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Religious Mystery is Dangerous

Jesus spoke of God as Abba - Daddy. Daddy would never let his child become sick or die even for a good reason.  Nothing gets between Daddy and his baby.  The Abba doctrine implies a number of things. 

 

That Jesus was a liar.  He knew fine well that the God of his Jewish faith was bad news and he even made him nastier.  As vile as the God of Moses was he never said that anybody who did great evil was asking for an eternity of horrendous suffering.  The worst kind of bullies do what Jesus did.  They try to stop the victims protecting themselves by spreading sweet lies and poison.

 

That the mystery doctrine is disgraceful.  A God who hurts people terribly for their own good is more like a distant father at best but not an Abba.  Jesus seems to have realised that when he called to God that he was forsaken on the cross.  A man who is too confident of God's cushy protection is sick in the head.

 

It is obvious that if you want to lay down rules and obligations to believe in silly doctrines or unconvincing morals you have to get people to think the rules have come from a God whose mind is unimaginably greater than ours.  That covers up the nonsense and disempowers people from realising that it is nonsense.

 

The Church says that mystery in religion is a good thing for it requires a greater effort of faith from us. Every religion however toxic says the same thing!!

 

The two types of mystery in religion are:

a) things that God plans but has hidden from us

 

b) things that seem illogical to us for only God can understand them – like Jesus being both God and man and not being a mixture.
 
The mysteries serve only to make you distrust your own thinking. “God knows better” is the religious moral but this really translates as, “Those who tell me what God’s word or message is know better and thinking is only allowed as long as it is biased towards their conclusions”. It gives them the power not God. That’s fine until some cult comes along that leads to suicide bombings and wife-beating.  What is not fine is how it leads to people who know better such as scientists and other investigators being ignored and even hated.
 
Mystery leads to a religion refusing to revise its doctrines no matter what harm they door what contrary evidence exists. Religious mystery and religious fundamentalism are the same thing even if the fundamentalism is in a liberal dress.
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Roman  Catholic Baltimore Catechism,


Q. 201. Why must a divine religion have mysteries?
A. A divine religion must have mysteries because it must have supernatural truths and God Himself must teach them. A religion that has only natural truths, such as man can know by reason alone, fully understand and teach, is only a human religion.
 
This catechism is Roman Catholic so the presumption is that the divine religion is Roman Catholicism. The Church argues that God gave it its sacraments and doctrines and morals and structure.
 
The argument is that a religion that is understandable is human in so far as it makes sense. The rest of it is what is supernatural. Catholicism teaches that the natural stuff is not accepted for natural reasons such as logic or evidence but because God says its is true. So if there are sound reasons for believing something the reasons are not why you believe. You believe because God says it is true. So while some religions may have some natural and supernatural teachings, Catholicism in fact in principle does not.
 
Catholicism is not the only religion that does that. Mormonism does it too. Even if it looks for evidence it is not an evidence based religion.
 
A religion that has both natural truths and supernatural truths would be partly a human creation. Such a religion would actually be making man's ideas equal to God's. That will be confusing and risky for a man who wrongly thinks his ideas are God's is fooling people whether he sees it or not.
 
For Catholicism a religion gives you real obligations and duties. A human religion cannot give you such obligations. For example, if Joseph Smith wants you to abstain from caffeine completely why should you obey him? They are not real obligations at all.
 
Is the argument that a religion given by God must have supernatural truths correct?

 

Religion offers you many mysteries and paradoxes. If you show a religion that its answers for why God allows evil are themselves wrong and evil the religion will resort to saying, "We don't know why evil happens. It is a mystery. God alone may understand." In other words, they guess that evil is a mystery. That is a cop-out. If somebody said, "This child rapist is a saint. We just cannot judge for he must have had some reason for what he did even if we cannot even guess what it is" you would see this person as being unsupportive of the victims and centred on feeling good about what happened and as stating a cop-out. Evil is not a mere theory - it is not something to guess about. Guessing that it is mystery insults the victims. Guessing to excuse it or make people feel better about it is insulting the victims. Until you have the battle scars of fighting evil all over your body and die among the lepers you are trying to help you cannot have even a bit of a right to call evil a mystery. You have no right to praise God for that is really about you making yourself feel better about evil by condoning it.

