Skip to content

Post no. 50 (Yay!)

April 20, 2011

This is not a post about divorce BUT its subject matter is a direct product of reflections – big word, that – prompted by the ramming match discussion about divorce.

Some background. It is becoming increasingly evident – to me, at least – that the parties pitched against each other in fierce battle about divorce do not understand the same thing by the word “marriage.” I will only say, here, that the pro-divorce side sees marriage as a normal contract – with customer satisfaction and money back guarantees etc. Marriage is a sacrament for the anti-divorce people. ( A sacrament is an outward sign of inward grace;  it bears its image  and is its cause. For a full and reliable discussion of sacraments and what they do, what they are, why they are important et c. come here. Extremely edifying.)

I see the position against divorce as thoroughly “unscientific” in that you can’t ask questions, devise and perform tests and get an answer. The people campaigning for divorce are in a stronger position a prima facie. Their stance is utilitarian. “Why can’t I have a second (or n +1) chance if I was unlucky the first (or nth) time round?” Telling them that marriage is a sacrament and that one man should be bound to one woman forever etc won’t wash. And this is precisely the point I wanted to make here.

Religion, morality and ethics are being constantly rejected for solipsism and utilitarianism.

The “Church’s position” on ethical issues is – I would say necessarily – unscientific. How can you prove conclusively that following all the seven commandments that govern social intercourse will result in a better society? By conclusively I mean a way that stands up to scientific scrutiny and that the methodology used is established and accepted scientific method. (I won’t even bother with the other 3 – everybody knows that nothing seems to happens  if you a) adore an idol b) take the Lord’s name in vain c) don’t observe Sunday and the days of obligation.)

Taking this divorce business as an example(again!), you cannot say that divorce is bad for society or divorce weakens the family etc. You can turn that question on its head by asking what sort of person would choose to divorce. Or what sort of person would allow his/her marriage to reach a point of no return. The question becomes a personality issue and one may even find that it is not actually divorce that is damaging society, but the mindset of the people who would rather divorce than patch things up. You can ask the same thing about killing, stealing, lying …  My point is that you cannot attribute society’s ills to e.g. divorce; you can’t establish a solid causal link.

I think that  the “problem” of the Church is that it deals with things you can’t prove. A cynic would dismiss them as fairy tales – like the invisible gardener story. Just because you can’t prove them doesn’t mean they’re not there. Religion (by which I mean Roman Catholicism) is hard pressed to find objective justification for any of “its teachings”. Just because someone publishes a study that shows that when you confess to a misdemeanour you feel better afterwards doesn’t justify going to confession. Same goes for most discoveries and theories. Just because the Big Bang Theory is probably true, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there was a point of creation… and so on and so forth.

It’s a “cruel” trick God has played on the Church. He has “placed Himself” outside science, and the Church has to try to convince people that He exists. How can you convince without evidence? At some point you’ll have to take a leap of faith. And that is the crux of the religion/science debate. You either leap or you don’t 🙂 . You cannot justify the leap by assessing the cost and consequences; quite the contrary, actually. I think that it’s safe to say that if you were to perform some sort of feasibility study, you’d probably find it goes against your better judgement and common sense to make the leap.  But it doesn’t point you there unequivocally, either.

If you choose to believe, on the other hand, the whole world changes. You get that “Aha!” moment where most things seem to fall into place.  Suddenly confession makes sense and you can see why, even on a psychological level, it is a relieving experience. Obviously. The person who created us knows what’s best to make us feel better after we’ve screwed up. Same goes for the Big Bang. Even if there were other events before the Big Bang, something in the “laws” of physics must have allowed them to happen. And who laid down those laws?

I would really like to see the look on Bertrand Russell’s face when that  teapot whizzes past his left ear  *evil grinZ*

Belief is the heart of the matter. If you believe in God and the Catholic Church as God’s “mouthpiece” on earth you will know that some things are inherently good and that to be a good person you have to believe these things. Easy.

If you don’t believe in God OR you believe in God but you don’t believe in the authority of the Catholic Church (granted to her by God himself  through Jesus Christ who is also God, and sustained (the Church, not Jesus) by the Holy Spirit, who is also God – another case in point – how can you expect to get your head around that? You’ll just have to believe it) you’ll find it extremely difficult to navigate life only on your judgement and wisdom.

Nutshell moment. No amount of argumentation will ever make anybody see the validity of religion. Agnosticism is a singularly nonsensical position to take in this matter because no evidence will – or can – be produced to tip the scales in either direction.

Toodle-oo.

Advertisements

From → The Elephant

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: