Friday, October 28, 2011

The Funniest Catechism Ever

At Crisis, John Zmirak gives us a preview of The Bad Catholic's Catechism:

Q: If the best we can do by sheer reason is to end up with a kind of watchmaker god, then the rest of it has to come from “revelation.” But there are more religions in the world than you can shake a stick at—and some of them are pretty intolerant, so you’d better hide your stick. Each one makes the same argument: “God is this way, not that way, and we know because He told us so.” How in God’s name (heh, heh) are we supposed to know which one to believe?

First of all, you aren’t exactly getting that right about the world religions. Admittedly, it’s possible that the one true religion is an obscure little cult that exists in a single mountain valley in Soregonadistan, but that doesn’t seem terribly likely. A faith that got reality “right” would by its nature seem destined to make a major impact in the world and attract some followers, so we can start with the major world religions. Now when we look at them, in fact there are only three which claim to have direct access to revelation from God of what His nature is: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. What is more, all three of them claim to descend from the very same patriarch, Abraham, who they all agree was the first man to receive explicit instructions from God about how to honor Him.

Buddhism doesn’t claim to have a message from God, just a special insight into the nature of ultimate reality—which boils down to the fact that existing in the first place is a kind of curse, and wanting one thing rather than another is a really bad idea because you aren’t likely to get it, which will make you unhappy. Since the goal is not to find happiness (that’s impossible) but simply to stop the misery, you should learn to quit wanting things, and if you get good enough at this you will eventually stop existing. If Buddhism had a god, and he had a voice, it would be that voice inside your head at the dentist’s office that tells you to ask for more laughing gas and Novocaine, the risk of a coma be damned. Taoism is a mystical nature cult and Confucianism a political and ethical philosophy. The latter has so little explicit religious content that when the Jesuits made it to China, they felt they could include Confucian rituals in the Mass, since they didn’t even overlap with (much less contradict) Christianity. Hinduism claims to have passed along traditional knowledge of many hundreds of different gods, none of which claims to be unique, and one of which is an elephant. Next!

Read the rest here.

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