[text of email sent to some friends on 3 Nov 2016]

Without a doubt, gullibility is a common trait of humanity. It would be safe to add that some people are more gullible than others; being ignorant may be one plausible cause of being gullible but, arguably, a person can still be gullible without being ignorant, as gullibility, as we have just mentioned, is a common trait of being human.

Sometimes, what is apparently a fraud is not assumed as such but treated as something truthful or positive, to be practiced or followed. In centuries past “certificates of indulgencies” were openly sold by the Catholic Church [CC] that supposedly guaranteed remission for sins and entry to Heaven. These were paper certificates produced in bulk that were pre-signed by the Pope, which were sold for cash and “cash-convertibles” such as a piece of land, farm animals and other products etc. Apparently, the trade in certificates of indulgencies was a thriving business, with the CC being the ultimate beneficiary of the money that was raked in from the sales of these certificates.

On evidence, it appears that at least one person was cognizant of the apparent greed [or fraud?] that the CC was engaged in. Martin Luther, a German Catholic monk, was strongly critical of the CC’s profiteering scheme vis-à-vis indulgency certificates, and he protested openly by displaying an article written by him, later came to be known as The 95 Theses, on a church’s door. The issuing of indulgency certificates by the CC was discontinued following Martin’s protests, so those with money and a willingness to buy their way into Heaven had to buy from other people who possessed them. In addition to putting a stop to the CC’s trade in indulgency certificates, the 95 Theses eventually led to the Reformation, a fracturing of Christendom that included the birth of Protestantism.

Are people in the 21st century less gullible than people who lived in the 15th or 16th century? The simple answer of course is a resounding No.

What does the doctrine of the Assumption mean? It means that the physical body of so-called Mary, so-called mother of Jesus, was assumed [transported] to Heaven after her death; Mary died and was buried; days later when her tomb was reopened her body was no longer there. The CC then announced that her body was physically assumed to Heaven because of God’s love for her and the assumption to Heaven was a pre-emption of the rotting of her body while being buried in the ground on Earth.

The Assumption doctrine is celebrated by the CC on the 15 of Aug each year.

Faith/gullibility/irrationality? You decide.

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