 

The mystery doctrine is often justified as follows: "We cannot know the mind of God so we should not judge evil as useless and as something that cannot happen if there is an all-good God." Not knowing the mind of God does not imply that evil is a mystery. It might imply it. You can read other people without seeing into their minds.
 
It might seem to be more positive to see evil as a mystery and part of a plan. If evil is vile and useless and not part of a plan there is nothing positive about saying it is part of a plan and good will emerge from it that makes it worthwhile in the end. But either view should not make a difference if you are a good person. Even if you think evil has a purpose, you could argue that you still prefer to approach it as useless just in case it is. You want to work to bring good about in spite of evil. Being willing to bring good about in spite of evil is what matters. To emphasise faith in a purpose over that is disgraceful.
 
A paradox is when two contradictory things are true. It does not mean there is a real contradiction but that we don't have the solution. A paradox should only be accepted if it is proven. Religion uses paradox to cover up the fact that it is man-made and is full of contradictions. It contradicts itself and makes out that it doesn't and is just acknowledging paradoxes. You don't want to make it easy to disguise a contradiction as a paradox - that would be dangerous. It would mean that you could canonise Hitler as a humanitarian saint.

 

THE DANGERS OF MYSTERY
 
The Church says that mystery in religion is a good thing for it requires a greater effort of faith from us. The two types of mystery in religion are:
 
a) things that God plans but has hidden from us.  The Roman Catholic Church says that God has revealed that contraception is wrong through the Church and that even if the Church fails to prove this ban to be correct, it is still binding and only immoral people wilfully break it. Even if the ban kills millions through passing AIDS, God knows best.
 
b) things that seem illogical to us for only God can understand them – like Jesus having two separate natures, being both fully God and fully man, and not being a mixture, and still being one person. Or God being He and not they though he is three persons who are distinct from one another and who have an intimate loving relationship with each other.
 
The two forms of mystery have a very close relationship. For example, if God is he not they though he is three persons then in the same way perhaps when I murder somebody that is somehow good and justifiable. Also if God hasn’t given us the intelligence to see how three persons can be one God, then he is so much cleverer than us that we must put our complete trust in him. If he commands us to do something our human society says is evil we must do it – even if it is child-sacrifice! To debunk one form of mystery is to debunk the other indirectly.

The doctrine of a mysterious God that we cannot understand is bad for morality. We cannot prove that God is compatible and the existence of evil and suffering and temptation which automatically asserts that God’s morals are inscrutable. This makes the invention of evil rules, like the absolute ban on contraception, and on ceasing to believe in Jesus feasible. People feel compelled to accept them believing that God has spoken and knows what he is talking about even if we can’t work him out. The road to a hell is opened and the root of fanaticism is planted. The doctrine of mystery tells us that it does not matter what we think and we should let God or the Church that represents him tell us what to think. They may let us think in some things for ourselves but they consider thinking about mystery and wondering if it is really just a cover for incoherence to be blasphemy at worse and irreverent at best. Mystery is evil because it tells us what to think. It is never desirable even if we are forced to admit defeat and inability to understand.

Thomas Aquinas correctly taught that philosophy has to start with maths and then it uses maths to understand physics and then it works out the metaphysics from both (page 77, Aquinas). This is as it should be for you cannot interpret reality without maths and logic. But then he ended up with spirits, beings without parts or beings which have several powers which are only one power all of which contradicts mathematics.
 
God is supposed to be a mystery. He’s three persons in one God according to Christianity. I cannot understand him and that is something all God religion has reached a consensus on. Yet all God religion warns me and commands me to put this being before myself. I have to forget about what is good for me for his sake. So when I have to prefer this mystery God to myself, it implies I should prefer mystery to myself. Since I am most sure I exist then if I should prefer mystery then I should prefer my own. I should say it is a mystery of goodness why I kill my father and family to get their money. I should say it is a mystery how this could be good. God is a dreadful concept. He wouldn’t be so bad if he was an exalted man or something but the more mysterious he is made the more pro-evil he becomes. The Unitarian God of the Jews is a million times better than the Trinitarian one of the Christians for he is less of a mystery so the Trinity marked not an evolution in the doctrine of God but a devolution.
 
