Tag: dogma

Dogma, Lies and Truth ….

Humans are often both so funny and tragic at the same time  that one does not know whether to laugh or cry on hearing a particular news item. Thus it was for me when reading about Cuba’s apparent ideological U-turn.

The Cuban dogma of the last 50 years has been “State good; private bad.” This is familiar “Communist” territory, so Cubans have been born, grown up and died while being told that “capitalism” was evil, private ownership was bad and that the state was best suited to running everything.

This then was “the truth” for 50 years. But suddenly, amazingly, it seems that this was NOT the truth after all, since now entrepreneurship is to be encouraged in a bid to breathe life into the dinosauric Cuban economy. So, for 50 years Cuba was living a lie? And if so, will those responsible take the blame for these lies?

Errrrmmmm … the heirs and cronies of the apparent lie of over 50 years are the very same people (apart from the conveniently-sidelined Fidel himself, who can of course take the blame whether explicitly or implicitly) who are now proclaiming a new “truth”. So are they admitting their lie, or to be charitable – since XMAS is approaching – their total wrongness?

This is of course the big problem for those enforcing dogma. If there comes a time when the dogma is so manifestly absurd that it has to be changed then the long-time enforcers of the ridiculous are clearly seen to have been wrong for as long as the dogma has been enforced. And of course, the LONGER the dogma has gone on the MORE wrong the enforcers of same are seen to be. So for the dogma-enforcers there is every incentive to NEVER admit the nonsensicality of the dogma, whatever the evidence. Hence the ossification of dogma, when in the end enforcing the dogma is seen as more important than the actual dogma itself.

This is also one reason for the extraordinary conservatism that Humans are often “guilty” of. “Why do we do it that way?” -> “Errrmmmm … we’ve ALWAYS done it that way …”

Well, some credit has to go to the Cuban regime for admitting – tacitly or otherwise – that the last 50 years’ dogma was wrong. Kind as I am,  I do not use the word “idiotic”, though some would say that would be more appropriate …… Kind? Am I too kind in giving them any credit at all? After all, in a dictatorship, the only true definition of “truth” is “that which the leadership says is true.”

I haven’t worked out yet whether they are using the common ploy of dogma-changers, the only one in fact that gets them off the hook. This is to say: “Yes, we’ve always believed A was good and B was evil and now we believe the opposite. This is because CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE CHANGED.” Has anyone worked that out yet? The problem with the “Circumstances have changed” argument is of course that circumstances are ALWAYS changing and so dogma PER SE would seem to be a ludicrous way to manage our lives.

Well whatever, the latest pronouncements could have been made by the British centre-right Coalition Party rather than the old-style Cuban Communist Party:

“Our state cannot and should not continue maintaining companies, productive entities, services and budgeted sectors with bloated payrolls [and] losses that hurt the economy,” said the official Cuban labour federation, which announced the news.

George Osbourne, rightist British Chancellor of the Exchequer, would have been quite proud of that newsbite.

One has to wonder how this redefining of “the truth” will go down with the Cuban people. As has been argued, the main problem with changing the dogma is that you have to admit being wrong before, and often massively and for many years. And the longer-term ticking time-bomb is that once you allow questioning of the dogma then you open a door to the questioning of everything. This is why people who enforce dogma don’t really like any sort of questioning whatsoever. Encouraging it is like opening Pandora’s box; where will it all end? And the most hideous question of all of course is: “Don’t we deserve more say in our own government.” or – in the case of a “world-religion”, “Is the whole basis of our “beliefs” (for which we are prepared to kill people for) plain WRONG? Have we been living a LIE for over 1500 years? ” This question is a terrible one for individuals to face, so terrible that their leaders will do ANYTHING to prevent them ever facing it, including of course kill them if the questioning becomes too loud.

This is the real reason why dictatorships don’t like questioning of any kind; mindless sheep would be their preferred populace. A populace that asks too many questions is – frankly – to be avoided like the plague. They are currently plagued in Iran by sheep with very much a mind of their own, which is why oppression is great and increasing of course.

Anyway, I for one rejoice at the Cuban change of direction, even though one has often seen leaders tempted to open Pandora’s box only to violently slam it shut again when they see what starts to happen.

I always admired the Cuban revolution; chucking out a nauseating “Capitalist” mafiosi-style American-backed regime. The problem has been the extreme ossification of Cuban political and economic thought and development since the day Castro took over. Are better days ahead and will Cuba one day end up as a role-model for South America, much as Scandinavia is for the world in general?

