Resisting the teaching of the Church: human rights, morals, secular culture
Being moderate in religion
It is generally accepted that, in religious matters, it is absolutely necessary to avoid becoming radical or extremist. Therefore, we must remain moderate and set barriers that must not be overcome. This implies distancing oneself from religion, making critical judgements, refusing to apply certain sacred texts literally, in short, developing a capacity for independence capable of standing up to the ease of servile obedience. It would be very imprudent to embark on religion without restraint and without being equipped with the means to brake.
What are these limits and how can they be defined? Since they cannot be based on religious values, they are necessarily human values. Common sense and empathy are respectable, but their contours are too blurred and ill-defined to be a reliable reference. I see only one barrier to religious aberrations: respect for human rights.
Religious values are therefore neither absolute nor fundamental. They can only be exercised within a secular framework that encompasses and is superior to it. In fact, our culture is only partially based on religious values drawn from antiquity. More essentially, it is based on secular values that appeared in the 18th century, such as human rights and modern democracy. Religious values must imperatively be subordinated to secular values. They can even be advantageously dispensed with.
It's curious: believers generally claim to be very far from extremism, because you can always find worse. However, religions teach that it is necessary to extricate oneself from softness and to show more commitment to the faith, in short that it is wrong to indulge in moderation.
« As long as we accept the principle that religious faith must be respected simply because it is religious faith, it is difficult to deny that respect to the faith of Osama bin Laden and the suicide bombers. The alternative, so obvious that it is useless to stress its urgency, is to abandon the principle of automatic respect for religious faith. This is one reason why I do my utmost to warn people about faith itself, and not just about so-called "extremist" faith. If they are not extremist in itself, the teachings of "moderate" religion are an open invitation to extremism. » Richard Dawkins
What values should be opposed to barbarism?
How could the Church, which has organised several crusades against Muslims, condemn offensive wars? Is the miracle by which it preaches tolerance, when it has practised ruthless repression by the Inquisition, called "Do as I say, but not as I have done"? The ethical shortcomings are abysmal. The Church's credit rests on selective amnesia.
The question of the basis of values is crucial. For example, what values should be opposed to slavery? The question arises with regard to certain radical Islamist movements. Since the Catholic Church has, with an expansionist aim, supported slavery in the long term and accompanied the slavers, Christian values are inoperative in this context. It is necessary to appeal to secular values such as human rights.
The foundation of the values of the Western world is less in Christianity, as Christian propaganda claims, than in the values inherited from the Enlightenment and developed since then: human rights, democracy, individual freedom, the rule of law, separation of the state sphere from religious spheres, trust in reason, compulsory schooling for all, gender equality, freedom of expression, etc. More than any other cultural or religious values, these secular values are at the root of the success of Western civilisation.
The divine message is confused
Today, one third of the world's population is connected to Christianity to varying degrees. For a divine intervention as major as the coming of Christ, after 2'000 years of intense efforts including crusades, inquisition, religious wars, colonisation and countless conversions obtained by force, the result is disappointing.
From the point of view of those who believe in the Truth, two thirds of humans remain in ignorance or error. Moreover, Christians are divided, not to mention the degree of faith of each one. Providence and celestial marketing lack effectiveness. In the cacophony of beliefs, no religion takes the ascendancy and fails to impose itself by the evidence of its divine anchorage.
However, instead of judging the Revelation as a partial failure, I see it rather as a fable of human origin, which explains the impossible establishment of a single faith.
I don't complain about it, because the meaning of life, the same for everyone and dictated by a religion, doesn't attract me much.
The problem is not homosexuality, but the Bible
In 2015, the Bishop of Chur (Switzerland), Vitus Huonder, during a Catholic colloquium in Fulda (Germany), read and commented on this verse:
[Leviticus 20:13] If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.
As this contravenes Article 259 of the Swiss Penal Code, which condemns public incitement to crime, a criminal complaint has been lodged. Bishop Huonder was cleared by the Swiss justice system on the grounds that this call for murder should not be interpreted as having to be executed. Put more bluntly, the Bible can be taken more or less seriously, but not really. Respect for people comes first.
The Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches has opened the door to the introduction of religious marriage for homosexuals. It thus officially admits that certain verses must be ignored and that the Bible contains inconsistencies. However, from a contradiction, one can infer what one wants to infer. One effect of this is that homosexuality is still a problem among Catholics, whereas it is in the process of being accepted among Protestants. Since we cannot trust the Bible, we can consider that it was written without divine intervention by human beings who were not always inspired.