A religion that has loads of stuff that is meant to puzzle us can easily survive any evidence against it but ends up carrying no conviction. Yes, maybe emotional conviction which isn’t really conviction at all.  
 
In Catholicism, Father Richard P McBrien rejects three ideas about original sin. He rejects the assumption that it is a denial of human freedom. He rejects the idea of Sartre that original sin is just the meaninglessness of human existence. He rejects the traditional Christian notion that that original sin is a personal sin that God blames us for though we didn't commit it (page 185, Catholicism, HarperSanFrancisco, New York, 1994). God blames us for the sin Adam and Eve committed in the garden of Eden at the start of the human race. He is forced to say it is a mystery and leave it at that. But that is a cop-out. He is hiding behind the mystery thing to disguise the absurdity of the doctrine and how it must be saying we are blamed for a sin we never committed or that we have somehow ratified this sin and shared in it thereby. He proves that in how he cannot say what original sin does to us. All agree that it makes us tend to sin but that tendency to sin is understood by all not as original sin but as a result of it.
 
The Church says that mystery in religion is a good thing for it requires a greater effort of faith from us. That really means that we take the risk of being wrong, and often of being seriously wrong, for the love of God and that is a good thing. That is a denial that what is right for us comes first for a risk is a bad thing only to be taken under serious conditions but here it is taken for one creed out of millions of choices. That is why the objection that it is worth taking the risk in case God will send you to Hell for not taking it is no good – it is because it is part of the creed. It is like saying, “Believe that if you don’t leave hot milk for Santa tonight that you will lose an arm in an accident next year”, and then saying, “Its worth the risk for you don’t want to lose an arm”. It is assuming the very thing that needs to be proven as true.
 
To believe in a God that would eternally damn those who have no faith or who want him to shove his gospel is to take an almighty risk. That is to say it means you agree you should be thrown into eternal damnation if you lose your faith or do something else or that other people should be thrown into it.

 

I have to care about my thinking first of all and make sure it is right and beneficial meaning that if faith is a bad risk then self-respect is sinful if this is acceptable behaviour.

 

To believe in mysteries is to risk being led astray intellectually and harmed so they should only be accepted when they cannot be avoided and otherwise to accept them is a sign of fake self-esteem or disordered self-esteem.

 

To believe in a God who was fairly evil but who nevertheless gives a Heaven for us to enjoy after death would be more rational than to believe the Christian gospel. To believe in a perfect God is also to believe he has the right to kill you and that you should approve though you cannot be sure enough if you will live on after death. In other words you consent to be killed and if an angel appeared to you from Hell offering you eternal life on earth in defiance of God you would have to reject him.

 

A God who makes you risk the most important thing you have – yourself and your identity – on pain of damnation is not a nice God and certainly no incentive to righteousness but only an incentive to hypocrisy and he will make a bully out of you for he induces fear. It is really saying that loving God comes first for only he can really benefit. If I cannot put myself first I cannot truly care about others for I would want them to do the same. To care about other people I have to care about myself so that I can use myself to help them. Love starts with yourself not with God therefore faith in God demands that it start with God so the service of God is making a pact with pure evil and deceit. Those who propound God are to blame for any evil committed in his name even if the creed condemns that evil for God is a diabolical concept. To summarise, I am the most important person in my life and anybody who wants me to take a risk with my mind and therefore myself is trying to abuse me and so a God who asks for faith is a being to be despised and shunned.

The mysteries serve only to make you distrust your own thinking. “God knows better” is the religious moral but this really translates as, “Those who tell me what God’s word or message is know better and thinking is only allowed as long as it is biased towards their conclusions”. The distrust of your own mind that religion seeks to implant in you forever is a serious attack on self-esteem. It is not the wrong that we do that destroys our confidence – it is the feeling that we are stupid. To do wrong knowingly does not mean you are stupid but that you are taking a chance. You are not a stupid incompetent person just because you have done wrong. There are no bones about it and we will make none: Roman Catholicism and Christianity in general is dangerous. Whatever tries to wear down self-esteem is bad news and to blame for any evil the victim does.
 
