Who is playing god?

The creation of an artificial cell has triggered a predictable reaction – voices were immediately raised about “playing God”. Supposedly we are “playing God” when we use contraceptives (because we are thwarting His plans); supposedly we are “playing God” when we genetically modify plants; even worse, we “play God” when we learn how to clone animals; sinfully we “play God” by experimenting on human embryos; we “play God” at the very Gates of Hell when we decide to use in vitro fertilization.

And who is talking? Obviously, believers, because nobody who does not believe in God would utter such rubbish. “Do not play God” is almost the same war cry as “Avoid temptation”. However, priests themselves have the longest history of playing god. We all know what this game looks like. It is enough to remember what priests were doing in ancient Egypt.

For thousands of years the priesthood was the most enlightened social stratum; not only could priests read and write, but they gathered and developed knowledge. They controlled science and guarded their monopoly over it. This monopoly over the access to knowledge allowed them not only to make both the rulers and the people dependent on them, but it also gave them tricks which reinforced the belief that gods existed and that the priestly class was in daily contact with them.

The times when priests were the most enlightened social stratum are long gone, while the ignorance and stupidity of the clergy has been a subject of endless mockery at least since the Reformation. Science and the Church gradually parted company, although for a long time the majority of scientists wore cassocks, often revolting against Church authorities for limiting the freedom of research. After centuries of moving in different directions, the Church now has nothing in common with science and is just left with playing god.

The clergy’s playing god starts with clownish clothing, perpetually pompous faces, bizarre language, and (of course) the endless repetition that they are the mouth of god. The Holy Spirit is personally speaking through them and they are preaching the Truth, i.e. God.

And why is the Holy Spirit speaking just through them? He has his reasons. We are told about it by a Polish Internet preacher in “Sermons and Homilies”:

Through the gift of love, the sinful, weak human being is internally transformed, changed into a beloved child of God (Romans 5:5; 8:14-16). And this is the fundamental meaning of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It should be remembered though that the Holy Spirit is not given to each of us individually and for each of us in private. He is not a private gift and for “private use”. It should rather be understood as the Gift of Christ to the Church and in the Church (1Cor 12). Therefore all the Holy Spirit’s gifts must and should be used for good, for the building of the Church and in the Church, for Christ promised to send the Holy Spirit to the Church and not to individuals. He who would wish to “appropriate the Holy Spirit” in any way, claiming that He was given to him privately and outside the Church, and sometimes even against the Church, he misuses and ultimately opposes the Holy Spirit; such a claim does not serve unity or come from the Holy Spirit, for the fruit of the Holy Spirit is unity. (Boldface by Internet preacher – A.K.)

Together, gentleman, together we will play god. There is strength in numbers. But are they really playing god—maybe biologists, after all, are playing god, and not priests?

”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. The same was in the beginning with God. (…) That was the true Light, which lighteth every Man that cometh into the Word.. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not”.

Out of such gibberish arises the science of the Church, and after such an introduction we can be sure that no normal person is speaking to us, but we are hearing an inspired “word” out of the mouth which will tell us better than any other what is right and what is wrong.

The most recent god-playing consists of refusing Holy communion to people who support in vitro fertilization[1]. One can, in a way, be pleased with this game, because it may cause some people to exchange communion crackers for club sandwiches. Those people, in a sudden surge of irritation, could say to the priest at his next visit that if God wanted something from them, He could come Himself.

Anatole France used to say that the impotence of God is infinite. It is not surprising that playing god demands a system with representatives. Playing god is drummed into every tiny tot by grandmothers and parents, by religious instructors in kindergarten[2] and in school, that they may, yea verily, achieve what Egyptian priests achieved with the help of science, i.e. boundless respect, awe, and fear of priests. For playing god yields gains both material and spiritual.

Let us therefore repeat after the priestly caste: playing god is not allowed! In this matter we should all be principled and consistent. When somebody pretends to be god’s mouth, to be god’s Word, to be god’s servant – it is time to say playtime is over. Some could say that they are dealing with the Lord God of Hosts themselves, without the help of the cracker distributors, others can simply ask, “Which god?” The god whose proof of existence was solar eclipses, lightning or earthquakes? Priests knew about the mechanics of solar eclipses long before other people. They exploited this knowledge to deceive people. Science taken away from priests serves other goals. However, priests are still playing god and are dealing in prenatal metaphysics.

Jacek Hołówka[3] wrote some time ago about prenatal metaphysics, disputing the comments of Cardinal Dziwisz in the directive Dignitatis personae. Hołówka was treating those playing god with deadly seriousness and was trying to refute their attempts to ascribe dignity to embryos. Personally, I suspect that this dignity of an embryo is like the Holy Spirit, whose gift of love is supposed to be a gift for the Church. Playing god here means to appropriate a person from the moment of conception until the last requiem mass after her death.

Science has proved repeatedly that God is a bit overrated. He does not send cataclysms for our sins, he performs no miracles, he does not respond to prayers, he didn’t create life and he didn’t create the world. In reality only his self-appointed servants exist, and they ceaselessly warn us not to play god, in whose name they wish to own us body and soul.

Playing god has been going on for thousands of years. It strips people of their dignity—the dignity which is associated with personal freedom, with respect for every human being, and with the freedom to understand the world we live in. This understanding is not a result of any inspired “word”.

It is not thanks to religion, but thanks to science, that we can counter a hostile nature, and thanks to our legal codes we can protect individuals from the sneaky tricks of those who think that, because they are playing god, they are above the law.

Understanding the mystery of life is a cumulative process that has been going on for hundreds of years and will never be finished, but which is constantly giving us practical results, enhancing the quality of our lives. Thanks to that knowledge (and not to prayers proposed by religion) we have managed to limit the devastation wrought by plagues and diseases which we today think trivial; thanks to science (and not prayers) we have been able to more than double the length of human life; thanks to science the Earth can feed all its inhabitants (provided that we reject the dictates of the god-playing fools who encourage mindless baby production); thanks to science (and not to an inspired “word”) we learn the secrets of the cosmos. We are witnessing miracles when we look at pictures from Mars, when we look at distant galaxies, and also when we step onto an airplane or when we talk by telephone.

Of course, the Church would prefer all those miracles created by science to serve their favorite pastime—playing god. Such a miracle is not likely to happen, but they do what they can to exploit the marvels of science in order to promote their god-playing, and they are using all their power to stop scientific development.

There is no reason to answer who is playing god here. Scientists, especially unbelievers, have no intention of playing god (and yet they are performing miracles that are greater than any that all the saints put together can boast of, and the frequency of these miracles is much higher).

One serious question is left: what to do to stop them playing god? And there is a very familiar answer: only voting with our feet will convince the enthusiasts of this playing. Emptying churches rapidly leads to a drop in the number of priestly vocations. It appears that a candidate for the priesthood is like an embryo: he has potential and can develop into a thinking being.

Translation: Małgorzata Koraszewska and Sarah Lawson

[1] The Polish Church decided in May 2010 to refuse Holy Communion to anybody supporting fertilization in vitro. The decision is not final as it was met with a storm of protest and even some Church authorities are against it.
[2] Religious instruction is given in all public kindergartens and schools.
[3] Polish contemporary philosopher.

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