Homosexuality must be accepted as a natural phenomenon without grounds for discrimination. The problem is that the Bible advocates intolerance. A distance from religion helps to alleviate an illusory moral conflict.
The enigma of the beginning
An enigma is not solved by a myriad of mysteries deduced from heterogeneous texts self-proclaimed divine revelation.
Question or objection
How can you support homosexuality when it seriously violates the natural order? This is the kind of wandering that those who have lost the compass of religion end up doing!
I do not support homosexuality, but I oppose any discrimination against homosexuals.
Morality is necessary for the proper functioning of society, and religion is necessary as a basis for morality. So religion is necessary for the proper functioning of society.
Is it reasonable or wise to use myths to solve society's current moral problems? While religion concerns only believers committed to a particular community, morality concerns all human beings. To claim that ethics is ultimately based on the divine nature of Jesus Christ is to claim that the majority of humanity is devoid of morality.
Man being an individual and social being, he is both selfish and altruistic, defending his own interest and the common good, but neither totally selfish nor totally altruistic. Everyone finds an intermediate position of equilibrium.
In the struggle for survival, cooperation brings benefits and plays as important a role as competition. Conscious of his or her dependence on society, the individual feels obliged to shift some of his or her vital concerns to the common good. This disposition of mind, which is the result of natural selection, is the basis of morality.
Fortunately, morality (in the singular) is not based on religions (in the plural). See Some shortcomings of the Catholic Church in secular morality
Sin or the expression of an outdated divine pedagogy
The Catholic education I received puts a lot of emphasis on sin. Of course, on reflection, the notion of sin also covers acts that one has not done, for example not giving help to someone in need, but the first idea that comes to mind is that of prohibited acts, for example, certain acts of a sexual nature.
The Church encourages self-examination, which would be approved if it were not centred on shortcomings, errors, faults and sins. The notion of sin evokes guilt, punishment and suffering, making it negative, paralysing, unconstructive and destructive.
This way of looking at things does not at all correspond to my life experience that there is much more to be regretted among the things one has not done than among the things one has accomplished. It seems more constructive to me to focus my self-examination on what I could do right, to look to the future rather than the past.
This is also the direction that modern pedagogy has taken, in opposition to the traditional teaching of the Church.
The bad behaviour of some Christians cannot be blamed on religious institutions. "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water!"
In many cases, it is the Catholic Church as an institution that has acted wrongly, for example: crusades, inquisition, slavery, clericalism, protection of paedophiles, etc. It is not possible to attribute these abuses to a few individuals. No less than four popes (Eugene IV, Nicholas V, Calixtus III and Sixtus IV) promulgated papal bulls to encourage the slave trade. See: Some shortcomings of the Catholic Church to secular morality.
To parody the proverb, "Bath water is too brackish for a baby to survive in it". It is therefore without regret that one can envisage one's life outside the Catholic Church, and thus join the majority of humanity.
The past cannot be judged according to modern principles. Since the law is not retroactive, human rights cannot be applied to acts that took place before 1789 or even before 1948.
If the Church declared itself a human institution, you would be right. But since she claims to be instituted by God, holder of the unchanging Truth, inspired by the Holy Spirit and guided by Providence, why has she so often violated human rights?
That the situation has improved, all right, but it is mainly due to external constraints, and two issues remain:
The behaviour of the Church in the present, and especially in the past, justifies a great mistrust of the legitimacy of divine right which the Roman institution drapes itself in.
On the other hand, in the history of the Church, we cannot neglect what preceded 1789, otherwise the message of Christ would disappear! To maintain that "the past can be ignored, because only the present counts" is an untenable position.
In fact, we must not bury the past: it is by analysing the mistakes made that we can avoid repeating them in the future.
About "Why I left the Catholic Church" by Georges Las Vergnas
[Mail from an Internet user] Destined for the priesthood from a very young age, Georges Las Vergnas asked himself too many questions to stay there. The result in 1956 was the book "Why I left the Roman Church", published at the author's expense. Georges Las Vergnas died in 1986.
