I’ll never get to heaven!


I went to church yesterday.  A Roman Catholic mass no less.  It was the baptism of my friend’s Sweet Baby.

The place was bursting at the seams with worshippers.  And me being one of those irritating types who is always late, ended up right at the back and having to stand throughout the service.  But, me also being the type who enjoys a good people-watch, I had a panoramic view of the whole congregation. 

Looking around and observing all the worshippers was actually quite moving.  And some of the words the priest used during the mass made me quite yearnful.  I found myself wishing it would all come true…that there would come a time when a Saviour would arrive, just in time, to pull us out of our self-made mess and make everything right and fair and just.

The mass kicked off with a lovely hymn, Here I am Lord which make me cry straight away because, apart from it being a lovely song anyway, it was sung at my father’s funeral so it brought back some painful memories. 

Then the priest announced that we had all sinned against God in thought and word and deed.  Oh, and by what we had left undone.  Then he continued the prayer which now involved us all repenting and apologising after which God, via the priest-medium, cleansed us of said sins.  But before we were forgiven, the priest warned us that we would not be accepted into the kingdom of God unless we had truly repented of our sins and had accepted Jesus as our saviour. 

I looked around at the trusting and adoring people and thought – they don’t look that bad.

Next came the sermon and the priest preached, telling us – again – that we had entered this world as sinners and would not be admitted into the kingdom of God unless we had fully repented of our sins.

Entered the world a sinner?  I tiptoed and looked over at Sweet Baby about to be baptised and although I didn’t have a very clear view because of all the heads, from what I saw of her, she really didn’t look like a sinner.  Six weeks old and could barely open her eyes.  I was convinced there was not a sinful thought in her body.  Just a quite oblivious mind with not much more occupying it than an instinctive need for the breast and for warmth and for comfort.

Anyway, on to the baptism.  Sweet Baby was baptised and during this part we were once again asked to (re)-repent of our sins because of it being the time of lent.  And we were invited to reaffirm our commitment to Christ on account of the baptism representing rebirth etc..  And during this the priest reminded us – again – that we’d all been born sinners and would only be forgiven if we truly repented and accepted Christ as our saviour.

I looked around again, and thought…these people weren’t born sinners!  How the hell could they have been born sinners?  It’s totally illogical!  They didn’t even have a choice about being born!  Nor of the life circumstances to which they were born into.  We all go on to do wrong things as we grow.  Some more than others.  Nobody’s perfect.  It’s called being human.  We say sorry to each other.  We regret.  We move on.  But really, what’s all this beating ourselves up every week for?  Telling each other that we have sinned against God and we must be remorseful or be chucked into a fiery furnace to share an eternity with all the other evil beings?  Why are these people being held accountable because of a two thousand year old legendary tale about a man who gave in to temptation and took a bite from his girlfriend’s juicy apple? 

I have no problem with people’s religious beliefs.  It’s none of my business anyway.  The people at the church seemed quite lovely and genuine and I really did find most of the service quite moving.   

But really, what is this weekly guilt-fest all about? 

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10 responses to this post.

  1. Aaah..catholicism..I was brought up (or dragged up) a catholic and the whole original sin thing is basically to get the parents to bring the baby to church as soon as possible, before they have a chance to reflect.

    And I love the whole confession aspect – you can do whatever the hell you want (almost) but as long as you apologize to god via a priest, in a non-convincing manner, it’s just fine. Just pretend to be sorry, and off you go. Oh, and just pop some cash in the box on the way out, thanks…

    Reply

  2. I was born into the Mormon church, which doesn’t put as much effaces on sin as it does on doing good and racking up the brownie points. No Hell there either.

    Anyhow, when my kids were little I decided that it would be good for them to visit other churches, so that they wouldn’t become snobby elitists like their fellow Sunday School mates. So after we attended our meetings we would visit another church. I don’t think the kids got out of it as much as I did.

    I noticed that each variety of service seemed to collect a different type of people and serviced a particular focus. It seemed like it was therapy of some sort. That some people needed to be all about flowers, butterflies and rainbows and others Hell and Damnation, in varying degrees. All of it based not on love of God, but the things that they feared.

    This is just my opinion, but I think that once you stop fearing the natural part of yourself (the part that “sins”) you start to get mentally healthier and no longer need the fairy tale to get you through the day.

    Reply

  3. Religion. Hmmm. Don’t know, never had it in my life. Thank God! 🙂

    Reply

  4. Posted by Richard on March 12, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    Religion. Hmmmm. Don’t know, but something tells me we are spiritual beings having a human experience, rather than human beings having a spiritual experience.

    Can’t ‘prove’ it either way, can we ?

    Tielard de Chardin had that view too – those French people were pretty clever – like Descartes, Pascal…and Platini.

    Reply

  5. Hi Paddy, it does seem that the religious leaders desire to rule the masses by using fear and guilt tactics.

    Hi Kita, thanks for your views. “Stop fearing the natural part of yourself” You have something there. Absolutely. It comes from within. Always.

    Matty, always got a wisecrack ready…thank goodness. 🙂

    Hi Richard, I like the thought of that actually… spiritual beings having a human experience. It’s not so easy being human sometimes.

    Like I said, I have no problems with people’s religious beliefs if they’re unharmful. I’ve no right to either. But it’s the ‘being born sinners’ that I just can’t get my head round. It’s illogical and really quite cruel. There are parents who accept and believe unquestioningly in these doctrines and have lost babies before they’ve been baptised and have been anguished about what’s to become of the baby. Apparently it will be stuck in limbo forever. How comforting is that?

    Reply

  6. My deep respect for all religions, well some exceptions must also be taken into account such as those devoted to Satanism or destruction.

    I was brought up a Catholic until I could sit down and reflect.

    Confession was about to be suppressed when John XXIII was the Catholic Pope, but it was forgotten after he died. Why? Because in my opinion confession is the most powerfully psychological tool the Church has.

    Reply

  7. Jose, I have respect for the people who follow religions but not for many of the religious leaders – of all faiths and denominations – they have a lot to answer for.

    Interesting info about John XXIII. Thanks.

    Richard, I guess you’re right to say that we can’t prove it either way. And to write something off completely just because there’s no physical evidence can be very limiting. Open minds learn more.

    Reply

  8. Stick with Zhisouism EP, forget the Catholics.

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  9. Hey Zeddie. Lovely to hear from you sweetie.

    You can depend on my loyalty MrZ. I’m not some shallow fickle person who easily strays when things look tantalising elsewhere.

    Catholicism has never even come close to tempting me.

    Reply

  10. […] for me to have an opinion on matters pertaining to the Catholic faith but as I’ve said before, I will never be able to grasp this concept of sin – of being born sinners.  The catholic […]

    Reply

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