Essays & Images on Cities, Travel and Contemporary Culture. A web journal of James A. Clapp, Ph.D., an UrbisMedia Ltd. Production

Vol.83.3: The Winds of Faith

V083-03_J-touched3gen“You’ve gotta thank the Lord, right?” That is what faux journalist Wolf Blitzer* of CNN asked a woman (holding her 19-month old child) who survived, by quickly running from her home, the Moore, Oklahoma tornado that killed twenty-four people by: “You’ve gotta thank the Lord, right? Do you thank the Lord for that split-second decision?” Blitzer persisted. She made him look like the arrogant fool he is when she replied: I’m actually an atheist.”

Who the hell is Blitzer to presume upon her gratitude. The Jesus freaks never miss their chance when disaster strikes; there are vulnerable souls out there for the snatching, especially under the cover of do-gooder-ism. Blitzer wasn’t the only one seizing his evangelical moment.**

The surviving woman didn’t reply, “No I didn’t thank the Lord; but I would have liked to ask him why he sent this f***ing tornado in the first place.” In the past such impertinent ingratitude from an atheist would presumably have been met with a sentence of “life in Hell without the possibility of parole (to Purgatory).” But not any more. Now that woman, and maybe even her baby, could obtain eternal salvation in Heaven, with Jesus (and his parents).

When I learned this I could hardly restrain my exultation: “I am saved,” I shouted. “Saved, SAVED, you hear! Thank Frank All-Whitey, I’m Saved at Last!”

No greater “authority” on the matter than Francis I, The Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ on Earth, The Pope, has said as much. I am NOT going to Hell for eternity as the eschatological price all we Atheists and Nontheists are putatively destined to pay for pack of credulity in the great fairytale born of human fright. Nope, I’m goin’ duck huntin’ with Jesus in Paradise.

No kidding. Just listen to the new Pope on this:

“The Lord has created us in His image and likeness, and has given us this commandment in the depths of our heart: do good and do not do evil”: “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

[I’m not making this stuff up: Pope at Mass- Culture of#9280D2]

So I should be pleased, right? I don’t even need to consider hypocritically hedging my bets with Pascal’s Wager. I don’t need to make my Easter Duty after about fifty years; I just need to exercise, as the Pope says, a duty to do good. Okay, I’m good with that. But understand this, El Popo, I don’t do good or try to do good to earn merit in your little eschatological scam. Who appointed you the quartermaster of moral rectitude? I have greater respect for people who “do good” from a selfless secular humanist motivation than to supposedly meet up with you in “heaven.”

And second, I have some serious doubts that a number of things that I would consider as “doing good” would appear on your list. I for one would consider bringing criminal charges against any of your clergy molest children “doing good”; I would consider taxing church property as “doing good”; I would consider eliminating your church’s opposition to a woman’s right to choose abortion “doing good”; I would consider eliminating the Roman Catholic churches opposition to same-sex marriage, to distribution of condoms in Third World countries, as “doing good.” Still want to meet up with me in heaven?

Third, let’s get something else straight, El Popo: you don’t know anymore about the existence of God, or the existence of an afterlife than I do, or a doorknob knows. You have no direct connection with any deity, saint, Holy Ghost, or the resurrected Jesus. They are all imaginary beings, that some people choose to believe because they need to, or because religions like to scare the crap out of them. But some of us choose to be rational. Maybe that reality occasionally slips through your zucchetto or Papal tiara and you realize the truth of it, that you are really not all that special. There’s a hint of that in your words.

Finally, thank you for the attempt at some form of metaphysical detente, but we really don’t need your approval and, as far as I’m concerned, the Roman Catholic Church, like all religions, is the enemy of reason, and purveyor of a self-interested righteousness. Hence your overture to us infidels is not enough to make me forget that your predecessor was for years the head of the holy office of Inquisition which, a few centuries ago, rather than inviting atheists to share a heavenly cloud, would have been torturing u8s and roasting us in autos da fe.

Talk is cheap, Pontifex Maximus. Let’s see YOU do some good.
© 2013, James A. Clapp (UrbisMedia Ltd. Pub. 5.24.2013)

*Ha! Wolf Blitzer Asks At#92A4B3


WARNNG: I have added some friends and family members who are not normally on the email list of Dragon City Journal for this particular posting, some of whom might find some of my views on religion upsetting news. But my long time disaffection with evangelistic religions in general, and my equally long particular disgust with the Roman Catholic Church, has reached the point that I prefer that no one remains under the mistaken assumption that I am a member of that corrupt institution. Do not read further if you cannot abide challenges to your beliefs.

Wouldn’t you know it, just as I was about to pack my cloud shoes and my summer toga (the one that would be washed by angels) for my destined trip to eternal salvation, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church has reneged on the Pope’s offer of just a couple days ago, announcing that yours truly is going to hell after all. Here’s my earlier post on that, if you missed it.

Seems that the Argentinian Jesuit I call “El Popo” has overstepped the liturgical line in assuring atheists who do good work that they can go to heaven, says the Rev. Thomas Roscia of the Vatican. Like a sleazy Cannon lawyer, Roscia hauled out the catechism fine print in a statement that reaffirms that if you are not showing up at mass and coughing up for the “second collection” you just aren’t going to get to go duck hunting with Jesus.

Christian fundamentalists and a good many of them are Roman Catholics— must be having to change their underwear with greater frequency these days. First a black man whom they regard as a Muslim occupies the White House, and now this Jesuit Pope who was a fan of the Franciscans is behaving less like the Bishop of Rome and more like a priest in a small Argentinian town giving absolution for the confession of a poor woman with nine kids who believes she is going to hell for using a contraceptive. He’s not likely to be performing gay marriages or ordaining women priests, but compared to those Vatican hardliners like his predecessor he must look like Satan aiming a shotgun at the Holy Ghost.

I use this example (of a mother of nine) because El Popo’s overture to atheists was based on their doing good works, not whether they claimed to believe in Jesus Christ. He would allow for a God who judges us by our deeds, not our words. Not so, Rev. Roscia, his Catechism and his Church, for whom the interests of the church are paramount, and for whom, presumably, the professed believer who does no good works, or even evil works, trumps the charitable atheist.

My parents, who in good faith sent me to Roman Catholic educational institutions, had a difficult time dealing with my apostasy, but gradually forgave me as they came to understand that I was still me, their loving and dutiful son. I love them, not the Church. I don’t believe that I ever truly believed what the Church did their best to indoctrinate in me; I only believed that I was supposed to believe and went along with it for the reasons that many others do. It was an experience not without some psychological residue.

My parents grew up in a time when in most communities the most educated person was the local priest who they typically held in high regard, blissfully unaware that there were too many priests molesting their children. That demographic changed when many of those children went on to become more highly, and more broadly, educated than the local clergy, and more aware of the dark side of the Roman Catholic Church.
So when this poppycock as to whether these superannuated gas bags and silly suits are the arbiters of our destination in an afterlife they have no knowledge of but use as a fear factor to squeeze money and obedience from the credulous, more and more of us are able to see through the haze of incense through to the nonsense of belief in this colossal fairytale.

So here’s what I have to say to Rev. Roscia: although I have no more assurance than you that there is such a place, GO TO HELL!
© 2013, James A. Clapp (UrbisMedia Ltd. Pub. 5.24.2013)
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