The Problem With Mary: Catholicism and I Don’t Get Along.

So, this is a little different than usual. Not gaming or book related, nor is it a thought experiment. This is just a straight up diary entry about some shit that’s on my mind, and that shit just so happens to be Catholicism.

Now look, I don’t like the Church, Vatican, or really anything to do with Catholicism. I was raised in a very anti-catholic household. Pentecostals, as well as many other protestant denominations, are known for their aggressiveness towards Catholicism, and with good reason. The Church hasn’t exactly been kind toward their fellow Christians, not to mention anyone else who disagreed with them. This all being said, I do not hate Catholics. My wife is a Catholic, and a proud one at that. Her whole family is Catholic. I do not hate these people, nor hold anything against them. This extends to all Catholics. Just because I have HUGE problems with the Church doesn’t mean that I hate the people in it. I do not believe that they are evil, nor are they against God or going to Hell. I was certainly taught that, but that teaching was/is wrong. Catholics are just as Christian as I am, even though I believe that the Vatican is mostly mislead. The Vatican is no different than really any big church or organization within Christianity. They’re all corrupt and evil in many ways. The Vatican being Catholic doesn’t make them any worse than the Mega Churches who exploit their congregations for monetary gain, or the many other terrible things happening within the other denominations. I also don’t believe that Catholics are part of a cult, despite some really culty shit going on, but every sect has cult within it. The Catholic Church is far from being as much of a cult as say the Mormom Church, who I have even bigger issues with, but I’ll save that for later. All in all, Catholics are not evil. The Vatican can be, but the people within the Church aren’t, or rather, not all of them. By people, I mean the people in the pews, not the people running the show.

Ok, we good? Everyone on the same page? I don’t hate Catholics, nor think they’re evil, going to hell, etc. Good, we got that out of the way. All of that being said, the Catholic Church is just full of made up shit. By made up shit, I mean stuff that has no basis in the Christian faith. Of course, you could say that it’s all made up, so what’s the difference? The difference is that the “Bible”, which has the words/instructions of Christ, is the basis for Christianity, yet there is so much about Catholicism that COMPLETELY ignores scripture, and this pisses me off.

Purgatory and Limbo used to be something that aggravated me to no end, as it has NO Biblical basis whatsoever, but the Church finally got rid of that. Took them a thousand years, but they finally realized that, “Hey, this shit isn’t in the Bible. Maybe we should stop teaching it like it is?”. Shouldn’t have taken them that long, considering EVERYONE ELSE thought this doctrine was wrong, but hey, A for effort. At least you got there, but that’s not what I’m talking about today. No, today, I wanna talk about Mary.

I could go on and on about the really WEIRD obsession that the Church has with Mary, but I want to focus on one particular aspect of Mary that I learned just a few days ago. This mind blowing fact is that the Catholic Church believes and teaches that the Virgin Mary was ALWAYS a virgin. We all know that she was a virgin when she got pregnant with Christ. This is not what I’m mad about. That’s kind of Mary’s whole deal. She was a young virgin that gave birth to the Lord. It was a miracle. We all know the story. What I take issue with, and what BLEW MY FREAKING MIND, was that they believe that she remained a virgin until she died. This is something they call “Perpetual Virginity”.

Ok, first things first. No where in the Bible does it every say or allude to Mary being a virgin for life. She was just virgin when she got pregnant with Christ. She had to be because of the prophecy, and blah, blah, blah, but after, she was still married to Joseph. She was a young married woman living in Judea over 2,000 years ago. My wife and I end up having sex when we can’t find something on TV, let alone if we were in a desert with nothing to do. You’re telling me that Mary and Joseph never hooked up once? That doesn’t make any sense, but hey, if the Bible never said that she had sex, then one could assume that she didn’t, right? There’s just enough evidence for this theory as there is against, right? Yeah, no. This theory might hold water if Jesus didn’t have a freaking brother.

That’s right, Christ had a brother. In fact, he had quite a few, but one of them was really prominent in the Bible. How prominent, you ask? Prominent that HE GOT HIS OWN BOOK! His brother was James, as in the St. James, and the writer of the Book of James. You kind of can’t ignore his existence. The Bible also refers to James as the brother of Christ MULTIPLE times, so you can’t say that he was his brother.

