As long as we’re talking about Catholicism, I was talking to an ex-Catholic a while back, I suppose I ought to put “ex-Catholic” in quotes because, according to her, the only way you can actually leave the Catholic Church is to ask their permission and be granted a way out. You can’t just stop going to their churches, you can’t stop believing their fairy tales, you have to actually be allowed to quit the church officially because when you joined, you joined for life.
Yes, that is as stupid as it sounds.
She doesn’t think this only applies to Catholic Churches either, although that’s her background and she has no real information or interest in non-Catholic Christianity. So long as you were ever a Christian, you are always a Christian until Christianity, in some way, grants you permission to stop being a Christian. I guess it’s some weird cult that never ever lets you go. And the funniest thing is, she’s no longer a Catholic by belief but she still considers herself a Catholic by fact because the Catholic Church never formally excommunicated her. So she’s a non-Catholic Catholic. I don’t get it either.
I guess I could see it if she considered herself Catholic in the cultural sense, even Richard Dawkins considers himself Catholic that way, but not religiously because religiously, when you stop believing it, you stop being it for all intents and purposes. According to her though, you promised to always be a Catholic when you started being a Catholic so you’re always going to be a Catholic until the Catholics agree you’re not. That’s like saying that you’ll always be in the Santa Claus Club until someone at the North Pole rescinds your membership card. In reality, that’s just not how it works. You stop believing in Santa Claus, you stop mailing him letters asking for presents, you stop expecting him to come down the chimney and you’re automatically out of the club. The same applies to religion. It requires active participation on your part. When you stop playing along, the game ends. You don’t need permission. No one needs to be consulted. You didn’t sign a contract guaranteeing your eternal soul and even if you did, that kind of thing is unenforceable once you stop believing a soul exists. You don’t owe anything to the church and they don’t owe you anything back. It was fun while it lasted. Or not. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. To think otherwise is really absurd, but hey, this is the religious we’re talking about, isn’t it?