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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019) and AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Cult of Misery strikes again - Dignitas Personae

The Cult of Misery has stuck again with the release (on 12 December 2008) of a new Vatican instruction on bioethics, Dignitas Personae. This reiterates the misery cult's irrational opposition to just about every development in reproductive and genetic technology involving human beings. As usual, the actual or possible secular benefits take a back seat to ridiculous ideas of natural law: the cult's religious morality, which it is so fond of trying to impose on the rest of us using the state's ample resources of policemen, prison cells, and guns.

Once more, we see why the Roman Catholic Church is a pre-eminent threat to reason, science, and freedom. I stress that I do not want to see any religious viewpoint suppressed by the power of the state, and I don't think anyone should be intolerant in the sense of advocating this. Let Pope Benedict and his fellow cultists believe whatever superstitious nonsense they like. I don't like it, but I think it should be tolerated in that sense.

But if open mockery and denunciation amount to a form of "intolerance" then it strikes me that this kind of so-called "intolerance" of the intolerant is justified. At the personal, rather than political, level, we have every reason to work against the Cult of Misery and other arrogant religious cults, no matter how large they may be. Perhaps one day we'll be rid of the scourge of religious belief entirely, and the world will surely be better for it.

I am writing this in New South Wales, safe from Victoria's uncertain, dangerous, and (ironically) divisive laws on religious vilification. That legislation should be repealed; meanwhile, sometimes there's merit in travelling to another jurisdiction.


Brian said...

In a quote I saw Life cannot be reduced to a clump of cells or something similar. I agree totally. So, hopefully the church will stop saying a clump of cells is a life as they think that life cannot be reduced to such. :)

Blake Stacey said...

I think the Vatican's two "fundamental principles" pretty much define "doomed from the get-go".

The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life.

But since we're all infected with Original Sin, that doesn't matter, does it?

The origin of human life has its authentic context in marriage and in the family, where it is generated through an act which expresses the reciprocal love between a man and a woman. Procreation which is truly responsible vis-à-vis the child to be born must be the fruit of marriage.


Russell Blackford said...

Ugh! Yes, I know. But unfortunately, a lot of people will take those two fatuous "principles" seriously.

Blake Stacey said...

I've been trying to read through the available information on this "Instruction", but I have to take it in small doses. Taking what they say at face value keeps leading me into absurd conclusions: is a person conceived via IVF somehow lacking in "human dignity"? What happens if a child is accidentally conceived three months before a couple gets married — will that child carry some imperfection in their soul which all the loving care in the world cannot eradicate? What about all those dignified humans who die of natural causes in the foetal stage?

In their Q&A, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops state, "the document says that in making use of these new technological powers the human being 'participates in the creative power of God' and acts as 'the steward of the value and intrinsic beauty of creation.'" This is the sort of language which secularists are often happy to hear, as it can be part of an environmentalist outlook (what they call "creation care" in the U.S. and perhaps elsewhere). I think it's time to set limits on our happiness.

You know, usually I'm so tired of the science/religion clash business that I just don't want to deal with it. This week, though, positions you'd take to be straw men have been up and wandering the streets, and the spectacle has been freakish enough to hold my attention.