But what if James was his adopted brother, then he would still be his brother, right? What if it was a child from a previous marriage that Joseph had? Well, that could work, if you had any evidence for these claims whatsoever. Look, James didn’t have the powers of Christ because he was just a man. He was the son of Joseph and Mary, while Christ was God’s son who Mary gave birth to. That’s not that hard to understand, but for some reason, the Church found the need to ignore this possibility. They might’ve been able to get away with this if the Bible didn’t call James the son of Mary. That’s pretty cut and dry, but I guess they don’t see it that way.

This isn’t a translation or interpretation thing, either. The Bible says that she was a mother to James. It says that Christ had brothers. It also alludes to Mary laying with Joseph, because of course she did, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Look, protestants have A LOT of weird shit, too. Lots of stuff that’s not supported by the Bible. I was raised to believe that Jesus never drank wine, alcohol was evil, and that what they drank back then was juice. This is a complete and utter lie. Jesus drank wine. He freaking turned water into wine! He talked about drinking wine, and was even called a “winebibber” aka a drunk. The Jews and Romans had words to distinguish wine from juice, and while there are many translation errors, this wasn’t one of them. They just made it up because Pentecostals and Baptists are famously anti-alcohol. The doctrine fit their needs, despite it not being supported by the text. It’s evil and wrong. Catholics aren’t the only ones to just make up shit, but it’s what they chose to make up that bothers me. Maybe it’s because I’m not familiar with it, but this stuff truly boggles my mind.

I don’t get why Mary had to stay a virgin. There is nothing in the Bible that says that she couldn’t have had relations with her damn husband after Christ was born. Nothing. Keeping her a Virgin makes no sense. Does her being a “Perpetual Virgin” make her more pure in the eyes of the Church, cause that’s kind of fucked up. A woman’s purity/worth is not tied to whether or not she had sex. Also, Mary was married, so there’s no “sin” to worry about, either. Women have sex. Not only is that ok, it’s good. Mary had sex. She probably really liked it. That’s ok. She’s still an important figure. David literally had countless wives and concubines, and even committed adultery with another man’s wife, got her pregnant, then killed the husband so he wouldn’t find out. All of this, and he’s still considered the greatest King of Israel, yet if Mary even looked at her husband, she wouldn’t be as pure? Screw that. She still gave birth to Christ as a Virgin. She’s still the mother of Christ. Her having sex after doesn’t change that.

Letter Three

Disclosure: So, something weird happened. I felt compelled to write another book. I started writing it as a series of letters, which is why this is called Letter One. I three letters and 3,000 words in when I realized that it would work much better here, on the blog. So, if you see any mentions to it being a book, that’s because it was, but I changed my mind. I would go back and edit all of the references out, but I don’t know if that would work to well. Anyway, here it is!

Dear Reader,

Do you know God? Ah ha! There it is! You knew that religion was coming! Well, yeah, no shit. It’s probably on the cover somewhere. If you’ve read my last book, you would know that I’m a pretty outspoken Christian. I even consider myself an Evangelical, but a real Evangelical, not those Fundamentalist posers who like to Bible beat and tell everyone they’re going to hell. You will see no such thing from me. I call myself an Evangelical because I’m a Christian who evangelizes. I witness to others, and I’m constantly talking about God. It’s almost like I love him, or something. It’s almost like I’m a preacher, but I assure you, I am no preacher. I may preach, but I don’t have a church. I don’t know if I even want a church. I do know that I want to write, which is why we’re here.

Anyway, my question still stands. Do you know God? Now, I’m not just asking if you know about God. Everyone knows about God. Christianity is the most popular religion in the world. Everyone knows about God, but do you know God? See, I know about Buddah, but I don’t know Buddah. I know of Buddah and Buddhism due to its relevance in pop culture, but just because I know of something, doesn’t mean that I know it. 

What is knowing God, anyway? Isn’t that just being a Christian? Doesn’t every Christian know God? No, I would venture to say that at least half of all Christians don’t know God. I mean, just look at the horrible things that Christianity has been responsible for. You think those guys knew God? They didn’t. If they did, they most likely wouldn’t have done those terrible things. Knowing God is more than just following a church, doctrine, or calling yourself a Christain. To know God is to have a relationship with the Lord. This can be tricky since God isn’t exactly the talkative type. It’s hard to understand what he wants from you, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find it. A lot of it is pretty simple. Don’t be an asshole. That’s pretty much one of the number one rules right up there with love everyone. I know that is a lot more crass than you’re probably used to, but I’m not a preacher, remember? I’m talking to you how I would talk to you, and that’s how I talk.

