The Crash: Required Intolerance Of Catholic Hierarchy And Required Tolerance Of Its Universities

While the same dilemma exists in Protestant denominations and their universities the Catholic size makes for the most interesting study. Religion is based on myth. Universities exist to expose myths.

When universities which were started by Christian denominations grow and want to compete with secular ones for grants, students and faculty they need to treat myths as, well, myths. They cannot afford a physics department that teaches things fall because God is pushing them down.

When homosexuality was finally determined not to be the choice of individuals major Christian-based universities could no longer teach it is a sin. I would guess every major Christian based university has a university funded LGBT club and teaches in appropriate departments it is a human characteristic not unlike many others. I would guess spousal benefits apply to gay spouses almost universally.

Along came another really sticky wicket, birth control and abortions. Recently, the University of Notre Dame ended contraception coverage for its female employees and students. Very quickly it reversed this decision and made it available again. In explaining the reversal, Notre Dame said it had failed to take into account the broad diversity of views on this and that a large percentage of its students and staff were not Catholic. It did not mention that almost all Catholics themselves practice “artificial” contraception and that contraception medicines are needed to prevent some illnesses unrelated to pregnancy.

Our society can tolerate a lot of religion. Christian universities have found it hurts them and they keep it in its box.

Happy Thanksgiving to all readers of this blog.


36 Responses

  1. Bob

    “Universities exist to expose myths”? Silly me, I thought universities existed to educate and prepare people for the job market. I guess that is why Loc Ness Monster 101 is so popular.

    1. Juan Ruiz

      The idea that universities are nothing more than glorified vo-techs is relatively recent. At one time they were to prepare students to be knowledgeable citizens.

      1. Bob

        And now they are a brainwashing institution rewarding those who conform to the ideologies and agendas of the professor rather than the reality. So sad.

        1. Juan Ruiz

          Most professors have spent their whole adult int the Never Never Land of college campuses, without ever having to deal with the real world. There, they can imagine their perfect society, generally of a Socialist bent.

          1. Catcher

            @ 8;29; Unrelated, yet related. In seminaries, more in some, less in others, there are profs that have never spent a day in the field. Practical applied pastoral theology is ignored for the sake of rigid dogmatics. Fortunately, or hopefully the new candidates do or will have guidance past the Sem. in their vocation as they mature.

          2. Catcher 9:05 there are profs that have never spent a day in the field.

            I think about seminaries and what future pastors learn there and what they talk about later on the job. If they were taught and came to believe certain concept in the faith but face opposition to those concepts from those in the pews they have no choice but to bend to the will of the customers. That is especially true if there is a bad job market, like now with churches closing nationally.

            In our local liberal United Church of Christ there are four or five pastors. There is a pipeline to this church from Yale Seminary. I’ve heard all the pastors say or imply they do not take any of the Bible literally. Surely this must come from their seminary classes. They never say this during the every Sunday reading of scripture, of course.

            I think there are always one or two of them who are doing internships because there is turnover and announcements so and so is moving to a church where ever. Chances are the church where they are going is not as liberal as this one. I wonder how they navigate this. They are never really young people, looks like they had other careers before so they are probably experienced enough to side step what ever myth carrying congregations they land in.

          3. Catcher

            @ 9;05; PS, I should have qualified better. Most profs are fine, but one or two in a sem through whom candidates must cycle do present an attitude of arrogance. A bad model to emulate.

          4. Juan Ruiz

            ” there are profs that have never spent a day in the field. ”

            Nothing new. Law schools have profs who never practiced law. Med schools with those who never practiced medicine. And Business without businessmen.

          5. Catcher

            Jon @ 10;00 Then those pastors in the UCC should just skip the seminary, and go directly from Yale. It would skip a lot of redundant “didn’t happen, whatever you want, and it doesn’t matters”.

          6. Catcher

            Jon; Or if those “pastors” you have seen are compromised by your business model they should simply go into a different field altogether,.for the sake of personal integrity.

          7. Catcher–Isn’t a pastor’s job more than testifying about what he or she believes? For example,the head pastor has said he does not believe Jesus died for our “sins”. He cannot make a living by reading the Bible passage that says this Easter Sunday and then saying, “I don’t believe this stuff.” He could admit this in some other context, but his job on Easter morning is to stick with the script–make sure people have a nice Easter service. I’d prefer the honest version myself but it’s impossible. I just stay home.

