Monday, August 23, 2004

A Mystery Catechism

First prize goes to anyone who can identify the source of the following. Second prize goes to those who can write their own "precis" of what the church thinks...


Q: What does the church think of God the Father?
A: He is omnipotent and holy. He created the world and imposed on man conditions impossible of fulfillment; he is very angry if these are not carried out. He sometimes interferes by means of arbitrary judgments and miracles, distributed with a good deal of favoritism. He likes to be truckled to and is always ready to pounce on anybody who trips up over a difficulty in the law or is having a bit of fun. He is rather like a dictator, only larger and more arbitrary.

Q: What does the church think of God the Son?
A: He is in some way to be identified with Jesus of Nazareth. It was not his fault that the world was made like this, and, unlike God the Father, he is friendly to man and did his best to reconcile man to God (see atonement). He has a good deal of influence with God, and if you want anything done, it is best to apply to him.

Q: What does the church think of God the Holy Ghost?
A: I don't know exactly. He was never seen or heard of till Whitsunday. There is a sin against him that damns you forever, but nobody knows what it is.

Q: What is the doctrine of the Trinity?
A: The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the whole thing incomprehensible. Something put in by theologians to make it more difficult- nothing to do with daily life or ethics.

Q: What was Jesus Christ like in real life?
A: He was a good man- so good as to be called the Son of God. He is to be identified in some way with God the Son (q.v.). He was meek and mild and preached a simple religion of love and pacifism. He had no sense of humor. Anything in the Bible that suggests another side to his character must be an interpolation, or a paradox invented by G.K. Chesterton. If we try to live like him, God the Father will let us off being damned hereafter and only have us tortured in this life instead.

Q: What is meant by the atonement?
A: God wanted to damn everybody, but his vindictive sadism was sated by the crucifixion of his own Son, who was quite innocent, and therefore, a particularly attractive victim. He now only damns people who don't follow Christ or who never heard of him.

Q: What does the church think of sex?
A: God made it necessary to the machinery of the world, and tolerates it, provided the parties a) are married, and b) get no pleasure out of it.

Q: What does the church call sin?
A: Sex (otherwise than as excepted above); getting drunk; saying "damn"; murder; and cruelty to dumb animals; not going to church; most kinds of amusement. Original sin means that anything we enjoy doing is wrong.

Q: What is faith?
A: Resolutely shutting your eyes to scientific fact.

Q: What is the human intellect?
A: A barrier to faith.

Q: What are teh seven Christian virtues?
A: Respectability, childishness; mental timidity; dullness; sentimentality; censoriousness; and depression of spirits.

Q: Wilt thou be baptized in this faith?
A: No fear!

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