How do you go about starting your own religion without becoming the leader of some freaky cult and everyone ends up dying necking glasses of Kool Aid? Like I mean there are not many religions out there that have been created over the past 100 years or more, are there? Also why do I want to create my own religion you are probably asking yourself. Well let me tell you why this struck me of late and why I am writing about it. I am not making myself MD, CEO, The Great Leader, Messiah or the bloke who runs the Catholic Church ( I say bloke as I don't want to break some backwards blasphemy law we have in Ireland, not for long though hopefully with the upcoming referendum in the Winter). For me I grew up a Catholic, we did it all, the 7 sacraments, church on Sunday ( not holy days mind or the mickey mouse type ones at least , you know like the 8th of December and no I wasn't in Dublin getting the Christmas shopping ). I was a good Catholic, I loved being a Catholic, I love learning about my faith, I was lucky enough to grow up in a strong Catholic house ( fun fact my dad a Protestant had to sign a fucking affadavit in 1978 that he wouldn't stop my mum raising us Catholic ) and a community also that was ingrained with the church and to my knowledge no weird shit went down. I had my favourite priest perform our wedding ceremony, yup favourite priest, he was great friends with my grandfather and jeez he said a whopping fast mass on a Sunday. As a kid if mass was finished by 12.25pm you were back on the road by 12.35pm playing football with the lads. I have no bad experiences with Catholicism.
I will say however I don't know the exact moment it happened but I drifted away from it all. When I first moved to Dublin, I would go religiously no pun intended to mass every weekend for a good solid 3 years, I prayed the shit out of it especially in bad times when I was sick or had shit going down. Catholicism gave me hope. I then moved in with Joanne and I didn't get to Sunday mass as much but I went instead on a Monday every lunch time on Haddington road. I used to sit beside Bill O'Herlihy before he passed away, I never said hello, I wish I did. Then in 2015 two major incidents happened in my life, I lost my grandfather and my niece that year in the space of 6 weeks. I had never experienced death before in such a close way. I further drifted from mass to a point where I stopped going much to my mum's disgust, she still constantly reminds me she is the only one in our family that still goes to mass ( I feel that she thinks she failed us ). I do feel upset I don't go anymore and I feel shame I have disappointed my mum.
There are many things with Catholicism that have kept me away over the past 3 years, the marriage equality referendum, the repeal campaign and the countless child abuse allegations. Would I consider myself a Catholic anymore? with great sadness I don't think I can call myself that anymore. You see I am in a unique situation, had I become a dad I would be forced back in to the fold to have my kids baptised etc, but that we know is off the table. I am also a man of science and as a result so much of the church's teaching seem so drastically off but I have always lived with that knowledge all my life. You see like every single religion out there, each one of them is all man made from the very beginning ( if you choose the beginning to be Adam & Eve to Moses to Jesus). Men falter and have faltered there is no denying that, it is not possible. Personally I believe in the holy trinity (God, Jesus and Mary) but that is all I believe, I struggle with the rest of it. If it comes to crunch not that you learn too much about it as a Catholic I believe in the pre Jesus era also, you know Abraham, Moses etc.
All these rules however that govern every single religion are rules written by blokes, Moses had his commandments and Jesus preached about why we must change our ways as a people and treat our neighbours, family and enemies with love, be good people not dickheads to one another. The entire story has been bastardised to suit agendas by so many, Jesus teachings at the basest form have been lost to a large degree. Imagine sitting Jesus down and telling him what the fuck has gone down, you have the big stuff like The Crusades for example to priests raping and abusing kids. The man's motivation was forgiveness and looking after the people in the shadows but I think he would struggle with that. With regard to the people on the fringes of society, for example I was struck by a poignant moment of the Pope's visit last weekend. Dublin City Council shifted all the homeless off the fucking streets to accommodate for the man who represents Jesus and God on this planet of ours. It is so brutally hypocritical to see this behaviour, the man may have met with homeless charities but that is not good enough.
I have not given up hope yet, what do I mean? I mean when I die I want to know there is an afterlife, I do , I want to know this is not the end. Does being not being a catholic or being part of a structured old school religion forbid my entry to so called heaven or afterlife or do I arrive at the pearly gates and get pushed down the slide in to Hell? What religion gets you in then if thats the case, which one is right? Is God and Jesus even the right choice, millions of Hindus and Buddhists will tell you otherwise, who is right? I want to be right I want to meet my family who have passed on before me, I want to see them all. I am sure there are many of us out there that want to believe there is something there and still believe in God with out all the hoopla and rhetoric of what we are fed by "holy" men and women if they are allowed to participate. I would love my religion to be, if you believed in God you could, be fecking kind to people when you can, god know's its hard not to be a dickhead at times, I am a culprit of that. Maybe raise money for charities and good causes, who knows maybe I am describing that exists already, if it does point me in their direction.
There would be no church, no fancy pants gowns, overbearing fear of the dark side of heaven, no guilt, just people being good eggs to one another. I am reminded of The Simpsons and Brad Goodman, Brad creates with Bart "The do what you feel like day". I am not saying do that but when it comes to religion just do what you feel like that is if you believe in something still without the constructs of a church and 2000 years of tradition. If you are agnostic and do not believe thats good too you are not going to hell because it doesn't exist to you folk so you are quids in.
I have been wanting to write this for quite some time, if you have a certain religion more power to you and as Tupac Shakur said "I aint mad at cha" so don't be mad at me.