Tuesday, 11 October 2016
WHY BE CATHOLIC? (5)
BE CATHOLIC BECAUSE IT TEACHES TRUTH AND BUILDS A STABLE SOCIETY
[a] What is Truth? Truth is reality: that which ‘is’. Many people today say “It’s true that there’s no such thing as Truth, since what is true for you may not be true for me.” But to say “it’s true that nothing is true”; it is a contradiction in logic: it cannot be true that ‘nothing is true’ if there is no truth. Even honesty is not the same as Truth: honesty is to act and speak without deceit; Truth equates with ‘reality’, and it only comes from God, the one Living Reality upon which all else depends. Why is God the only Reality? Because nothing has two starting points; there can only be one beginning to anything. Since the universe has existence we know there is something called ‘existence’; and since the universe has life there has to a living life force, yet since there can be only one starting point of the universe, that one starting point must be ‘living existence’, which for want of a better word we call ‘God’ (while we can say ‘I have life; I have existence’, we cannot say ‘I am life; I am existence’ –only God can say that: “tell them, ‘I AM’ has sent you to them” Ex.3v14).
[b] It is only by living in accord with truth and not with changing opinion that we can ever have a stable society; stable families, and stable people. Changing opinions make for an unstable society where rules and norms constantly fluctuate, like faults in the earth’s crust. Change is not always a progression toward the good; like the cancerous change in cells, societal changes can be malignant to the good of society and the on-going existence of humankind.
[c] Catholic morality is thus based on God’s Ten Commandments so that they are Truth; not rules by which we prove our loyalty to Him, but instructions on how to form our character to be like His so that we fit-in with Him when we die. Important when discussing Catholic morality is the fact that Catholicism is inherently non-judgemental; we may only judge acts, never people (judgment of people belongs to God alone). Yet we have a duty to proclaim the Commandments so that people can make lifestyle choices which form their characters to ‘fit-in’ with God when they die -and thereby avoid hell.
The Commandments are in fact about preserving positive values:
1. You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve means ‘Trust God alone: shun all forms of superstition, horoscopes, fortune telling, luck, karma, spiritualism etc.’
2. Do not take the Name of the Lord in vain means ‘Respect God and His Holy Name which we must never use as a swear word or take a false oath by’.
3. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath means ‘Attend Mass and avoid non-essential work on Sundays and Holy Days. Bring your earthly family to be part of the family of God.’
4. Honour (glorify) your father and mother means ‘Be a credit to those responsible for you. Be respectful and obedient to parents and superiors in all that is not sinful.’
5. You shall not kill means ‘Respect and protect human life from the womb to the tomb, so that every person has their dignity safeguarded’(for once we say a particcular section of humanity can be terminated, there is no way to delineate who shall live and die but arbitrarily drawn lives -which one day may not include you if it is decided blue-eyes folk are less intelligent; physically weak, etc, or if it is decided that since homosexuals cannot contribute to the procreation of the human species they are a drain on resources). Fundamentally, since we must be alive to access any and all of our human rights (to freedom, health care, adequate housing, education etc,) our fundamental human right is the right to life. Catholics consequently reject today’s anti-life Culture of Death which takes life (abortion, euthanasia), prevents life (contraception) and ‘risks life and limb’ by violence and by intoxication (which leave us vulnerable to accident and attack).
6. You shall not commit adultery means ‘Enjoy the faithfulness of one sexual partnership in life for the sake of your health (avoiding STD’s cancer), your emotional security (avoiding sexual objectification), and the stability of any offspring (avoiding broken homes)’ –offspring having the right to be nurtured and protected by those responsible for their life. Commandment 6 simply says ‘Live a life of purity before marriage and fidelity within marriage, neither of which are impossible.
7. You shall not steal means ‘Respect the right of others to hold on to their property and good name, and have yours respected.’ Employers are to provide a fair wage and good working conditions; employees are not to time-waste, Governments must build a fair society.
8. You shall not bear false witness means ‘Be an honest person: no gossip, lies, cheating or fraud in any sphere of life.’
9. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife means ‘Foster pure and wholesome thoughts; avoid lustful thoughts.’
10. You shall not covet your neighbour’s goods means ‘hanker after spiritual goods’. Do not dwell on what your neighbour has but on what you have’.
To live by the Ten Commandments is not to live by a list of prohibitions but of a list of positive values. It is to live according to Truth; to form ourselves by Truth, to form a stable society for stable lives, and to be compatible with Truth (God) when we leave this world so that we fit into heaven.