When catholics decide to get married to each other, or even if there is an incoming relation into a catholic family we have to go through something called “Wedding Preparation Course”. A supposedly ‘helpful’ course that enables young people to move into the “holy matrimony”. Even an atheist like me has to endure it. I am doing this with Preethi as one of the religious activities that I have to do, culminating in the wedding in a church, to make friends and family happy.
So Day One went just as I expected. Torture to the mind and for a few moments in there I wished I was not analytical, I wish I could point out the multiple standards being used to evaluate information. While todays media has to be consumed by i) Reading Between the lines, ii) Analysis of Facts and iii) Cross referencing, Bible tend to have the “truth” label stuck on with thought even a second thought. I will come to that later in the course.
So to all those people who are going to the wedding preparation course, I assure you it wont be as hard as I am saying, you are conditioned to accept that is told in support of Christianity and deny anything that goes against it.
As one of the first few people to arrive at the Center, I was for a moment thinking that the numbers would be less that 50 and oh boy was I wrong! There are more than 250 people there and it feels like an awkward company because it is not like any class you have attended before. We have always attended classes in company of peers with similar interests or atleast the same final goal, here there are engaged, about to be engaged, about to be married, ‘will-get-married-sometime-soon-i-am-yet-to-find-a-girl’ people. There are Doctors, Nurses, Engineers, Farmers and what not. People form all walks of the society. It is an amalgam of people that it takes a bit of time to get into the hang of things. The ways things are explained atre quite layman, and the deep usage of Malayalam is quite disturtbing to a english user.
So the premise is set, the loving caring god is introduced and in no lighter terms is also introduced the completely opposit to the general picture god, the vengeful dude. So in one hand they will speak about the unconditional love, while right after they say god is vengeful, he will take out his beef down and under generations. Confusing, but this is religion 101 to you. The ultimate love hate relationship. The priest in so stricter terms said that ” we are not here to give you certificates, we are here to fail you”. Line’s befitting a Harward Dean, totally wasted on a white trenchcoat dude. So, moving around, semi-sleep, 5 minute lateness and a written test in which you have to score more than 60% decides on whether you get the certificate or not. Complex, really and to think how bad the family states were before the catholic church came in ( less than 2k years back ) and set everything right, where by a bunch of supposedly virgins get to talk about sex and what is sexual morality to normal people!
The first session was taken by a Mr Augusthy. He was introduced as a humorous, always interesting person by a brother who is undergoing his initiation. ( They have to learn for about 12-15 years! If I learned religion for that time, I will dismantle it from square one! ). So this Mr Augusthy, with his weird humor, his lightly veiled patriarchical upbringing and totally, marriage to be a reproduction extravagenza and the topping of all sex being threesome with Jesus as the third man! Jesus Christ is termed as the ‘forever groom’ where by he gets to have unlimited sex with all couples, indirectly saying him as a bi-sexual ?
The next major point Mr Augusthy had to go on about was Trinity and Holiness. Some really cheeky word play that makes random utterings sound like explanations were used to extreme efficiency. In a crowd of semi-english literates, his ramblings might have sounded meaningful. To me? It was just retarded shit. ‘Trinity is one because they are Holy’. Oh in this line ‘ Cucumber is a vegetable because it is Charming’ seems like an explanation as well. The usual juggling of trinity being three but one etc were used to induce mysticism and some ‘supernatural’ brouhaha.
Next major hit and run topic was ‘Unconditional Love’. And despite my many readings, listening and understandings about the Bible. There is NO unconditional love anywhere. You get this, if you do this. If you are like this, you go here. If you believe me, I will love you. If there was unconditional love, then there wont be a hell in the story either. Holiness again comes to the picture as the explanation for everything. How mothers and fathers should be holy, how your body should be holy. Then he went about this magical thingy called ‘Confession’. As Christianity has its base of Fear and Adding common things people do to a category called Sin and if there is none practically possible, then there is the Original Sin. Interlude : This is taking a toll on me. The rational in me is screaming at the inanities and the useless things being said. To make a family work, None of what he says are needed. Just two people. Love each other. Understand each other. Be there for each other. I know it, I have been doing it for 6 years now!
So the next key topic was the ‘degradation of family values and families’. His take on Divorces being increased in the state and the country. While I take it as a sign of progress, this is anything but that to him. The old generation, that is getting divorces now are from a time when majority had their lives decided, mostly on unfair terms by families. If they are courageous enough to be free of the chains of an unsuccessful marriage, let them be.
So when a family is breaking apart, when husband and wife live in different rooms, different beds or on the two corners of a large bed, the biblical snake lies in between. The snake is given the ” most cunning animal” tag ( which I think is very wrong biologically ) in the bible. Mr Augusthy asserts that there is devil in the midst if there is a break up in the family. Well the devil was most probably a selfish choice by the parents.
Family is being given too much importance in the talk, which I think is the whole point of the session. But Christian families are NOT the only successful families. Unless Jesus goes and sleeps in between Moslems ( since Big J is a jew, the foreskin wont be an issue ), Beggars, Aboriginal and every other animal species which reproduce through sex, there should be no offsprings in any species. Animals as always are given the second fiddle nature, which corresponds to the “we are the top dudes” attitude live together for life. There are better habits among animals than humans can even dream of!
