Re-post from Subjects Of Interest Blog
For those of you who live somewhere other than Australia you may not realise that Sydney recently become the epicentre of all things Catholic. World Youth Day, whatever it actually is, kicked off with a concert of truly biblical proportions. It featured the best Christian talent the Catholics could afford such as Guy Sebastian, Damien Leith (representing the Irish protestants) and Shannon Noll (yeah, me neither).
It has come at a time of dwindling sales for the organisation. Church attendance is down and conversions are at an all time low. Some are even claiming that the fastest growing faith in Western countries is ‘None’. Those that fit in the 'None' category being Atheist, Agnostic, Jedi, Wizard or just none of the above.
What this all says is that Catholicism, as well as some other notable religions, are about as popular as Windows Vista right now. Even a recent MySpace poll (so you know its reputable) has shown a vast number of youth feel the Church is out of touch. I guess they haven’t made their way to godtube.com yet................... Cause its really cool, man.
Down here in Australia it proved impossible to find any television station not devoting (pun intended) half their news time to the goings on of these pimply purveyors of papal prophesying. Behind every flustered reporter in the streets of Sydney were 300 of the little dears singing ‘God said to Noah’ at the top of their lungs. I guess we were all warned there was going to be a floody floody of pilgrims arriving on our shores.
Something that struck me as quite strange when watching this footage was all the flag flying going on. I couldn't help pondering to myself why the Nationalism on top of the Catholicism? Is it more prevalent for the faithful to feel the need to fit themselves into tidy little categories? Everyone likes to feel like they belong but these lot seem to crave belongingness like it was heroin . It would be an interesting thing to poll who are the most nationalistic people. I would bet my soul that it would be the faith based. Perhaps I should contact MySpace with the idea.
But what is this festival actually teaching us about the religion? What is it trying to convey to us in real terms? I cant help but think that part of this is just clever marketing to aid indoctrinating the youth which, lets face it, find little practicality or commonality with the faith at the moment. But how do parades and parties give the non-believers some insight into why people show up to Church each Sunday to do everything but have parades and parties. Showing us how nice people can behave in a festival atmosphere is hardly a cause for celebrating the faith. Who isn't happy when they don't have to go to work? I have seen the same camaraderie at a football clubs end of season Bali trip.
Another thing I noticed a lot from pilgrims was their consistent use of meaningless church lingo like “we are so blessed”or “filled with the spirit of the Lord” and most notable “spontaneous joy”. Spontaneous joy? What does that actually mean?
I guess in the end most people will say that it was lovely to see the young’uns not getting drunk and violent or sexting each other on their mobiles (look it up). But this kind of logic belongs to older people who think that this kind of stereotype is right on the money. But it isn’t people, it really isn’t. So we should not base the success of this week on the grounds that nothing nasty happened, because normally it doesn’t anyway. All these supposed good qualities that religion sell’s itself on are also found outside the religion in equal measure. They don’t own the patent on goodness. It is innately within us all despite our faith or lack thereof.
We would have been better off having a praise Mother Earth Week than this. Because let’s face it. Like our own Mothers, its puts up with a lot of shit from us.