On Grace And Forgiveness

Grace_Saved_Faith_version_2_by_Valster73The concept of Grace used to come up quite often during my 15 years of formal Catholic education, but I’ve retained little of what I learned about it back then.  So I recently decided to re-enlighten myself on the subject by reading what the Catholic Church and one or two other Christian denominations had to say about it.  In all honesty, if I hadn’t already been an a-theist, I’d have become one based solely upon what I read.  Though there are subtle semantic differences to how, say, Lutherans and Catholics define “grace”, the basic premise, and one I find deeply insulting, is fundamentally the same.  Because of Adam and Eve’s original disgusting sin, little ‘ol me and you were born into this world with our immortal souls awash in filth, evil, debauchery, and contempt for God, our Master.  It is only by the “grace” of this same benevolent and all-loving Master that the rancid stench of insipid evil can be bleached from our souls and save us from an eternity of burning agony in Hell.

Our Master sending his beloved son, Jesus, to be brutally tortured and crucified on our behaves is the only “grace” needed to save us, according to some Christian doctrines.  Others claim we must more actively earn the Master’s “grace” through obtaining sacraments and verbally abusing gays, Jews, and Democrats.  Even others say we have the Master’s “grace” and are saved, or we don’t, and will burn. Period. We won’t know which, until we die and awake either burning in Hell or having amazing oral sex performed on us by the person or persons we most want performing oral sex on us in Heaven.

I find such beliefs to be immoral, repugnant, anti-human, and personally offensive.  I am not evil and I do not require a made up creature to give me “grace” for anything.  Such thinking, in my completely honest opinion, is at the core of man’s inhumanity toward man. This includes all forms of child abuse, rape, war, torture, and poverty. Human beings are not born stained.  It is doctrines like those describing “grace” that stain the collective human consciousness with a guilt it neither deserves, nor needs. We are all there is of us.  No god or grace from a god is needed to save anyone. We are important to ourselves because we are here.  And if tomorrow we are not here, there will be no one to notice, much less care. We truly are THAT unimportant to the universe.

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51 thoughts on “On Grace And Forgiveness

  1. Hi PeterJ, I agree with your assessment this is a great site. I can’t get enough of it. I am always coming back for more. I hope I will be seeing you more often

  2. Grace is something that goes frorm up to down. It is a feature of power. Power is an inherently evil phenomenon. So grace is a feature of evil. You are give a right that you where supposed to have already but that was taken away from you.
    The funny thing is that these religions are all constructed along the lines of the power-scheme. There is a “lord”. The social pattern of master-slave is projected into the universe. The “lord”, however, is a psychopath who has no problem to have some people be tortured eternally. If he spares you, that is “grace” and you have to be greatful. That is the “love” of the lord (actually a contradiction in itself, to look for love in a power system).
    Society has developed beyond that stage towards democracy (although there are strong trends of it being hollowed out), but religions still preserve the ancient power structures of the master-slave, king-subject society. As a result, these religions tend to be on the reactonary/conservative side of the spectrum, and the US, particularly affected by that disease, is such a mad state.

  3. Reblogged this on no sign of it and commented:
    I haven’t been writing much concerning my atheism lately; my interests have taken other turns. However, I don’t want readers thinking I’m becoming a closet theist – which is the usual theist chant concerning those atheists who don’t say much on the matter continually. (Theist legend always has it that some atheist has converted on their deathbed – I’ve heard this about even Christopher Hitchens. I don’t want this to be said about me – and I’m not even dead yet!) So I’ll reblog this excellent brief critique of the christian concept of ‘grace.’ Grace is one of those ‘maybe’ promises, rather like a wanted lover who promises that ‘maybe’ this week-end will be the right time for sex. Except it never is, and eventually you realize its just a tease to get you to go to some show or some party you have no interest in. And of course, its a maneuver for control – buy this promise, and who knows what other nonsense you will buy.

    So I’ll let inspiredbythedivine share the divine inspiration: if you buy grace, you will want to buy my Brooklyn Bridge – I built it with god’s loving hands (my own were out to laundry that day…).

