doesn’t exist. And not to waste your time praying before a box thinking that the creator of the universe is in it. Don’t let them fool you. Do not let them mangle your thinking with their potty views.

Religious people are quick to shout ‘blasphemy’ because they want to control you. They do not want to expose just how unutterably ridiculous their beliefs are, and how bankrupt their thinking is. They seek to control what people say because they don’t want it exposed in black and white for all the world to see. They are, par excellence, like the naked emperor who for so long has basked in the adulation of a controlled crowd and how dare anyone, young or old, yell that they are naked: unutterably nude, without a stitch of truth.

 

Music

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

What is it about music that takes us places? It operates on us, eases us, connects. It works at the level of mood, transforming us, lifting us, telling us we’re not alone. It touches feelings, assures us of continuity. Reminds us of people, gets us right back there. It captures us. It’s a reservoir of memory, feeling, time. The predictability of a melody maybe assures us, or fools us, of the comfort of the familiar. Dillon reigns supreme. Van Morrison is way up there too. U2. And the Beatles. And classical music.

Now, the open moment

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Today is all we’ve got, folks. This minute. This second, in fact. Breathe in. Exhale. Attend to your breath. Still alive then, eh? It beats the alternative. A life can change in an hour. Stand ready. Prepare. Choose to do what you want to do. Life is too fleeting to do anything else, even when the pressure may be on from whatever quarter. This moment. Live it. Now. What time is it? Don’t look at your watch. The time is now. Only now. This day. This moment. Grasp your chance. Don’t let it slip away. In this moment, what do you want to do? I want to write. To express. To manifest myself. To be me. For too many years of my life I lived by other people’s dogmas. I lived by other people’s thoughts. I accepted other people’s judgements, as if they were mine. But they were not. I’m unlearning all that, daily. Pushing 50, I still discover how to think for myself, to choose alone. To be me.