Re: For all those who ponder...About Charities

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Posted by Ilse on August 02, 2000 at 16:58:35:

In Reply to: Re: For all those who ponder...About Charities posted by Elaine on August 02, 2000 at 15:21:41:

: Dana & Bill -

: As expected, I dissent from this populist movement. (You did expect this, right, Bill?)

: Ah, controversy, controversy ...

: Bill, I agree with your overall sentiments as expressed in the above post. Yes, we do need to keep a watchful eye for many things, not least of which is excessive polarization, particularly along racial lines. However, the emphasis is on the word "excessive." Polarization is a human trait & nothing you or anyone else says will change that. We are naturally drawn to those with whom we share common bonds, be it ethnicity, religion, politics, economic status, etc. People tend to run with those they feel most comfortable with, with those whom seem most familiar in ways, thoughts, & customs. Is there really anything wrong with this? People relate to some over others - rather normal behavior. You see it even within families, right? A particular brother, sister, aunt or what have you, to whom you feel closer because you have, perhaps, more in COMMON.
: This is not to say that one should not interract on many levels with those from other backgrounds and/or points of view. Of course they should; for their own improvement as a person, for the opportunity to open one's mind, & to fulfill the human obligation to be thy brother's keeper. This may be the ultimate key to what you expressed hope for, Bill - really being thy brother's keeper. If we all, or even if most did practice such a philosophy, then we'd assume responsibility for the care & well being of every other human being & we'd never see another Stalin, Mao, Hitler, etc. in action. As simple as this may seem, it hasn't happened because human nature is flawed. Self-interest is a characteristic most can't shake & the dark side is too easily aroused.

: What you have suggested, Bill, is Utopia - which means 'no place.' The perfect society where all are equally good, honest, faithful, charitable, etc. I'm not trying to rain on this parade, nor am I a fatalist. Are you familiar with the 16th century humanist movement? St. Thomas More & Desiderius Erasmus in particular? Both wrote volumes that deal directly with the issues raised by these discussions.

: Taking this a bit further; the society you wish to see is the same theoretical community called for by those who seek a one world government, by those who call themselves communists, & by those who seek to find Nirvana on earth. I'll not hold my breath awaiting such a global community to develop.

: Regarding religion & charities; you're not going to like this, Bill, but I am one of those you might wish to be on guard for. I do believe in a true religion; if I did not, I'd have no need of religion. I'm not going to take this into a discussion on religion itself, but I completely disagree with your warning to beware the man who believes in a true religion. Show me a person who professes a belief in a particular religion, ANY religion, & yet denies it to be true & I'll show you a man with no conviction. What are we to say? That we believe in this system of beliefs but we don't believe it to be true? Religion IS a set of beliefs, behavior, doctrines, attitudes, etc. that expresses or guides one's relationship with a deity or deities - depending upon the individual's particular theological leanings. You wish me to put aside dogma? Never. It is the adherence to such dogma that compels me to behave in the manner you say I should behave in. If I didn't adhere to the doctrines of my faith I would not necessarily care to be charitable, or kind, or virtuous. It is what urges me to strive towards these 'good' characteristics, rather than pursue a course built upon a base nature.

: Having said that, & perhaps unintentionally offending someone, I would add that this does not imply that one should care for or interract only with those of the same faith, nor does it mean one should EVER attempt to coerce another to the same belief. On the contrary, it REQUIRES the professer of such a faith to love thy neighbor no matter what they believe or what they do & to live in a manner that would justify one's beliefs. (Catholic means universal, by the way - for ALL people.)

: Catholic Charities; for the record, the name does not mean this organization assists only Catholics. It is so named because it is an extension of the Catholic Church; an organization whose purpose is to assist those in need ... ALL who are in need. The overwhelming beneficiaries are non-Catholics. And yes, Catholic Charities does work hand in hand with other religious organizations, day in & day out. I assume the same is true of the others you mentioned. On this score, Bill, you have your wish even if they've not purged their religious name. Must they?
: Dana, right. If individuals lived by the rule of charity, beginning with his neighbors, they'd be no need for organized charities.

: Am I a Catholic apologeticist? Yes, I hope so. Does this mean I wish to compel anyone to believe what I believe? No. Or that I concern myself only with fellow Catholics? Not by a long shot. It simply means that I am obliged to know what I believe & must strive everyday to live up to what I say I believe & in so doing, hopefully will be the kind of person Bill said would deter history from repeating itself.

: As you said; "I can't put forward a better course of action....but then each individual
: person is a complex swirl of emotions, thought, beliefs, motivations, desires, values and
: moral codes. No wonder geopolitics is all that magnified in intensity and complexity."

: Absolutely! Rather than suppress that truth, better we should acknowledge it & enhance more positively each aspect you've named. An example; The Catholic Church has a Native American Rite for the celebration of the Mass within American Indian communities. The doctrine is the same; the Mass is still the same- but the celebration is acculturated by language & environment to reflect the culture of the community. Yes, yes to recognizing & focusing on our commonalities, but also to cherishing our differences.

: So, Bill, what I am saying is that rather than purge ourselves of our individual beliefs & mores, we might try living up to them. Your objectives I agree with, your road is where I part.

: Other than that, we agree!!! :)

: Now that I've alienated myself so thoroughly ... great post.

: Elaine


You haven't! Instead you have added greatly to the thread. A very interesting post, that to me contains a lot of food for thought. Thank you!


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