  4. Whoa there! Sister James-Vincent NEVER mentioned anything to us in school about oral sex in heaven!! I feel totally robbed!! The other side of my life though, which was non-catholic, was filled with a regular diet of grace and sin and that the only way to get to grace from our sinful lives was to…[fill in the blanks: sleep with the pastor, give all your possessions to the church, stop watching TV, women shouldn’t wear pants, etc, etc.] Pick your poison. They are all our human projections of what we as individuals believe and want to force on to others.

  5. I must say, as a catholic I was never taught I’d get oral sex in heaven. Does this apply only to men, or do us women get to partake in such a reward?

    If it applies to women, I need to rejoin catholicism immediately. 😀

  6. LOVE your last paragraph. Especially the last sentence. Your gospel should be spread far and wide, oh divine1!

  7. Well put!

    I felt Grace once – and she gave me such a slap -! Life is so unfair….

    And of course that’s what notions like ‘grace’ are devised to ‘explain’ – the inevitable injustices that we find in life.

    Better to learn to live with it and get on with your life. No gods need apply.

  8. Brilliant! I couldn’t agree more – the minute we start from the assumption that we are born with this stain, I cannot possibly take any of it seriously.

    • Thing is, I was taught this crap from birth. I just believed it was true and I was bad and Jesus was tortured and killed because of me. That’s horrible. It’s taken me decades to finally see this crap for what it is. Crap. I’m SO pissed I had to go through this shit. So many people never break free of it. They’re indoctrinated into their religion, the Abrahamic ones I feel are the worse, from birth and breaking free is often impossible. So, I write this blog to try and help them. $Amen$ 🙂

    • Aw, i’m really sorry. I started questioning all that crap from the age of ten onwards. By the time I was 12 I was convinced it was all a sham and furious about having to still attend sunday school and church but my mother left me no choice – she ruled with an iron fist. That is why I promised myself that when I had children, they would not be forced into any type of religion, I just don’t believe it’s fair. Children should decide on whether they want religion or not when they’re old enough to understand and decide for themselves

    • Indeed. I wonder how many religions we’d have, and what they’d be, if one couldn’t be exposed to their bullshit until they were 18?
      I don’t know how much of the Catholic BS I believed deep down, but it was unthinkable of me to think of myself as an atheist until just a few years ago because of my indoctrination into Catholicism. Atheist. The word just sounds evil to my ears, even today. All it means is a disbelief in deities. Of course, since I’ve admitted I’m one of them, eating my favorite food, baby pie, has become easier. 🙂

    • Baby pie! haha
      But seriously, I’m sorry, I never realised you had been indoctrinated to such an extent. I guess I was the rebel child who just went through all the catholic “lessons” and church sermons without being able to believe in it. And despite my mother believing she was some kind of reincarnated messiah.
      I guess this explains a little bit better why you are so vehement in your posts. So, in a twisted way, you suffering through all that bullshit has produced the person who now writes all these hilarious posts that make this French girl across the pond laugh her head off and choke on food…..so it’s not all bad 😉

    • Thanks for laughing. 🙂 Like I said, when I look back on it, I don’t think I ever REALLY believed, but I’d been really indoctrinated to believe that questioning it was bad, so I didn’t. “Anger leads to fear. Fear leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Yoda, A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, far Away. (Just wanted to add that. Why? Don’t know. I just love Yoda.) 🙂

    • I get what you are saying. I’m wondering if it’s an american thing as well this indoctrination?! It just seems to me that in the US, they are pretty fierce in some places when it comes to religion, much more so than Europe where the rules seem to be more relaxed – correct me if I’m wrong?

    • Oh, definitely. You all are light years ahead of us on religion. Here, it’s just crammed down your throat and treated with kid gloves. You’re just not suppose to question it. And therein lies the rub. Religion makes THE most outrageous claims, yet it is uncouth to question it. That’s dangerous, sick, and wrong. One’s “faith” needs to be looked at as a private thing. Once it gets tossed into the public arena as a political stance, it needs to be questioned with the same scrutiny we question everything else in the same arena. Yet, here, we’re not allowed to do that. Crazy.

    • That’s what I thought, thanks for confirming, you wise knowledgeable pontificator 🙂

    • $Amen$

  9. I was thinking about something today- something that you could probably make fun of much better than I could…
    So sex is sinful, shameful, dirty, bad, bad, bad; and that’s why we should reserve it exclusively for the person we love most in the world?
    I think there might be a problem with that logic 🙂

    • Indeed. I’ll ponder that a bit as I’m certain there’s a satirical sketch there for sure.