The comic in all this? Listening to previous apologists for the former “lie” having to find linguistic justifications for their previous wrongness. This is marvellous for lovers of language as the arts of spin are brought fully into play justifying the previously unjustifiable.

The tragic? Knowing that the livers of the previous lie suffered both from living a lie and from the practical consequences of it, in Cuba’s case a quite unnecessarily high level of poverty in many areas even if there were some compensating factors. As Cuban apologists often say (said?) “The people may be poor but they are happy.” We might say (I assume): “Better to be much better-off and also happy ….”

PS Is the Pope watching all this (and the Islamic hierarchy come to that?) There is plenty of room for dogma change in the Vatican and Mecca …..

By Chris Snuggs

Celibacy in the Church

Is this a need for change that will become unstoppable for the Catholic Church?

St Peters

I approach this subject with some hesitation. It’s a free world, and how people choose to organise themselves is basically their affair; freedom of association and all that. However, all freedoms are both a personal matter and an absolute right as long as they do not impinge on the rights and freedoms of others. So, in for a penny ……

The Catholic Church’s insistence on celibacy for their priests’  is obviously absurd. It is all very well in theory – “they can then concentrate on serving God” – if you (somewhat bizarrely in my opinion) choose to make that argument. The problem is that Man is NOT a theoretical animal. Sexual abstinence is alien to most models of Homo Sapiens that roll off the production line. It may be the preferred CHOICE that works for some, or even many, but forcing it on priests just DOES NOT WORK.

In recent years, there have been endless scandals in the Catholic Church about the abuse of children by priests, to the point where their policy in fact makes a total mockery of the vast edifice and bureaucracy that their Church is.

There was (or rather is) the dreadful case of the abuse in Ireland going on for decades and involving the most appalling abuse covered up at the highest levels. Now there is an on-going crisis in Germany, with churches and priests all over the country suspected of child-abuse. There are plenty of other examples we know about, and no doubt many we don’t.

And the word “cover-up” is deadly, of course. As soon as an organism evolves – and I find an amoeba, the Church, a company, a political party all alike in this respect – its first instinct is to survive and multiply.  And so we have today the grisly spectacle of a Bishop apologising for covering up a priest’s paedophilia. The (usually wrongly) perceived needs of the organism almost ALWAYS take precedence over the law, humanity and decency. Rather than deal effectively and openly (and THAT is what this Blog is all about) with a real problem, the Church very often sweeps the problem under the carpet in the hope that it will go away.

Safe, or in harm's way?

Only of course (like the toxic effects of sub-prime insanity) a serious problem does NOT usually self-heal. Would the Bishop try out this policy with a toothache? I doubt it; he’s know it would only get worse and whack him in the midriff at some stage. So WHY do they do it with abuse cases in their own Church?

No, as long as you have this absurd dogma in the Catholic Church, you will have abuse. And the point is, as soon as you get abuse, it concerns us ALL. We then DO have a right to stick our nose into the Catholic Church’s affairs, or so I maintain. No man is an island ……

Unfortunately, the larger the institution and especially where it concerns beliefs, creeds or whatever (and companies are often similar) the more difficult it is to give up a long-held shibboleth even in the face of the most overwhelming evidence that it is time to “move on”.

If the Pope thinks that all this is helping his particular organism to survive, he is – I believe – sorely mistaken. Celibacy is unnatural – period. Man is HUMAN (sorry to state the obvious). Sex is an integral part of humanity (for the vast majority). But all that is theory and opinion; the point is, the policy JUST DOES NOT WORK, thus leading to multiple and repeated cases of abuse. There may be hand-wrenching, apologies, investigations and promises to put the house in order, but as long as the Pope insists on celibacy, there will be abuse.

And what for? It is all so POINTLESS! Is the Catholic Church maintaining that , for example, the Church of England (CofE) is in some way heretical? If marriage for priests works OK for the CofE, then why not for Catholics? In reality, this dogmatism is only the dead-weight of centuries of tradition, but we should cast off dead weights in the interests of innocent children – and of course (they are human, too) of priests themselves.

Though not a believer, I also sometimes wonder what God would think. In fact, trying to empathize with God is one of my favourite pastimes. Looking down on all this, wouldn’t he be inclined to think the Catholic Church is barmy? How could he POSSIBLY (if he is the God I think he must be) want his humanly-frail priests to be celibate if it means (AS IT DOES) the regular and repeated abuse of children?

By Chris Snuggs