Growing Up Enculted – Part 3

April 1, 2012

The Catholic grade school I attended from third to eighth grade, Trinity Academy, subjected me to what I would not hesitate to call psychological abuse. The headmaster had come to America from England and established the school with his wife from Philadelphia. The two of them they found absolutely nothing disturbing about teaching middle school children that homosexuality is one of the worst sins any human could ever commit. I do not hold such a miscarriage of moral thinking against them, for I do believe they felt obligated to teach us such vulgar fallacies on pain of eternal damnation. I remember coming home from school as a middle school student and, whilst doing my homework, taking a pocket knife and cutting a hole into my globe where England was. The reason was that my headmaster’s wife, who happened to be my literature teacher at the time, told me in front of my entire (12 person) class that I was lazy and immature. This remark was because I had not been able to memorize all four pages of the poem Paul Revere’s Ride. I do believe such measures of condescendence on children are, in fact, necessary in order to achieve their ultimate goal, to form children into the warriors of Jesus Christ.

The way to attain the Catholic “Heaven” is to put God’s sense of morality before his own. The story of Abraham’s test is perhaps the

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553): Adam and ...

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553): Adam and Eve. Beech wood, 1533. Bode-Museum, Berlin (Erworben 1830, Königliche Schlösser, Gemäldegalerie Kat. 567) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

most controversial story in the Old Testament. If you are not already familiar with it, it is the story in which God instructs Abraham to offer his only son as a sacrifice. Most Christians cleverly remind you that God eventually intervened and stopped to murder of the young boy; therefore, the story clearly demonstrates how good God is. This logic could not be further from the truth. I think this shows that the belief that a god, who you have never seen, but is somehow able to make all your moral decisions better than you could, is extremely dangerous. The most wretched aspect of the Christian God is the punishment inflicted upon those who have sought knowledge or questioned His morals. God introduced Adam and Eve to suffering for eating from the tree of knowledge. Those who questioned the Catholic Church’s teachings during the twelfth century were tortured by Christ’s followers and were done so by the Pope’s authority.

For those who say that this type of human rights violation is no longer present in Catholic teaching, I do not believe you realize what type of morbid childhood is necessary to produce a person capable of disregarding his innate sense of morality. If you were to think of any person throughout all of human history who you believe had no morals, and then look up the details of his or her childhood I can almost guarantee you it was not a very pleasant one. I believe that the more a child’s freedom, knowledge, and self-esteem are oppressed, the more likely the child is to disregard their own morals. The reason people are so terrified of atheism is that they do not know how to make decisions based on their own morality. Christians must become so timid during the course of their childhood that their morality is no longer measured by what they discern to be right and wrong, but by how willing they are to disregard what they believe to be right from wrong.

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Growing Up Enculted – Part 2

March 31, 2012

 When Following God Becomes Immoral

          The first four words God said to Adam and Eve were, “Be fertile and multiply,” (Genesis 1:28) so it is not surprising to see large Christian families especially in the United States. But is it possible that having sex within marriage could be immoral? As early as eighth grade I was taught the Catechism’s requirements for a valid marriage; according to the Catholic Church any marriage that is not open to life is not valid. This teaching has caused tremendous suffering in my life, and I can assure you that I am not the only victim of this teaching. According to Catholic teaching my parents’ decision to have my five siblings and I was completely ethical; in fact, it was the only ethical choice they had.

            To put the gravity of this teaching into perspective one must realize the consequence of disobeying teaching on such grave matter. The Church teaches that it is a grave sin for a marriage not to be open to life. This sin is also known as a mortal sin. If a Catholic dies in the state of mortal sin he or she has rejected God and will be punished in Hell for eternity. My parents’ truly believed this and, as a result, refused to use birth control.

