Saturday, June 2, 2012

Letter to Bishop Vasa

Scott Doty
Santa Rosa, CA
Baptised 1972 or 1973 at St. Eugene's Cathedral.

Dear Bishop Vasa,

I believe the human conscience is God-given, and is the moral center of human society. I've even said that “morals are the ethics of conscience.” So when I see the Roman Catholic Church violating the dictates of functioning, good consciences, it is clear that they are acting in an immoral manner.

If this were one or two isolated incidents that were later corrected, I could understand how such things could be a part of individual human fallibility and human frailty. But when I see headlines that read, “Catholic Church excommunicates mother and doctors of a nine-year-old rape victim that had abortion – but not accused rapist”:

...and when I see such stories all the time, it becomes painfully obvious that the hierarchy of the church to which I was christened as an infant has completely lost touch with human conscience.

And during the period of time that I was an adult who still supported the Roman Catholic Church, I probably should have known better. You see, I attended summer camp at Camp St. Michael for two summers, at an age that I did not recognize the horrendous evil that I later learned I was witnessing. So I know for a fact that the public displays of horrendous evil performed by the Roman Catholic hierarchy are only the tip of the iceberg – a fact that has now been recognized within whole governments throughout the world.

Need I even mention the morally disgusting policies of covering-up for paedophile church hierarchy members? Should I offer constructive criticism regarding the CDF treatment of U.S. nuns? I supposed I could – but it would not make any difference.

Now, I know that you, Bishop Vasa, are not personally responsible for the unreliable consciences and evil doings that I refer to. However: You are the Bishop of the Santa Rosa Diocese, and as such, you are standing in the camp of these people with their morally repugnant decisions. And alas, to remove myself from the Roman Catholic Church's baptism rolls, I need to address you.

And here I do so: Please remove me me from the baptism rolls of the Roman Catholic church. I am not one of you, and I have given up on the hopelessly-broken Roman Catholic church hierarchy.

Never mind the theologically-mistaken positions of the Roman Catholic Church, positions that I no longer subscribe to. “By their fruits, you shall know them” -- and I cannot, in good conscience, have anything to do with the continuous unconscionable acts of the Roman Catholic Church.

Since this is an open letter, one such theologically-mistaken position does bear mentioning: the implicit (or even explicit) threat of excommunication that the Roman Catholic Church wields like a war axe.

It seems to me that such a threat carries with it an implied threat of damnation, and that the Roman Catholic Church uses such a fear to keep the “rank and file” aligned with their mistaken thinking. For those who don't know better, such threats – whether explicit or implicit – carry with them more than a hint of “spiritual terror”, where people cannot speak out with their consciences, for fear of terrifying consequences.

In short: Damnation doctrine is spiritual terrorism – and it is endemic to your organization.

I remain,

Scott Doty
Ex-Catholic, and Unitarian Universalist
Cc: St. Eugene's Office Staff

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

On Death.

I have a friend whose cat just died.

I've told her what I always tell people: death seems so cruel, in how it separates us from our loved ones. But many of us do hope to be reunited with our loved ones, and I do not think this is just wishful thinking.

Consider our own consciousness for a second: the fact that we are here, experiencing our lives -- having our "I" that experiences everything -- is miraculous. We can't explain consciousness, in the sense of our self-awareness.

In fact, in the realm of modern epistemology, one could even say there is very little evidence that other people are conscious. Philosophers call our sense of this the "theory of other minds"...we assume other people have their own minds, and their own consciousnesses, because we ourself have that.

So if someone tells you there is "no evidence" for consciousness after passing on, tell them that -- by the standards of modern epistemology -- there is "no evidence" for consciousness in the living. (Indeed, some of the more reductionist philosophers might even consider it embarrassing to their own hypotheses that humans are actually conscious!)

But in the realm of our own self-awareness -- when we don't reduce ourselves with scientific arguments regarding packets of matter and energy -- we know "we" are here, now, experiencing our lives. And it seems to me that an ultimate definition of God would be "that from which our consciousness came from." I can think of nothing more "Alpha" than God, from which our consciousness came -- and I can think of nothing more "Omega" than re-uniting with God, our source, in Whose Image we are created.

I'll spare you the discussions of miaphysticism and other understandings of "hypostatic union" and just point to a Wikipedia article:

And if we are all to be reunited with God, then it stands to reason that we will be reunited with each other. I won't pretend to understand how that will work, but I'm satisfied that God is so unbelievably awesome that (S)He has that already figured out.

Good luck, and God bless,