Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Why is it easy to make fun of the organised churches?

This is a quote from So Anyway by John Cleese which is rather insightful:
Chapel took up a lot of time. Just as at St. Peter's there was a Church of England service every workday morning, a fifteen-minute affair which took place in Clifton's remarkably chapel. Then, on Sunday, there was a full one-hour marathon, with a proper sermon, and hymn-singing, and crab racing, and fire-eating, and a trampoline art.

To look back on these religious practices from the peak of spiritual perfection that I have now achieved is to wonder, 'What the hell did we think we were doing?' We had all been taught how to behave: to walk more slowly than usual, looking downwards; to sit, fresh-faced and attentive and slightly awed, as we repeated well-known catchphrases of uncertain meaning ('Lord of hosts', 'Son of God', 'paschal lamb', 'life everlasting') none of which had ever been explained but which, if spoken with sufficient sincerity, would apparently keep the bogeyman away; then to stand and sing obscure lyrics about the hosts of Gilead creeping around after dark, or rousing military marches like 'Onward Christian Soldiers' that were contrary to the idea 'Blessed are the peacemakers'; and then to ask God to do us favours, even though the Lord's Prayer taught by Jesus specifically says, 'Thy will be done on earth', which clearly indicates it isn't.

Yes, I know it's easy to make fun of the organised churches, but has it occurred to anyone to wonder why it's so easy?

What gets my goat is that 'Religion' should be the most exciting topic of all. Is there an afterlife? Can we have a real purpose to our lives? How can we love our enemy, when it seems about as easy as levitating? To what extent is self-interest moral? Is there an experience of the divine that we can achieve? All the vital questions have been dumped in favour of half-baked, po-faced rituals which are basically a form of middle-class rain dance.
So Anyway by John Cleese pg.72-73

Cleese understands that Christianity 'should be the most exciting topic of all' which it is, but those of us who believe have let him down.

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