Heard this from the Lutheran Satire FB page

Heard this from the Lutheran Satire FB page September 27, 2014

“I spent my whole life trying to put a battery in backwards before I finally realized that batteries don’t work.” – Every Fundamentalist-Turned-Unbeliever testimonial ever

An apt summary of this tragic story. And sadly, a story you won’t necessarily escape entirely in the Catholic Church, if you happen to get sucked into some of its more controlling Taliban subcultures with their hangups on women in pants and similar weirdnesses.

But the nice thing about the Catholic communion is that, while it has room for even the most sexually-repressed-weird-male-with-control-freak-issues subculture, it feels no obligation to conform the whole Church to that subculture and, in fact, 99.9% of the Church does not belong to that subculture. This means that it is much easier to get out of that bubble if once you grant that you are not the Elect, the Pure, the Only True Believers, etc. ad nauseam. Of course, Reactionary Catholicism can keep its inmates in that prison of pride for quite a while. But the larger Catholic community tends to avoid this kind of Puritan trap since there is something about the Church’s celebation of the average and the normal that works against such extremism.

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  • Dave G.

    After eight years, I’ve learned the Church has many subcultures.

    • Michaelus

      Many mansions brother, many mansions.

      • Boom!

        As well as many rooms within the mansions

  • Alex

    “… the most sexually-repressed-weird-male-with-control-freak-issues subculture … “

    Honest question: Why the need to always assume the worst possible motives on the part of those with whom you disagree?

    The traditionalist objection to women in trousers appears to be based on the belief in the importance of culturally reinforced gender differentiation (rather than questions of modesty). You might vehemently reject that position, but to jeeringly dismiss it as stemming from some weird sexual hang-up smacks of the kind of ad hominem demagoguery one associates with Nu Atheists.

    “… there is something about the Church’s celebation of the average and the normal that works against such extremism … “

    And yet not so long ago the idea that skirts and dresses were appropriate for women and trousers were not would have been considered the “average and normal” position in Western society.

    • Dave G.

      That was well asked.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      And everything of this nature that is there narrated we are to take not only in its historical and literal, but also in its figurative and prophetical sense, and to interpret as bearing ultimately upon the end of love towards God or our neighbor, or both. For as it was disgraceful among the ancient Romans to wear tunics reaching to the heels, and furnished with sleeves, but now it is disgraceful for men honorably born not to wear tunics of that description: so we must take heed in regard to other things also, that lust do not mix with our use of them; for lust not only abuses to wicked ends the customs of those among whom we live, but frequently also transgressing the bounds of custom, betrays in a disgraceful outbreak its own hideousness, which was concealed under the cover of prevailing fashions.

      Whatever, then, is in accordance with the habits of those with whom we are either compelled by necessity, or undertake as a matter of duty, to spend this life, is to be turned by good and great men to some prudent or benevolent end, either directly, as is our duty, or figuratively, as is allowable to prophets.
      — Augustine of Hippo, On Christian doctrine, III:12-13

      • Alex

        But when men unacquainted with other modes of life than their own meet with the record of such actions, unless they are restrained by authority, they look upon them as sins, and do not consider that their own customs either in regard to marriage, or feasts, or dress, or the other necessities and adornments of human life, appear sinful to the people of other nations and other times. And, distracted by this endless variety of customs, some who were half asleep (as I may say) – that is, who were neither sunk in the deep sleep of folly, nor were able to awake into the light of wisdom – have thought that there was no such thing as absolute right, but that every nation took its own custom for right; and that, since every nation has a different custom, and right must remain unchangeable, it becomes manifest that there is no such thing as right at all.

        • Ye Olde Statistician

          — Augustine of Hippo, On Christian doctrine, III:14

          So do men use the dress of others as an occasion for their own sins of pride or envy by kvetching just because someone is wearing a dalmatic rather than a toga!

          • Dave G.

