My mind is toast these past few days. I’ve been shown things that have really messed up things I was taught as a young man. Since I’m already a blasphemer and a heretic I’ll just continue on my present course.
Like I said before, I was born and raised a Catholic. I went to Catholic school and Catholic church. I’ve always been curious about other religions and mainly other “versions” of Christianity. I’ve visited other churches. I attended a Methodist church for a while when I was younger. It was close to my house and my grandmother went to that church, so, it was convenient. The closest Catholic church was about 5 or 6 miles away and I wasn’t walking that far for anyone. You know…up hill…both ways…bare feet…snow…in July! It was different. And I think in the eyes of the Catholic Church back then, what I did, by going to a non-Catholic church was pretty much blasphemy. I’ve been to a Church of Christ. I didn’t think it was a whole lot different from the Methodist church I had gone to as a younger man. That’s about it for other churches. But hey, I was/am a Roman Catholic; according to what I was taught, it was the ONLY church, so I only needed to check out a couple of others to see what the deal was.
They built a Catholic church right next to my parents’ house a few years later. My name is on a plate in that church that lists the first confirmation group from that church. I was around 15 at the time and I guess, St. Anselms’ being a new church, they needed money. I had a job back then, I think I was making about $75 a week and the pastor said he wanted $50 a week from every working person in the family. Figure the odds on that happening!
Between that and the priests taking down those screens in the confessional – so they could see my face when I confessed my sins – I was done. I had learned at the Methodist church that I didn’t need a middle man to confess my sins, that I could talk straight to God if I so desired and that’s what I decided. I could do just as good a job of communicating with God as the priests could and it would be a whole lot cheaper.
I started going to a Church of Christ around the time my younger brothers’ first son was born. He asked me to be godfather to my nephew and of course, I accepted. After that day in the church, listening to the promises I made, to help my brother and his wife raise their son in the Catholic faith, something inside me told me I couldn’t go to that Church of Christ anymore. It was very strange – feeling those memories of Catholics who had chastised me for attending the “wrong” church when I was younger. The Catholic religion is good for that – making people feel dirty – bad – reminding us how sinful we are. No offense.
Now, after reading some of the history of the church, I’m really confused. I find out now, that there were plenty of people in the beginnings of Christianity who questioned what they were being taught, how they were being taught and even the role of leadership in the church. I questioned all those things and usually ended up in the principal’s office for it. They questioned them and were labeled heretics.
There have always been people trying to work out all the conflicting things in the bible. Be it conflicts between the old and new testaments or conflicts between different books in the bible. And I’m not exactly sure I like the way the outcome of these conflicts ended up. It seems that because one or two people didn’t like some things, they were left out and in one case a gospel appears to be placed in the bible specifically to argue for the exclusion of another!
It’s very difficult to trace the history of the Catholic church – that’s right, the first organized Christian church was the Catholic church; in case you didn’t know, catholic means universal – like they say, history is written by the winners. These “winners” actually tried to have the collective works of the losers destroyed. Luckily, there were a few who were smart enough and brave enough to hide some of these works and now we get the chance to see some of what the fathers of the church decided were unfit for our eyes.
Some questions I’ve always had and apparently shared with the Gnostics of the time: Why would a loving God not want man to eat from the Tree of Knowledge? Why was I taught that the serpent in the garden that told Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge was the devil? The god of Genesis said if they ate from the Tree of Knowledge they would surely die. These kinds of things never made sense to me. Did you know that in ancient times serpents often represented wisdom. So maybe, just maybe, somebody screwed up this interpretation early on – I don’t know.
In the Gospel of Thomas, verse 2, it says: Jesus said, “Let one who seeks not stop seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will be troubled. When he is troubled, he will be astonished and will rule over all.”
I’m workin’ on it!