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Challenging Obedience Without Question

By Carl S. ~

Obedience without questioning ” the will of god” is taught to every child raised in a faith as the highest virtue. Constant examples in the world of reality show the opposite to be true. Usually, the Inquisition and the slaughters of non-believers or those of other faiths than the prevailing one, throughout religious history, are dragged out as examples of just how damaging obedience to religious tenets and authorities can be. These are dismissed by true believers, who are disturbed by negative facts of any kind in their beliefs. They only want to hear of the cotton-candy pleasant feelings, the charity which they pride themselves in doing, small change as it is.

Behind the belief in obeying lies the belief that “My god can do no wrong.” With it is the implication that the agents of that god’s will will only do what is right in achieving god‘s ends. This belief is obviously not looked into, any more than the others. However, one doesn‘t have to go as far back as biblical genocides, the Inquisition, the crusades, etc., to understand the damage done by religious agents. The 20th century and our own offer stunning examples. Take modern Ireland, for example.

Lately, one writer commented that Irish Catholics have a tradition of being compliant, non-challenging of the system. I suspect that they share an “it is written” fatalism in common with Islam. (A woman I know, whose Irish is now disconnected from Catholic, still uses the phrase, “it is what it is.”) “It's god’s will, so who are we to question?” When we think of opposition to church authority, we think of King Henry VIII, Galileo, Martin Luther, Giordano Bruno, etc. (I have yet to find an Irish name noteworthy for opposition, though there ought to be many.)

If it were not for a column from The Irish Times, written by Eamonn McCann, I would not have thought about this issue of unquestioning obedience to authority figures. He speaks of growing up “near one of those homes, St. Joseph’s.” He tells us that
“all over town, we whispered about ‘the poor crayturs‘ locked up in these institutions, beaten by vicious nuns by day, preyed upon by depraved priests at night. Everybody knew. But the idea of speaking out didn't occur.” 
He concludes by telling us,
“Remember these boys the next time someone tries to tell you that today's social ills are caused by society‘s turning away from the church. This is the reverse of the truth and an insult to the victims of an unforgivable sin.”
The Irish were raised in Catholic-saturation from childhood, strictly taught to be obedient, trusting, and unquestioning of the authority of Christ endowed through their priests. They enforced this training on their own children, even punishing them for not toeing the line. Catholic clergy controlled the culture in the same way that Islamic clergy, equally respected and unchallenged, control theirs. In Islamic cultures, young girls can be the victims of “honor killings;” in Ireland, pregnant out-of-wedlock daughters were hauled off to become slaves for the Church. All the time, the Church was supported and upheld by law enforcement. Understandable but unforgivable.

One cost of Ireland's pride of “keeping the faith” depended on ignoring the tradition of horrific child abuse, of looking the other way and not making waves. While the faithful prayed, the clergy preyed. Is it any wonder that the Irish got a reputation for alcoholism, with a tradition of growing up abused and silent about that abuse? How much can any human being stand without an outlet? It's a wonder suicide wasn't the norm. Should we expect to see a decline in Irish alcoholism concurrently with a decline (hopefully) in abuse by priests, now that that abuse is in the spotlight? Are the fighting Irish still afraid of challenging those who enslaved their children and molested them over and over? Their St. Patrick should have stayed the hell away from their shores.

Remember these boys the next time someone tries to tell you that today's social ills are caused by society‘s turning away from the church. This is the reverse of the truth and an insult to the victims of an unforgivable sin.Just what did St. Patrick bring the Irish but a system of superstitions to replace the ones the Celts already had? Didn’t he bring the most “holy” story ever told of an unquestioning son whose obedience to tortures and death were not only overseen by his father, but mandatory, for achieving the highest good ever? Didn‘t this dogma set the children up for the benefit of god's pedophiles?

Didn't Patrick arrive carrying the seeds of mental illness, to grow the crops of anxieties, fears and guilt; all the result of fabricated offenses disappointing a constantly judging deity ready to condemn even the disobedient child, through his spokesmen, to damnation? Was not the doctrine of “temporal” suffering, including rape, taught privately to the child victim, to be endured as preferable to eternal torture if the child revealed the abuse? Isn’t this the faith tradition that lived in the house that Patrick built? New superstitions, same old tradition: Baal, the bible god, the Aztec god..., they all have in common a love of sacrificing children. And the priests of each of them are up front only too willing to pay homage.

Respect for obedience without question, for belief without proof, is still taught in Catholicism and in Sunday schools. The contemporary St. Patrick’s of evangelical, Islamic, and Hasidic faiths are still bringing their “candy” to children, and their parents are telling them to take it, not from strangers, but from the trusted ones - the ones most likely to abuse them.

We cannot judge the Catholics of Ireland harshly. They were raised in a cult, and behaved and acted according to the cult. Children in our own 21st century United States are being raised in Religious Right cults which seek to impose, not Catholicism, but themselves, throughout the entire society, and rule it. They want to dominate not only over childhood education and welfare, but through the erosion of human rights laws; they assert their “right of conscience” to deny rights to women, gays, secularists, etc. The time is way overdue to challenge, question, and disobey them, everywhere and every time they push to exert their cult. {And why the hell must we continue to support them, reward them, with tax exemptions and our taxes?) Must our legal system obey them also?

Ireland is a prime example of what happens to a nation when theocracy rules. Is the world paying attention? Are you paying attention?