Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Divided They Fall

Originally uploaded by reuvenim
Christianity seemed like a simple affair to me during my Israeli days. Sure, we studied a bit on how the church was divided several hundred years ago and that some wars followed; we heard about Northern Ireland; and we know that Rangers and Celtic supporters would rather eat each other’s guts than the more mundane Scottish culinary delights. But those have to be minor interruptions in the grand scheme of Christianity, so I supposed, a religion that the ignorant Israeli in me used to perceive as made up of a group of rather naive people who actually go for that really silly story about Jesus (unlike “our” Jewish story which is all but impeccable, at least according to some of my school teachers; check it out here if you don't believe me).
When I moved to Australia I started noticing the Christian world is not as homogeneous as I used to think. The most noticeable manifestation was the way Catholics are despised by the rest of the population. There’s more to it, though: driving around you notice all sorts of different churches from different streams of Christianity. Then you notice they’re in active competition with one another, and then you realize that while they might all call themselves Christian they probably hate each other’s guts more than they hate people of other faiths.
At least in Australia, the argument seems to come down to a battle for dominance between Anglicans and Catholics. My impression is that the Anglos are a generally nice bunch (looks may be deceiving, though: bring over a Global Atheist Convention and you will see all the hairs on the Anglican’s backs). And the Catholics? I have to say that the more I learn about them the more problems I have with what they stand for.
Catholicism, it seems, contains the worst Christianity has to offer. Given Christianity's starting point, that’s saying a lot: Looking at their present state, they have their distorted sense of thinking we’re all living in total sin, fallen from some ideal that could have never existed; they mistreat various minorities, such as gays; they mistreat half of the population (women) more than other popular Christian sects; and – here comes the worst – they actively seek out to impose their way of thinking and their way of life upon the rest of us. Don’t believe me? Check the following out:
  1. The Catholic Church thinks it’s above the law in the way it deals with child rape (discussed here). Sadly, it appears we’re all letting them get away with it.
  2. It is pressure from the Church, and the Catholic Church in particular, that took down the initiative to give Australia its own bill of rights. George Pell, head Catholic honcho in Australia, is the most adamant activist against the initiative. The Church, it appears, prefers inequality because it’s the source of its power.
  3. Stephen Conroy, the man who would censor our internet if we were to let him get away with it, is a Catholic. Listen to him talking and you will quickly see his Catholicism is the main motivator for him being such a stupid moron. And yes, the guy is a federal minister and he’s sticking his Bronze Age beliefs in my face.
Thus when signaling out the worst of Australian religion, one usually ends up pointing the finger towards Catholicism.

As a closing note, I'd like to point out there is significant difference between Catholicism as an ideology and Catholics as people. The Catholics I know in person are proof you can't successfully stereotype people, while the dogma is fair game waiting to be trounced.

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