Some quotes from "Why I left the Roman Church", [in French] Georges Las Vergnas
Catholicism is not a religion like any other
In the majority of religions, the clergy plays only a facilitating role, a useful but optional one. On the contrary, in Catholicism, through the sacraments and the Mass, the clergy plays the role of an indispensable intermediary from which it derives (or at least drew) reinforced authority. An authentic Catholic cannot pretend to make a direct arrangement with God.
I have total confidence in the Church, especially since the arrival of Pope Francis.
I admit that you declare yourself to be a believer and say that you voluntarily submit to the Church's directives. However, I find it necessary to remain vigilant and to adopt a principle of revision: in the event of human rights violations, or for any other reason that offends your conscience, you should be prepared to leave the Church and take control of your life. I find it amazing to commit yourself to remain faithful no matter what happens. The perverse effects of this can be seen in certain sects, i.e. in others, but more difficulty in one's own religion. It seems to me to be presumptuous to claim that the Church is safe from any slippage when its history proves otherwise.
It is faith that gives meaning to life
If it is a meaning to be freely constructed according to my conscience, I am willing to enter into the matter. Unfortunately, the reference to " faith" probably manifests a completely different intention. If "a meaning" means THE meaning given by THE dogma, then the meaning of life consists in obeying the Vatican.
«- Tied up? says the Wolf: so you don't run where you want?
[La Fontaine, Fables, The Wolf and the Dog]
We can give life another meaning [read the philosophical tale From the stick as a gift to the meaning of life], for example to live one's life as fully as possible, blossoming on all levels: physical, emotional, intellectual and social.
We all need a model, and Christ is an example for me.
The desire to identify with a hero finds its outlet in literature or cinema. It seems excessive to me to project it into religious terrain. Having unfortunately been taught by zealous preachers, I consider that devoting three years of one's life to preaching is an example not to be followed. An unpleasant aspect of religions is the duty of mission, i.e. pestering others. The world lacks people who actively oppose indoctrinators who campaign for organisations with global aims.
The image of the sheep faithfully following its Shepherd displeases me. Why should a model be religious? For example, Edmond Kaiser (1914-2000), founder of "Terre des hommes" and "Sentinelles", was agnostic and unbeliever. And I have a lot of admiration for Condorcet (1743-1794) who fought for the abolition of the death penalty and, on the subject of slavery, defended people of colour. It is a fine example of how the enlightenment of reason manages to influence religious, political and social passions.
Your words flow over me without touching me. I am 100% sure that God exists and loves us.
I have spoken about God's love in Is God good or paradoxical ?. This love is further strengthened - if that is possible - by the Church's benevolent care for its members :
Today contaminated by the secular ideas of the French Revolution, the Church has lost its bite and has become softened. In spite of the change in society, man's love for God does not waver: read more in Charlie Hebdo. Rather than placing my trust in a myth, I entrust my opinion to the judgment of history which shows that religions cannot serve as a compass and do not protect against abuses.
Selective indignation is a trait that Christianity shares with other religions. Love is really little in the face of ideological blindness. God is nothing more than the image we have of him.
Many miracles have been observed by credible witnesses, which is indisputable proof that religion speaks the truth.
All religions are based on miracles. Following your reasoning, all religions tell the truth. Should we therefore practice all of them?
As the universe is governed solely by natural laws, there has never been a miracle, which excludes the Resurrection.
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed [Saint John 20:29]
This is the key to the irrational. From this stems the multiplicity of beliefs. Thus, anything can be justified. But a reasonable way remains open: the Bible allows us to be unbelievers, since St. Thomas allowed himself to do so.
Fear of hell keeps us in the Good Way
Fear of being tortured leads to fear of hell. But, from one fear, one can draw different consequences.
For me, the fear of being tortured translates into unconditional support for human rights. Who would want to live in a society governed by brute force and lacking respect for people?
As for the fear of hell, I put it in the same category as the fear of ghosts: the fear of fantasies.
Revolution in the Kingdom of Heaven
«The doctrine of the chosen people is undoubtedly a product of the tribal form of society.»
Karl Popper, Open Society and its enemies
The Kingdom of Heaven is an idealization of the Hebrew kingdoms. An essential part of heavenly bliss certainly lies in the feeling of feeling among one's own people. As for divine contemplation, it irresistibly evokes the privilege of witnessing the Sun King's (Louis XIV) little rising. But the most important thing is yet to come.
The Church makes people feel less guilty than in the past.
