If only women voluntarily controlled their fertility. like dolphins voluntarily control their respiration, it seems The Roman Catholic Church, without its various corruptions thru the centuries, would be much better than the Protestant churches.
For instance, the Catholic Church has Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday before Lent, which latter is a time for moderation and reflection,. But, for Protestants, isn't every day a time for self-denial? Who needs Lent if you're being lean and mean every day? Like, maybe, if a Catholic guy owns a business and makes a lot of money, maybe he'd spend a few bucks on worldly indulgences before remembering to put the rest of it away fir a rainy day. A Protestant would probably take all those profits and immediately invest them where he'd get he highest rate of return and because thrift is a virtue, and then he might go home to a bowl of oatmeal.
Maybe being a Protestant simply is penance? If you can pray only when you are not being thrifty, and you are always being thrifty, it's easy to see how Protestants can cease to be religious at all by being so thrifty that they see prayer time as more time they can devote to being thrifty.
A couple times I faked it and took Holy Communion in the Roman Catholic Church nextdoor to where Ilved at the time. I doubt their Deity will send me to eternal perdition for it. But what can I do about that? Just say no?
I have also had involvement with other contemporary religions in USA, as follows.
This is a quick one: I attended their meetings a couple times at a time when I was suffering from chronic and unpredictable diarrhea, so that did not work out too well. But I like "Friends" and their practice of life. Architect Robert Venturi's famous "Guild House" home for the Quaker elderly in Philadelphia Pennsylvania is a crime committed against aged Quakers and all humanity.
"As anyone can see, who reads the scriptures, or even just looks at the pictures...." (David Peirick)
"Hammurabi's children made their house of slavery's bricks imprimatured by some mad priest's imagined good; the good is gone, the priest stamps on...."(George Delury)
I had more experience here. After Yale, I joined the First Unitarian Church in Baltimore (Maryland), where, in 1819, William Ellery Channing gave his famous "Baltimore Sermon", defining the liberal Bostonian American religion of Unitarian Christianity, which had no trinity or other hocus-pocus but was/is basically an ideology of ethical decency and love of learning.
There I met some interesting persons. David Peirick was an artist who, among other things, made a woodcut of Superman with his pants fly unsipped and Noihing (zip, zero, nada) inside. During a summer, he also staged an anti-Vietnam play at the church, which caused some older conservative members of the church to leave it. George Delury was a highly intelligent man with a laugh like the Devil, who was later to become noted (or notorious, depending on one's perspective on the matter) for an assisted suicide case in New York City. And there were others.
The then minister, Howard Waterhouse, was a highly educated man who gave eloquent sermons, some of which I transcribed on a typewriter i the church office. I also seem to have heard he had a fine collection of pre-1900 pornography, but I had neither the self-respect nor the self-possession nor the self-awareness... to follow up on that. He left and went to Watertown, new York. I think they get a hack replacement for him, but I may be wrong about that.
Admiration v. Amazement
In his 2021 Palm Sunday address, Pope Francis said:
"Amazement is not the same as admiration.... Admiration can be worldly, since it follows its own tastes and expectations. Amazement, on the other hand, remains open to others and to the newness they bring."
My thought is tht people admire because their parents (and laater teaches) made them admire them. The parents chose obedience over amazement which would be a child's natural reaponse to anything that appealed to him (or her or other). because amazement results in a distancing of appreciation, not the immanence of obedience. So the parents kill amazement to get obedience. Heil parent!
Of cousre, there is another angle here. The child only finds amazement and wonderment in thing which appeal to him or are in some wayi nteresting . If no interest no amazement. Parents qho are just behavioral lumps won't likely get any amazement out of a child even if they just leave the kid alone and not be intrusive to enforce admiaration (which is sometimes called "respect" or "filial piety" or whatever honorific). Lumps are just lumps.
So parents need to elicit amazzement not just be lumps. This may be difficult since they were childlreared and schooled to admire their perhaps just lump parents and teaches who were perhaps that way because they were parened and childreared... world without backend end amen, and then they have to work at a job where they have to admire their doltish boss, etc. Often it's probably hopeless.
B>ut, whether or not one believes in the Roman Catholic Deity or any God or parents or teaches or Madison Avenue or anything else, it remains a fact that it is amazing even if not necessarily admirable that anything exists at all. Ex nihilo nihil fit, and yet there are melanomas as well as loving pets and mates. That Dr. Mengele or my perp school teaches existed was not admirable, but even that was atonishing because nobody can understand where anything comes from at root (as opposed to derived intermediary causal or motivational links in a chain) and why they are experiencing it and not Nix, nihil, nada nothing, or something else.
Parents, you can probably engineer admiration, obedience, following orders or maybe resentment and hate of yourselves, but despite yourselves, even you are amazing (because you are something, not nothing) even though you don't deserve it and the kids would be much better off if you were in an honorific not just metaphysical sense: astonishing. "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven" (Matt 5:16)!
Deserve to exist! Lead kids to seek out the source of wonder in this world and not just become obediencing lumps. Then they may not obey your perhaps misguided or rudderless orders but they might, as Louis Kahn said was the purpose of a city: find something they want to do for their whole life. Can you help, not hurt and just get self-righteously indignant when anybody calls a spade a spade, i.e: expose what you are become to the light?
My (BMcC) big question for Christianity
"Does She or Doesn't She? Only her hair dresser knows for sure." (Clairol ad slogan, 1957)
When The archangel Gabriel announced to [the virgin] Mary that she would bear the child Jesus, did Mary have an orgasm or did she simply become pregnant in the way that would presumably please self-righteous hypocritical prigs like "my" [but I didn't ask for it!]
perp prep school Headmaster S. Atherton Middleton's perma-virgin secretary Miss Lillian Lorenz, i.e.: in complete ignorance of the concept, or, a fortiori, the empirical possibility, of erotic pleasure? What did Mary think was between her two legs, or didn't she think anything? Did Mary masturbate? (Was she infibulated?) Did she even, like Mary Hartmann, see the waxy yellow buildup on her kitchen floor?
Was it truly an immaculate conception in the profound sense of being bowdlerized? Was Mary just a foetus factory tasked with the special assignment to make a customized one-off production run Messiah human resource to deliver from her bomb bay? IHS? Most Annunciation paintings show Mary praying or of just being "modest", i.e.: asexual. I like the sculpture above right because she has her lega spread apart and her hand on her breast, like maybe she is experiencing something other and more and perhaps embarrassing than maybe a castrated Archangel Gabriel, aka: Mr. S. Atherton Middleton dictating a letter to Miss Lorenz.
The Lorenz Transformation
SAM: "Miss Lorenz, please take dictation." LL: "Yes, Mr. Middleton." SAM: "To whom it may concern: My secretary Miss Lillian Lorenz has been nominated by the St. Paul's School for Boys Board of Trustees to give birth to The Messiah. Signed: S. Atherton Middleton, Headmaster. Miss Lorenz!" LL" "Yes, Mr. Middleton." SAM: "Send to The Wall Street Journal newspaper, with copies to The School's public announcement distribution." LL: "Yessir, Mr. Middleton." SAM "Thank you Miss Lorenz. I will be going home for the day, now." LL: "Good day, Mr. Middleton." SAM:" Goodday, Miss Lorenz. I will check to make sure your health insurance covers this, tomorrow. Thank you for your continuing faithful service to The School, Miss Lorenz. I will put you in for an outstanding service award. I will see you tomorrow." IHS