Maybe we should be a little more flexible regarding murder. We need to stop thinking in terms of black and white truth. Let us listen to the voice of the murderer!
Maybe we should listen more to the voice of the gang rapists. Don’t just say “Here is the wall. Rape is wrong.” That is intolerant, isn’t it?
Maybe we should listen to the voice of the torturer. We should not close our minds and say that torture is wrong. Stop being so narrow minded!
Maybe we should be more flexible regarding the child molester. We should not close our minds to the virtues of child molestation.
I know many will say that these statements are outrageous, and they are (though I suspect there would even be some out there that would agree with or defend them). But recently, a top, influential aide to the Catholic Pope Francis rebuked another Catholic for being too rigid and unrelenting in his affirmation of Catholic doctrine, especially on the subject of marriage and divorce.
I am not a Catholic so it doesn’t matter to me what goes on inside the Catholic church, and I believe the Catholics are in error on many points, anyway. But the aides’ condemnation–a condemnation, I might add, that has stood without papal rebuke–seems to me to be a reflection of the general tendency in our society to dismiss absolute standards and objective truth. The aide is reported to have said “The world isn’t like that, my brother.”
The aide went on to say, “You should be a bit flexible when you hear other voices, so you don’t just listen and say, ‘here is the wall’.” Furthermore, he said we think “too much in rigid black-and-white terms.” This is the attitude so many in our society take regarding truth in general. To many, truth is whatever anyone wants it to be. Yet most everyone–except the most depraved–would dismiss as ludicrous the statements which began this post.
Some will say that those statements are not on the same level as church doctrine regarding marriage and divorce. But the problem with such a view is that it fails to recognize that God and not man determines what is right and wrong, even in religion. Especially in religion! It fails to understand that all truth is objective.
The Pope’s aide says “The world isn’t like that, my brother.” Well, no, because there is sin in the world. Sin is a violation of the will of God (I John 3:4). The world is so full of sin that Jesus referred to satan as the “prince of this world” (John 14:30). Paul said he is the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4). John said that all that is in the world is the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (I John 2:15). So, no, the world is not black and white–but God’s will most certainly is!
John said “whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God” (II John 9). Jesus said he that is not with Him, is against Him (Matt. 12:30). There is no middle ground when it comes to Truth and Right (Matt. 6:24). Many, however, have and continue to try to “change the truth of God into a lie” (Rom. 1:25), an action they will ultimately regret deeply when God shall reveal His wrath against those who do wrong (Rom. 2:1-11; II Cor. 5:10). Jesus told the woman taken in adultery, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). How narrow minded is that? Didn’t Jesus know He should be a little more flexible?
What is even more sad is that this Catholic aide doesn’t even recognize that he holds an untenable position. The aide urges tolerance toward other views but is being intolerant in his condemnation of his fellow Catholic. Either he doesn’t even recognize that he contradicts his own position or, worse, he doesn’t care.
Eric L. Padgett