Sir, How Dare You Presume?
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We're not about resurrecting people. We're about resurrecting deities! Whose culture is the "best" culture? Who's got the best gods? Even worse: Who has the only god?
We at "The Gods Are Bored" will today address remarks made by Pope Benedict in a recent encyclical. We lifted this quote from Jason, at The Wild Hunt. He lifted it from the encyclical.
"There are certain religious cultures in the world today that do not oblige men and women to live in communion but rather cut them off from one other in a search for individual well-being, limited to the gratification of psychological desires. Furthermore, a certain proliferation of different religious “paths”, attracting small groups or even single individuals, together with religious syncretism, can give rise to separation and disengagement. One possible negative effect of the process of globalization is the tendency to favour this kind of syncretism by encouraging forms of “religion” that, instead of bringing people together, alienate them from one another and distance them from reality. At the same time, some religious and cultural traditions persist which ossify society in rigid social groupings, in magical beliefs that fail to respect the dignity of the person, and in attitudes of subjugation to occult powers. In these contexts, love and truth have difficulty asserting themselves, and authentic development is impeded. For this reason, while it may be true that development needs the religions and cultures of different peoples, it is equally true that adequate discernment is needed. Religious freedom does not mean religious indifferentism, nor does it imply that all religions are equal.”
This is my site, and I am allowed to have an opinion.
My opinion is that all religions are equal.
Anyone who seeks the Divine and all goodness, by any path, through any pantheon of deities, through the Goddess, through a flock of buzzards, through any path, is holy.
Religion can separate and disengage one culture from another. This can be a good thing. It's certainly an ancient tradition, well-documented in such literature as, oh, I dunno ... the Bible?
For my money, Roman Catholicism does all of the following, as enumerated above:
1. Creates sanctioned small groups (monasteries/convents) and individual worship (hermits).
2. Alienates its followers from reality (sensible family planning/ right to die).
3. Ossifies its followers in rigid social groupings ( celibate male priests, monks, nuns/everyone else).
4. Magical beliefs that fail to respect the dignity of the person (ever heard of Catholic guilt?).
5. Attitudes of subjugation to occult powers. (Ahem, define "occult powers," please, because from where I stand, crowds cheering in St. Peter's square to a guy wearing a robe and a crown sure looks like cult behavior to me.)
In short, people who live in papal palaces shouldn't throw stones. Just because Catholicism has been around awhile, and has subjugated (often ruthlessly) many other praise and worship systems, doesn't make it the one and only religion that everyone on earth ought to follow.
I could go on and on. Papal encyclicals are always rich fodder for debate. I'll just conclude with Mr. Johnson's opinion -- he's a lapsed Catholic. He thinks the R.C. church is losing quality tithers to Pagan pathways, and the pope wants them back because he wants their largesse.
That's perhaps a tad too cynical. After all, the Catholic church does much good work in this world. You would think, then, that it might be able to tolerate, or at least ignore, people of other ... EQUAL ... faiths.