Anyway, having a relationship with God goes beyond the usual “Christian Duties”. In fact, it usually has nothing to do with them. Going to church and reading the Bible does not mean that you have a relationship with the Lord. They’re not bad starts, but you can have a relationship without doing either of those things. The most important things to do in order to have a relationship with the Lord are talking, listening, trusting, and working with him/allowing him to work through you. 

The talking part is easy. It’s basically just prayer, but it’s not just your usual prayer. When you build a friendship, do you just say the same things over and over again? No, of course not. There’s nothing wrong with the Lord’s prayer, but prayer isn’t supposed to stop there. Talk to God. Actually talk to him. When he says to put your burdens on him, actually freaking do that. He’s like a therapist that controls the weather, which is basically just Merlin the Wizard, though, God also created all life as we know it, so that’s where the wizard comparison stops. 

God wants to hear what you have to say. Talk to him. He’s supposed to be your friend. He’s your father. That’s what all the sermons and songs say, so why not actually treat him that way? That’s you first step to actually building a relationship with the Lord. It’s more than just talking, though. The more you talk, the more you become comfortable with God. This comfort leads to trust, and that trust is important. You can’t have faith if you don’t have trust. 

Talking is the easy part. It may seem silly at first, but it becomes second nature real quick. The hard part is listening. Listening in general is hard, but when it comes to God, everything is like times ten. This probably has to do with the fact that God rarely talks directly. Has something to do with his mysterious ways and free will or something, but it’s just the way it is. Everything is indirect. Knowing this is key. Listening also involves looking. You’re basically looking for signs. Sometimes, they couldn’t be more obvious. Other times, they’re incredibly subtle. They range from actual signs, to a line of dialogue in a movie that triggers something. These signs can also be internal. If you ask God to answer something, he usually answers with a feeling. I find I get this mostly when I vote. I always pray before voting, asking God if I’m making the right choice. Usually, I get a feeling of warmth and a knowing that I made the right choice, but you have to be aware of this.  Otherwise, you’d think that you’re just feeling good. 

God works through people, so listening sometimes means listening to people. Hell, this book could be part of that. I don’t know why I’m writing it. I just felt compelled to, and now I’m nearing 2500 words. Perhaps God is speaking through me in order to help someone, or maybe it’s just the caffeine. That’s not for me to decide. Sometimes, God speaks through your friends and family, but other times he sends in complete strangers. 

God also speaks through you. Those inklings and feelings you get, and sometimes even guilt, that’s usually the Holy Spirit. You have to pay attention because the Holy Spirit gets drowned out a lot. Sometimes, you completely over think what you felt, and you get something completely different than what the Holy Spirit intended. Sometimes you don’t feel it at all. Other times, you mistake something else for the Holy Spirit, and that’s never a good thing.

You ever listen to sermon that you know is wrong? You don’t know why, but it makes your stomach turn. You know the message is hateful or wrong, but you can’t quite pinpoint why because you’re not a scholar? That’s the Holy Spirit. When you feel this, listen. Listen to the Holy Spirit. They’re trying to tell you something. Listen to what they’re trying to tell you, and do it!

That brings us to the next part, which is the whole working through God/God working through you, thing. Once you’ve listened to what God has to tell you, you need to act on it. This can be as hard as listening because you may not know exactly what you need to do. This is okay. That’s natural. A lot of the time, it’s not just one thing that you have to do. When the Holy Spirit lays a message on your heart, or compels you to write a book, you do it. That’s a singular action, but most of the time, that’s not how it works. These feelings will manifest constantly, and you will find that you are called to do something all the time. It might not be just calling out the one preacher, but calling out everyone who spreads hate. Most of the time, once you’re in tune to hearing what God has to say, you will feel like doing stuff all the time. This is because he is leading you. You are supposed to be the hands of God, and doing the works yourself. Sometimes, it’s a one time thing like working at a soup kitchen. Sometimes it’s volunteering part-time at that soup kitchen, and other times it’s building your own soup kitchen from the ground up, and serving full time. God understands your means, and calls you accordingly. He’s not gonna call you to build something if you don’t have the ability to do so. He may, however, give you the ability to do so. So, if you’ve been plagued by dreams of building a soup kitchen, and you all of a sudden win the lottery, there’s a good chance you’re not supposed to spend all of that money on a fancy new car. God would be ok if you got a car, though. Just use most of the money to build the soup kitchen.

