What’s it like growing up catholic? Simply put… It feels normal at the time.
But then you get to a certain age, before your cognition and logistical evidence demands grow, when you still believe everything your parents say because the entire world as you know it has been presented to you by them and them alone, but something happens that splinters off the unquestioned trust. You find out that Santa isn’t real. Most likely, you find out from a source other than your parents. Then when you challenge your parents on the truth, they (eventually) confess that they only told you what they told you to make life nicer. This is the beginning of your pipelining into the real world (or at least a system of evaluating information based on the ‘if X, then Y’ model of cogent reasoning) in seek of truth. Right now, it’s like tying my nards to an oak, trying to hold back from jumping into a dissertation about logical reasoning and the nature of truth, but we’ve all read Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy so there’s no need for me to get preachy about problems with thinking we ‘know’ things. Here’s what it comes down too. If my parents had never told me there was a Santa Clause and made me Sherlock my way into the truth, I might still to this day be hinking on their white-boy in the sky with them every Sunday from 10-11.
Santa was basically the first sci-fi or super-natch kind of things that they had us believing. The other was God, but we didn’t really have to understand that as such, because it was a mystery. But Santa could fly and come down chimneys and carry toys and coal to all those under 21 years of age in the world. One time my parents even got video tape of my dad dressed as Santa walking around the house and leaving presbos under the tree. This really screwed me up because that was evidence. Then when I finally I grew up it had me unwilling to believe even things I saw before my very eyes. When the love of my life told me on the instant messenger that she was crushing on me, I assumed there was a miscommunication and fielded awkwardly for re-verification several times to the extent that it almost ruined things. Don’t get me wrong, my Dad’s a silly bastard and certainly unapologetic for playing Santa clause, and I look forward to what fun I’m going to have with my kids (“Mrs. Simmons, Ryan Jr. told us that the Universe revolves around a dog in Ireland named Seamus” *for mental pictures, imagine from the Simpsons the dog that can’t predict anything). But what it all comes down to is presentation. Humans are more affected by the presentation of information than the actual nuggets. Everything you hear or see during the day can be chipped down into a unit of information, which makes it much easier to work with while pondering it’s likeliness of genuineness. Here’s an example of what I mean.
We’re growing up Catholic, and from the time we’re little we’re told about God and Heaven and Heck and Jeesuss and we’re told nothing else. Our information intake is strictly controlled. Then at a certain age, we find out that there are people who don’t believe the same things as us called Jews, Muslims, and Hindus. Before then, we were never even told that there are other religions because the idea that other people have different ideas about the universe is dangerous to the cause. Then, when we do find out about these poor deviating souls, it’s curious to us… Why would they disagree with what the obvious truth is? Unfortunately, their parents taught them the wrong truth. Good thing my parents taught me the right truth. How do I know that? Because God is good, I love Jeezis. Sorry I know I promised an example in that paragraph but I had to defer, here it comes.
If a young catholic asks about Wicca, which I never did, but I know how it would go, they would get the following things. First they would probably get the word witchcraft thrown at them. They might even have just the word witch thrown out there. This is because Wiccans are the closest thing we have associated to witchcraft, and their prayers are called spells. (By the way, if any of this information is incorrect, I wouldn’t really know because I’m only going by what I’ve learned from others over the years—something to think about next time you hear something about current events from some guy at the bar or in a newspaper). They would tell their kids about spooky ceremonies and magic. All presentation. They would never refer to their own Sunday Mass as a creepy ceremony where hundreds of people chant in a monotone unison while candles are carried around the room by young boys. And during the ceremony, middle aged men, mostly pedophiles, make the young boys do things like wash their hands for them and hold their giant books while they read from them aloud, half speaking half singing. CREEPY! It makes me shudder just to think about how skeevy the whole thing really is. YUCK! I hope somewhere out there some young wiccan kids are asking their parents about Christianity and the parents are telling them, “Well every year around this time they chop down a tree and drag it inside their house where they keep it until it dies, then they throw it in the trash. Then they bring their children to the mall to sit on alcoholics’ laps, and feed part of their working income into a government that claims to be separate from the church, but needs the church for its holidays so that money can keep moving around the economy because every time it does, it can be taxed”. “But mommy, aren’t they supposed to be worshipping nature because it’s the only life source in the world?” … “No, Matilda, they don’t worship nature, they worship their egos and only spread good cheer around once a year because it makes them feel appreciated.” … ….“Waaaahhh!”
You know, now that I think about it, that’s another reason I love black people. It’s not just that—stereotypically speaking of course—black folk are more likely to enjoy themselves without weird notions of guilt and hard work being a virtue in and of itself… But when you see a black church, these folks really believe it. Especially the stereotypical southern Baptists. They’re celebrating! They sing and dance and yell at each other and really feel it, unlike the white protestant/roman catholic communities in America where we go through the motions, sit through the boring sermons, and secretly can’t wait for it to be over. In the black churches they exalt in the spirit! In that sense, their faith is genuine and correct. And every breath they drew was hallelujah.
But, I digress.
So Santa... what do you have to say for yourself? (other than, *burp*)