Losing My Religion
So there’s this thing called the School of the Americas, except it’s now called the Western Hemisphere Something-or-another, and if you already know about it you can skip to the next paragraph. It’s a place to train Latin American military types in how to commit atrocities. Like torture and assassination. I realize it sounds very conspiracy-theory, so you might want to do your own research, but seriously, for real. This came out of the Cold War, of course, because apparently Communism is scary in a way that human rights violations aren’t? Anyway, there’s a protest on site every year.
One of the really neat things about the protest is that because so many of the victims of SOA graduates are Catholic, including well-respected clergy, a hefty percentage of the protesters are Catholic as well, and overall the protest has a far stronger religious vibe than, well, any other protest I’ve been to.
Unsurprisingly there’s protesters of other religions (various Protestants, Jews, etc) there as well, and there’s more than a few non-religious types.
I can only assume that on the other side of the fence are people who are genuinely religious, and people who are fairly certain there’s no God, and people who haven’t really thought about it much.
Back when the existence of slavery was actually a controversial issue, abolitionists cited the Bible to explain their position, and apologists cited the Bible to explain theirs. “Slavery is an atrocity” vs “slavery is fine” is not a trivial distinction, any more than “torture is an atrocity” vs “torture is sometimes ok” could ever be.
I suppose you could take the easy way out and say that one side doesn’t understand the situation properly, or the other aren’t true Christians or whatever. I guess I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt more than that. But even if you don’t, if you can’t tell true believers from not-true believers apart from their political stances, then maybe it isn’t a relevant distinction.
If people with identical or near-identical beliefs about God can have strong and opposing moral positions, what does that say about theology?
To me, it says that while what one believes may be supremely important on a personal level, there’s no one theological creed where if you could just get everyone to accept it than everyone would be moral. (Certainly not Christianity!) Anyone arguing that having the correct theology is the foundation of morality has got it quite backwards. Wherever we collectively get our morals from, it’s not religion.