Growing Up Enculted – Part 2


 When Following God Becomes Immoral

          The first four words God said to Adam and Eve were, “Be fertile and multiply,” (Genesis 1:28) so it is not surprising to see large Christian families especially in the United States. But is it possible that having sex within marriage could be immoral? As early as eighth grade I was taught the Catechism’s requirements for a valid marriage; according to the Catholic Church any marriage that is not open to life is not valid. This teaching has caused tremendous suffering in my life, and I can assure you that I am not the only victim of this teaching. According to Catholic teaching my parents’ decision to have my five siblings and I was completely ethical; in fact, it was the only ethical choice they had.

            To put the gravity of this teaching into perspective one must realize the consequence of disobeying teaching on such grave matter. The Church teaches that it is a grave sin for a marriage not to be open to life. This sin is also known as a mortal sin. If a Catholic dies in the state of mortal sin he or she has rejected God and will be punished in Hell for eternity. My parents’ truly believed this and, as a result, refused to use birth control.

This is where I believe the Catholic Church crossed to line into threatening its members into making morally corrupt decisions. One must ask himself whether or not it is immoral to attempt to create a life if he is fiscally incapable of even keeping the child above poverty level. Perhaps an easier question to grasp is whether or not it is moral to adopt a child with full knowledge you will not be able to support it fiscally. I do not believe such an action would be justifiable.

Mark Twain is responsible for some of the greatest literary works ever produced in America, and one of his most famous works is

mark twain Category:Mark Twain images

the controversial Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I believe it contains the greatest moment in all of American literature. Although Huckleberry had been taught in Church that he would go to hell for eternity if he helped a slave escape from his owner, he realizes that he would rather go to hell than turn his friend, Jim, over to authorities for being an escaped slave. I do not believe that it is a coincidence that Huck is recognized as a typical American hero, after all every intelligent citizen that lives in the United States knows that slavery was the failure of mankind and, most likely, the worst injustice ever committed on American soil. In Huck’s case it is painfully obvious that he made the morally correct decision, even though it was contrary to what he had been taught was the moral decision. Let us pretend for the sake of argument that Huck had decided to turn Jim in because he was an escaped slave. Would his decision to do so be immoral? At the time he was taught his decision would damn him to eternal suffering after his death, but Christian morality has since evolved and now declares owning a human being to be worthy of eternal damnation.

I hope I have been successful in establishing a precedent in which Christian teaching was morally unjust. The Catholic Church teaches that the Pope may be infallible on matters of faith and morals. I find it appalling that any organization would claim to be free from error on matters they proclaim to be more important than life or death; Catholics believe that they will burn for and unlimited amount of time unless they follow the Church’s teachings. I do not believe that a deity could possibly give a person a moral code and punish that person if they followed that moral code.

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7 Responses to Growing Up Enculted – Part 2

  1. imbrocata says:

    Great post. I like especially how you mention adoption in the same paragraph as ‘it is immoral to attempt to create a life if he is fiscally incapable of even keeping the child above poverty level.’. Can you imagine a homeless man, unmarried and without any resources applying for adoption? He would be turned away at the first ‘whiff’ of his body odor. And yet, as you make the point so well, it would be perfectly fine to impregnate and carry to term a child in the same or very similar situation. Nicely done!

    • Ethan Hill says:

      Thank you, I thought that it was an excellent way to get people to realize the gravity of the situation, the best part is that I thought of it myself! Feel free to share my story to anyone you think would profit from it, and stay tuned for part 3 which I will be posting today!!

  2. p2alm says:

    i think you write very well, man, kudos!

    “I hope I have been successful in establishing a precedent in which Christian teaching was morally unjust.”

    i wouldn’t classify all Catholic teaching as falling within the realm of Christian teaching. there is nothing any of us can do to get on God’s good side. likewise, once we have been saved by placing our faith in Christ, there is nothing we can do to lose that salvation.

    “If a Catholic dies in the state of mortal sin he or she has rejected God and will be punished in Hell for eternity.”

    if a Catholic has come to know Christ, committing a “mortal sin” doesn’t damn them to hell. that’s what Christ’s forgiveness is all about. that is the hope that all of us have.

    “One must ask himself whether or not it is immoral to attempt to create a life if he is fiscally incapable of even keeping the child above poverty level.”

    that is certainly a concern that should be weighed individually. people should certainly be wise about that. But God’s command to have children also comes with a promise. where He commands, He provides. that is who He is.

    “I do not believe that a deity could possibly give a person a moral code and punish that person if they followed that moral code.”

    you would be correct. and the Pope is not infallible in any matters.

    • Ethan Hill says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for doing an “editing” job with it as well, I appreciate all of your critiques and they will help me write better in the future!

  3. […] Growing Up Enculted – Part 2 (secularjustice.wordpress.com) […]

  4. pastormack says:

    Not being Catholic, I don’t fully understand the teaching about contraception in full. I think it goes back to Augustine, who wasn’t totally comfortable with his own sexuality (but then, he might argue that we idolize ours).One could also make the opposite argument: it is immoral to view children as economic vampires or diseases to be cured, rather than gifts of God. I think Catholic teaching is as it is because it has an inadequate moral theology about the unitive value of sex within marriage, subsuming it under the procreative. But I also know lots of Catholics who don’t practice the church’s teaching in this area and don’t particularly feel damned.

    Papal infallibility, I think, makes more sense than the doctrine gets credit for. I think I’d rather buy that than biblical inerrancy, at least. Besides, it’s only ex cathedra that Papal pronouncements are infallible, and in practice it has to be in keeping with the overall teaching of the church. No pope can suddenly decide that Jesus wasn’t divine, for instance.

    I don’t particularly find it helpful when anyone claims to know exactly how salvation vs. damnation works (although Catholics would point out that Peter – aka the pope – was given authority and told that what was bound on earth would be bound in heaven). I like the Catholic author Von Balthasar on the question of “Who Will Be Saved?” I don’t buy the Calvinist doctrine of once saved, always saved either. That leads to antinomianism.

    Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • Ethan Hill says:

      Thank you for your comments! I agree with you on many of the points you made. If the Catholic Church allowed for more flexibility I probably would have never left the Church. I have come to adopt a sort of Golden Mean into my life as philosophized about by Aristotle.

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