Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Boredom of Secularism

I was watching something by CBC on the Berlin Wall. A few comments on it struck me. They talked about how satisfying it was 25 years ago to fight for freedom and to win. Then they said there was nothing today that had anywhere near the same gravity. Women's rights? The chancellor of Germany is a woman. Gay rights? The mayor of Berlin is gay? German's antinuclear movement was a cause for a while but they won very quickly. What great good was there to fight for?

This is a problem with modern secularism. It's highest goal is tolerance. Guess what? Tolerance is pretty easy. All you are doing is ignoring other people and letting them do their own thing. That is setting your goals pretty low. When people try and be all that a human person is meant to be you offer them exactly nothing. No wisdom. No leadership. No vision. Nothing like that might offend anyone. What you offer them is your indifference. 

John Paul II called indifference the opposite of love. Love is willing to good of the other. Hate is willing the ill of the other. He said that is not really the opposite because you are still engaged with the other. Indifference is the opposite. You might still interact with that person but only to use them for your own ends. You remain indifferent to whether they experience good or ill. 

Tolerance is like that. We don't care to give our fellowman good information about right and wrong. We don't care if he is ruining his life. That is his business. All we care about is consent. If nobody is being forced to do anything then we just wash our hands of the whole thing.

Christianity expects more. God has give us the gospel by sending His Son Jesus. So we are obligated to propose to anyone who will listen that this gospel is true. Whether they listen or not we are obligated to care if they get hurt even if they do it to themselves. Consent matters very little. What matter is what is right. 

Tolerance fails for any number of reasons. Yet one that is underrated is expressed here. That is tolerance can leave us with nothing to do. We are to address intolerance but in a social democratic state like Germany most of that is done. These young people were expressing that. There is no major victim group left out there. Humans have a desire to pursue the good and they know they have not achieved it. Yet they are essentially being told there is nothing to do. 

So what happens? People go in different directions. Some respond with societal suicide. White Europe has basically stopped having children. If people are not energized about building a better tomorrow then they will not have much energy about populating the world of tomorrow. 

Some people are reacting by rejecting tolerance. That is by saying one theory of the good is right and should be embraced while all others should be rejected. Unfortunately one of the most popular choices for this one theory is Islam. People see something wrong with the West. Islam can explain what is wrong. They ask people to fight for what is true and right and good. Humans are wired to want to do this. So Islam is appealing. At the very least they know it is not their parents religion. 

Catholicism is gaining some appeal this way to. There is a hidden group that has embraced the Catholic faith as the true and good and right thing to fight for. Yet they are hard to find. The established Catholic church in many ways hides the faithful remnant. Many Europeans don't distinguish between secularism and mainstream Christianity. They see the watered down Catholicism that dominates the scene right now and assume that is all the church has to offer. In the case of Catholicism they need to be convinced you are not just proposing the same religion as their parents warmed over.

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