Once you actively put all three of these together, you start thinking like God. Not in a literal sense. You don’t start seeing the Matrix, but you do start seeing the world for how it is, and then start wondering how you can help. You start seeing how Christianity has been perverted, and it disgusts you. You see the fear and hate mongering going around, and it breaks your heart more than it would normally. When that happens, you’re real close to God. 

This relationship also helps you understand the Bible, and this understanding will help you take on hate, and the way you take on hate is with love. The closer you get to God, the softer your heart will become, and the more open your mind will be. This doesn’t mean that you will be a pushover, no, but you will be more compassionate than ever before. You’ll be so compassionate that it will scare you. You’ll start praying for people that you previously wanted to burn in hell. You’ll start forgiving without a second thought, but you won’t forget, and because you won’t forget, you will get stronger. This strength will help you defend the weak, the oppressed, and the downtrodden. Most of the time, this will be non-violently, but there will be times where violence is necessary. Even Jesus found violence necessary on one occasion. Cracking a whip isn’t exactly a peaceful act. While violence is sometimes necessary, it is always a last resort, and you will know that. You will be slow to anger. That helps with being less violent.

Repeating these steps again and again, and soon, you’ll do them naturally. You’ll talk to God like a friend all the time, you’ll constantly be on the lookout for signs, and you’ll be eager as ever to do God’s will. What is God’s will? To love everyone. That is his will. Love everyone, and spread love every chance you get. 

Well, I think that just about sums it all up. Have a blessed day.

Sincerely, The Autistic Cowboy.

Letter Two

Disclosure: So, something weird happened. I felt compelled to write another book. I started writing it as a series of letters, which is why this is called Letter One. I three letters and 3,000 words in when I realized that it would work much better here, on the blog. So, if you see any mentions to it being a book, that’s because it was, but I changed my mind. I would go back and edit all of the references out, but I don’t know if that would work to well. Anyway, here it is!

Dear Reader,

Do you like where you are right now? In life, I mean. I know that may seem like a weird question, but I’m serious. Do you like where you are in life right now? It’s a simple question on the surface, but it becomes vastly more complicated the longer you think about. Take me, for example. Do I like where I am in life right now? For the most part, yes. I’m married to the love of my life, and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. There’s a lot to like about that. At the same time, I don’t like where I am, due to the fact that I’m broke. I’m unemployed and stressed beyond belief, yet I find myself happier than when I was in high school or college. It’s crazy, I know, but that’s the way it is. I had more financial security back then, but I wasn’t happy. The world always seemed like it was falling apart, and I had to deal with it alone. It was a nightmare. Now, I don’t have to deal with it alone, and that makes everything so much better.

I’m even happier now than when I was a kid. I didn’t have a very happy childhood. I didn’t even really get to have a childhood. My parents’ divorce plus me being on the spectrum made for mixture that caused me to grow up very fast. I was always mature for my age, and because of this, I never got to be as a child. It sucked. That’s probably a reason I feel happier now than I ever did. 

There was one good thing about my school days, and that was that the world seemed a lot better of a place. Two terms of Obama made me believe that the world was changing for the better, despite people trying their best to undermine progress. If you would have told me then that not only would the US elect an orange nazi, but that facism would rise across the world, I might’ve laughed in your face. I didn’t believe it when it happened, yet it did. I still don’t understand how people can either be so evil or brainwashed as to think that this idiot is good for the country. Like, seriously, how has anything that he’s done been good for the country? 

Even though I wouldn’t be as happy, I would like to go back to those days. It wouldn’t be for myself, but for the happiness of others. The world wasn’t perfect back then, but it did seem like it had a lot more going for it. 

I wish there was something that I could do to change the world, but my voice means little to nothing. Even if I had the right message, no one would be able to hear. Sure they would be able, but it would never reach them. Do you know how frustrating that is? 

I don’t know how to fix the world, but I know of a lot of things that would make it better. They only problem is getting things from the idea stage to the actual implementation stage. Lots of people have good ideas, but good ideas don’t always get used. Often it’s bad ideas that get used and stay in practice. I don’t know if that’s due to human nature, or just bad luck, but that’s what we’ve been stuck with.