            In my experience, the debate over fashion seldom ends up anywhere good. 🙂

          • Alex

            I daresay there are such unhappy people. It doesn’t follow that clothing is morally neutral ground. It can be specifically fashioned to evoke lust or revulsion or fear, for example. It can be used in the service of a wider ideological agenda – a countercultural agenda, say. It is not always trivial.

            “For these disguises did not disguise, but reveal.”

    • Tom Hanson

      But how can it be ad hominem without being directed to a particular person? Are you saying that the far right has no such people? The far left also has its bizarre adherents. It is in the nature of far anything movements to have them. And any blogger on any side of anything deals constantly with them. A moderate blogger gets such accusations from both extremes.

      • Alex

        But how can it be ad hominem without being , directed to a particular person? Are you saying that the far right has no such people?

        I called Mark’s comments ad hominem because they seemed to follow the pattern of ridiculing a person’s character rather than attempting to refute his arguments. True, he didn’t single out a specific person; and it may well be that there are some Sexually Repressed Control Freaks among those who question the wisdom of women wearing trousers. But even if every single person who held that position was a SRCF, and even if they all held that position because they were SRCFs, it wouldn’t necessarily follow that that position was incorrect. (Genetic fallacy.) In any case, as I read him, Mark was strongly implying that only a SRCF could possibly hold that position — that to hold such a position was sufficient proof of being a SRCF. (If I’ve misread Mark here, I apologise.)

        The far left also has its bizarre adherents. It is in the nature of far anything movements to have them. And any blogger on any side of anything deals constantly with them. A moderate blogger gets such accusations from both extremes.

        Terms like ‘(far) right’/'(far) left’ and ‘moderate’ tend to generate more heat than light. They are curiously elusive, slippery and shifting. Why is it that to be a ‘militant nationalist’ today is generally held to mark one out as a reactionary rightist, but two centuries ago it would have marked one out as a radical progressive? Who decides where the moderate centre is located and why does it never keep still? Is it always and everywhere virtuous to aim for the moderate centre? (Should an archer aim for the black, blue or red circles of his target because they are midway between the white outer band and the yellow bullseye?) And what do we mean when we say a position is ‘extreme’ or ‘far’? Is a position extreme because it is outside the mainstream of political discourse? Or because its adherents are prepared to use extreme methods (however these are defined) to further their cause?

        Oy vey, so many questions …

  • Gabriel Blanchard

    I realize that this is peripheral to your essential point; nevertheless, I very much take exception to the opening line of this post. It’s a common enough reason for becoming an atheist, true. But I think it’s profoundly untrue that that’s the single reason that people leave faith behind (of whatever kind) — it isn’t why I became an atheist, and being mocked wasn’t why I came back to Christianity, either. I think it’s disrespectful and dangerous to frame one’s faith in that light, both because rudeness is bad evangelism and an “I’m doing faith the right way” is to my mind a very perilous attitude, and would seem to be the corollary of the scornful summary above.

    I am suspicious of and resistant toward all tendency to attribute atheism (and problems with faith as a believer) to a “you’re doing it wrong” explanation: it seems to me to have Semi-Pelagian implications, and to smack of Job’s comforters. Indeed, the book of Job could practically have been written in reply to that attitude. It is Job’s friends who urge upon him the “you’re doing it wrong” explanation, while Job who complains to and even accuses God; and at the end — after a Divine rebuke that doesn’t actually answer Job, but just points out a bunch of other stuff Job doesn’t understand — God then rebukes Job’s friends, telling them “Ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.” What that means in toto I’m not sure, but I do think that it means, among other things, that we shouldn’t be hasty to make others’ sufferings and, yes, doubts and disbelief to be necessarily their own damn fault.

    I hope it isn’t too blow-my-own-trumpet, but I’ve written about this in a little more detail here: http://mudbloodcatholic.blogspot.com/2014/09/why-i-am-catholic-part-iii-apostate.html .