This is where I believe the Catholic Church crossed to line into threatening its members into making morally corrupt decisions. One must ask himself whether or not it is immoral to attempt to create a life if he is fiscally incapable of even keeping the child above poverty level. Perhaps an easier question to grasp is whether or not it is moral to adopt a child with full knowledge you will not be able to support it fiscally. I do not believe such an action would be justifiable.

Mark Twain is responsible for some of the greatest literary works ever produced in America, and one of his most famous works is

mark twain Category:Mark Twain images

the controversial Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I believe it contains the greatest moment in all of American literature. Although Huckleberry had been taught in Church that he would go to hell for eternity if he helped a slave escape from his owner, he realizes that he would rather go to hell than turn his friend, Jim, over to authorities for being an escaped slave. I do not believe that it is a coincidence that Huck is recognized as a typical American hero, after all every intelligent citizen that lives in the United States knows that slavery was the failure of mankind and, most likely, the worst injustice ever committed on American soil. In Huck’s case it is painfully obvious that he made the morally correct decision, even though it was contrary to what he had been taught was the moral decision. Let us pretend for the sake of argument that Huck had decided to turn Jim in because he was an escaped slave. Would his decision to do so be immoral? At the time he was taught his decision would damn him to eternal suffering after his death, but Christian morality has since evolved and now declares owning a human being to be worthy of eternal damnation.

I hope I have been successful in establishing a precedent in which Christian teaching was morally unjust. The Catholic Church teaches that the Pope may be infallible on matters of faith and morals. I find it appalling that any organization would claim to be free from error on matters they proclaim to be more important than life or death; Catholics believe that they will burn for and unlimited amount of time unless they follow the Church’s teachings. I do not believe that a deity could possibly give a person a moral code and punish that person if they followed that moral code.


Growing Up Enculted – Part 1

March 30, 2012

Merriam Webster’s dictionary offers a total of five definitions of the word “cult,” yet I believe the fifth comes closest to the sort of cult that has become taboo throughout most of the modern world. That fifth definition is:

 

“great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad”

I believe that the World would indeed be closer to utopia if Christianity, particularly Catholicism which I was so ardently subjected to by my parents, was included in the taboo that is often given to what most people would call a “cult.” I am; however, not the first to point this out. Many intellectual men have made similar observations in the past, but I do hope that Catholics will be willing to listen to reasons I will give to explain why I believe my personhood was violated by their religion.

This book is not a collection of clever contradictions that an open-minded reader could easily find if they were to read the Bible.

Christian Bible, rosary, and crucifix.

Christian Bible, rosary, and crucifix. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I believe that would be a waste of the great position I, a sixteen year old boy, have been put in to expose what I consider to be the incredible, often overlooked, impact Christianity has had on children. If it is, in fact, contradictions and laughs you are seeking I suggest you search online for biblical contradictions. Once you are finished with those I urge you to come back and examine my take on the suffering that has been caused by Christianity. This book is meant to be a serious look into serious harms inflicted on children and humanity as a whole.

I would also like to offer something many people seem to think atheists are incapable of giving. The offer I extend is an apology. That apology is available to anyone who may be made to appear inferior throughout the course of this book. I do not want Christians to be looked upon as a plague of moral corruption upon the earth. There are many Catholics that are completely unaware that the Church they so eagerly make donations to, travels to the continent most ravaged by AIDS and tells the inhabitants that condoms warrant eternal damnation. I do not think that supporting an organization out of ignorance is evil, if I did I would have no reason to write this book. I believe the more educated to people are on the subject of Christianity’s shortcomings the more likely they will be to make morally correct decisions regarding the religion.

There is already an incredibly large amount of books dedicated to disproving god; this book is not written with that intent. I am a sophomore, not a college graduate, and I do not believe I am fit to write on such a complicated subject. A Christian not willing to read this book cannot give the excuse that this book is written by someone trying to disprove god, because I am merely offering knowledge that I have accumulated on the subject of Christianity’s effect on a child’s upbringing.

 

This is part one of the series I call “Growing Up Enculted.” I may end up publishing it so enjoy!