Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Why Are Catholics So Hated?
See this DU thread which resulted from a news story about the the Phoenix diocese of the Catholic Church not letting politicians who supported things like abortion speak at churches. I find it highly disturbing.
The Quietist! First he highlights a Huffy Puffy post (skewering the Huffy Puffy Blog) on spirituality without practice:
4. My friends laugh out loud when they read Deepak Chopra's posts. But I find the posts deeply spiritual. Is that normal?And then Pedro celebrates his first abusive comment. The post is filled with joyous responses to rhetorical questions from his commenter such as:
It is normal if you're a rich, well-educated but confused individual who finds organized religion too difficult to fit into her schedule and far too demeaning to her ego-driven intellect. While real faith requires sacrifice and a willingness to look outside yourself, "spirituality" alone is internal, ego-based and easy to do. Spirituality without religion is like pretending you won the game without playing.
do you believe that arbortion is wrong but feel ok with the murder of 25,000 iraqi citizens ?And his reply:
I believe abortion should be legal but stigmatized and therefore generally avoided, like adultery or voting for Dennis Kucinich.Or:
do you cross the street to avoid associating yourself with people of color simply because of their race?And his reply:
I live in Los Angeles. I am a "person of color." To cross the street to avoid people of color, I'd have to just run back and forth avoiding everybody, including myself.But more seriously, the DU thread combined with Pedro's post made me wonder if somehow the problem isn't that we are treating politics as religion rather than the other way around. We all have to deal with various political questions that also have moral/ethical dimensions (whether we are religious or not). And because all of this is taking place in a highly complex world which we don't control, all our actions have both positive and negative consequences. So the political battle often boils down to finding a solution that can be broadly acceptable and will have more positive results than negative ones, and also desperately trying to avoid the really nasty and permanent outcomes.
However, real religion (versus spirituality) is first a battle within yourself, and then the carrying out various practical actions as dictated by your beliefs. It is only in the internal battle in which you can give no quarter and in which absolutes must reign, whereas even your outward actions are necessarily an exercise in tolerance and compromise. So, to give a practical example, my faith tells me that I must absolutely forgive all those who do or would do harm to me. It also dictates that such forgiveness must be reflected in my actions as far as possible. In practice I believe that means never pursuing a personal claim for injury.
So, for example, when the poor druggie in the train station first offered to have sex with me for $20.00 and then tried to pick my pocket, not only did I not call the police officer I could see standing by the entrance, but I gave my would be date and aspiring thief $8.00. Now in practice, it would not always be possible to act so. It would depend on the potential harm to others. In this case, it seemed minimal, but if the druggie had tried to rob me with a knife, I would have had to alert the cop. Still, though, I would not have been able to press a personal claim for damages or injury against that person.
This obviously can only work as a religious tenet; it is an inapplicable rule for all society - yet our society would work far better if more people were applying this rule.
But I'm digressing. Absolutism is called for only in my battle with myself. I wonder if the distinction between inner absolutism and outward compromise would seem so clear to me if I didn't know that the inner battle was necessary? Or, to put it another way, is the weird brand of hyper-moralistic perfectionism I find so often in the left really a projection of what should be an inner battle with the self onto the outer world?
They have yet to make peace with the notion that liberlas can be religious- and that is a huge failing on their part.
In fact, it was the religious liberals, who, for a long time, made up the heart of the Democrat party.
"But more seriously, the DU thread combined with Pedro's post made me wonder if somehow the problem isn't that we are treating politics as religion rather than the other way around."
Very well put.
The church, I guess, is at right angles to society and so is both conservative in some ways and liberal in others. I don't think American society will change the Catholic church.
Of course, it also had the atheist or agnostic influences, too.
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