    • I think the point, actually, is that sex is sinful, shameful, dirty and bad IF it’s NOT reserved for the person we love the most in the world. Your logic is skewed here. Not that I want to defend religion because I abhor it, but if we are to criticise it, we must first understand it.

    • In many faiths, sex, particularly female sexuality, is viewed as dirty, even within marriage. There are Jewish laws that forbid a husband from touching his wife during menopause because, well, because she’s dirty. Catholics view sexuality as icky, in particular female sexuality, even within marriage. Desiring intercourse because it’s fun, even with your husband or wife, is sinful within Catholicism. Sex is to procreate and that’s it. Former President Jimmy Carter, a protestant, the denomination eludes me, once said, “It is sinful for a man to covet even his own wife.” The Abrahamic religions are horrid when it comes to sex, even sex within marriage. This is particularly true of their views on female sexuality. Sexual desire, as I was taught in Catholic morality classes for 15 years, is a craving of the body and a bad thing. This creates terrible conflict within Catholics, even married ones who love each other very much, because they’re expected to procreate but not enjoy the process by which this is accomplished. I understand this all too well. What’s being taught isn’t, “Sex is great if you love someone.” What’s taught is, “Sex is a desire of the flesh and awful. It is to be used only for procreation within a marriage approved by the Church and not simply for pleasure.” Sick thinking that makes people exposed to it since childhood have very unnecessary internal conflicts over their sexuality and sexual feelings.

    • You’ve overwhelmed me 🙂
      I was raised a Catholic also and had to attend church and sunday school. I remember very clearly the concept of sex being described as such: fine between married people as long as there was no attempt to, er, try to avoid procreation. I’m not sure how to say this without being to direct. Anyway, you get my meaning. I do know that I was not taught that sex was the most sinful thing and only a necessary evil to reproduce. It was enough for me that it shouldn’t happen outside marriage and so on. I’m not sure about other religions apart from the Jewish one….

    • Yeah. They’ve a few ways of wording their dogma on it. All of them are quite twisted, IMO. Anyway, the point is, it isn’t just, “sex is lovely between two people deeply in love.” No. There are a lot of riders that go with that statement. Ya gotta be married, a marriage approved by the Church, mind; it’s gotta be for the sole purpose of baby making, no condoms or pills, only the rhythm method can be used, and ya can’t swallow cause all ejaculate is to be aimed at eggs for fertilization. Thus, sex and sexual feelings become “bad” as they create conflict within people that’s unnecessary. The Church twists what is healthy and natural into something very convoluted and most definitely, unnatural. The bastards. 🙂

    • I think there are indeed quite a few interpretations of sex but none of them too savoury. By the way, my original reply was not to you but to the person who left that comment about sex “being reserved for whoever we love the most”.
      In any case, all I gather, and all I’ve always gathered is that all religion, without exceptions, are actually a lot of utter bullshit.
      The bastards indeed 🙂

    • Yes. I just noticed that. OOPS! Pink was just trying to stimulate ideas in my satirical noodle on the topic, that’s all. I very often have sex with the person I love the most: myself. 🙂 Hee Haw!

    • You dirty, DIRTY dog! 😀

    • Inspired answered for me in general terms, so I don’t need to go much further except to say that the lack of sex is associated with goodness and purity, hence the wonderfulness of the virgin. Two birds with one stone. A saint and the oppression of female sexuality.
      These beliefs also translate to Islam and even South Asian and African cultures. The woman who is raped is a shameful, dishonoured figure.
      If you study the subject in more depth, you’ll find the notion of a women enjoying sex being acceptable, is a 20th century phenomena. When Krafft-Ebing wrote Psycopathia Sexualis in 1886, the general consensus was that women had no natural interest in sex except to ‘serve’ men.
      So just as a side note, in future it might be prudent to investigate a subject before questioning someone’s logic or knowledge 😉

