The indoctrination runs through our very essence.
I was recently explaining the transubstantiation to an atheist friend – the moment during Holy Mass when the wafer and the wine are turned into the Blood and Flesh of Christ – and he looked at me as if I were slightly deranged.
“What?” I asked him, not understanding his attitude.
“Are you listening to yourself?” he answered. “You’re not making sense.”
“I know it may sound a bit fantastical,” I replied, “but that’s what happens – or, what Catholics believe happens, anyway.”
The conversation ended there and I didn’t make much of it until I woke up after a one night stand and felt incredibly guilty; like I had degraded myself. I couldn’t really understand why I was feeling like that. I liked the girl; I wasn’t drunk; I wore a condom; it was consensual; it was great fun. Why should I have felt guilty?
And then it hit me…
Although I was raised Catholic, I haven’t attended Mass in years, but whenever something goes awry in my life, I instantly pray. I also get the urge to make the sign of the cross at mealtimes and on planes. While I don’t technically believe in God, I automatically feel the need to communicate with Him in certain situations; not out of want, but out of habit.
It was one of those epiphanies that, I feel, opened my eyes to a whole host of things in Malta: to why people feel the need to fight so ardently against the MAP, gay marriage and gay adoption; why we punish ourselves over broken marriages or one night stands.
Ironically, while our moral compass has gone haywire – we destroy heritage, nature, each other – we still feel the need to be Catholic in the way we conduct ourselves… but only sometimes.
So we don’t agree with abortion or two men raising a child because the Bible says so, but we’ll happily idolise celebrities or money because, you know, that lesson never left much impact on our lives.
I won’t dispute whether God exists or not; or whether Christianity – or any other religion, for that matter – is real or made up. I’m just here to impart what I felt and thought during this moment, because ultimately, even if there is a God, He gave us a brain to think. And unfortunately, not many of us do.
What do you think of James’s argument?
Let us know in the comments section below.