What I Learned In Church Today

I went to church today because my son was in the choir.  I haven’t been to church for a long time, and not a Catholic one for even longer.

Having been raised Catholic, the service itself was familiar enough, even after all these years, that I could ignore it.  The sermon, on the other hand, I listened to intently.  When I used to go to church, even as a kid, I remember always listening to the sermon.  I listened and I thought about what the priest had to say.  Today was no different.

He talked about desire.  There was some very well thought out and interesting points that he made.  He explained how desire run amok can lead to greed and he used the international banking crisis as an example.  I couldn’t agree more.  Here was a perfect example of greed and how it can affect millions.  Here was a very humanistic call for equality and a curb on selfishness and the policies that promote it.  He contrasted that to a desire to do what is right for everyone.

This would have been a perfect sermon, but then, of course, he pushed that aside and said that the real positive role of desire is to know and see God.  Damn!  

This is where myself, and humanists like me, see the great difference between our goals of those of religions.  We seek to promote the positive aspects of humanity, like channeling our desires to do good for, not just ourselves, but others as well.  While most religions do see this as an important task, it is secondary to a desire to please God.  As far as I can see, this is just as selfish as the desire for personal gain.  It is replacing the desire for money and possessions with the desire to gain wealth in an afterlife that may not exist, and which certainly does no one here on earth any good

Now, if desiring to gain points in a possible afterlife leads you to do good here on earth, great, but there is still a selfishness to this that I thin can, and does, lead easily to arrogance.  Many believers use this thought of reward in heaven to make themselves, in their eyes, better than those who either don’t believe as they do or don’t believe at all.  This can easily lead to the extreme of believing, and worse, telling those people that they will burn for eternity in hell.  This dehumanizes those who disagree and breeds hate.

Most humanists, on the other hand, believe in doing good for others simply because it is the right thing to do.  They expect no reward, no glory, just the satisfaction of doing what’s right and helping others.  All without judgment, arrogance, or hate.


4 thoughts on “What I Learned In Church Today

  1. I have mountains of evidence for faith….as much if not more than you have for some of your beliefs, such as evolution. However it is obvious that “freethinkers” are anything but freethinkers. It appears that you attempt to portray yourselves as intellectuals yet reject logic, You present yourselves as open minded and tolerant, but are close minded and intolerant. you like to claim scientific method but do des[ite to the very method you claim….
    I have faith maybe because you nor anyone can adequately offer an explanation for many events in my life. SO, I do not dismiss things that I am ignorant of. Faith offers me the most logical explanation to date. I am open for your proofs, but as of yet never get any from your side…rather just regurgitation of bumper stickers and fortune cookie logic. Brother just because YOU can’t see a need for faith…or evidence…does not mean that there is not a need or evidence. Contrary to your position of focus. faith does not depend on you…God does not need you to believe… your understanding or involvement is not necessary for truth.

    The lion does not need to proclain that he is king of the jungle ….he just is….self vindicating.

    The truth does not need to be defended…it is like that lion…it only needs to be let out

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