Just watched the documentary “Constantines’s Sword.”
It is the journey of one man who upon leaving the Catholic priesthood examines the dark ugly side of the church with respect to it’s persecution of Jews.
Although I had never considered being a priest, I also left the Catholic faith. The main reason is perhaps that I had learned too much. I felt betrayed by what I was taught in elementary school, simple childlike stories, and the realization that the story changes the farther you dig into the Church.
The pivotal moment came after my studies in Spain which remains a very Catholic nation. I learned about the inquisition, I saw what Spain and yes, the Catholic faith did to the Native Americans. I learned about the power struggles within the Vatican and its corruption.
I was left disillusioned.
In the movie, he makes the point that Hitler had the tacit approval of the Pope to deport the Jews who were only 300 feet from the center of the Vatican. Then, Pope John Paul tries to make amends by visiting a concentration camp. This is fine and good but then they erect a cross to commemorate the visit, which is right in front of the concentration camp where thousands of Jews were killed.
The first thing I thought was that I had seen something similar to this before.
This is a cross erected for the thousands of dead Salinan Indians who where made to come to Mission San Miguel near Paso Robles California to be converted. Unfortunately for them, they did not take well to being imprisoned at this mission, forced to work and killed off by mistreatment and disease.
So what does the Catholic faith do? They erect a cross which is the main symbol of the religion that wiped out their civilization.
Now, my point here is not to attack Catholicism. My point is to repeat a message I once heard from a Dominican priest who chastised his congregation by saying “Study your faith people!”
The Catholic Church must come to grips with the atrocities it committed in the past. Unfortunately, this is not happening under Pope Benedict.
What really baffles me however is the majority of people who question nothing regarding their religion. In the film he shoots clips from some youth mega church in Colorado where they all gather together to sing songs, cry and pray.
To me, this is the worst type of faith. The unthinking kind which resembles more of a cult than anything else. These people know nothing of history, nothing of doctrine and nothing of the atrocities that faith of all kinds has perpetuated as far back as historical records go.
In short, these are the people who would believe anything so long as all their neighbors do.
I am further perplexed at adults in general. These are people who have studied, who are professionals in business, politics whatever, but when it comes to religion are as docile as sheep. Perhaps there is a good reason that congregations are often referred to as a “flock.”
I wonder if they have ever questioned the symbols, the traditions and the reasons they do things in church every Sunday. Do they know the meanings behind them? I learned from this documentary that the cross was not introduced as a main symbol until the year 300. I learned that it was a great way to spread anger at the Jews to constantly remind them that they “killed Christ.”
The cross in itself is a symbol of death. As Jesus never used it himself it was thus invented as a symbol by man and therefore has no power (if you believe in that sort of thing.) Yet, millions of people around the world carry this symbol in their house, on their necklaces and so on.
But enough with symbols and rituals, let’s just get right to Jesus himself.
If you dig deep enough you will ask about his brother and will wonder what happened to him. You will wonder about the Gospel of Mary and what happened to that. You’ll learn that many parts of the bible were not written until many hundreds of years after Jesus’s death.
You’ll keep going and keep studying and you will wonder if all your belief is wrong due to the inconsistencies that keep piling up.
But then this would be too much. It would be preferential to simply not think about it at all and go on living a life in a religion that may just be entirely made up by man.
As this post will probably offend an innumerable number of people let me offer some comfort.
My opinions are insignificant. I am just one being going through this existence and I look to persuade no one. I am simply putting down in a post what has gone through my mind when watching this documentary. My opinions do not matter.
Of course, all I have said could be completely wrong. I only know what I have experienced and although it is substantial in comparison to most people it is actually very little in terms of all that could be experienced in this life.
What comforts me is the saying that “The wise man understands he knows nothing.”
I keep an open mind, I continue to learn and I realize that all I think I know may be wrong.
I have come to a point in my life where I am very comfortable with this.