Sunday, 18 May 2014

Ad Vitam Aeternam , Amen !


Like so many gazillion others , I was born into a religion .... a body of complex dogmas and practices to which I was preordained because my parents were who they were ..... good , staunch , dyed-in-the-wool Catholics....... and their parents before them too ! In other words my whole religious belief system was imposed upon me ...in spite of me ....  holus-bolus---- on a silver platter ..... all I had to do was to learn it by heart  .... mysteries , divine laws, Church laws and rules  ...and comply by believing , obeying and practicing  .....never doubting it to be the one true road to salvation. Moreover , had God Himself not sent His only begotten son among us to show us the way by establishing the Catholic Church the day Jesus said to Sant Peter , our first Pope , " Tu es Petrus et supra hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam." " You are Peter ( Rock ) and upon this rock I shall build my Church". What more certitude does one need ? Dixit nobis Deus ! God told us !

              "Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum, et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen."
                "And I await the ressurection of the dead and life in a world to come. Amen"

The above Latin quotation are the closing words of the Catholic Credo. For the first thirty years of my life this Credo was not only my pledge of allegiance to a modus vivendi but also a roadmap showing me the way to eternal bliss. Growing up a Catholic during the heyday of Latin I was constantly bombarded by "ad vitam aeternam "( to eternal life ) and "in saecula saeculorum" ( forever and ever ) on a daily basis ... especially after I began serving Mass at age 9. So the eternity that awaited me was not the timeless , unconscious eternal empty flatline of the vowed aethiest but rather a blissful and joyous everlasting continuum ... with family and friends .... much like an ideal life here on earth ... except maybe better ! Although it seemed so far off in the future when I was young , psychologically I felt secure in my beliefs and their rewards without ever doubting the system I was born into.

To my way of thinking just making it through life with a minimum of earthly happiness is tough enough without being constantly haunted by doubts as to whether the church into which you were born is the TRUE CHURCH and therefore your passport to eternal bliss ... in saecula saeculorum ! It has been my experience both from discussions and readings that each religion proclaims itself the true "church" of God ..... sees itself as the true body of believers ... However , there is no visible , scientific  proof of authenticity stamped on any one of them by God. Children are born and raised within the boundaries of these belief systems and only rarely question the validity of their church's teaching and see it as the guiding light to everlasting happiness ... and should they do so , they risk excommunication , shunning , avoidance and isolation ... or worse ...

By proclaiming one's belief group to be the "chosen ones " of God seems to me overly pretentious ... even arrogant. It's tantamount to saying that God has preferences to whom He reveals Himself and to whom He "burdens" and entrusts with the TRUTH. Once this faith community established , then it must be a shining light for others who seek the truth .... during the Middle Ages often accompanied by spreading the truth by sword and decree ( Cuius regio , eius religio ) , although much less aggressive forms of proselytizing are used today. and he who had the biggest army "won over" the most converts back then. I can just picture the rather peace-loving Jews of old trying to convince the warlike peoples around them that they were the "chosen ones of God".....

I'll give God full credit for knowing and understanding how humans interact.
 This is a rough draft for the moment ..... it's where I am for the moment in unraveling the Big Plan ....which I shall continually rethink and rework until I am satisfied. I still believe very much in God , the Prime Mover and much like Cicero and the Stoics of old ... that God takes keen interest in the fate of mankind ......