And yes, I am aware of the irony in my title! Even so, 'I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of any religion'. Nor have I ever entertained a belief in God, even from my childhood days. Not, I hasten to add, because I actively resisted the notion but simply because I never believed a word of it. Frankly, I blame the church!
Perhaps I should explain what has provoked these, admittedly fairly commonplace, non-beliefs. Yesterday I spotted a headline to the effect that the current Pope, an even more useless holder of the office than some of the dimwits who preceded him, has pushed through by underhand means a change to Catholic rules and regulations whereby divorcees and re-marrieds may now take full part in Catholic ceremonies. No doubt the progressive wing of the Catholic church is celebrating but I couldn't help wondering what God thought about it. I mean, He went to all that trouble, even sending his own Son down to earth to lay down the ground rules, and yet up pops this Pope to change the rules - again - because Popes are always changing the rules!
It reminded me of the most depressing book I ever (half) read called The History of Christian Thought by Jonathan Hill. It tells the story of what happened after the death of Jesus, a man (or Son of God, perhaps) who, it seemed to me, laid down a very decent and sensible list of suggestions as to how to conduct one's life through this 'vale of tears'. Within a few decades the first of a long list of know-it-all upstarts, like the people who run marketing departments in every big company, came along with innovative changes to improve the product and the message. Of course, the particular 'big company' concerned was the Christian Church which provided jobs, careers, money and power - so what's not to like?! Alas, it also led to boardroom rows, splits in the parent company, new start-ups, competition and dog, literally, ate dog.
I have no idea if God exists or not. The mystery of how things originated, let alone why, is quite beyond me. However, one thing is certain, He must be mightily pissed off at the way His church is run. Time for a few heavenly thunderbolts, I feel!