Chatting with clerics
I can’t help noticing that clerics say odd things sometimes. I suppose it’s their job, but it surprises me anyway. I suppose it surprises me that they don’t try to cover up more.
The Bishop of Oxford (again), for instance. He said something very droll.
I am sure the Roman Catholic bishops are intelligent, rational people, but their starting point on embryo research is mistaken. They believe that the newly fertilised egg, the tiny bundle of multiplying cells smaller than a pin head, has the same right to life as an adult. But more than two-thirds of fertilised eggs are lost in nature anyway. If each of these really is a person, that is, an eternal soul, it would lead to the absurd conclusion that heaven is mainly populated by people who have never been born.
Ah yes, how absurd – but is it any more absurd than the conclusion that heaven exists and that it is mainly populated by people who have been born? Not a lot. The whole idea of a heaven populated by dead people is absurd, yet here is this grown man treating it as a matter of fact.
The other day Gene Robinson, the gay bishop of New Hampshire (the one who has made life so difficult for the archbishop and his friends) was on Fresh Air. Terri Gross asked for his views on abortion, and he gave a both-and reply, the first part of which was that ‘all life is sacred’ and the second of which is that it’s for the woman to decide. It’s odd that churchy people keep saying that, and that no one takes them up for it. They don’t believe all life is sacred! Nobody does, and they’re no exception. Bacteria, viruses, mosquitoes, weeds, parasites, vegetables, fruits, grains – churchy people don’t think those kinds of life are sacred. It’s pompous rhetoric, and they shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it, because it can’t possibly be true. Yet get away with it they do.
The other other day Desmond Tutu was on the local public radio station. I admire Tutu, as most people do; from what I know he’s a sterling fella. But he did say this one thing…that the universe is a moral place, and that truth and justice always ultimately prevail. No – it isn’t and they don’t. Especially the universe is not a moral place – I think that’s such a mistake. The universe is a bunch of gas and rock; it’s no more moral than my kettle is when I put it on to boil water. We’re here and the universe is there and the universe couldn’t possibly care less about us or about morality. If there’s going to be any morality it has to come from us. That’s sad, because we’re not much good at it, but we’re all there is. And, alas, truth and justice don’t ultimately prevail, not least because there is no ulitmately, there’s only a series of nows, all of which are shot through with truth and justice not prevailing.