What STIGMATA with you?

I just saw the movie, Stigmata recently on DVD. A disturbing film, it depicts a message of sorts that the Vatican is actually this ultra evil James Bondesque style conglomeration of white collared bad guys. They hear about this a poor girl, played very well by Patricia Arquette, who isn't very religious but is being torn apart by some demon. The Vatican wants to cover it up. They know the demon is actually a dead South American priest trying to get a message out that the church is actually full of crap and that they are covering up the great secrets of the universe so they could sell more Pope CDs.

Now, I'm not the most religious person you'll ever meet. I prefer the moralistic side rather than the empty worship that many are guilty of. I figure my not denominating myself and selflessly donating to some charity is better than being a preordained priest with sticky fingers when the choirboys are near. However many people consider this the wrong take on God and such.

Why is this?

Consider these mediums. Last year alone over ten films depicted everything from religious rapture to inner belief. In the political world we have candidates yapping about televangilism and staunch Jesus freaks in Virginia. And NBC recently announced their new mid-season replacement cartoon show, God, The Devil and Bob.

All ten films were denounced by every religious organization available. Senator McCain was chastised for his remarks in the political arena and NBC has been boycotted by seven of its affiliates for airing such a non family oriented series because God in the show looks like Jerry Garcia and drinks beer.

These actions clearly say that you cannot, will not and should not talk about God in any way, shape or form unless it is only to praise Him.

This is religious hypocrisy at its best. When Jesus walked the Earth, He was a zealot of the time. He was against the system. He was for the people. He fought against religious oppression and strived for the freedom of His constituents. He gave His life so that His people would have an immortal someone to look up to and praise. He, Son of God or not, was a pretty groovy guy in my book. A man who isn't afraid to stand up for what needs to be stood for; A rebel and hero all rolled into one.

Now He's a Pepsi logo.

Even worse people say that if you don't swear by the symbol then you don't count as a good person. Pardon, but isn't a little elitist? I can name a dozen symbols that all express the same ideals as the Cross. Two most notable are Mickey Mouse and Hulk Hogan. Think about it. Hulk Hogan professes to kids and adults to eat their vitamins, say their prayers, do their homework and they can be like him. Mickey Mouse says that he'll see you real soon, Why? Because he likes you. He promotes liking people and having good, clean fun over the bad stuff that others do.

I submit that all religions, barring a few whacko ones from California, purport the same thoughts and feelings as any other religion. This includes not having any religion at all. I call it the Bill and Ted Theory. The Surfer-dude slacker duo of Bill S. Preston and Ted Theodore Logan said during their time traveling escapades for everyone to, "Be excellent to one another and party on, dudes!" Isn't that what Jesus said also? Be good to each other. True, I don't know about the "party on" bit but I do have it on good authority however that Jesus enjoyed wine over water so there must have been some partying in there somewhere.

The Gospel of St. Thomas, which was the secret message from Stigmata, says that the kingdom of Heaven is inside you, split a piece of wood and I am there. That makes sense. Put it another way, God is in the details. But people don't want details. They want the big picture. Trouble is when people start worshipping a symbol rather than what the symbol stands for then a shakedown needs to take place. That is the other message the movie Stigmata gave.

After watching the movie I went online to read what other people thought about the show. It's just one of those films that get people to talking, you know? Well, one review said it was all crap. That no one believes that stuff anymore. I found this remark to be quite stunning. No one believes in God anymore?

Some say this is true. Well, in that case I guess that means we've grown up somewhat. Like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, we learn that God isn't real but instead is the symbol of a deeper belief. Whew, I bet a lot of you are cringing right now. Worrying that just reading that last sentence will cause a lightning bolt to strike at you.

Don't worry. If God does exist, He would not feel bad that people don't believe in Him. He knows the truth. He knows that the good ones are going to get what they deserve and the bad ones will get what's coming to them also. On the other hand if God doesn't exist then we can realize the truth and get to fending for ourselves.

Me, I consider God to be like a household pet. It's true.

A pet will listen to you at any time of the day or night if you wanted to talk. A pet will not answer you when you call it and even if it does you wouldn't understand what it said. A pet works in mysterious ways. It will love you unconditionally. It will bite you if you behave badly toward it. It will keep you company when you’re sad. Protect you when you're weak. Entertain you when you're happy. It will always be there for you. And is happy when you are there for it. All that from a simple, family pet.

Maybe the gospel is right. God really is in the details.

Do you believe that?

Have a good weekend.