The religion course I'm required to take this year is taught from a textbook called Our Moral Life Through Christ. I really hate this particular textbook, and it has been the most effective in alienating me from faith. Recently, we covered a chapter that emphasized the evils of moral relativism.
Firstly, I understand the paradox of relativism: the absolute statement of "everything is relative" shits on itself so many times. However, I am a major subscriber to that school of thought. The lack of universal order in the world leads me to think that there is no inherent power of good "written on our hearts" or whatever drivel the Church harps about. Anyway, I was especially irked by the textbook, so I further researched the matter.
This is what the esteemed Pope has to say on the matter:
Today, a particularly insidious obstacle to the task of education is the massive presence in our society and culture of that relativism which, recognizing nothing as definitive, leaves as the ultimate criterion only the self with its desires. And under the semblance of freedom it becomes a prison for each one, for it separates people from one another, locking each person into his or her own 'ego.'I've never wanted to punch somebody more. Dissecting this, though I do not want to look at this any closer than necessary, I see nothing that makes sense. What he says seems to have an ultimate goal of unity, ("separating persons into their own egos") but what is that unity? He speaks of the Church-approved, unquestioned though diet followed blindly by the Messiah's dear "sheep."
Later, he also said
In the last century we experienced revolutions with a common programme–expecting nothing more from God, they assumed total responsibility for the cause of the world in order to change it. And this, as we saw, meant that a human and partial point of view was always taken as an absolute guiding principle. Absolutizing what is not absolute but relative is called totalitarianism. It does not liberate man, but takes away his dignity and enslaves him. It is not ideologies that save the world, but only a return to the living God, our Creator, the Guarantor of our freedom, the Guarantor of what is really good and true."Absolutizing what is not absolute but relative is called totalitarianism." Excuse me, Ratzinger, did you ever learn about "totalitarianism" in school?
I take issue with his insistence that those who think morality is relative are imprisoned. I truly do not understand what he is saying. Is he saying that by thinking, we are somehow cutting ourselves off from others? Why is being in the minority of morality so different from preferring purple over blue, when the masses like blue? I am not imprisoned. I have never felt freer since I rejected god. I see nothing wrong with assuming responsibility for the travesties or miracles of the world. People thank him for fortune, and say "He allows it for a reason" when tragedy strikes. What omnipresent, good god would allow such things? It's suddenly not God's fault when something bad happens
I an not fucking imprisoned. I'm perfectly fine. The only time I feel imprisoned is when I can't honestly say my opinion in classes unrelated to religion for fear of expulsion.
I have a friend. You can say that she's the first true friend I've ever had, but I see the beginnings of the end. I've begun doubting whether this has been a beneficial friendship, given that she is one of the most narrow-minded people I know, despite what she claims. Today, another friend and I were joking about our lack of an after life. She was not part of the conversation. We did not indicate to her that she had any valid input. "No, you're going to heaven, with me!" she insisted. "Or purgatory." We gave her a look. "Oh, you're not an atheist," she chided me.
I am pissed.
"You don't say that," my other friend warned. "I'm joking!" she laughed it off.
I am pissed.
This is not the first altercation we've had over faith. Two occasions stand out in my mind: "You have no proof that there's a god." "You don't have any that there isn't!"
Okay, bitch. Lack of proof indicates that there is nothing to support it at all. You prove that something doesn't exist by showing that there is no proof that it does. If we'd been talking about multi-ungulated tapirs from Mars that mate with snakes hatched from beneath chickens in order to produce the bane of mankind, she would have said that they don't exist because there is no evidence.
Secondly, and this especially enraged me: she pulled me aside one day, and told me in the most condescending manner imaginable, "There's no way for you to be sure what you believe. You can't be sure. You're too young."
I flipped her off. What I meant to say was, "How are you so sure, then?"
She seems to think that I woke up one day and said, "I'm an atheist." No. This has been happening for fifteen years. She did not care enough to listen.
She learned what existentialism was a month ago whilst reading The Fault in Our Stars. She has freely admitted, in regard to multiple topics: "I've heard you mention it, but I wasn't paying attention."
I would believe that. I mean, I don't remember every little conversation we've had. But I remember most of them. She dismisses my interest in art and my attempts to introduce her to it as pompousness. She dismisses my opinions of the universe as mere pessimism that she thinks I'll get over. Five years, and she has not listened to a word I've said.
I was sort of proud of my short story for English class. I gave it to her to revise, but I quietly hoped that it would set her thinking. "That's nice," she said lazily, shoving it back into my hands.
It was about indoctrination in a society full of citizens who do not question authority. It was about those citizens who are so close minded that they carry out the intolerance instilled in their minds since they could think in the name of their nation, their honor, their faith. It was about how these two, the sheep and the shepherd, treated those who did not agree with them.
She asks me if I'm angry with her. I am not. I am disappointed.