24 December 2006

On Havin' Your Needs Met in Church

While home for Christmas I saw a public service announcement for a local TV's stations website. There were several of these through the morning, each highlighting a different section of the site. The one that caught my attention was the PSA about the site's "Faith & Traditions" page. The pitchman, a local Methodist minister, gave a ferverino about the search for meaning and the necessity of being "open to the spirit" in this search. He then went on to mouth what I took to be the site's slogan, "Find a place of worship that meets your needs." This, I thought, is exactly the problem. How do most of the people listening to this PSA determine their spiritual needs? My own experience as a Wandering Eclectic Spiritual Seeker tells me that this really means, "Find a place where nothing is demanded of you, everything is given to you, and anything you desire is affirmed as a natural right." How would this PSA sound to your average American if this milksap had said, "Find a place of worship that teaches the truth of the Gospel"? No doubt we would hear the agonized wails of indignant offense echoing across the golden plains. Why? Because that simple sentence defies the current program of religious indifferentism that is plaguing the American church...and I mean all believing Christians here not just Catholics! The idea is to level all claims to religious truth to a common denominator of something like "transcendental affect," or "feelings about something Bigger Than Me" and then make the claim that this Something is the same for everyone. Apparent differences are only superficial. And the truly enlightened will ignore these differences as bothersome to the Grand Project of Uncritical Tolerance. Now, do we need to tolerate different religions? You better believe it. Does "tolerate other religions" mean "all religious are basically the same"? Nope. Not even close. Don't be fooled by appeals to tolerance. Everyone wants to be tolerant. But "being tolerant" does not mean "being uncritical." We can live with religious difference and not hold that those who differ from us religiously are essentially identical in religious belief. My own family is a perfect example of this. My parents are born and bred Baptist and Methodist. I am the only Catholic in my family. My best friends are various forms of Unitarian-Wiccan-Socialist-Technologists. Don't ask. I love my family and my friends, but it is simply not required of me or them that we sacrifice one iota of our "faiths" in order to sit down and enjoy each other. So, when some milksap Catholic DRE or theologian or preacher or priest tells you that we have to "rethink" the notion of truth in order to include obviously contradictory claims about the truth, offer him/her an all expense paid vacation to some remote island...just long enough for the bishop to hire a believing Christian--yes, a Partisan Catholic!--to take their place.

No comments:

Post a Comment