Catholic and Enjoying It!
Mark Shea's Blog: So That No Thought of Mine, No Matter How Stupid, Should Ever Go Unpublished Again!
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…and how to fight it with the gospel and faith in Jesus Christ.
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As opposed to Hitler, and the atomic bomb, I would have preferred that you make the argument about the NSA spying story. That is certainly an ends justifies the means argument that you are passionate about.
I hold no brief for Snowden’s (presumed, since I’m, not up on the details) lying. My assumption is that he likely did lie to somebody along the way. And if he did, he was wrong to do so since lying is intrinsically immoral. Doesn’t change the fact that what the NSA is doing is bad and that I’m glad it was exposed. I’m also glad when Planned Parenthood is exposed while wishing Christians would not use lies to do it.
I would say a more topical approach would be this… To keep us safe (the ends), and bending and twisting our rights (the means) to get there.
Surely the most popular heresy in the world is not the “end justifies the means” argument, but a related, more all-encompassing one that is in a sense the origin of it: utilitarianism, the idea that a thing is good or valuable only if it is useful in a material way. Utilitarianism permeates all our attitudes and assumptions today, in matters both large and small. When was the last time anyone reading this heard an argument defending dressing well over dressing comfortably? Even well-meant, charitably-inclined moral discussions are full of it: when was the last time anyone heard of – let’s say – the idea of building a beautiful church being as morally valuable (in the right time and place) as feeding the hungry?
From this kind of utilitarianism – that only material goods like physical comfort, full bellies, sexual satisfaction, safety, and good health are truly good – it is easy to go on to assume that anything that impedes any of them must be bad, and then to take one moral step further and assume that anything that removes such impediments must in itself be a good thing. THAT is our most popular heresy, and lies at the heart of our consequentialism.
This sort of ruthless materialist utilitarianism has certainly done–and continues to do–much damage to education. Especially when paired with a passion for centralized control.
I agree, although I do want to emphasize that my point was that “ruthless” materialist utilitarianism is able to disguise itself very effectively as a kind of materialist compassion: “we’re relieving Mother’s pain”; “that child won’t have to suffer with cystic fibrosis”; “there’s no dignity to adult diapers” and all the shameful litany of excuses/justifications that allow the modern west to avoid having to look at anything that distresses us.
I don’t get why dressing to look good is morally superior to dressing to feel good. Kirt Higdon
The second most popular heresy is to do good so that evil may come of it. For instance kissing babies to get elected so you can veto laws that protect babies.
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