I once populated my office with any piece of office supplies I had at home. This included leftover materials from the college years, which in turn was made up of leftover high school materials. So there I am, assembling training binders when I stumble upon a paper-and-pen journal entry from eons ago. My guess (from the grandiose language and the slight flourish of philosophical-induced misery) is age 15. I’ve reproduced it here for posterity and for my own reference some day, for teen-Mary’s livejournal is a thing that should never, ever be opened. No, really.
The age-old Catholic theory of the afterlife is a peaceful, sacred heaven where all are united in love for and worship of the god figure. But if people strive so much for this precious sense of humanity and individuality while in this “trial world” only to abandon it to be part of a utopian collective, then this earthly quest loses all purpose. What meaning could we seek here if our only goals must be eternal pain or eternal subservience? (To conveniently snuff out this line of questioning, the Church simply had Lucifer be the one to ask it.) In this cooperative heaven, how would our creative and industrial characteristics be suppressed while still retaining the earthly identities we toiled so hard to build? And what of our inherent ego-centrism? Our cliquish minds which cannot comprehend more than some finite number of relationships? Man cannot simply worship a god and rejoice for beauty and then begin the next day the same. A being so cultural and philosophically diverse as man….how could the ultimate reward be anonymous communal worship? And if such piety in humans were attainable for enough people so as to make god’s plan even remotely reasonable, why do essentially none ever reach it? It’s apparent that even the most devout, whose piety splinters when their closet of skeletons and inner demons break loose in public scandal, won’t be eternally happy with such an outcome after life, nor happy for even one week.
If the Catholic god truly is the all-knowledgeable and loving figure of which the stories tell, then the age-old vision of heaven is not comprehensive nor can it be considered credible by the standards of the modern thinker. It wreaks of the “perfect world” fallacy, heaven being some holy tyranny where a god is surrounded by adoring creations who proved themselves “worthy” to be in his presence. If the god figure were a loving god, he would not build such a narcissistic echo chamber populated by what are essentially slave creations who only worshiped in life out of fear of punishment if they pursued contrary goals. Such sadistic torture dungeons are the things of crime novels and horror films from which we recoil 6 days a week, yet Catholics discuss it openly and proudly on Sunday without any sense of irony or cognitive dissonance.
While we each may have a different idea of what the afterlife will be, it would take quite a god to create one place that everyone could call utopia and yet maintain and exercise their individuality. Such a feat is impossible in light of our (allegedly purposeful) design to have interests and personalities contrary to each other. Consequently, the same principle would hold true for marriage. Exact matches would be misery for the caged intellectual. With no sparring partner or otherwise inspirational force in one’s life to divert from the routine, how could a marriage fight an onslaught of immediate and utter boredom? What can they express except affection, for the narcissist has married him or herself. What kind of paradise is a marriage with an organic copy? The conceptions of a perfect world, perfect love, perfect marriage, perfect heaven have no credence. “Perfection” is ideological tyranny. How can anyone beyond the age of 10 sit in a pew listening to elementary-level drivel about god, love, heaven, hell, and any other philosophical notions oversimplified for the dullards of humanity and not be repulsed? Offended? Condescended to? A celibate and single priest giving relationship advice to married couples? A man commenting on women’s place and rights because desert fables thousands of years’ old make him feel obliged to do so? Please explain the mass appeal of this faith beyond “people are stupid en masse”, because my youthful optimism begs for an alternate explanation.