          8. Catcher 12:04 He would be more honest if he was a dog catcher.

            Even if he left the pulpit, he would inevitably find himself in some other job where he needed to watch what and where he said certain things. None other than Shakespeare taught us that reality:

            All the world’s a stage. And all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances. An one man in his time plays many parts.

          9. Catcher

            Jon @ 3’56’ “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day. Thou cans’t not then be false to any man. This says that so long as you do not deceive yourself then you will not be tempted to deceive other people.”
            Shakespeare Hamlet.

    2. Bob 11:44 “universities exist to expose myths”? Silly me. I thought university existed to educate and prepare people for the job market…

      When I wrote that sentence I knew it was more complicated than that. Universities have several roles to play, some roles compete with others. In the case of myths, it is quite helpful to have young people entering the job market who understand there are people they will encounter who are not like they are. Some who master a field never master the world. I used to collect comments from CEO’s who said the study of liberal arts was the best preparation for executive positions in large corporations.

      We had a Dean of Engineering where I taught who brought his narrow Bible based view of the world into his administrative work. He gave religion talks all over the campus. He said openly he did not women were created for the engineering field and told female applicants he did not think they were ready for the rigors. No female professors got tenure while he was there.

      1. mark anthony

        someone with a catchy name quoted Polonius’s famous ‘to thine own self be true….”..line from Hamlet. The correspondent in question, I assume, thinks that this is good quote, giving wise and timely advice. Maybe. But if I remember my Shakespeare classes aright, it, is in context, advice given by a fatuous and meddling character,one who is saying essentially “look out for number one and good things will follow”. Or, to put it another way, it expresses a kind of “me first,” self centered philosophy of life, not a life of of intellectual integrity and truthfulness. Any opinions here?

        1. mark 6:59 But if I remember my Shakespeare classes alright..

          Brings back a memory of my High School experience in rural Iowa. I remember being in a literature class, maybe 10-12 students, which was the entire number in both the sophomore and junior classes. We had a new coach and teacher from Chicago. He played classical music for his own enjoyment before classes every morning. One day he said, “Today, let’s talk about the most influential writer in English literature. Who is that?” Dead silence. No one knew even what the term “English literature” referred to. He finally knew what he was up against and muttered quietly, “William Shakespeare.”

          1. mark anthony

            at my high school out on the Mn prairies, some of the old liberal tradition survived (not too long before I came along, Latin was still part of the curriculum). I “grooved” out on Macbeth, think I memorized about half of it. taught me a lot about violation of trust, blind ambition and human nature in general.

        2. Juan Ruiz

          Polonius was pretty much the buffoon of the play, eventually killed mistakenly by Hamlet. The quote here is part of a series of advisements given to his son departing for England, which also included “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”

          1. Catcher

            @ 6;47; That should be addressed to Mark Anthony @6;59, on a different thread.
            It would help if everyone designated with an =@= for continuity.

        3. Catcher

          @ 6;59; Considering Jon’s 10;00am, re. his report of the positions of the preachers in the UCC, in Iowa and comparing the “Statement of Faith” on the UCC website, those preachers reveal a great amount of dishonesty. They would be better suited in a Unitarian/ Universalist assembly. They do indeed have place to go to, and at least be honest and not make false representations where they currently are. The other alternative would be for the entire UCC congregation leave the UCC and join the Unitarians.

          1. Catcher 7:24 The other alternative would be for the entire UCC congregation to leave the UCC and join the Unitarians.

            Having exchanged posts with you now for several years, I understand you read the fine print about each denomination, what each has in its documents and what was passed as belief in each case by respective governing bodies. You have also read many times my theory that the majority of members either have not read this stuff or read it and can care less. Those in the pews who do not care are the ones who pay the salary of pastors. The pastors follow their local congregations who pay their salaries more carefully than they follow the denomination’s creed which does not pay their salaries.

            I’ve been various times to both the local UCC and Unitarian churches. You are correct they have a lot in common in what could be call their theologies. But they have very different cultures, services and perceive themselves differently. They refer to each other in glowing terms but they are not the same. Neither would want to be the other.

