Showing posts with label The Mass. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Mass. Show all posts

Monday, July 20, 2015

God of the Credo

Yes, gods don't have objective existence.
The objective existence of God for Catholics is rationally observed in the Mass, in particular the Credo.  The Credo describes what God is: One God, the omnipotent father, who created everything, and the Son who is one with God who came down from heaven and became a real person by the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary.  (No hanky-panky by God, just magic and apparently a little help from Joseph and/or David, and/or God's eternal sperm bank.) 

It describes what he did: Was sacrificed to expiate the sins of all men and was resurrected to once again become one God.

It tells why: so all will be resurected to enjoy eternal life. 

Then comes the hook: God will judge all, and only those baptized for the forgiveness of sin will get the goodies. 

There is nothing imaginary or unreal in that for Catholics.  God is more important for them than Blü, J'Carlin, or any other person with the possible exception of the parish priest.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Ritual, Belief, and Understanding

I use ritual as a shorthand for important belief sets for any religion.  If you learn them early enough and repeat them offen enough they become part of your identity as a member of the "tribe" (the general sense of the term.) The Pledge of Allegiance is an identity ritual of the Tribe of Ammerruhcuns.

Understanding is quite different from belief.  I understand the Credo as fundamental to Catholicism, and can respect and interpret it musically in my case to reinforce it in the minds of believers even though I do not believe any of it myself.  The Church paid big money to composers to create memorable Masses to indoctrinate believers in an enjoyable format.  Part of the compensation was for setting the Mass to reinforce the dogma.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

On Respecting Religious Beliefs

Feb 3, 2015 -- 7:06PM, Eastern Orthodox convert wrote:
Feb 3, 2015 -- 6:41PM, JCarlin wrote:
If it isn't secret can you share commentary that says one should leave other tribes alone and respect their religious beliefs.

You don’t respect religious beliefs because you feel they are false.  Why do you begrudge others doing the same thing or do you feel you alone are enlightened enough to disrespect religious beliefs?
I respect most religious beliefs.  There are a few that are problematical that I will comment on, as they are the ones that justify pathological social behavior by believers.  It is the behavior of believers that I am objecting to not the religion they belong to.  I enjoy Christian services in most denominations and had a chance to "participate' in an Eastern Orthodox informal service as a part of a choral group visit to a church in Tampere, Finland lead by the Cantor.  A few of us sang the congregational responses to one of the Liturgical passages.  It was a moving experience for all including the American Eastern Orthodox convert that arranged the visit.  Apparently the Cantor's children were part of the informal service representing the children that were part of the normal service.

I have sung masses as part of Catholic special occasion services, as well as at concerts in churches not a part of a service.  I sang the Rachmaninoff All Night Vigil in a Catholic Church with a spectacular acoustic with an Orthodox Cantor inserting the liturgical background with choir responses as appropriate.  It was a concert not a service but people of all faiths left the concert in tears.  Incidentally I was the rehearsal tenor soloist for the embedded solos, and had to respect the liturgy to convey the message to the choir.

So stuff your sneer in a dark place.  It missed entirely.  Incidentally it missed most of the atheists on the board.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Intellectual Poverty of Rationalism

Antitheism? - Beliefnet:

"If a rationalist is unable to suspend disbelief as claimed to enjoy a learning experience or even a rollicking good time at a movie, reading a worth while fiction, listening to an emotional piece of music, or attending a religious service, but must analyze every nuance for compliance with their understanding of reality, usually material, is missing a major portion of what I experience as being an intelligent human.

The wonder and joy of a rainbow does not need be parsed into light ray patterns and ignored as merely physics. Although doing so after enjoying the wonder of the moment does not diminish and may increase the wonder and joy. Understanding that a rainbow is created by and uniquely for oneself is 'not merely physics' the interaction of the non-rational portion of the mind is essential.

I suspend disbelief in God each time I sing a Mass or a prayer in order to appreciate the non-rational wonder and beauty of a transcendant being that watches over me even after I die. Sure when it is over, all that remains is the wonder and beauty, and I might add the appreciation of the faith of believers, although I do not participate in it. I finally came to grips with the finality of death by understand the power of the 'Et Expecto' by believing it for a while."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ethical Education

Svengali ME! - Beliefnet:

"Unless you were sent to a Catholic boarding school for reasons other than religious indoctrination, I can think of several, I might suggest that your parents were neither wise or fair to you or your fellow students. I suspect the physics epiphany did not come out of the blue, but that you were familiar with the atheist alternative from your parents.

