Tuesday, September 06, 2016

If you don't have the occasion to peak into the alternate reality which is Secularism/Humanism/Atheism, you wouldn't know that Mother Teresa was...

...simply the most evil woman who ever lived.

//However, Mother Teresa was no saint, she was instead a moral monster, a sadistic religious fanatic who took pleasure in the suffering of others, and denied appropriate medical care to the sick and dying.//

You might think that this is the position held by a few non-representative kooks on the internet, but the mantra that Mother Teresa was evil, evil, evil is actually mainstream among Humanists and Secularists.

Here is a response to this argument to perfection:

//As the Catholic Church canonizes Agnes Bojaxhlu, I find myself encountering a peculiar thing from the more radically left-fringe of my internet awareness.

Article after internet article, attacking the woman most of us knew as Mother Teresa.  If those articles are to be believed, she was a monster, a glazed-eye fanatic who abused the oppressed and cozied up to dictators for her own psychotic self-aggrandizement.  That way of understanding her life was first and most aggressively pitched by the late and much lamented atheist provocateur Christopher Hitchens, who at least had the advantage of wit, a mastery of the language, and his own peculiar dissolute charm.

The latest wave of condemnation has none of his talent.

She is, by the standards of her accusers, a psychopath.  The most evil woman who ever lived.

The charges against her seem to fall into several different categories.

First, that she was anti-abortion and believed that divorce was problematic.  She also opposed contraception.  I personally don't share what was likely her perspective on some of these issues.  Why?

Because I'm not Catholic.  I mean, she was Catholic, after all.  Right?  And she's being made a saint in the Catholic church, right?  That a Catholic saint would hold orthodox Catholic positions seems rather a silly thing to get one's knickers in a twist about.  What matters to me...what matters to anyone grounded in reality...is what a person actually believes and how their belief impacts what they do.

That gets us to attack point number two.  She believed that there was an inherent nobility in poverty, and that enduring suffering has redemptive power.  This is also a Catholic position, pretty radically so.  It's also a pretty basically Christian position, one that I share.  She insisted on telling the poor that they were worthy, that their suffering wasn't in vain, and that they had value as human beings no matter what their condition.

Why is this wrong?  Well, because it must be wrong.  Spun the way her prosecutors are spinning it, her care for the poor was abuse because it celebrated suffering and did not challenge systemic injustice.  Saying that the endurance of suffering is noble becomes the foundation of the charge that she was a sadist.

Again, this seems absurd.  Faced with someone dying in squalor, you can either affirm their life or not.  You can frame their suffering as meaningless, as something inflicted on them by a power beyond their control.  "Your life up until this point, all the hurts and losses?  A waste of time.  Being poor sucks. Oh, you're dying?  Pity.  Hope oblivion works for you." //

One thing I've noticed is the cramped, bitter hatred of the Teresa-haters. I then compare it to the magnanimity of her supporters.  The former comes out far, far behind.

That says a lot.

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