(Devil’s advacate for Church reform)
Jose Paul, Delhi.
(Here is a beautiful reflection of a layman’s free thinking. Certainly, this is an article that touches our faith at its core – Editor)
This is a topic which is propping up in my mind very often. Catholics believe that a new born child has to be cleansed with baptismal water to cleanse this new born from the original sin. But the very same Catholics are taught that every one of us is unique and is created by God in his own image out of His love for us. How can God create out of His love a person in His own image have any form of Sin present in him or her. Are we going to say that every one of us is born with the stain of our ancestors’ (Adam and Eve) on us? How can a God of love allow impurities (Sin) to be present in His creation, in His own image?
The story of creation as it is written in the bible is only a story told by writers of these chapters and books in order to give a reasonable picture of the evolution of the world to people who did not have much of education. Even the authors of these Biblical books did not have a clear picture of how the universe, the sun, the planets and the earth came into existence. This means that the stories of the creation as it is presented in these books are results of word of mouth legends for centuries and then put them down in understandable and imaginable story form for the people of those days. The story of Adam and Eve and that of the apple are all actually only figment of imagination. The Catholic Church proclaimed these writings as absolute truth and based its religious teachings on these for a very long time. But doubts were lingering in the minds of many Catholics about the veracity of these to be considered as absolute truth.
In modern days, many scientists have proposed many theories for the existence of universe, the most important one being, the big bang theory. As far as the creation of man is concerned, a scientific theory still to be proved exclusively is the theory of evolution by Darwin. The beauty is that none of these theories have really contradicted or can contradict the story of creation of the universe by God.
The theory of Big bang or the theory of evolution is in resonance with the Biblical story, though not exactly event after event. They do not essentially contradict the Biblical story. Many Catholic and Christian scholars have expressed that the scientific theories have only strengthened the biblical teachings though not literally but in essence. That is why Pope Francis recently said that God is not a magician who created the universe with a magic stick in six days. Whatever may be the scientific explanation for the existence of the universe, or evolution of man, the story of creation of this world by the creator stand in its solid ground. In the evolution of the physical human body, definitely the previous stages of evolution will have its influence on the next stage. The present human body, yours and mine will be a product of the evolving physical qualities. Our bodies will have parts of the strengths and part of the weaknesses of the last stage of evolution our body. This is something our brains can understand. We, to a great extend inherits the physical features, its strengths and defects from the past stage of evolution.
We cannot say this about our souls. Soul is not a physical material formed by evolution. We believe that God, the divine Father, created each every one of us as a unique individual in his own image. His image is pure and immaculate. Definitely this soul of mine created by God as a unique person in his own image out of his love can never be defective, with stains of sin in me. My Soul is not a mere image of God, it is a part of God Himself or herself. This God in me cannot be in any stretch of imagination leave impurity on sin in me. I am a pure, divine and Godly in nature. How can I have the stains of a sin which the Adam and Eve have committed? If by any chance, there is a stain left, it has disappeared from human race when His Son Jesus Christ sacrificed his own life on the cross for saving the humanity from the sins of the not only Adam and Eve but of the whole humanity.
A new born child does not carry any sins or stains of the sins of his or her ancestors. The soul of the child is not an evolved material. It is a special and unique creation by God, out of His or Her love, in His or Her image, as a part of that divine being, as a special individual person (Soul). This soul (Child) is devoid of all forms of sin original or committed one. I am not saying that baptism has no meaning. Baptism is not cleansing the child of sin, but nourishment for further growth in spirituality, purity and divinity.
The living Church has to look at men and women (the lay people) in the church not as a pack of scoundrels, thieves, vagabonds and sinners. The moment a priest starts his sermon, homily or retreat preaching, the only thing they have to say is that we are all sinners and you have to repent, repent, and repent. They also make us feel that the hell is waiting for us to burn us in its horrific fire.
We have to understand that darkness does not exist. Only light exists. Where ever light is absent, darkness prevails. Where ever light is present, the darkness disappears. Remember that darkness cannot remove the light. Hence only way to remove darkness from our life is to bring light. So also cold does not exist. Where ever there is heat, cold disappears. Only when the heat is removed, cold can be felt. The presence and absence of the heat Determines the coldness of a place. So also the presence and absence of sin, hatred, and evil do not exist in reality. The presence of “love” in our hearts will keep us away from all sorts of hate and anger, evils such as jealousy, robbery and other forms of sins including sexual aberrations.
When God created us he has filled our souls with this simple love. Remember when the child cried, the mother gave the child love in many forms. The child becomes happy and cheerful. The result is that every one of us love our mother most. Even when I am in trouble at the age of 80, the first name that I call is “ma”. The Holy Church is a divine mother. The Church has to give love and make every one experience love. So stop talking about the sins, devils and the hell fire. Talk about the love, give love to experience and the human beings will experience the Heaven in earth.
Is our church a symbol of love? Is it a symbol of hatred? Is it a symbol of greed? Is it a symbol of division? Is it a symbol of pomp and Show? Is it a symbol of Power? Is it a symbol of camouflaged “love”? Let us stop playing around with words of love, but start bringing love into our hearts. Then there will be unity of all Catholics as children of the Church of Jesus Christ. Let us bring Heaven on Earth. “Thy Kingdom Come on Earth as it is in Heaven” This prayer will be materialized only if we work for it. God cannot give it to us when we are teaching evil and living evil. So let us get up, lay people and clergy together. “On the march, get set, go” to love, to preach love and practice love.