Nowadays, religion is often seen as a method of improving one's well-being. As such, it is imperative that it be adapted to the spiritual needs of those who use it. In this context, authority and official doctrine are troublemakers whose roles should be reduced.
On the one hand, the official Church, defined by its dogmas and catechism, is camped in its conservatism. By dint of having multiplied the proclamations of immutable truths and sacred rules, it has become rigid and voluntarily deprived itself of the means to adapt and evolve. On the other hand, the reformists, from the most moderate to the most radical, form a broad constellation. The distinction between believers and non-believers is insufficient: there are all those, and there are many of them, who believe only partially, very much, moderately or only a little. The faithful choose what pleases them as love, and reject what repels them as subjugation to papal authority. Who still believes that missing Sunday Mass and Eucharist is a mortal sin that condemns you to eternal hell? Many Catholics are committed to emptying sin of its former harshness so that only criminals are threatened with hell, thus opening an unimpeded path to eternal happiness. This is the democratisation of paradise. In doing so, in the name of the principle " Taking official religious teaching to the letter is fundamentalism", they refuse to believe that the Church speaks in the name of God. Religious sentiment becomes a technique for betterment. Catholics have found this way to free themselves from traditional Catholicism.
Like myths, religions are constantly being reinterpreted. Their current meaning is therefore not fixed. They adapt to the aspirations of those who place their hopes in them. Thus, references to the Bible in my childhood were different from those of today: the presence of the devil was highlighted, whereas it is now considerably reduced.
The majority of people who call themselves Catholics are in fact only half-Catholics, because, obeying their feelings, they prefer to conceal a large part of the catechetical corpus. The Church is a schizophrenic institution whose ministers only proclaim the most presentable part of the doctrine. Some people have a quarrel with the Church, a quarrel of egocentric lovers: each one demands, with harsh reproaches, that the other change, without questioning herself or thinking about separation. Many move away from the Church in a variety of ways, but without breaking up. Only a few go even further and leave the herd.
The resulting varied religious attitudes differ so much from Roman Catholicism that new denominations should be assigned to them. I have the impression that I am witnessing the emergence of new religions. In one, only the acts count, and the Church plays only an optional role. In another, the religion of Love, sin and hell have been excluded; since almost all of us will be saved, religious practices are optional.
More generally, the power of the Church is being strongly altered. However, the Catholic label remains a popular talisman, as it opens the door to Church services such as weddings and funerals whose social anchoring is appreciated. Catholics, even practising Catholics, are increasingly heterodox. The result is a separation between the cultural and the strictly religious aspects of Christianity, leading to the emergence of a kind of secular religion that is insubordinate to Roman authority.
The official doctrine of the Vatican has not changed, but it is no longer followed. This is why the Church makes people feel less guilty than in the past.
These upheavals show that the evolution of society is transforming religious movements. Catholicism is a human construction on which it is difficult for me to see the breath of the Holy Spirit!
A similar movement can be observed among the Protestants. In the Swiss population in 2014, the number of practising Christians will fall to 18 %, while 57 % declare that they have distanced themselves from the Churches, but without having broken the administrative link.
How do believers react to criticism of Catholicism?
In the first contacts, many people agreed with me, because the majority of Catholics are suffering from seeing their Church not conforming to their convictions. Then, when they realise that I am an atheist, they break off the dialogue and move away... I crossed a red line.
Christians who have distanced themselves from the Church are reluctant to talk about religion. I even have the impression that they have put this subject in the same drawer as the theme of death, labelled "To think about it as late as possible".
Moderate Christians most often react in the form " For me, Catholicism is not the official doctrine that is slow to be updated, but something else entirely", the said thing differing greatly from person to person. Christianity really practised is something subjective, rather vaguely formulated, emotionally attached and elusive. Objections are considered irrelevant, and it is therefore impossible to subject it to criticism. No argument can touch the faith of even a moderate believer. I wonder, however, whether what we are talking about can still be called Catholicism or whether the official doctrine is in the process of decay.
As for convinced Christians, they are shocked and say for example "Do you really believe what you are saying?" or "You will change your mind as death approaches". On the substance, I answered this last argument in Overcoming the fear of death. But I retain here that it is inconceivable for them not to believe, that this pathological situation can only be temporary, and that any sensible man can only return to faith. These Christians find themselves unable to put themselves in the place of the atheist and understand him.
