The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

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Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Do the Right Thing

And Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.  (Acts 10, 34-35)

Do the right thing.

It's a simple suggestion and yet one that has become woefully complex in American culture, today.  Having devalued Christianity to just another optional religion, this land of liberty finds itself without a core set of values to rely upon to exercise prudence over said gift of liberty.  In such a model there exist no absolutes, and government by the people and for the people wrestles in a world of abject relativism.

The above bumper sticker seemingly reflects a nice sentiment.  How can one argue that to get along in this world we simply need to tolerate all belief systems?  The challenge occurs when this tolerance becomes the basis for belief versus a characteristic.  With such a mindset, all faiths are equal, and one freely establishes oneself above it all, free to pick and choose cafeteria style the attributes and practices that feel the best.  Tolerance and feelings replaces prudence.

In 2008, Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith conducted interviews with 230 young adults (ages 18-23) asking them about their moral lives.  The results say more about these kid's parents than they do about the kids themselves.  A full two thirds were unable to even describe a moral dilemma.  Their standard response was along the lines of:

“It’s personal. It’s up to the individual. Who am I to say?  I would do what I thought made me happy or how I felt. I have no other way of knowing what to do but how I internally feel.

This generation of young people who will one day rule the country is a generation that has no idea how to examine its conscience for it has nothing to juxtapose the morality that emerges from the privacy of each individual heart.  There exists no solid standard or absolute which had been in large respects the value of the Judea-Christian ethic discarded by many of their parents.

How can one do the right thing when one believes there is no wrong thing?

Let all pray for an awakening of this generation to the reality, the love, and the authentic freedom found in Christ.  Failing that, it becomes difficult to see how this nation can sustain itself.