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  1. In the catholic doctrine, and, I suppose, also in most esoteric orders, there exist the concept of "ex opere operato" — the result is produced by the operation. For example, if a sacrament is made by a priest as indicated in the missal, then, according to the catholic doctrine, the sacrament will be valid, the "ability" of the priest being irrelevant to this operation. This last point bothers me. I only see a few reasons why an unskilled priest (or magician in case of a loge) would suddenly be able to do the same work as a skilled one. One of them would be that the sacrament itself is a kind of spirit's "contact form" (in the catholic doctrine to God itself) which does the work for the priest. An other would be that the sacrament is a kind of recipe which permit anyone following it to achieve a similar result. However, I also find many reasons for "ex opere operato" to be a superstition. If you excuse me this sophism, there is an very good motivation to invent it. In the case of an organised religion, without that concept, there would be no guarantee that a priest could perform all sacraments (and even with the guarantee that a priest could perform them, nobody would be sure that he is not slacking on his job). A better reason to doubt this concept is that certain sacrament were changed through time. For example in the case of the baptism, it was first performed on adult people which were naked and completely immersed. Later the baptism was mostly performed on babies, with the complete immersion replaced by a sprinkling of water on the head. An other reason is the intangibility of the result of most sacrament, which is therefore impossible to verify (which led some people to doubt the sacraments themselves, but this is not the topic). On this last point, in case of magic, from which we can expect tangible results, there exists a very large number of spells and rituals to gain money, to get sex, to curse, to find buried treasures, etc... Of course, they were created as an answer to a demand, and some people cast spell after spell, and perform rituals after ritual without success. Therefore, I tend to view the "ex opere operato" with a certain amount of skepticism, even if I can entertain the idea that there might exists certain rituals which are effective in themselves. What is the opinion of other bums in this matter?
  2. Sex Crimes and the Vatican

    Considering how much abuse has gone on in the churches of the religion of Christianity, it makes the whole organized religion seem creepy to me, and like it is organized in order to control people and hide the truth from them. It's no wonder this ended up happening. Huge Sex Abuse Scandals in religions and churches SEX CRIMES AND VATICAN-
  3. The Cathars

    The Cathars Video, History of the Cathars- In the year 1140 AD or so, a Christian belief system originated in France and around the Pyrenees mountains that historians now call Catharism, Cathar meaning the Pure or the Perfect. In the next centuries it would spread from this base throughout other areas of Europe. The Cathars called themselves the "Good men" or "Good Christians". Indeed by all accounts their beliefs were much closer to the original Christian teachings than the Catholic Church's are. They practiced laying on of hands, and had an especially deep understanding of the Gospel of John. They also possessed many Scriptures now lost and destroyed by the Catholic Church. They had similar beliefs to and were influenced by the Christian Gnostics, Manicheans, Paulicians, Bogomils, and even Far Eastern religions that came before them. They had a Dualistic belief system, of Good and Evil, God and Satan. They believed the material World was born of Satan, and the Spiritual Heavenly world born of God. Human beings had inside them, a divine spark and soul, belonging to the Spiritual realm. However, Human beings were also trapped in physical bodies in the Physical world. Only through liberation from matter, through giving up attachments to materiality, material desires, and physical urges could liberation be achieved. The Cathars believed those who had not liberated themselves fully of the material world in their lifetime would in fact be Reincarnated. Information on Cathar origins and beliefs- Info on Cathar scriptures- And- However, it was only a matter of time before Catharism became popular enough that the Catholic Church would accuse it of Heresy. A vicious persecution began which included many Massacres and much Torture. Here is a letter written to the Church by a Catholic leader in 1209 AD- "—"Kill them all, the Lord will recognise His own."[15][16] The doors of the church of St Mary Magdalene were broken down and the refugees dragged out and slaughtered. Reportedly, 7,000 people died there. Elsewhere in the town many more thousands were mutilated and killed. Prisoners were blinded, dragged behind horses, and used for target practice.[17] What remained of the city was razed by fire. Arnaud wrote to Pope Innocent III, "Today your Holiness, twenty thousand heretics were put to the sword, regardless of rank, age, or sex."" Sadly, by the late 1200s Catharism was very secret, and had retreated to the Pyrenees. The Catholic Inquisition had grown very powerful. By 1330 all Cathar scriptures had been destroyed and Cathar leaders had been killed.