The practice of a spirituality is necessary
Spirituality is an attitude that tends to bring us into harmony with ourselves, with others and with the environment. It works on introspection so that it reflects a positive image. It is part of the search for well-being and, if possible, happiness.
Contrary to what Christianity teaches us, belief in God is only one way of practising spirituality. Self-examination seems to be a means of progressing along the path of self-satisfaction, but, measured against religious requirements, it tends to develop feelings of guilt and to reinforce a sense of unease, which shows that religious doctrine is toxic and that we need to change it. I have been abundantly watered down with prayers and examinations of conscience without the slightest feeling of harmony. The notion of sin does not seem to me to be the most relevant one to guide our lives, because there is generally more to be regretted among the actions we have not undertaken than contrition for inappropriate acts. Self-examination should be more constructive and focus on what is desirable to undertake, but this requires a life project.
Mystical divagation is a joyful exercise, but too subjective to be generalised. Happiness obtained by a hallucinogenic way is chimerical. Spirituality is too often based on the activation of emotion, whereas awakening to reason is wise and saving.
In my experience, people who talk to me about spirituality often aim to share their faith. That believers practice the spirituality they want, but that they understand that other paths exist.
Buddhist spirituality does not refer to any deity, which shows that spirituality can be completely secular. By nature, it can only be personal and subjective. When it consists of
then atheism offers a good way to practice a secular meditation that includes philosophical, religious, moral, political and historical concerns. Reflecting on man's place in the universe, drawing a boundary between utopia and reality, working to detach oneself from unfounded beliefs, building a coherent representation of the world and putting harmony in our desires, this is still spirituality, and mine is intense, see [...] Giving coherence to one's life. One should not narrow one's field of vision by declaring that spiritualities that take other paths than one's own do not deserve the name spirituality.
For me, the central object of spirituality is the full acceptance that nothing in us is certainly immortal. Given the religious culture in which we are immersed, the work to be done on oneself is gigantic.
The prayer consists in entrusting a task to "someone who manages" - a super-contractor of problems - which brings a feeling of relief and appeasement.
However, as the proverb "Help yourself and Heaven will help you" rightly points out, it is more effective to deal with problems yourself by taking appropriate action. In a more secular reformulation, it is necessary to take the time to organise one's life, which also brings - more constructively than prayer - relief and appeasement. And above all, the success rate is better.
The Christian heritage is part of our identity
Switzerland's religious diversity does not allow religion to be used as a factor of identity. As I identify less with Christianity than with secular values such as democracy and human rights, I prefer to anchor my cultural identity in the democratic and secular West that emerged from the Enlightenment. It was also during this period that, as the straitjacket on culture imposed by the Church was loosened, the foundations of the sciences that characterise our Western culture were gradually able to be established in their modern meaning: physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, etc... Freedom of thought allows cultural proliferation and encourages development.
Catholicism, on the other hand, feared industrialization, which removed the worker from the influence of the village priest and exposed him to the socialism of urban environments. In order to preserve its religious identity, the state had a duty to protect itself through clericalism. The population was treated like a herd to be led by the good shepherd.
Those who are close to several fountains can choose the source where to drink. If identity has something to do with a society to which one proudly wishes to belong, then I do not aspire to the Catholic identity. The Christian heritage is part of our history, but certainly not part of my identity.
Who do you think you are to question two thousand years of teaching and tradition?
You are right to eliminate the step of forming an informed personal opinion independently. Having discredited free will, religion can be approached in an ideal way to teach subjugation to the authority of Rome and the unconditional obedience of the good people.
You have to follow Tradition!
Tradition allows us to participate in the wisdom of our ancestors. If Tradition is a primary value, then Christians were wrong to separate themselves from the Jewish Tradition, and they would be well advised to convert to Judaism.
So far, however, it is only a narrow and short-sighted vision of Tradition. It is a question of rediscovering true Tradition, that of the hunter-gatherers, which we have unfortunately lost, but which palaeontologists could try to reconstitute. Unfortunately, since the role of religion in history gives an image of our ancestors which is far from illustrating their wisdom, there is no guarantee that more distant ancestors were wiser.
Traditions evolve, then get lost. If Tradition bears witness to what is permanent in human beliefs, then it operates only for limited periods of time. Since it is periodically renewed, Tradition is only a mirage. To believe that Tradition represents an immutable truth, it must be declared as an exception and refuse to grasp the teaching of history and science. We already know that civilisations are deadly, but believers find it very difficult to accept that religions are also destined to be replaced sooner or later.
