I am always fascinated by the way people think. Our ability to always find the flaws in other people's thinking while denying that our own ideas have any fatal flaws whatsoever, is perhaps the greatest act of self deception human beings have managed to produce.
Take gay marriage and pedophile priests, for example. For die hard Catholics who are convinced that homosexuality is a "sin," any group that supports same sex marriage is seen to be practically in league with Lucifer himself. If Catholic priests are caught raping children over the course of decades, around the world, and the Church works to not only protect those rapists from facing legal consequences, but actually facilitates that abuse by both moving the abusive priests around and working to keep the victims from seeking legal action, this does nothing to convince those same die hard Catholics that there is anything particularly evil about their own institutional church.
I am not here trying to simply bash the Catholic Church as worse than any other institution, but merely pointing out that it is no better than any other institution. One of the defenses offered by those who seek to defend the Church regarding it's pedophile priests problem, for example, is that the percentage of pedophiles within the Church is the same as the percentage of pedophiles in society over all.
Some have argued that the Church has a greater percentage, but I think it is safe to say that, overall, the percentages are roughly the same. But that is the problem. If the percentages are the same, then the claim that the Catholic religion makes people better either means
1. that there is a greater than average number of pedophiles in the Catholic Church, but the Christian religion succeeds in reducing the number of incidences of their abuse to the level of the society it operates in in general, or
2. that the Christian religion does not, in fact, "make people better," since the same number of people who have not directly devoted themselves to working for God and his moral laws, engage in pedophilia as those that have.
Hence, if 1. is true, then Christianity can only boast to be as effective in curbing people's sinful desires and behaviors, to the same extent it is forced to admit it serves to attract (and still worse, apparently hire) an inordinate number of pedophiles overall.
If 2 is true, however, than the belief that religion and a belief in God makes people more moral than atheism is simply unfounded.
But in either case, what is truly interesting is not to attack Christianity, but to use it to illustrate how we see things not as they are, but as we are. We see things, in other words, as we want to see them.
Think about it, if you are a Democrat or a Liberal, it is most likely the case that whatever "sins" other Democrats and Liberals commit do nothing to dissuade you from the conviction that your own perspective is no doubt the morally superior one, even if those same "beliefs" are used in the most dastardly way imaginable. Conservative Republicans are no different.
If one homosexual couple is found to have molested a child, Conservatives across the country may well demand that this one example proves that homosexuals should not marry, and that they should never be allowed to adopt children. But if those Conservatives happen to be Catholic, and a few hundred priests in Boston are found to have molested hundreds if not thousands of children over the course of a few decades, that fact does next to nothing to dissuade such Catholics from being Catholic themselves, and even wanting to raise their own children Catholic as well.
This would be true even if statistics showed that homosexuals molest children at a rate far below societal average and that Catholic priests molested children far more than societal averages.
(FULL DISCLOSURE: there are a number of arguments about the "pedophile priests" scandal which claim not only that the rate of abuse within the church are either the same or lower than society or even public schools, but also that the abuse was solely linked to homosexuality instead, which those who make this latter argument claim is responsible for far more child molestation than anything else. But I will discuss these claims in another post.)
Again, the point of this post is NOT to simply attack religion as being responsible for pedophile priests, since pedophiles are probably not "created" by Catholicism or even the celibacy requirements among the clergy. It is simply to point out how often we see what we want to see, and how just as often, we deny we are doing as much, especially to ourselves.
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