Last week Pope Francis became news after “endorsing same-sex civil unions” during an interview for a documentary. The pope stated that “they’re children of God and have a right to a family,” and added “nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable because of it.” Despite LGBT community revered the comments and critics praised it as a “tremendous step,” for me, this statement caused conflicting thoughts. Not because I’m against same-sex unions, by the contrary, but because of the religious implications of Pope’s statement.
First, Pope Francis states that, “what we have to create is a civil union law,” if we consider he is a person entitled to his opinion, that is more than perfect, however, he is the head of the Catholic Church, a religious organization which condemns the same-sex unions. So, having the Pope “suggesting” what needs to be done outside the area of his domain (civil) and avoid proposing the changes in his (religious), it’s like having a flat-earther recommending improving modern cartography. And you might ask how much he can change? Please remember that Pope’s encyclicals have become canonic law in the past, so yeah, he has the power to implement changes… unless contradicts the bible?
And this is the second point I want to cover, the contradictions generated by Pope’s statement when confronted against the Bible, the holy book containing “God’s will.” The text in Corinthians 6:9-10 reads:
⁹ Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes (apparently female prostitutes didn’t make it into the list?), sodomites, ¹⁰ thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.
And are precisely the “sodomites” (term derived from Sodom, the biblical city destroyed by God along with Gomorrah) the term used by the bible to identify the homosexuals, which are listed for eternal damnation. Then, Pope’s statement contradicts the “divine commandments of God stated in his book.”
And just like the Catholic Church, this is a problem most religions face when they try to adapt to modern times: they have conferred a “divine” status to the words written by men a few millennials ago in their sacred texts.
I believe that the Bible is probably the single biggest recollection of knowledge that I’ve ever read, however, I also believe that like most sacred texts, it was written by men and not dictated by God, hence jeopardizing the divine quality, let me explain why.
The major monotheistic religions received their sacred text through an intermediary, a prophet, to who the manuscript was revealed either by an angel or God himself in an apparition. Interestingly enough, nobody else around these prophets can confirm such happenings, you might argue that Mosses was alone in the mountain, but in the case of Muhammad, he was surrounded by people during several of the apparitions, and nobody could see or hear anything but Muhammad.
We can consider that an apparition is an act of faith, but the byproduct of the apparition, the text itself is tangible, and here is where the real problem lies. The conception of God in most of the religions is that of an Omniscient and Omnipresent being, which means he knows everything and is everywhere at the same time. These two characteristics render God a timeless being, so for God the moment of your birth and your judgement (after you have died) happens at the same time. God basically already knows what sins you will commit during your lifetime, even before breathing life into your lifeless clay being. For God, there is no linear perception of the time, but everything is clustered in a single instant.
So, let’s imagine for a second that you could create a machine to travel in time and speak to your younger self, most probably, you would use that opportunity to warn yourself about the mistakes you will commit, and by doing that affecting your future self. You could provide specific details about that unfruitful business you need to avoid invest into or how to prevent destroying your marriage with the woman you loved. And even going further, specifying about the road trip your younger self needs to avoid, in order of not crashing and losing a leg, just like we see in the time travel movies.
And using this hypothetic case, the word I want to remark is specificity. If you can travel back in time, the information you possess, travels with you, and you can provide a detailed recount of the events, at least of the most memorable ones.
Now imagine that you are an Omniscient and Omnipresent God who knows everything and is everywhere at the same time and when you select a Prophet to dictate your manifesto suddenly, you only remember what is happening in that era, just the present and past not the future. All the knowledge from the future has gone and you can’t forewarn your people for what will happen. No flying cars and shit. Would not that be weird? It would not feel human rather than divine knowledge?
You can argue, “that is why God dictated the Book of Revelation to John,” but that’s precisely what I’m trying to convey. Sacred texts only contain ambiguous prophesies, too vague considering their “divine” origin. And since redacted, humanity has done one thing through the millennia: Paraphrasing them.
That’s right, religious men and women around the world keep paraphrasing a thousand-year-old book hoping to find a God’s will on it and struggle to adapt it to modernity, despite that in its core there is no proof of text’s divinity as I showed with a simple logical exercise.
With this, I’m not refuting the value of the information in the sacred texts, as I said at the beginning of my post, I do believe is a cumulus of knowledge, but we need to recognize its human origin, prone to mistakes and the lapse of time, and from that perspective, the books become more valuable.
There is a saying that goes like, “God is never late but always on time,” and this line is not contained in the bible, meaning it was crafted by man, and honestly conveys in a more clear way the message of faith than most of the biblical passages dealing with the topic.
I would like to ask you, if one day we could confirm that Jesus was not the son of God, will his parables lose meaning? I think not, by the contrary, they would become more powerful, because the aspirational aspect of being like Jesus would have more sense to us, when deprived from his divinity title. A company owner who gives himself the same salary of the lowest paid employee in the company is not an example of humility.
Religions should stop upholding as truth a text written by men three thousands of years ago, but rather invite to the study of the texts within a historical context, to learn the realizations of the forefathers of that time, and in equal degree avoid committing the same mistakes.
M. Ch. Landa