Me and Religion

Well the whole atheism thing hasn’t exactly worked and I’m giving up on being a Bright. Though I am not going back to Christian let along Catholic. I have recently come a cross a new religion (both to me and it is fairly new in religious terms also). What is that faith? Bahá’í.

Bahá’í teachings appeal to me and Shoghi Effendi has summed them up and I cannot disagree with them.

The independent search after truth, unfettered by superstition or tradition; the oneness of the entire human race, the pivotal principle and fundamental doctrine of the Faith; the basic unity of all religions; the condemnation of all forms of prejudice, whether religious, racial, class or national; the harmony which must exist between religion and science; the equality of men and women, the two wings on which the bird of humankind is able to soar; the introduction of compulsory education; the adoption of a universal auxiliary language; the abolition of the extremes of wealth and poverty; the institution of a world tribunal for the adjudication of disputes between nations; the exaltation of work, performed in the spirit of service, to the rank of worship; the glorification of justice as the ruling principle in human society, and of religion as a bulwark for the protection of all peoples and nations; and the establishment of a permanent and universal peace as the supreme goal of all mankind—these stand out as the essential elements [which Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed].

So it kinda does sound all wishy washy but I recently got a book in Waterstones and it explains it all. I recommened it to anyone interested in Bahá’á or religion in general. It is “The Baha’i Faith: A Beginner’s Guide – Beginner’s Guide” by Moojan Momen.

I am currently learning alot about the religion thanks to a book given to me by a friend. It is “Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era”, so far an interesting read but it is competing with other books at the moment so must concentrate on it.

Anyway thats an update on me and the religious front. Incidentally the Baha’i Holy Places in Haifa and Western Galilee have been inscribed as UNESCO Cultural Sites.

To The Holy Catholic And Apostolic Church, I’m Leaving You

I have finaly made a decision on my religion. Its something I have been mulling over for a long time. Even before I came out. Recently I read Richard Dawkins The God Delusion and it made perfect sense to me. So now I consider myself a Bright.

So why leave the Church?
Well I didnt have a choice in the first place whether or not to join the Church. Now I am not doubting that Jesus Christ existed, theres historical proof and he was a good man. BUT in my humble opinion, he is not the Son of God. I am not writing this to offend any believers. If you do belive, I think you are doing the right thing for you, but I no longer belive so why stay a member of the church? I always had a slightly different take on things from the church, from as long as I can remember I never believed in Hell. That has developed into not believing in a personal god who listens to my prayers.

Since I came to Germany, my religion has been under the microscope, not just by my host family, but the moment I say I’m Irish I am asked Protestant or Catholic? As if that matters!

How to leave the Church
Some websites give misleading advice on how to leave the Catholic Church. One website says

Just ex-communicate yourself and stop attending church rituals. No need for formal declaration.

Now I have never heard of someone ex-communicating themselves. Ex-communication is a punishment from the church, so you can’t do it yourself. Its actual as easy as writing to your local bishop as requesting to excercise your right to Defect (yes DEFECT!) under Vatican II. You need to supply some other information such as place of baptism, your parents names, godparents names, and of course the date you were baptised (Date of Birth might help also!). You may getter letter saying this is a bad thing etc etc, but just reply by saying you know what you are doing.

I found some stuff about Defection by Formal Act (Actus Formalis Defectionis ab Ecclesia Catholica) on the vatican website no less, and it is quite interesting.

Here is some of an article (link below)

1. For the abandonment of the Catholic Church to be validly configured as a true actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia so that the exceptions foreseen in the previously mentioned canons would apply, it is necessary that there concretely be:

a) the internal decision to leave the Catholic Church;
b) the realization and external manifestation of that decision; and
c) the reception of that decision by the competent ecclesiastical authority.

2. The substance of the act of the will must be the rupture of those bonds of communion – faith, sacraments, and pastoral governance – that permit the Faithful to receive the life of grace within the Church. This means that the formal act of defection must have more than a juridical-administrative character (the removal of one’s name from a Church membership registry maintained by the government in order to produce certain civil consequences), but be configured as a true separation from the constitutive elements of the life of the Church: it supposes, therefore, an act of apostasy, heresy or schism

Full article

Also, I am not leaving the church just cause I am Gay, that has actually not figured much in my decision to leave the Church.

Stop taking the bible so literally!

Found this article over on gay.com and i love it!

Gay sex fuels Anglican brawl
Stewart Who?

Rumblings of a ‘schism’ have plagued the Anglican Church ever since election of the openly gay bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, in 2003. The liberals who support the timely election have spent the past few years been deflecting the curses of those who feel it’s in contravention to the teachings of the Bible.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been a bipartisan wader in this spiritual river of discontent. He’s optimistically hoped, and no doubt prayed, to save the 78 million-strong worldwide Anglican communion from cracking like a big,God-shaped egg.

Unfortunately, it looks like Anglican omlette will be on the menu as Rowan Williams prepares to fly to Tanzania for a meeting of the church’s primates. Judging by the pre-meet sword rattling, the summit is unlikely to be a cheery picnic

The summit will take place from 14-19 February, with the controversial Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the USA (ECUSA), Katharine Jefferts Schori also set to take part in talks.

Bishop Schori, who leads the 2.4-million members of the ECUSA, has enraged Anglican leaders across the world by openly offering her support for same-sex unions, as well as declaring in one interview that she does not believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God.

This admirable woman has created such uproar since her installment last year,that approximately 250 ECUSA member churches have left her leadership, and many outraged traditionalists have even threatened to blank her at the upcoming summit.

Oddly enough, even those who’re only vaguely familiar with the teachings of Jesus would understand which side The Son of God would support. Clue: Jesus always loved and embraced the underdog and had little time for hypocritical Church leaders.

If we are to believe the Bible, Jesus never once mentioned homosexuality, lesbians, female bishops or gay marriage.

Archbishops, particularly those from Africa, want the liberal American Church to be divorced from the Anglican Communion because they’ve embraced gay relationships.

The Rt Reverend Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester, wrote in the Church of England Newspaper at the weekend that if Presiding Bishop Schori is allowed to attend,

“I am in no doubt that this would destroy the authority of the communion … the Episcopal Church and its new presiding bishop are increasingly departing from basic Christian belief in the lordship and uniqueness of Christ.”

Liberal Christians and atheist critics point out that until the evangelicals adopt slaves, stone adulterers to death, give up shellfish, ban garments with more than one fabric, sell their daughters into slavery and forbid women to teach, they should stop taking the Bible so literally.

If they were really sincere and in awe of the Bible, they would go ahead and do all of the latter, in open defiance of our laws proscribing them and happily suffer imprisonment as martyrs for their religion.

In reality, most of modern society understands that many of these rules of religions, specifically those on homosexuality have to be sensibly sidelined as they predate scientific knowledge.

Religions can provide many wise suggestions for living a life considerate of others, and provide comfort and social opportunities for those who need them, without any need to constantly foster hatred of gays and lesbians.

Last month, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu shone some much-needed wisdom into the raging debate.

During the World Social Forum (WSF) in Nairobi last month he said: “I am deeply, deeply distressed that in the face of the most horrendous problems – we’ve got poverty, we’ve got conflict and war, we’ve got HIV/AIDS – and what do we concentrate on? We concentrate on what you are doing in bed.”

I love the paragraph in bold!
reminds of that west wing episode see below