    • I was not replying in general terms, my response was to do with the Catholic faith which I was brought up in. It may well be a 20th century phenomena (it is) but the catholics in my country were quite clear about the fact that sex within marriage is NOT wrong, that a woman is allowed to enjoy it even. That’s what my reply was based on. Now of course if you wanted to include other religion or go back centuries, then my reply is inappropriate and inaccurate. This post was about the Catholic faith as I understood it, and the pontificator’s recent experiences of it. I do not need to investigate the subject any further as I already know far too much about it and wish I didn’t. I wasn’t questioning your knowledge as a whole, just pointing out the fact that your comment wasn’t in line with my own experience of Catholicism and with the actual post. Maybe that didn’t come across very well, in that case I’m sorry. I found the last sentence of your comment quite patronising to be perfectly honest. This post was about the Catholic faith, not sexuality in general. I’m aware of Krafft-Ebing and others, Jung is a particular favourite of mine, but this was not what the original post was about.

    • I’m generally patronising, I promise it’s not personal 😀
      Anyway, personal experience is anecdotal evidence, at best; But as you seem to think it’s important, I was born to the world of National Catholicism (Nacionalcatolicismo).

      Catholic ideology has made particular efforts in demonizing sexuality for pleasure throughout most of its history. At certain points it went so far as to prohibit the carving of the bottom half of the Madonna’s body in sculptures because that made her too ‘flesh & blood’.

      If you take a step back and look at the development of Catholic doctrine, you’ll easily see what I mean. Just think that under Nacionalcatolicismo women who went to the beach were monitored by men with rulers to make sure their beach attire covered enough of them… sounds a bit Muslim, doesn’t it? But that was Catholicism.

    • Oh gosh, I know – there is much wrong with Catholicism although it has evolved somewhat in the last few years – but going back in history, a lot of things including the view on sexuality, have been ridiculous at best and frankly horrifying at worst. I really couldn’t agree more. I shall try to forget the patronising comment 😉

    • Nooooooooooooo! Don’t forget it, or I’ll have to apologize again at some point!

      Have you ever read St. Augustine on sexual matters? That was a particularly complex time. At one point any sex that wasn’t in the missionary position was prohibited. There was real life ‘sex police’- just don’t ask me how policed… In essence, if a woman was found on top, the couple could face death. It seems absurd to those of us who know late 20th century Catholicism, but back in the day, they weren’t so nice.

  10. Excellent. We need grace to have faith. All is bs

  11. I too questioned this from a very early age and was subsequently branded an 8 year old heretic because I couldn’t fathom that I was born filth and I needed a brutal overlord to grace me so I could know love. Love? You mean the same Love the son felt on the cross? I figured it out though. Religion is the work of man projected on an untouchable and unquestionable deity. In time I saw the true value of the ancient belief in the yin and yang and balance between joy and sorrow, both being necessary in order to value each. I understood that if hell didn’t exist in the minds of men there would be no need for heaven. A deity cannot exist to mankind if it doesn’t occupy a need in the mind. Someone else to blame seemed the logical evolution of the one that can never be held accountable for the evil of humans. I recognize we are conditioned to project ourselves to whatever faith we hold.And in my insular life, I’ve not once been visited by someone to tell me hell sucks or heaven is a lot of community activities run by a large contingent of senior citizens. My answer is always, wait and see for ourselves. In the mean time, find something wonderful to believe in and enjoy your life because on the odd chance that hell exists, wouldn’t it be the rat’s ass to spend your whole life in hell and then die and go to more hell. Talk about your buzz kill. That would do it for me. 🙂

    • I’ve not the least worry about hell. It doesn’t exist. When I die, the world will go on exactly as it does now, only without me. What matters is what we have. Here and now. We are nothing to the universe but everything to ourselves and our species. To worry about the next life is a fundamental waste of both time and life. $Amen$

    • You might have a fair chance at enjoying life, which should be something we take advantage of during our mobile stardust period. 🙂

    • My stardust got vacuumed up by accident years ago. However, I still get by quite well because my farts smell like cherry blossoms. 🙂

    • LOL! It must be wonderful to have the scent of spring in the air all year. I’ve concentrated on trying to get that melodic tune like an angry elephant stomping the crap out of duck and left the remaining gustatory appetance assay to suffer no improvement. I’ll have to work on that. 🙂

    • Just keep at it. I know you can do it.

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