Shit’s so bad that people are wanting to result to extremes. People want to start a war! That’s crazy, but I understand them. When people get scared or feel cornered, they result to violence. Violence is a tool, but it’s not a tool that should be taken lightly. People are starting to feel that it’s the only tool they have left, but my question is, how are you going to use it? Are you just going to start killing people? What will that solve? If anything, violence will just lead to things getting worse faster. Revolutions don’t always work. Remember, the American Revolution was the exception to the rule. Think about what happened with the French. Sure, they had a revolution, but then what happened? A ruthless dictator seized power, and ruled over France with an iron fist. Not exactly the ideal scenario. We already have a guy who acts like a dictator. We don’t need an actual one.

With all of this going on, how am I happy? I guess the answer is that I’m not. I’m just happier. I am not happy that there are walls, cages, war, racism, etc. I’m not happy at all, but I’m a hell of a lot happier, personally, than I was back then. It probably has to do with the fact that I don’t have to go through this nightmare alone. Misery loves company, and for the time being, I’ve got plenty.

World events aside, are you happy with where you are right now? If not, then why not? There’s a lot to be unhappy about, but even then, there’s lots to be happy about as well. I mean, look at me. Lots of reasons to be unhappy. Unemployed, I flunked out of school, I seem to fail at everything, I’m broke, etc., yet I find myself with happiness. I find myself content. I’m not a man that has everything, but I guess I have what matters. I guess the real question is, do you have what matters in life? If you don’t, then maybe it’s time you go and get it, whatever it may be. Life is short, and also really shitty. It’s not something that’s easy to go through, especially if you’re unhappy. 

I don’t know. I’m rambling now, so I guess it’s time to end this letter. I hope that if you’re not happy that you find your happiness. I hope you find your hope. Without it, it’s going to be really hard to keep on going.

Sincerely,

The Autistic Cowboy.

Letter One

Disclosure: So, something weird happened. I felt compelled to write another book. I started writing it as a series of letters, which is why this is called Letter One. I three letters and 3,000 words in when I realized that it would work much better here, on the blog. So, if you see any mentions to it being a book, that’s because it was, but I changed my mind. I would go back and edit all of the references out, but I don’t know if that would work to well. Anyway, here it is!

Dear Reader,

It seems I have a knack for the “experimental”. My last book was an unconventional experiment at best, and it seems that I don’t know how to break away from it. Traditional writing perplexes me. I don’t know how to get a good grasp of it, but for some reason, when it comes to the unconventional, I find it as natural as drinking water. 

My last literary effort was a stream of conscious memoir, but this time I want to try something a little bit different. I’ll be sticking with the stream of consciousness style, but with a new twist. This time around, I’ll be talking directly to you through a series of letters. I won’t just be relaying a story that sounds like a conversation, no, instead we’ll be having an actual conversation, albeit a one sided one.

I’ve always liked the letter format of writing. It’s so close and personal. It’s just what this book needs. Every letter will be different, with topics ranging far and wide. I will ask questions that you may have to answer on your own, so this won’t exactly be the most passive of experiences, which may make reading a little harder than usual. I promise, though, that it won’t be that hard.

In these letters, I’m going to ask you a lot of questions. These questions are probably going to be mostly about faith, but not always. This is one of those “Christian”, but it’s not going anything like you would imagine it being. Also, you don’t exactly have to be a Christian to get anything out of this. This isn’t to convert you. Christians are not supposed to convert people. We’re supposed to help, support, and spread love. God works through people, and when he comes to you, we’re there to fill  in the blanks, but what if you don’t want religion? Then we’re still there to help. That’s the idea, anyway, but Christianity seemed to lose its way on day one, forgetting the whole love and peace thing. I am not like the rest of Christianity, though. I am very different as I actually believe in spreading love, peace, and helping my fellow man. If you have a flat tire, I’m just supposed to help you fix it, not help halfway then hide the rest of the help behind a conversion pay wall.  

Anyway, how are you feeling? Are you having a good day? I hope so. I have a habit of getting really dark, so I’d hate to make a dark day even darker. That isn’t to say that it will all be doom and gloom around here, but that is where my mind often travels in the wee hours of the night.

I should also warn you that these letters have no set length, just like any other letter. Some may only be a page, while others may go on and on and on. My tone may also shift wildly, as it does in everyday life. Sorry about that, but that’s just how it is.

Minds are fickle, and Autistic minds are no different. In fact, mine may be even more fickle than most, but who knows. I certainly know that my mind works differently. I know that I feel differently, I taste differently, and I act differently. Sometimes, I wish I wasn’t so different, but here we are. Different, and no one can change that. 

Anyway, I hope this letter has set your expectations for what’s to come. Hope you have a good day. 

Sincerely,

The Autistic Cowboy