            The Unitarian building has signs all over about accepting other religions and cultures. The UCC church, maybe 10 times larger, has signs about doing good deeds like food drives and service to the elderly and how God is on their side. Unitarian has no signs about God. The UCC wants to change main line Christianity to come around to its version of the faith. Unitarians have no interest in that project.

            Of course, I talking of these two churches in the metro area of 800,000 people. The same two denominations is some other metro area might be altogether different.

            I’ve been in some discussions back in ND where Unitarians would ask why atheists want there own organization when they could just be Unitarians. We start down another dead end path. Most, but not all, atheists just don’t want to bother with maintaining a church or knocking themselves out welcoming all other faiths.

          2. Catcher

            Jon @ 8;36; Just looking for honesty and integrity. I see none. That they may not have read/ studied their documents, or could care less just gives credibility to my observation. The burden is on their clergy, (they know better), association leadership, and each congregational board to inform the laity rather than to conveniently ignore. There is no valid excuse for such an institution.
            They could form a parallel association to the Unitarians and keep their customs in place. Call it the Unified Churches of Universalism., (UCU) At least that would be honest, and equally inclusive.
            If not that, they could just as well join the local Chamber of Commerce, and hand out turkeys on secular holidays, run the food shelf, and baby sit for working mothers. everybody happy.

          3. Catcher 1:39 The burden is on…association leadership, and each congregation board to inform the laity rather than to conveniently ignore.

            “Conveniently ignore” is the key here. If splitting theological hairs it is not important to pastors, governing bodies of churches/denominations or laity the thing to do, which they are doing, is to conveniently ignore. By ignoring a detail of theology like “Jesus died for our sins” the church thrives, the preachers and congregation are happy and things go smoothly forward. It is argued by scholars the “died for our sins” is allegory and not literally true. Why not just let it lie there?

          4. Catcher

            @ 11;50; If that’s how they feel, they need to change their “statement of faith”. If not, it’s dishonest, deceptive, and a lie. Much like a used car salesman telling the customer the car has only 50000 miles, when it actually has 150000. That was done before digital dashboard readouts, and could still be done if possible by some.

            “splitting hairs”? Not at all, when it is one of the main tenants of Christianity.

          5. Catcher 1:05 If that’s how they fell, they need to change their “statement of faith”. If not, it’s dishonest, deceptive and a lie.

            That’s one way to look at it. Another way is to see the statement of faith as an outdated view from decades or ever centuries ago that no longer applies literally. I know you do not take everything in the Bible literally so I think it is OK for Pastors to take some liberties with their denomination’s adopted tenets. Denominations today are competing, not only with other denominations and people bouncing from church to church, but with spiritual ideas not part of any denomination. Listening is often a better approach than preaching.

          6. Catcher

            @ 1;22; So you believe in dishonesty and deception. Alrighty then.

            “Wan to see my seester? She virgin. (An allegory) (since this morning).

          7. Catcher

            @ 2;44; True to one’s self does not necessarily mean truthful to others.
            There are even laws on the books to prevent self incrimination in the courts. The 5th amendment. The Mafia used it quite a bit in the 70’s and 80’s. They still were caught in their lies after some came clean and turned states evidence. Accepting witness protection. I wonder if it will come to that.

      2. mark anthony

        “some who master a field don’t master the world.”

        Not sure exactly what you meant by that remark. nonetheless, I think that I sorta agree. what is sadly lacking in so much modern thinking/rhetoric/education is a sense of wisdom/prudence, a sense of how things fit together (or as the case may be, how they don’t fit together). that, it seems to me, is one of the prime objectives of a liberal education. how many techies know their field but don’t have a stitch of common sense? or who have no interest in the larger world, save in sports, etc. and/or in their particular area of expertise? another an equally importance of a liberal education is to introduce students to the ideas that have shaped our world, inculcating a sense of the problematic nature of human existence. and a sense of caution (civility, humility, patience if you will), hopefully avoiding maddening, narrow ideological commitments. and learning how to interrogate ideas, seeing and challenging whatever truth and falsehood that they may contain. (and without falling into the trap of a deconstructive skepticism).

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