kaltrosomos (kaltrosomos) wrote,

Shadows of The Mind

I just read another fascinating article by St. Mark Shea.  It's fascinating because of the insights it gives me concerning the Catholic mentality.  Anyone who considers themselves on the side of freedom from religion shouldn't kid themselves.  Catholicism has done much harm, and is still and will continue doing so in the future if left to it's own devices.  

If you doubt this, look a little bit into  "Wafergate", and how biologist P.Z. Myers obtained a Catholic communion wafer and stuck it with a nail before tossing it in the trash.  The response from Catholics has been telling.  Some want Myers to lose his job.  A few would even like him to lose his life.  St. Mark Shea has called Myers "a sick puppy", as well as "evil".   Why is it evil for Myers to tamper with a wafer?

Because Catholics--some, anyway--believe that their wafer, after being consecrated, becomes Jesus Christ.  Not in a metaphorical sense, but a literal one.  They think the wafer becomes Jesus' body and blood.  After Jesus becomes present, they eat the wafer.  They think they eat Jesus.  Despite the fact that the wafer retains all the properties of bread.  They have all sorts of complicated explanations for why the wafer becomes Jesus without showing any physical changes.  They also have complicated explanations for why what they are doing can't be considered cannibalism, if the wafer really does turn into Jesus.   

I'll be frank.  I find all of this to be fundamentally insane.   Catholics have a wafer.  It remains a wafer in all physical aspects during it's existence.  And yet Catholics offer endless explanations of why the wafer really *is* Jesus' flesh and blood without physically becoming flesh or blood.  They have no proof, and so they make increasingly convoluted explanations for why there is no proof that their wafer becomes Jesus.  They offer similar explanations for every other part of their doctrine which cannot be proved.  Things like prayer, and the existence of angels and demons, and an afterlife, and the existence of God.  

They try to make their lack of proof seem virtuous by saying that it is narrow-minded to expect proof.  That there are realities far above our ability to sense.   They make analogies by asking how a normal person would explain color to a crowd of blind people.   No doubt, they say, the blind people would think that the normal person was crazy.  But there are ways that sight could be proven by inference.  the normal person could use his sight to reveal information that the blind people would think he couldn't possibly know.  For instance, being blind would mean that touch or smell or taste or hearing would have to be the primary way of finding things.  Touch would probably be one of the more widely used senses.  The normal person could, without coming over and touching any of the blind people, count their numbers, or count the number of objects they held or wore.  He could count the number of bumps on a person's arm, or face.  He could do any number of things to show that he could 'see' things.   The normal person has ways to confirm indirectly the existence of his sight to a crowd of blind people.  

So it seems kind of weak in my opinion to use such anologies as an explanation for how weird Christian doctrines seem.  They make up story after story concerning the composition and contents of Heaven and Hell, and the spiritual realm at large, and yet all of these things remain invisible to the normal senses.  At best these invisible things are 'felt'.  And that in itself is suspicious.  

I think it's far more likely that Heaven and Hell and all the rest exist only in the human mind, sustained by our imagination.   The mind is extremely powerful.  It's certainly not beyond it's ability to fabricate an invisible heaven and hell and populate them with gods, angels, and demons.   Christians talk of this invisible realm as the home of the "powers and principalities" which vie, invisibly, for our invisible souls.  

Can you say Imagination, anyone?  These are ideas, pure and simple.  They live in the mind, and they die with the mind.   They are like viruses, hijacking minds for their own purposes.  They get a foothold by appealing to emotion and to the human need for security and order.  When faced with a hostile, inhuman cosmos that exists independent of our wills or wishes, we humans can get frightened.  For many minds, it is better to accept an understandable, ordered fantasy than to live with uncertainty or something certain which clashes with our wishes.   The human mind craves purpose and meaning.  When it cannot find it in the objective world, it creates it's own purpose and meaning.  In the case of religion, it projects that meaning and purpose on to everything else.  Every aspect of the universe must then fit into the fantasy scheme.  Thus, atheists do not disagree about the existence of God because they have legitimate reasons to do so.  They disagree because they are too prideful, too willing to put their own wishes before God's; or they are too mired in sin and made blidn by their own faults; or they are subtly influenced by the invisible "powers and principalities".   Of course all the angels and demons are invisible, Christians say.  That's part of their plan, to fool us.  

I could understand why the demons would try to be invisible, if they mean to be subversive and undermine God's regime.  But why is God himself so often invisible as well?  Why isn't God proclaiming his laws directly, fighting evil, and upholding justice and goodness?   

Christians suppose that God wants all of his creations to be in a struggle, fighting for dominance.  the "powers and principalities" of this world are fighting for human souls, and God stands by.   Why can't we see these powers and principalities?  because they make themselves invisible, the better to secretly influence us.  Why does God allow it and Himself remain invisible?  Because he values our free will so much that he refuses to sully us with his divine presence.  

The story just keeps getting more convoluted, and there has never been offered a bit of concrete proof for any of these claims.  Not for God, not for angels or demons, not for the soul or the afterlife.  It's all invisible to us.  We're supposed to have faith.  

But anyway.  Back to my main contention for this post: namely, that Christianity is a mental virus.  Why do I say this?  Because every Christian worries about the next life, an eternity of either Heaven or Hell, depends upon certain choices in this life.  It doesn't occur to many of them that 100 years is petty compared to eternity.  Why is it just to have our fates decided for eternity on the basis of only 100 years?  And what evidence is there that humans have a 'soul' which exists for eternity anyway?  Christian talk of the eternal and of their invisible god influences their lives here and now powerfully.  Catholics oppose abortion and euthenasia and contraception and divorce, because they think these offend their god.  The virus has taken them over completely, and convinced them that their disease is a wonderful experience.  

The early biblical authors recognised that what they were doing was centered in the mind and remained in the mind, thus making it largely invisible.  St. Mark Shea quotes 2 Corinthians 10:4-5: "The weapons of our battle are not of flesh but are enormously powerful, capable of destroying fortresses. We destroy arguments and every pretension raising itself against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive in obedience to Christ".  

Notice the wording.  Christians' weapons "are not of flesh but are enormously powerful, capable of destroying fortresses."  They talk of "taking every thought captive".   They are talking about intellectual warfare, and of spreading memes--mental genes.   The Christian meme spreads by addressing human emotions and setting them all in place in a fantasy scheme.  The human mind wants order so Christianity gives it order and meaning, though at the expense of truth.  

If you want to read St. Mark Shea's post concerning Wafergate and how Christians are supposed to respond to it, go here:


Tags: catholicism, catholics, christianity, st. mark shea
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded