Is religion a labelling scam?  Labels have to describe you for real.  If they do not then you are being treated like a dumb lamb. Thinking you are part of something has results.  People can play you.  They can get your money and your time.  They bend your ear to their political dogwhistles.  Leaders get your respect.  If you walk on a cliff edge and think there is nothing there but solid ground that has consequences.  Religion is too lazy about giving people reasons for faith and offering proper choice.  That says a lot.  It is about labels not faith.  It is about human duplicity not God.

Catholic doctrine is that baptism seals the person with an indelible invisible and spiritual mark, the mark of belonging to Jesus Christ.  As the Church is seen as virtually an extension of Jesus's arms and legs, his mystical body, by extension it marks you as the property of the Church.  If this doctrine is not true then man is trying to own you with this religion.  You should be out.  If the doctrine is true then fair enough.  The Church is adamant that no sin can erase the mark even if it prevents the grace of baptism from working.  The sordid origin of this idea is in slavery.  The slave was branded for life.  Now your soul is supposedly branded by Jesus.  That makes you his slave.  If you reject him then you are a runaway slave. 

Religious labels are arbitrary. They are loaded with propaganda. They seek to gaslight. Who says that if Catholics call themselves Catholic that we should agree that this label is truly theirs? They are Roman Church. They are Roman Religious Organisation. They are Roman Social-Political-Religious organisation. They are cherry-pickers of the Bible, Christian tradition and even science. So why not Papal Cherry Pickers? They can label themselves as long as they admit it is only words. But they do not and demand we should validate them using their labels. Why should we? If the majority of people see that the Church is not Catholic then they can use a more accurate label. Catholic means the membership and service of the Church is open to all. There are no race boundaries. But that implies free choice and an informed choice at that. In practice Catholicism is largely forced on children so that is not Catholic. Religious labels are arbitrary. Catholicism and the state will not make it a crime to use the Catholic label for your organisation. You can in theory set up a secular society called Catholic. So there is no branding. The Church will just argue that you are using the label arbitrarily or according to some redefinition that you have made. But it is hardly innocent of being arbitrary itself.

Islamic teaching is that you just have to make a simple and sincere commitment to the Muslim faith. You affirm Allah and the Koran and Muhammad as your only guides. You have to mean it deeply. Islamic teaching is that to become Muslim erases all previous religious initiations and allegiances and covenants and memberships. It is believed to remove any sins. Catholicism then needs to stop offending that teaching by saying that if you are baptised then even if you become Muslim your duty to Catholicism remains and you are considered a member of the Church in bad standing.

When you are labelled in a way you don't want to be, just say you don't identify with it and it does not describe you.  It is that simple.


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