We cannot question the entire cultural and religious heritage we have received.
Seeing how the Church reacted to Galileo, Darwin and the contraceptive pill, it is necessary to be much more open-minded to welcome new scientific discoveries.
Religious practices have left us great monuments: the Egyptian pyramids, Greek and Roman temples, Christian cathedrals, theological works, etc... Since it seemed impossible that such gigantic efforts had been made in vain, what has been achieved must necessarily correspond to a reality. Excess impresses and convinces. The more you were a believer and megalomaniac, the more you gave substance to the truth.
On the contrary, as the Encyclopaedists have shown us, the development and the great enrichment of culture during the 18th century are, in their approach, linked to the marginalisation of religions. Beliefs are obstacles to objective knowledge. From this point of view, the difference with Islamic countries is significant.
The oldest roots are not necessarily the most vigorous. For more than two centuries, our western civilisation has developed by overcoming Judeo-Christianity. Our cultural heritage includes beautiful gems such as human rights, democracy, the common good, the arts, sciences, etc. The latter have introduced into culture the idea of testing the foundations of knowledge for their validity and of rejecting without hesitation all elements that do not resist criticism. At the same time, new hypotheses can be envisaged as avenues to be explored.
In this attitude, the most important thing is to remain demanding but open. Wearing doctrinal glasses reduces the field of vision. For example, in the 19th century, the faithful believer in dogmas would have been unable to conceive the theory of evolution. Worse, he devoted all his strength to fighting it. This is why religion is only indispensable to those who have decided to subordinate everything to their faith. Despite the plethora of denominational values, the world lacks a commitment to universal values. I urge all enlightened minds to support a secular culture.
Beyond religion, there are traditions. Unfortunately, it is in the name of tradition that many African women are excised! Before being accepted and followed, every tradition must pass under the yoke of reason and human rights.
A parallel can be drawn between European Catholicism and Royalism
A large part of the Swiss population claims to be Catholic but does not practise it. In the fact that the label does not correspond to the content, I see an analogy with politics in the United Kingdom: attachment to royalty is popular, but democracy in a modern form is practised. For a large part of the population, Christian religions are empty shells that can be decorative.
From the clan to the defence of its community
The tendency of primitive societies to group themselves into clans continues today by regrouping into communities. The aim is to cultivate feelings of belonging to ethnic, cultural, political or religious communities by drawing a clear boundary between members and others.
This state of mind is cultivated by religions. Loyalty and fidelity to the community are cardinal virtues according to which, if one is born into the community, it would be a betrayal to stray from it. A characteristic of "clan culture" is to restrict individual freedom in favour of "the best interests of the community".
The relationships to be favoured are those between members of the community, the others should be reduced to what is necessary and useful. One example: an inter-religious marriage is a waste to be avoided.
The communitarian spirit tends to lead to a bias: "all human beings are equal, especially those who are like us, while others are a little less ".
A Catholic who protests is not a Protestant
I know several Catholics who are very religious, but very critical of the hierarchy, and who oppose their moral conscience to the teaching of the Church.
Even though they are Protestants at heart, it is unthinkable that they should officially become Protestants. Rather than placing themselves in an institutional framework favourable to the expression of their faith, they prefer to grumble against the Catholic Church.
Religious affiliation is made up of irrational attachments.
The reviews published by this site are outdated and out of date. The Church has changed a lot and is no longer grandpa's Church.
This is not true. The Church has changed little in relation to the profound transformations of society, and the small change it has made is essentially the result of the influence of secular modernity. It is society that is no longer grandfather's society.
We are witnessing a kind of rebellion of the Western Catholic population against religious authority. Practised Catholicism has been emptied of its confessional content, retaining only a few social conventions that manifest themselves at baptisms, marriages and funerals. Christians are engaged in passive resistance by avoiding systematic indoctrination. The situation has changed because society has become independent of the Church, but the Church is conservative and has not changed in nature. Unlike the faithful, the Vatican stands by its dogmas. It was political movements claiming human rights that demanded the abandonment of clericalism and an end to the protection of paedophiles. Whoever declares "Now it's not like before" insinuates that the Church must be forgiven and given merits that should go to those who have resisted religious indoctrination.
