A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Monday, July 16, 2007

…And to Hell with Everyone Else!

Thank God I don’t believe in any organized religion!

If I did believe in any set of beliefs, then I might have been offended by the Vatican’s latest announcement that Roman Catholicism is the only true church. This is not a new statement, but in fact meant to be a correction of an interpretation from Vatican II. In particular, the Protestant beliefs are singled out as false because they do not offer salvation. I realize what the Pope is trying to do – restating some old church traditions to bring more of the faithful back to the fold – but unfortunately he is doing this at the cost of everyone else’s cherished beliefs.

Now it would be too easy for me to take the low road against this latest attempt at ethnocentrism and make catty little comments like:

In an unofficial, off-the-record statement, the Pope was heard to say, “We’re going to heaven and you’re not! Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah!”

Or I could rewrite the Spike Jones hit “Der Fuehrer’s Face” with the new words:
“When the Pope says we have the best beliefs/Sieg heil (thbtp)/Heil (thbtp)/Right in the Pope’s face!”

Or I could question his authority, “Hey! Who died and made you Pope?” Of course the answer would be a bunch of old guys in pointy hats, some of which could be members of NAMBLA that didn’t get caught (yet).

However, all that would not be very subtle and could possibly negate all of my previous blog entries about tolerance of other people’s beliefs. So I won’t go there. Instead, I will point out that many people may interpret the Vatican statement as well, you know, intolerant of other religions.

I apologize now if any of the previous statements appear to be anti-Catholic in tone, but at the moment the Pope appears to me to be anti-everyone else.

As a historian, I can’t help but see where this could possibly lead. Heightened attitudes of ethnocentrism – or the thought that the culture to which one belongs is superior to all other cultures – can lead to expressions and actions of bigotry and prejudice. These actions could possibly lead to more extreme measures like genocide. I can’t help but notice that all this has happened before.

Maybe I’m naïve, but I thought religion should be a core set of cherished beliefs and values that one holds to help them cope with life and live peacefully with others. Unfortunately, religion is constantly used by people to confirm their “Hooray for me, and to hell with everyone else” attitude. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I thought that religion should be used to bring all people closer together under a universal belief in God, or whatever the case may be.

I think this latest statement will trouble at least two groups: the evangelical Christians in America and Muslim extremists. The Christian groups, comprised mostly of those Protestants, has been a rather feisty lot now for nearly thirty years. In this case, I won’t blame them if they condemn the Pope for his words. After all, many Protestants do invest a lot of time and money in their spiritual growth, and I doubt that they will take kindly to the idea that they belong to a false church.

As for the extremist Muslims – as opposed to the mainstream Muslims who are content to coexist with everyone else – this latest Vatican edict will just confirm to him or her that their goal of killing Christians is justified. I can understand their goal, but I don’t condone it. Historically, Christians haven’t been very kind to the Islamic culture. I just don’t think it’s a good idea to tick off the extremists any more than necessary, particularly since they demonstrated their inability to land aircraft correctly a few years ago.

Perhaps no one will be offended by the Vatican statement and it will be dismissed as just the misguided ramblings of a doddering old man. Still, I feel compelled to make a suggestion to His Holiness: It seems to me that you’ve been working too hard lately. Perhaps you should extend your vacation a few more weeks. Oh, and one more thing, watch out for low flying aircraft.


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