Lately I watched a 2008 movie called ‘Leatherheads'. It's a romantic comedy starring George Clooney, depicting the birth of America's pro-football league in 1925.

Dodge Connolly, a rather brazen football hero, is resolute to guide his team from bar brawls to heaving stadiums, but situations beyond his control turn the new game of pro-football into a complicated load of BS, with rules and guidebooks, agents, instructions, middle men, committees, sub-committees, experts, sponsors and their mothers' mothers, coming out of every nook and cranny.

Admittedly, it wasn't a superb movie, but somehow I found myself thinking about it in my sleep. I woke up to the realisation, that although I might have wasted two hours of my life watching a stupid movie, its plot is uncannily similar to what happened to my religion.

Somewhere along the way we lost sight of the simplicity of faith. We lost sight of the basic fundamental rule that is the basis of all religions - ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,' and to quote a popular song - we took something perfect and painted it red!

We started writing rules and dictating regulations, we added addendums, and clarifications, specifications, conditions, and disclaimers, until one day, it dawned on us - we had written ourselves into one insipid mess of conflicting policies, conventions, terms and regulations - so much so, that only a grand tsunami can erase them.

Like most of us, I was born and raised in a Catholic environment, and though nuns were my extended family, I always felt that this was not what God intended. So, long long ago I silently gave up on the idea of reconciling what I believe in, with what I was brought up to believe in, and what I feel in my heart of hearts to be true. I have in fact given up on claiming any sort of religion as my own, and relegated myself to the Agnostic world of the undecided.

I went for Agnosticism because with my background it is simply too hard not to believe in anything. Besides I feel that Atheism is a belief in itself, and I hold no such convictions about the unknown. Having said that, I seriously have no space, nor patience for religion, especially the one I know most about - Catholicism. Perhaps I haven't read the 106th book that interprets the Bible correctly, or the 57th rule that clears everything up, but for some reason I haven't managed to reconcile a long list of paradoxes. I'm sure some of you will volunteer to enlighten me, so I'll brace myself!

Here are just a few:

1. If Catholicism is based on free will, why do we take decisions (like not allowing divorce) for others?

2. In the eyes of the Lord, all men/women are equal, and of the 59 total beads of the Rosary, 53 beads are "Hail Marys", and only 6 beads are "Our Father", and yet, females do not stand a chance in hell (nor heaven) of becoming priests, let alone Popes. This makes the Church the most outwardly sexist institution on earth.

3. When did Limbo cease to exist? And what happened to the un-baptised babies that died when it still existed?

4. How is Mother Theresa not a saint?

5. If God is everywhere, why do we need 10 churches in every village?

6. And with 10 churches in every village, why are there still homeless people around?

7. How is praying in front of a painting, or taking out statues out for a drunken dance during Festas, not pagan?

8. How come whenever we're in Church we're asked to donate for the needy, when right on top of our heads there's enough gold and luxury to feed a small village in Africa?

9. If life is so precious, how come the use of contraception is sinful?

10. Cohabitating couples are not allowed to receive communion, and as are those who eat less than an hour prior to Mass. Same difference?

11. Are married couples with six children and a minimum wage not allowed to receive communion if they dare use contraception? In 2007, it was estimated that 33.2 million people lived with the disease worldwide, and that AIDS killed an estimated 2.1 million people, including 330,000 children.

12. Is it a sin for a vegetarian to eat meat on Fridays?

13. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" - does this apply to gays, lesbians, transgendered people and irregular immigrants living in our back yard?

14. Within 46 days of posting a silly comment against the Pope on Facebook, a young guy gets a suspended jail sentence, his police conduct tarnished, and a €500 fine. How is it then that, 7 years after admitting to paedophile acts, the alleged abusers are still out and about?

15. In the past, the Church claimed that only Catholics get to go to Heaven. Eventually this teaching became too absurd for modern minds, so the Second Vatican Council (1963-65) reversed simple as that! But if non-Catholics can get saved, how are any of the Catholic rules, routines, and rituals (baptism, confession, first communion, confirmation, marriage, the last rites) essential for salvation?

I shall conclude with another song lyric that pretty much sums up how I feel - "I don't believe in religion. I believe in God." The many rules, rituals, restrictions and misconceptions complicate life beyond belief (pun intended). Faith is faith - it is the confident belief or trust in the truth or trustworthiness of a person, concept or thing. The moment you delve too deep and try to explain too much of it, you end up like pro American Football - a corrupt mess of money, abuse and power.

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