Monday, December 25, 2000
Me and my religion - THE COMMENTARY
By Joseph Planta
VANCOUVER -- Let me take this holiday Monday to cast some cursory thoughts regarding religion, this being Christmas Day. As means of an introduction, for those unknowing, I live Vancouver, BC where Iíve resided ever since I popped out of the womb some 18 years ago. Elementary school was taken up at Charles Dickens, high school at Sir Charles Tupper and now am at Langara College taking courses. In summation thatís my educational c.v. Hopefully itíll be added to.
Iíve been writing columns online, on e-mail since June of 1999. Being bored and refusing to take up paid work, I decided to write. I did five times-a-week for over a year, but since the fall of this year am on a regiment of thrice-weekly. I guess one with fascination of the world of journalism in oneís veins, the act of composing the thoughts that run out of your fingers is a noble hobby. George Orwell, the perceptive and thought-provoking author (mere understatement of fact) practised what Kipling considered the ĎBlack Artí. Readers reading the preceding scoff at the misrepresentation previous, as they send an e-mail correcting, should I be wrong.
Religiously, I am of the Catholic persuasion. While I do believe in God and that Jesus was his son, some of the doctrines of the church as it is, donít bode well for me. Watching the world, at Godís will mind you, I see a world fiercely divided on many fronts. Nations go to war against each other and peoples abhor each other for no reason, but that hate is a human tendency.
One of the more elementary laments is that if there was an all-living and kind God, why is there all this hunger in the world? Surely, they ask, it is not an economical problem as enough, even more, food is prevalent on the soils of the earth. Surely, God doesnít just feed the Christians or the Jews, as those faiths, Iím sure are prone to starving too. What then? Why with all the famine? Those of religious circles will probably propagate that it is the Lordís will we humans solve such problems ourselves. Perhaps. Those that do not agree will probably say then there is no God.
An aunt of mine constantly harps on my lack of attendance to weekly mass. Truth be told, Iíve learned never to lie; I donít find comfort going to mass as most of the assemblers at mass fail to ascertain the lessons dispensed by the clergy. I digress. But the obligation of going to mass is simply that, an obligation that I feel is rather unfair. Sure itís only once a week, but religion, I have learned, is an acquired taste and of no use if it is force-fed.
I also raise strong objection to the world of the church as driven by money. Year after year, the Vancouver diocese lobbies Catholics to donating money to a project they call Project Advance. Funds generated are put to the building of churches and the furtherance of Catholic ideals in this neck of the woods. Now, while they have every right to raise money and I wish them personal success in meeting their desires, the mere appearance of the need of money to keep the church afloat, dismays me. Why must money be the operative needed to keep a religious faith preserved? Does that mean mere Ďheartsí arenít as essential, as our pocket books?
I donít pretend in this space to have no use for religion. Itís just that Iím at an age where it is not unusual to question everything and anything. Why not question my religion? While I do believe in the precepts of the church, stuff like the Ten Commandments I try to lead my life based on, some ďrulesĒ I have grave reservation for.
The Pope, once decreed that the use of contraception as forbidden. While I am sure that the church has reason to oppose it, the nations that subscribe ardently to the Catholic faith are those nations that see over population as the norm and subsistent survival somewhat unachievable. Poverty being a reality in those said nations, not to mention diseases like AIDS. Contraception is a scientific reality that has been furnished to alleviate some of those problems. Yet the church citing history disallows its use.
Iíve spent most of my holiday thus far thinking about religion. I feel it an important part of my life, as Iíve grown up with those values instilled. However, sometimes even the most religious must take a breather. One must take a step back to survey the whole. Regardless, Iím sure God loves everyone. Everyone. Whether one goes to mass regularly or not, its what you do outside the church that I think matters most. Unbiased and totally objective, I think Iíve done pretty good.
Questions and comments may be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
An archive of Joseph Planta's previous columns can be found by clicking HERE .