i've been re-reading a copy of Dante's Divine Comedy in a local cafe this week, and i'm almost through Purgatorio.... yeah, Catholicism is just kind of inadequate for my purposes.
Theologically, they've set up this god, who has made man with instincts and with natural tendencies for seeking indulgence, pleasure, and the chasing our own individual ways despite the opinions of others- then he tells man that everything but the ascetic denial of all earthly pleasures, and the perpetual glorification of Him, is essentially a sin punishable by (at worst) the eternal tortures of the pit, and (at best) by unknown centuries spent being 'purged' by pain and suffering in purgatory, before being admitted into a childishly conceived resort- to further sing his praises, of course, and to no other apparent end. he sets us up in this infinitely small blip of a lifetime on this ant farm of a planet, to be voyeuristically watched while we crawl about in the mire of our own filthy human lives- consuming life and expelling fecal matter at a feverish and constant rate, suffering the agony of disease and the graceless shame of rot through aging, all the while burning with the race to 'get ahead' on this pointless treadmill he's set us on, chasing the various empty lures and meaningless distractions he's hung just in front of us, punctuated with the euphoria of sex when we can get it- god's greatest joke of all- and of course something to be highly distrusted within the canon, being highly treacherous for the soul. in addition to this ordered madness, he throws in an 'adversary' to plague, torment, and further tempt us to 'err.' despite all of this impersonality and cruelty and self-service, we're to hold this deity as all-good and perfectly loving. lol
this whole thing's set up, according to the church, as little more than a purposeless play put on for His amusement, at our expense. those who would seek more from existence than to deny it all and join in the eternal choir of god's glorification, are damned, and everything pleasurable is a trap, set so that we may be tempted, fall, suffer, and come crawling back to Him for His boundless mercy. i find extreme fault with the whole Theology; a Paternal Voyeur "Santa God" with his naughty/nice list, a childishly conceived eternal punishment or reward for our insignificant lives on this remote planet, guilt and shame put upon us for indulging in what this world can offer, and the ultimately dissatisfying REASON given for the whole mess of a world-view.
i prefer to conceive of deity as being much loftier than all of that- above and beyond human cares, worries, laws, ambitions, shames and insecurities; above the capacity to be angry, wrathful, incensed, insulted, or even bothered by something like sodomy- outside of our petty daily caprices and desires and prayers for their fulfillment, and certainly above any desire to be lauded, applauded, groveled at, or sacrificed to.
this planet, in my book, is heaven and hell in fullest extent, and our lives are each mysteriously the story of a wandering god, exploring itself within itself, meeting only itself in its brightest beauty and darkest hideousness, both of which are contained within itself as Everything. it is a comedy and a tragedy, life, and neither- because ultimately its an illusion, and realizing THAT is the goal- that we've created it all for our own amusement, as god, and that we're not really who and what we thought we were; that nothing can really phase or harm us because we are not this body or this perspective roaming time and space as Experience..... we're the sum total of everything incarnated in a Perspective for amusement and insight.
this may not jive with all of you, but it gives me strength, peace, enjoyment of life, and a goal that makes sense- perfect identification and union with God- that's MY paradise, and it has no golden gates to bribe my way through with flatteries.