The rapid evolution of Western culture is akin to a revolution in which religious foundations are gradually being replaced by secular ones: the call for human rights instead of references to religious morality, freedom and democracy instead of obedience to civil and religious authorities, gender equality instead of traditional submission to the father of the family, and so on. In a way, the events of May 1968 are a reactivation of the ideals of the 1789 revolution.
I am talking about the way the Church has poisoned the West for more than 1400 years, including in our country quite recently. I was wounded by the religious indoctrination of the public schools I attended, because they had set themselves the mission of saving Catholicism through their students. To say that criticism of the Church is out of place and out of date means that I criticize too late or that I was born too early. Excuse me for talking about my life rather than that of my children. It is a way of hiding the responsibility of the Church by making criticism a guilt, it is kicking it out of the way in order to avoid looking at the ugly history of the Church and becoming aware of the discredit that goes with it.
A common attitude is that, since the situation has improved significantly, we can now be satisfied with it. I don't think so. On the one hand, it means recognising that there have been periods when the Church could not be trusted, and this may happen again in the future. On the other hand, it means "from now on, things will get better," which is only a hope. By keeping closer to the facts, the situation has simply become less unacceptable, and improvement must be continued. The past cannot be blithely erased for the sole reason that it presents the face of the Church's discredit. A short memory provides little support for a biased ideology.
In order to prove that the Church is behaving well, I am asking for a probationary period which, in view of 1400 years of slippage, can only be long. Let it start today to fully respect human rights: equality between men and women in the Church, non-discrimination of homosexuals, complete separation of Church and State, abolition of the death penalty. There is still a long way to go. In the meantime, I cannot give credit to the Church: as long as it supports archaisms, it remains anachronistic.
In your words flows the venom of settling scores
It is no exaggeration to say that I have been brainwashed (see Clericalism, never again !) and deprived of religious freedom (see Clericalism and secularism in the canton of Fribourg).
This is why your approach to the issue has the effect of reversing roles and making the Church a victim, which is contrary to the truth. I do not wish to take revenge, but to make the wrongs caused visible, and if possible to have them recognised. I could, indeed, have adopted another attitude, such as obeying the injunction given to me "Shut your mouth and let those who think for you act", but I prefer to militate for a legal framework to be put in place to make it impossible for these dark times to return..
You exaggerate, you are too excessive!
Often, the writer approaches things indirectly, through allegories, leaving the reader a large part of the interpretation. The writer suggests, makes the reader dream, which allows the reader to find complicity. I am not a writer, but a professor of mathematics, and I try to express myself as directly as possible, by being explicit and frontal, by not diluting what I say, by avoiding ambiguity and innuendoes, without any other literary pretension than that of being clear, without concern to please, but keeping intact the desire to convince.
He who seeks the truth cannot speak as flatteringly as he who seeks to please. I address those who are sensitive to reason and who put arguments before emotions and emotional movements. If my words are less honeyed than those of charlatans in religious matters, I have nothing to apologise for.
While I am only an individual with a modest social role, the exaggerations and excesses of the Church are global, have lasted for centuries and have not died out today. I join with you in strongly condemning exaggerations and excesses.
Beyond the lack of love for the Churches
In commenting on the de-Christianisation of our society, the lack of love for the Christian Churches is often mentioned. In my opinion, the disenchantment is much deeper.
In order to be taken into consideration, an ideology or religion must satisfy at least the following three conditions: it must agree with the established facts, be coherent and respect human rights. What about Christianity?
For the need to be in tune with the real world, the Bible, especially Genesis, is in profound contradiction with history, be it that of the universe, of the earth, of life and of man.
For the requirement of internal coherence, Christianity contains major contradictions. For example, damnation and Hell are incompatible with the precept of forgiving one's enemies. Indeed, God punishes with eternal, and therefore disproportionate, punishment. Above all, he asks to forgive his enemies, but does not forgive everyone. Other inconsistencies can be pointed out, such as the homophobic verse "Leviticus 20:13".
For the third requirement, if the Catholic Church says it accepts human rights, it does not respect their spirit. For example, it denies women equality extended to priestly functions.
Thus, the reasons for rejecting Christianity go far beyond a simple dislike for institutions and touch the very heart of the faith.
How can we resist religious indoctrination and free ourselves from it?
but also at home, in opposition to Christianity!
Supplements and answers to objections from all sources
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