As with all mysteries nobody has any way of being sure that the mysterious doctrines are really revealed by God or inventions of the Church. Spirituality is never about God. It is about men and obeying them and treating yourself as their inferior. In return they give you good feelings which only put you deeper under their control without you really noticing. Catholic mysteries include: why the souls suffering in Purgatory cannot do anything for themselves. Why Jesus had to be born of a Virgin. Why Jesus did not let Pilate and his trained lawyers become witnesses of his resurrection appearances. Why he chose one man to be head of the Church despite the awful risk of danger in doing so. Why he bans babies from Heaven because they are not baptised though he accepts baptised people who have done many evils in their time. Why he rejects homosexual love within a committed and adult relationship. Why God tells us to use reason to work out what is right and wrong and then tells us that in the case of many issues like safe homosexual lovemaking and abortion when it is needed to save the mother we should ignore our reason and follow his directives whether they make sense to us or not for he knows better. How he can say he wants us to be adults when he accuses our reason of being defective that way – obeying him just because he says so is being childish. Why there is no secular evidence for the miracles of Jesus.

In short, nearly every single Catholic doctrine is a mystery in its own right. All Catholic doctrines are mysteries in so far as they rely on the mystery of God – for God himself is a mystery for he contradicts the rule that all things must have a cause for he has no cause and he allows unjust evils like killer viral infections and so on. So Catholicism is not based on reason or even Jesus but on the alleged authority of the pope and the bishops. With all that mystery it is a waste of time looking for evidence for their legitimacy so you just take their word for it. All this ought to warn us about how dangerous religion is for the mind for when the largest religion in the world is a bastion of irrationality nothing can help us if religion gets too much power.
 
A mystery is a seeming contradiction and often a real contradiction that believers won't confess is a contradiction. The resurrection of Jesus might not look like a contradiction or seeming contradiction but it is. It contradicts the fact that dead people stay dead. It is easier to see things like the doctrine that God is one person and three persons at the one time as a mystery. To say the resurrection is not a contradiction causes problems. If it does not contradict the rule that dead people stay dead then it is not a miracle. Then it is true that dead people don't necessarily stay dead. So it is not a wonder or a miracle if somebody seems to have risen. If dead people stay dead then to say Jesus rose is to say this is true and then contradict it. You might say you made your teaspoon rise by magic off the table and it was a once off. People will say this is not true for it can't happen for it contradicts the fact that spoons don't rise by magic. Christians want to believe this is a contradiction and then they deny that about the resurrection! They might say that there is evidence for the resurrection and that makes the difference. But evidence is based on the assumption that magic or miracle hasn't be interfering with the evidence. Also, Jesus made too many mistakes to be taken seriously as somebody that a God would raise from the dead to be our infallible teacher. Philosophy shows him up as just another self-righteous kook. Or a myth. When the philosophy says Jesus was dodgy all the historical evidence in the world is no good. Why? Because philosophy comes before historical evidence. We cannot believe in evidence unless we have a philosophical view of the world that declares it is probably true when certain rules are taken. For example, philosophy says that people can lie. We cannot do history without bearing that in mind. History is a philosophical discipline. All the miracles of Jesus are mysteries. It is therefore wiser not to believe in his claims.
 
If God exists then the smallest blade of grass rising out of the ground is a mystery, a supernatural event. If he doesn't then it is just a blade of grass growing up. The God concept turns everything into a mystery. Then when we see order and speak about natural law in the universe we are only talking about how supernatural mysteries are behaving in an orderly way. Even a miracle, a break in the natural order, has to follow some order. A person gets a cancerous tumour. The doctor finds it and declares it incurable. The person prays. The tumour disappears. The doctors find it has gone. The order in miracle is a part of the mystery too. The order in the universe becomes a miracle, a mystery, a supernatural event. So we must be mystified and baffled by everything if we want to believe in God. Religion presents God as a solution to the mysteries of the universe and life but the only result is more mysteries.
  
Conclusion
 
Religious mystery is a curse. Whoever promotes it promotes religious evil. It is unjust to bind people to believe things that have no evidence supporting them or which have a big chance of being absurd superstitions.  Religious belief starts with belief in mystery and the supernatural. The seed is always the same. The same seed leads to a man becoming priest and then pope as leads to a man becoming a Jihadist terrorist.


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