.by Anura Guruge
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Of course this is not the first time this has happened. I know that I have heard, just in the last year, of other fatalities involving those returning from pilgrimages — and to be fair, it is religion agnostic.
But, it always confounds me. Yes, yes, I know folks are going to tell me the usual mantra: God does not micro-manage and Free Will. Lets get ‘Free Will’ out of the way. Other than the Free Will of the drivers involved, I don’t think that the passengers had any Will in these disasters. The micro-management part, however, always intrigue me. I assume, though I do not know for sure, that these folks that go on pilgrimages pray when they are at the pilgrimage site. But, what are they praying for?
Though I grew up in a culture, and, moreover, in a household, obsessed with prayer and the ‘taking of vows’ (the next logical step: i.e., ‘I will give you this if you give me that‘), I quickly saw the shortcomings of this philosophy when I was around 18. That is when I stopped being a Buddhist — the religion that I grew up in. So, I basically became areligious — though I am fascinated by religion, those that believe in religion and the protocols of religion. That is why I am (still) an active papal historian, have written 7 books about popes and plan to write another starting in the next month.
Given that I do know the nuts-and-bolts of certain religions, e.g., Christianity and Buddhism, better than most that practice them, some beliefs that some have distress me. I am happy IF those beliefs provide the living with succor and relief. But, given that I am very au fait with purgatory, I cringe when I hear people talking about the recently deceased being with God. That is not what the ‘church’ (with a capital ‘C’ or otherwise) teaches. Lets not forget that just 2 weeks ago ‘the Church’ said that you can reduce the amount of time you spent in purgatory if you followed the Pope’s tweets from Brazil! Lucky for me, I don’t have to worry about such stuff.
This stuff does bother me, because I do think. I do analyze. I do try to rationalize. To me things have to make sense — which is why I love the movie above. That movie makes sense.
Anyway. Not trying to upset anyone. Just what goes through my mind. Think about it. Thinking is good. Thinking, as far as I am concerned, is the second greatest physical pleasure in life — next to sex, of course (while thinking during sex is divine).