Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Twin Roots Of Christian Cruelty

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Alan: At bedrock, the deliberate cruelty of American conservatives springs from a philosophical root and a theological root.

Philosophically, American conservatives believe that everyone is individually responsible for their personal wellbeing and that failure to take responsibility -- thus evoking dependence on public coffers -- is such contemptible (and perversely willful) behavior that these ne'r-do-well parasites are rightfully deprived of public assistance. 

And even if only one in a thousand is proved a parasitic scamster, that one is enough to condemn the whole group because nothing less than "perfection" is permissible in the presumed view of The Christian God.

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The theological root of American "conservatism's" cruelty is based on the orthodox Christian belief that the Universe is divinely-ordered so that most people -- including all "infidels" -- end up in Hell.

When I was a boy in the 1950s -- and despite my enduring love for the Mercy sisters who taught me at St. Thomas the Apostle grammar school, and the Basilian priests who taught me at Aquinas Institute and the University of Toronto (where I double-majored in Latin American Studies and Comparative Religions) -- Catholics were taught by the pre-Vatican II "Magisterium" that EVERYONE outside the fold of orthodox Catholicism was destined to eternity-in-Hell except for a limited number of unbaptized infants who would escape The Lake of Unquenchable Fire but who, nevertheless, would be confined -- forever  -- to the gray "consolation prize" of Limbo.

The "logic" goes like this...

Since God Himself has created the world so that nearly every human being (the Book of Revelation exempts 120,000) will endure the deathless fate of perpetually re-inflicted third degree burns charring resurrected bodies down to the bone -- with those same bodies undergoing miraculous regeneration to endure this interminable torture anew -- "the faithful" (most especially those on "the conservative side of the aisle") are convinced that any torment we humans mete out on "this side" of eventual Damnation is NOTHING in comparison to what God has in store.

"Good Christians" are at home with cruelty "in this life" -- and in "the next" -- because their personal "salvation assurance" (which has always impressed me as essentially selfish) depends on the orthodox theological teaching that other humans are going to Hell. 

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I will conclude by noting that The Mercy Sisters taught me (and my fellow "grammar schoolers") that there was no theological reason to believe any human soul would end up in Hell and that we were all called upon by Divine Mercy to pray for the salvation of every soul, "including Adolf Hitler's."

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