By my cosmopolitan morality of radical respect for all including religions I think are dysfunctional, I would find a different way to 'fully present the other side' than using the Catholic Church to educate an atheist's child presumably without full disclosure. By the way, why a Catholic rather than a non-denominational religious boarding school. Or for that matter why not St. Thomas Choir school?

And lest you worry about my walking the talk, I spent the better part of my adolescence trying to become a Catholic. I loved the Mass, I enjoyed the ritual, I enjoyed theology discussions with anyone who would take the time mainly Jesuits, but I never presented myself as anything but an atheist, and I never convinced the Jesuits that they were really atheists. Basically we parted on Pascal's wager. I wouldn't give up this life for the next.

The first couple of paragraphs do not need a referent, although one exists. The context is religious brainwashing of children by their religious parents.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Mass and reality.

Outward and Inward Man - Beliefnet
I can't speak for others, but religion is not about reciting the mass and feeling all warm and fuzzy in the arms of God for me. It's a journey, and a journey that sometimes takes us to the darkest parts of ourselves, where I can assure you it isn't all warm and fuzzy.

There is sacredness to life.

J'C: "I never implied differently. But those who have never 'Dragged the mass into the lab' probably have less appreciation for the either the warm fuzzies or the 'darkest parts of ourselves.' Especially the question of Death. I have (as an atheist, spent countless hours with the Et Expecto, and the Dies Irae of the requiem. I have tried to figure out what this meant to believers and by extension what it could mean to me. I do not believe in life after death, and yet the lab tells me that both of these sections are teaching a powerful lesson. Have you considered those lessons? The question is rhetorical. many have most have not. And yet the mass as a whole whether sung or chanted by a bored priest is a work of art that can be appreciated for itself without analysis or picking apart, but like a rainbow understanding the 'physics' of it adds to not subtracts from the wonder and beauty."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Petitionary Prayers

Prayer and Magic - Science & Religion - Beliefnet Community:
common sense alone says that most people wouldn't go to the trouble of asking if they didn't think it would work.

"Arguments based on common sense are generally false. Sense is not common and when people are using what sense they have about things that they don't understand the chances are that their sense is misleading them.

In my experience petitionary prayers that are a part of a liturgy or a religious ritual are not expected to be answered. The rituals and liturgies have a powerful unifying value for those who choose to believe. Whether this unity is with God or with their religious fellowship is really unimportant. But the petitionary prayers are integral to the ritual and liturgy not because of expectation of fulfillment but as a promise that God or the religious fellowship is listening and paying attention. Prayer circles have the same function. It is not that God will respond if a lot of people care, it is the fact that a lot of people care that is important.

I have spent thousands of hours studying and singing liturgical works not because I believe that any of the prayers contained therein will be answered, obviously since I do not believe in the referent God, but I learn much about how people respond to things like death and tragedy that they cannot understand. The prayer for peace Dona Nobis Pacem that ends the mass is at least ironic as Beethoven reminds us in the Missa Solemnis with the martial interlude. Do people really believe that God will give us peace in our time or in our lives? If not why have they been praying for just that every Sunday since the Nicene Creed was adopted? What does common sense have to say about that? "

Friday, July 4, 2008

An atheist finds God quite naturally.

God Helmets OBEs Illusions and a Cosmic Presence. - Beliefnet Forums: "Because of my fascination with the Mass, I have frequently joined good friends who were devout Catholics to their worship services. As you may know I suspend disbelief from the time I leave home, and try to participate as a Catholic in the service. I stay closely in emotional contact with my friend and try to mimic herm responses to better understand what it is that hesh is experiencing. My friends are in agreement that once they enter the church and genuflect, they feel they are in the presence of God. So I tried it. Like Dawkins I don't have much in the way of religious experiences to work with, but on a few occasions I have been able to mirror my friends feeling of the presence of an other. I don't have a God referent in my temporal lobes, so the presence was undefined, but seemed to be identifiable as separate from the others in the church."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Religious v. Rational worldviews

Religious v. Rational - Beliefnet Forums: "But unlike Catholics I understand much more about what the Mass is teaching because I don't believe. I can look at the myths and imagery from a rational worldview and integrate the useful lessons and images from them into my rational understanding of my relationships with other people and my own understanding of what it means to "be alive and have to die." Forrest Church.