The Raving Theist

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Godidiot of the Week: Chris Burgwald of Veritas

February 12, 2003 Comments Off

This week’s Godidiot, Angelicum-trained Chris Burgwald of Veritas, probably should have been added as the Third Stooge to last week’s co-recipients, Minute Particulars and The Secularist Critique (I think he’d be the Larry). He’s endorsed MP’s criticism of “the goofiness that comes from [my] fingers” and TSC’s response to some of my “ridiculous ranting.” Before I discuss any of Veritas’ specific utterances, however, a few general observations about this theological trio and their methodologies.

What I find most amusing is that of all the things I’ve written about, the only one that has so far provoked their wrath is my discussion of the first cause argument. Is that really, really, really what they find so ridiculous, goofy, and offensive about my blog? First causality is a rather dry topic to get so worked up about; as MP says, what you get from it is “about as interesting as watching the water level in a swimming pool rise.” Even among Catholic theologians (including MP and TSC) there are differences regarding the proper interpretation and implications of the argument. I doubt those little old ladies in the black dresses kneeling at Mass, or for that matter, the Catholic laity in general, have even ever heard of it.

Presumably religion, including Catholicism, is important because of its implications for morality and social policy. In my Basic Assumptions section, I state that “any attempt to premise moral, social or political doctrine upon a belief in god is fruitless and potentially harmful,” and many of my posts are devoted to developing this premise in discussions of issues such as abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, homosexuality and sexism. My Assumptions also challenge anyone who asserts a special right, or is attempting to dictate a social policy based on god-belief to prove not only that god exists, but to prove how the policy derives from the belief. Most of my criticism of religion is based upon the failure of those sort of proofs.

TSC’s blog is presumably devoted to proving the superiority of the religious outlook to the secular one, but in its two weeks of existence has yet to take a concrete position on any specific moral issue. Although he does say that he “might think that one religion is superior to another,” this is of little help since he won’t even say which religion he believes in, or precisely what sort of Catholic he is. Lately he’s been railing against science and materialism, but even if what he is saying about them makes any sense he never gives a specific example of how they impact on human happiness.

Veritas does express moral opinions but it’s not always clear how they tie into god-belief. Consider one of his posts from Monday:

Ideas tend to work themselves out…

On this past Friday’s episode of Law & Order: Special Victims’ Unit, the show closed with a father who had sold pornographic pictures of his prepubescent daughter since she was an infant defending himself and those like him. He claimed that just as society had once condemned inter-racial marriages and homosexuality before “coming around,” so too would society eventually come to accept pedophilia.

Scary stuff, indeed. But there is something of a point hidden in there: the consequences of the sexual revolution — which tore sexual intimacy away from childbearing and the family — are slowly working themselves out. While I certainly wouldn’t want to be misunderstood to mean that accepting homosexuality necessitates an acceptance of pedophilia, both exemplify a tragic misunderstanding of human sexuality which has become rampant over the past forty years or so.

The point of all this is that homosexuality is bad. It’s one of the “consequences of the sexual revolution.” Why it is a bad consequence is not at all clear; Veritas does not identify who is hurt by it, or how it is “tragic” in any way. True, a fictional heterosexual father who sells pornographic pictures of his daughter has linked homosexuality to pedophilia, but Veritas himself specifically disclaims that connection.

Presumably homosexuality is bad because the Catholic Church says that God thinks it’s bad; again, Veritas doesn’t give any other reason. But since God also opposes pedophilia, why does Veritas go out of his way to avoid being “misunderstood to mean that accepting homosexuality necessitates an acceptance of pedophilia”? A rejection of God’s will is a rejection of His will; why distinguish in any way between the two cases?

You’ll also note that the fictional father links the acceptance of inter-racial marriages to pedophilia. Why doesn’t Veritas oppose those marriages as well? They’re probably just as much a consequence of the sexual revolution. Aren’t they an expansion in the pool of people who are sexually attracted to each other? Don’t tell me that they’re more “natural” than same sex unions — the rate of inter-racial marriage is under 5%.

Finally, how is pedophilia a consequence of the sexual revolution? Has it really become that much more popular or accepted over the past forty years? Isn’t it a fact that it is taken much more seriously these days, that you hear a lot more about it in the news because people are refusing to permit it to be covered up anymore? I agree that there are some who still condone and protect it, but isn’t secular society at large taking measures to punish those evil-doers?

Parting Shot

Angelicum. Angel, I cum. Sorry, Chris, I couldn’t resist.

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