For as long as history can remember, there are people and groups that claim the world would be a better place without Catholicism/Religion. In fact, they even insinuate that the world’s problems reside from the root of Religion and its goal to rule the world by some fanaticism based laws tied to this “God” thing that has been the cause of wars, ethnic cleansing and other maladies experienced now and throughout history.
First, let us define what people are really saying when putting blame on an organized Religion for the ills of persons and the world. What people are actually protesting for, is to take God out of the picture. People, with their free will intact, have a hard time dealing with rules – “I want to do it my way.” People tend to look at an action, see some pleasure, but deny any consequences of that action. Here is where this “God” thing jumps into the picture with the “thou shall not…” pointing finger. People then see Religion, and specifically Catholicism, as the impediment in the way of their pursuit for “deserved” eternal pleasure.
A famous saying goes, “Those who fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”[i] There are many conclusive examples where past societies have attempted to push God away, as their moral compass, justifying the pursuit of pleasures of their own desires. The Old Testament is a great place to start. It documents the struggles of man during good and bad times and the consequences of excess in the good times. It identifies both the wonders and the warts of the people known as “God’s Chosen People”. Old Testament stories walk us through the journey toward peace and affluence that was the dream of all peoples.
Old Testament stories document times when the Hebrew people’s belief and trust in God was strong (usually strongest in the worst of times), their nation became stronger, able to ward off the fiercest and most imposing armies. Life for the Hebrews became easier as their belief and trust in their God continued. Wealth and affluence was attained. They became a great nation. It was at this time that the Bible documents as affluence and peace was attained and life did become easier, people within this great nation began to pose this same question: “Why do we need this Yahweh in our life. His rules are holding us back from pursuing more affluence and pleasures.” The next and sad part of each of these stories, were the introduction of consequences. Consequences were not caused by something imposed by God to punish, more than caused by the Hebrews themselves, losing their Godly focus. They became soft. They over exceeded their means in order to acquire affluence. Other nations began to see the weakness that had spread as the Hebrews lost their edge along with their reliance on their God. Profits tried to warn the people, but they were blinded by the easiness of life and their greed to expand their affluence, to find and mortgage the pursuit for more pleasures. The consequences came swiftly and brutally. The first consequence was an internal breakdown. The north, Israelites, broke with the south (Judeans). Next, foreign nations overran both, divided and weakened, banishing them to foreign lands and demolishing their beloved Temple.
Now, what are people today, that want God kicked to the curb, asking? Have we not become an affluent nation, soft, divided, a society yearning for personal pleasures that we perceive are owed or deserved? Are they not playing with the fates of history? Craving to do the things that feel good and turning a blind eye to any consequences? Again, it is not that God punishes us, more than our own consequence bill finally comes due for payment. If we purposely put our hand on a hot burner, it is not God that has caused the pain in one’s hand, correct?
Are we not beginning to see the declining side of affluence in our country now? Over the last decades of the sexual freedom movement and the quest for wealth and gratification, have we not seen the promoters of this lifestyle slyly push God to the curb to justify this worldly lifestyle? Has God become expendable because we have the means to get what we want and when we want it? We deserve it. Does God only serve as the anchor holding us back from attaining all that we want and deserve? The warning signs are here for the seeing:
- The nuclear family unit is no longer the majority and under fire – no longer seen and promoted as the norm, the ideal. The nuclear father and mother figures are being discounted as necessities to develop future generations. Single parents are reaching or surpassing 50% of families.
- Children psychiatric business is booming as children are being inserted into an increasingly turbulent and uncertain environment.
- Generations have been neutered as tens of millions of potential contributors to society have been eliminated by abortion. Programs such as Social Security are struggling now as tens of millions of potential tax paying contributors have been eliminated.
- General loss of appreciation of the value of life. All that matters is what is good for me. A level of pervasive ambivalence has been produced and is responsible for the current level of anger and desperation in the world spurning suicide, mass killings and terrorism.
I remember when I was in college and decided to kick God to the curb, my partying and searching for pleasure spiked. Life was easy. I had a free ride and no parents to lord over me; however, my soul was troubled and dark. I could not put a finger on why I felt so dark. It was not until I rediscovered Jesus and His Church that my real joy returned to my life. The world opened up to me after that.
Our country needs to rediscover its joy again. As I found out, our joy will not come from pursuing pleasure. Our joy is with the Lord, our God. Let us not forget that. Let us always journey toward the real light, Jesus. God sent His only son to earth to show us the real light. Let us not forget that. We deserve nothing. All things and blessings we now enjoy come from God. When someone approaches us insinuating Religion/Catholicism is the root of all evils, let us confidently disagree with them to argue that Religion is the root of all things good, root of all joy and peace. Amen.
[i] Winston Churchill