WHY DID YOU LEAVE THE CHURCH?
This is a question I was asked many times. It finally made me decide to write it all down and just give my inquirers a copy. Why did I leave a mighty institution to throw myself at the mercy of a hard, tough, cruel world? Especially since I was such a regular church goer. Even went to mass every morning for a whole year when I was ten years old. Because of my good grades in school, even in the uninteresting bible and religious subjects, in which I scored 100%, one of the priests of the Roman Catholic Church used to talk to me regularly. He wanted me to become a priest. I wanted to be a number of things but being a priest was not one of them.
I knew so much about religion from all the instructions we got in school that in arguments with the Protestant boys, I always prevailed. I was proud to be a member of the "greatest religion in all history" or so I thought. One day, when I was nineteen years old, I got my first rude jolt to my faith. I was reading a book entitled "FAITH OF OUR FATHERS" by James Cardinal Biggons, written in 1875. In the chapter on the Apostolicity of the Church, I came across a table of three columns. The purpose of the table was to show that the Roman Catholic Church was more like the Apostolic Church than the Protestant Churches. "Hey! " I almost yelled. They told us in school that the Catholic Church was the first Christian Church, founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ and here was a prince of the Church, a Cardinal, saying that the Apostolic Church (Church of the Apostles) became the Roman Catholic Church. The Cardinal gave the impression he thought it was meritorious for the Roman Catholic Church to be more like the Apostolic Church than do the Protestant Churches. In brief, it seems like he thought the Apostolic Church was the greatest of all Churches.
I was so disappointed that I dropped out of the St. John the Baptist Society much to the grief and sadness of my father who was an officer in it and a very religious man. Some time later, I happened to be reading a novel when I suddenly came to a quotation: "and the Good Book says..." A said I to myself, "The Word of God, I wonder what God has to say this time." I read on: "Joshua raised his hand and stopped the sun..." Hey! wait a minute I said to myself. This is the word of God? It must be the word of some dumb God who doesn't know how the solar system works that he created! If Joshua stopped anything to keep away the night, he stopped the earth and not the sun, for it's the earth revolving on its axis that makes the night and day. If the Bible is the Word of God, how is it that God doesn't know that the earth turns around once every day and it's in orbit around the sun? It seemed strange that I've known something since I was eight years old that God doesn't know. I decided then and there that the Bible cannot be the Word of God and that they are putting words into God's mouth.
This alerted me to pay more attention while in Church, the ceremonies, in the dogmas and doctrines. This is a slow way of doing things but I knew no other way then. It took many years of studying, scrutinizing and analyzing the holy words and ceremonies. One by one, I started to disbelieve the doctrines. The one that bothered me the most was the confessional. Why should I kneel before another man and tell him what I've been doing? Is he going to tell me what he's been doing? Kneeling is an act of worship. You're supposed to worship God only and I'm required to kneel before every tom, dick and harry priest and tell him what I've been doing. "Oh, but that's God in there you're confessing to! He takes the place of God when he's in the confessional." While still quite young I disbelieved that the priest turns into God when he goes into the confessional. I saw a priest go into the confessional and I saw a priest coming out and no conjuring trick can turn that priest into God while he's in there. It was to be after I dropped out of the church that I learned that the Confessional was introduced into the Church in 1215 as a part of the Inquisition which became the greatest terror in the Middle Ages. For more than 1200 years the early Christian didn't have the confessional. Did they all go to Hell? Pope Innocent III, greatest of the popes, introduced the harrow or horrors, the Inquisition, at the mere mention of which made the entire known world tremble with fear for 600 long years. During the confessions in those terrible years, the "sinners" were questioned extensively and if their answers were unsatisfactory, the confessor gave the signal and the Dominican Friars (soldier priests) came and took the unfortunate ones into the public square and burned him or her to death at the stake. Probably called Friars because they fried the people. Since bathing and schools were forbidden since the year 400 AD by the Church - the people were exceedingly shy of knowledge and so gave poor answers which led them to the stake in the millions, estimated at 50 million during those 600 years of terror. The religious wars of the 16th century put an end to the power of life and death of the Holy Inquisition. Only in Spain did the Holy Office hold out until Napoleon III invaded Spain in 1830 and put a final end to the Inquisition but a part of it remains - the confessional still goes on. If early Christians could do without the confessional for 1,200 years, today's Christians could do just as easily without it. Right on!
Being a kind of an artist, I needed a picture of an angel's wing for a picture I had in mind. Looked up an old Bible in the house which had illustrations in half of every page and knew I'd find an angel's wings some where. I opened the Good Book right in the middle and there staring at me in the face were the words: "And call no man on earth your Father for one is your Father which is in heaven!" Matt.23:9. I stopped there stunned. The clergy requires the faithful to call them "Father" and they, the clergy, call each other "Father" in direct contradiction and opposition to the words of Jesus! My artistic project forgotten, I read that big book from cover to cover and took notes. It took about three weeks. Those first words I saw in the Bible freed me from the Holy Mother. If the clergy don't have to follow the teachings of Jesus, then I don't have to follow their teachings. I dropped out of the Church entirely.
A study made by scholars revealed that 240 sayings of Jesus are completely ignored by the clergy and the "faithful". It disqualifies them from being Christians as only the early members of the Apostolic Church are true Christians. I felt deceived, exploited and made a monkey of, and stayed away from the Church ever after. Other words by Jesus I read in the Bible were: "A rich young man came to Jesus and asked him what he must do to go to heaven. Jesus said unto him; if thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven; and come and follow me." Matt.19:21. So! to be a follower of Christ, that is, a Christian, one has to be perfect; and to be perfect one has to sell what one has and give to the poor; then one can follow Jesus, that is, to be a Christian. The rich churches have to be sold, costly cathedrals, basilicas, the pope's palace and all the rich Christian estates have to be sold and the proceeds given to the poor. That is the rule of Jesus for those who would be Christians.
Perhaps a different sort of religion is in order, one which is not a system of beliefs, but rather a system of knowledge based on natural righteousness. When the Christian religion was explained to the Grand Council of the Iroquois Confederacy by missionaries more than 300 years ago, the Red Men called it "Kariwiyoston" or made up manufactured righteousness, not to be confused with natural righteousness. How right they were! What the whole world needs is one religion of knowledge, not guesswork or unreliable beliefs. What's needed is a code of right morals, right conduct, right actions and real human rights: and to give the stolen lands back to the Indians.
God has not ever been seen since the belief in the existence of a Creator God began. It led many people to think he does not exist. Other people regard the wonders of the universe as proof that a great intelligence exists which is responsible for such faithful performances of the stars and planets, the four seasons and the causes of life itself. We do not know one way or the other. If God does not exist why bother with religion? Return to your own National Religion. The white man's religion is not even good for the white people. It's only good for stealing lands and slaughtering the people who own the land. Indians should know this. It happened to them.Louis Hall 1960