On the happy occasion of a recent visit of a ‘famous’ family of mine I got served with another Catholic Jewel.
It happens so that this person, let’s call it XY, on the beginning of each year promises his God that he will do or won’t do a certain thing for a whole year. Be it participating in the morning (6:30 AM) mass everyday for a whole year, absolute ban on fizzy drinks or sweets…you catch the drift.
Screw the fact, that at least some part of those ‘commitments’ is based in logic and rationality – each and every one of us could use a little less carbonated drinks. But in the XY’s case the health factor is irrelevant.
It’s because everything XY does is for the ‘glory of the Lord’. Yes – he/she does that for God. Following all of the countless hermits and people starving themselves on different occasions. Obviously starving up to certain ‘comfort’ limit because when the Catholic appetite grew larger than the power of the Holy See, the Church was trying to get its way by claiming that both beaver and capybar are fish so you can eat them during lent without any worries. It’s like in this old joke – ‘Sorry Winnetou, but business is business’.
Going back to XY – I got involved in some conversation regarding that trait of XY, a conversation with XY’s partner. It came out, that both of them treat this practice as mortification. And (what was the funniest of all of that) they said that the more they mortify themselves the more of Lord’s grace comes onto them.
“So that God of yours feeds on suffering” – I said (with the pluckiness of a 7 year old child). If he gives you grace when he sees you mortify yourself (so when you suffer because that’s what mortification is all about) – therefore it logically follows that this deity feeds on your suffering, takes pleasure in it and awards it. If you ask me – this doctrine is sick.
Imagine a person that loves you more the more you hurt yourself, the more things you give up on and the more you mortify in various ways. For me such a person can be summed up in two words – sadistic psychopath. And sadistic psychopath it is – the God those folks believe in.
Please try to remember, that those people have a deep, Catholic faith. Any catholic ceremonies – they know all about it. They participate in the parish’s life, pray before each meal and each night, and so on and so forth. If they are not ‘real Catholics’ then nobody is. And those people with their deep faith, following teachings of the Church and popes, mortify themselves and believe with a credulity of a four year old child, that it gets them some favors with God and will get them some mana/grace.
Once upon a time, in a different reference frame, when I believed in vastly much more catholic crap than I do now, I was taught pretty brutally what’s the deal with that suffering. I had a crush on a girl from my class. At one point I told her, that whenever I work physically and I feel pain, I don’t give a damn about it because I am thinking that this pain is for her. Once she heard that she went cuckoo bananas about it to that extent that I didn’t know where to hide. It was then when I thought that there’s something wrong with this whole notion of suffering for someone else, that it’s morally dubious (to say it politely) or stone cold bat shit mad (to say it straight).
There’s one more fact that strikes us while we look at it. The amount of pride and presumptuousness necessary to convince yourself, that the creator of the whole damn Universe, whole Earth, Solar System, Galaxy, Local Cluster and everything else – starting with monstrous hyper-giants and voracious black holes and ending with a quantum ballet of virtual particles, neutrino emission and frisky Higgs’ boson – that mighty being is the same being, who takes deep interest in how many cookies you ate this year and how sad you’ll be due to that. And not only takes interest, but also keeps records of it and blesses some people with more grace than others. Wasn’t the pride one of the seven deadly sins? Was there ‘does not concern Catholics and belief in God’ printed with a fine print somewhere in between lines?
Unfortunately – when XY and his/her partner heard my summation, they started to flounder in their claims that it’s not like that, the God doesn’t feed on suffering, he just gives his grace when people mortify themselves, but it’s not something he demands of them… And somehow more of such crap that doesn’t make any sense.
In hindsight it was quite entertaining to observe people when their faith gets right hook, left straight and then roundhouse kick straight in its face. But don’t be surprised, there is not a single logical and concise problem, that you can’t defeat with a blind, unreflective faith.
Catholicism is a religion that feeds, following its God, on suffering, pain and mortification. There’s no hiding it – it’s a fact that juts out of that religion’s peepers. Luckily – a big enough dose of voluntary ignorance can help with every difficult issue that otherwise would make you use your brain, including monster God feeding on suffering (also of his own child/himself).