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
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.
- Growing Up Enculted – Part 1 (secularjustice.wordpress.com)
- Bishop Johnston: Abortion, Sterilization and Contraception Are Wrong (deaconjohnspace.wordpress.com)