Interlude : Wife is NOT a tea maker. She is ONE of the tea makers in the house. The other being the partner!
I am not getting any of his jokes, I find them offensive, sexually bigioted and nothing that can be termed funny. And as Heath Ledger’s immortal line as the Joker, I have to say ” And I thought my Jokes were bad!”.
So as usual Mr Augusthy finds inappropriate examples to say. One being making a tea in a glass that had lemon extract in it. By all his definitions, the glass should have been Jesus. And he himself says it sucks.
Purpose of life. That is something, that I believe only death can tell us. But all the purposes that Mr Augusthy says is petty and small. As an entrepreneur, I live to make a large impact on the world. If I went by his purpose of life, I would be a housebound husband with kids as the numero uno priority.
Mr Augusthy takes up Bible as the base of everything. Cherry picking to the max and then twisting lines to make them sound more convoluted than they are. Bible, being called a complete book, speaks volumes about his understanding of religion and everything about it.
Interlude : These guys really believes in what they are saying! Close mindedness is being demonstrated every second. Explanations that tend to god are the real close minded explanations. Oscar Pistorius, the Blade Runner was mentioned as an example of what people can do even if they are handicapped. Blade Runner is an example of how Science works up to help people. The Flex Foot Cheetah, on which he runs on is the invention of Van Philips, not heaven send.
The heavy importance meted out to the necessity of a partner to live the life. The judgemental nature, the very which is condemned by the god they believe in, is too much in action everywhere. People have the right to live the way they want, free of your free judgement. We are all human beings, making another person to take a decision based on your ideals is inhuman. Catholic Church or Christianity came to existence about 2000 years back. Human civilisation has survives 180,000 years without these new age religions and we are here as the proof that these people tens of thousands of years ago, had family running without much problems either.
He was talking about Teresa of Calcutta. No comments.
Female Foeticide was a good issue that he had a genuinely contemporary idea on. It was a surprise to hear from him, though it lines perfectly with the teachings of church.
He went on to Mary Magdelene being a saint, washing Big J’s legs, she being made a saint. Rather simplistic. Just think of a rape victim meeting a rapist in heaven. She lived the whole life in good faith and all, this ass just converted before death. Who is the winnah ?
Next topic he took on was the concept of being Made for Each Other. And to my surprise he said exactly what I had in mind. He said it so exactly that me in my response writing spree wrote what he was going to say before he said it. ( The young people will prophesize? My ass! )There is no one who is made for you, we make ourselves for the other other person each and everyday. That is the only way of living. Never pre-made.
The curious thing is the authority which these people profess. Christianity getting the authority on marriage. Sex is to be controlled by the people in power, else it is the biggest took for a revolution. And thereby church has clamped down on sex. Rules after rules. God seems to be too much of a pervert that he needs to give directions to people having sex. And then went ahead and knocked up someone else’s wife. The same guy who in the old testament said do not conduct adultery went and knocked up someones wife! God seems to be much more interested in the sex between people than the really pressing matters in the world. Quite telling.
Another funny incident was when he tried talking about “care”, about why girls leave home and go after guys who show care in totally material way like drying their hair, against mom who show care by sending Fish Fry to kids. I do not see the difference and about how the fish fry has to get precedence.
Chromosomes are not some food items that comes with dips, like emotional dips.
So Church says marriages are made in heaven. And the church has again set loop holes for itself. IF a marriage works out ( publicly that is, private lives may be hell ) then it is made in heaven by Jesus. You know what happens if people have to separate? The marriage NEVER happened. What an idea!He gave a ‘study’ about how reading habits at pregnancy times define the future of kids. It looked like a hyperbole to me because it would have been a study spanning a minimum of 25 years. About 600 parents were chosen and they were given three sets of materials to read, 200 were given books about statesmen and heroes, 200 about science and technology adn scientists and 200 with bible and lives of saints. They said 80% of the kids became what the mothers read about. Vague and inconclusive. But good for giving hyperboles to a bunch of people with zero scientific temperament.
Another ‘Big’ story was about a small kid who was left at the care of Augusthy at church. He lied down quiet without doing anything for the entire length of a speech. This was accredited to the mom being a big devotee. Actually kids to stay awake and lay quiet. This particular kid was in a huge room, a lof of moving things around, people, fans and the coloured glasses and panes. His curiosity was enough for him to take on the world, bathe in the colours and motion around him. Nothing to do with the priest other than hus modulatd voice which would have been another factor to hold the kids attention. ( The top turned angle might not have let the kid to see the source of the voice, he might have been searching! )
Another major talking point was companies that worship the devil. This hyperbole included a lot of bull about satan worship and the like. Proctor & Gamble was shown as a company in this line and that they have foetuses in their beauty product line as ingredients. Hyperboles with no proof.
Enigma, the same old Enigma who wrote mega classic like “Return to Innocence ” is credited with getting 7 “random” girls into depression. Really!
This was what happened till noon! The next class was on Sexual Morality.