What? Still there?! OK, see, the thing is, all my posts, and the reason for this blog, are to record little stories from my life so that my posterity (I like to imagine my great great great granddaughter) can have a glimpse into who I was. And since I am a devout Roman Catholic, that needs to be a part of this blog.
There is a very large chance that YOU are not a Roman Catholic. Or, if you do think of yourself as a Roman Catholic, perhaps you are not fully invested in the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. (Did you go to Mass last Sunday?) If you fall into that category and decide to read on, be advised I know that my faith is the correct one and better than all the rest.
But, you know what? If you think your faith is, in fact, the correct one and better than all the rest, CONGRATULATIONS! You are where you need to be! No need to leave me any snarky comments. I am, in fact, very happy for you.
If you don’t think your religion or whatever serves as your religion, is not the best for you, wow! What the hell are you doing?! Get wherever you need to be for heaven’s sake!
So anyway, I am a conservative baby boomer who spent his life as a Cold Warrior. Part of that package is living as a devout Roman Catholic in a time when that is considered sheer foolishness by the vast majority of people.
If people think about it at all, they may wonder why would I, a fellow with three degrees in science, finds it important to pray a rosary every day? Shouldn’t a real scientist and enlightened modern man be embarrassed to attend a church that claims the real presence of Christ at Mass? Why would such a man think a crazy book filled with obscure stories could help a person live his life today?
Read on, dear great great great granddaughter and discover who I was when I lived on Earth during the Cold War.
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Have you seen appallingly stupid attacks on the Bible like these?
How can I believe in a Bible that says: “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”? That’s barbaric!
Don’t these make you cringe at the sheer lack of knowledge of the speaker or writer?
If you feel you are doing “just fine” without reading and understanding the Bible, it is because the Western Civilization you grew up in is steeped in the Bible and its lessons already. But like air, you can’t even see it without looking very very hard at its effects on other things. But too often we don’t study and understand what has happened around us through the ages. We’re pretty happy to just take one day at a time.
(Don’t leave a comment in this post about Galileo. That has been so thoroughly debunked I am getting tired of responding to it. Find another example please. Hint: You won’t find one. But you will find the Galileo myth everywhere because it suits a certain narrative.)
There is no doctrine of the Church that is in opposition to science. Miracles? Miracles can only be miracles if they break the rules. So therefore, rules.
People share a lot of funny little quirks. If they meet someone new who has a different skin color and that person behaves terribly, well then, we conclude that everyone with that skin color probably behaves that way. They love to indulge in things that feel really good like lots of unhealthy food with no concerns about how that might hurt them in the future, and then do it again after it does. And again. They don’t notice so much when someone else feels attacked, but they sure notice it when they are. It is important to them to “get even” if they have been wronged. They certainly hate being told something they’ve done is wrong. Lying or cheating seems like a good choice. And it is so much easier for us to talk about these things if we say “they” so that it doesn’t sound so much like “I” might be doing all these things as well. But we do. We are such goofy little beings.
Go ahead. Try really, really hard to be good every day. You can’t do it. You can just barely imagine it. Us humans are really a piece of work.
So if you were God, You are pretty sure those humans are not going to “get it” on their own. Perhaps You could inject Yourself into their history? Perhaps the stories they told about those times they noticed Your influence would start to lead them in the right direction?
It would start out as a oral tradition about people who were not very “good” people (because we are all sinners) but all did one very special thing, they followed God’s directions as best they could. And in each story, no matter how shady the character (Gideon, Jonah, and David come immediately to mind. But Moses, Noah, and Abraham and the others had their issues too) somehow everything works out better when God is involved.
And the Bible? At the point where Jesus had lived, died, resurrected, and ascended into heaven, the fledgling Church had these stories available to them in both oral and written tradition. They also were able to select the best accounts of recent events to add to this book. They understood all of the stories much better than you or me, and were not shy about pointing out the many connections between the predictions from the Old Testament and the actions of Jesus.
So, yeah, it all pretty much makes sense to me. It seems to have all taken place just the way I would have done it, had I been God faced with this problem.
Sacred scriptures appear almost as a by-product of God’s attempts to influence us. Revered traditions of your church exist because lots of smart folks before you struggled to understand and remember what happened in their lifetimes.
If you do, then next week I’ll get you an airplane story.