Too much book-learning makes baby Jesus cry

19 11 2008

In 1378 John Wycliffe first translated the Bible into English . . . and it appears certain rightwing Catholics are rueing the day.

The Rt Rev Patrick O’Donoghue, the Bishop of Lancaster, has claimed that graduates are spreading scepticism and sowing dissent. Instead of following the Church’s teaching they are “hedonistic”, “selfish” and “egocentric”, he said. [. . .] While not naming names, he suggested that such people had been compromised by their education, which he said had a “dark side, due to original sin”.Prominent Catholics in public life include Mark Thompson, the BBC’s director general, and Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister.

Bishop O’Donoghue, who has recently published a report on how to renew Catholicism in Britain, argued that mass education has led to “sickness in the Church and wider society”

In short, too much education is teh evil, because those Catholics who have eaten of this forbidden fruit and have become influential have “corrupted the faith of those who had not gone to university.” And what’s worse,

In the case of education, we can see its distortion through the widespread dissemination of radical scepticism, positivism, utilitarianism and relativism.”Taken together, these intellectual trends have resulted in a fragmented society that marginalizes God, with many people mistakenly thinking they can live happy and productive lives without him.

Just think . . . all this time I’ve been depressed and unproductive because I lack belief in the existence of deities. Ditto, these sad and lazy fools.

But O’Donoghue isn’t the first British Catholic clergyman to attack thinking: earlier this year the highest-ranked Catholic in the land warned that reason leads to terror and oppression. It’s just O’Donoghue is far more abrupt about what is at stake: educated Catholics, their minds poisoned by the “dark side” of their education—“original sin and concupiscence”—leading the sheep astray. Is this the voice of an institution worried about its waning power and influence, and increasing irrelevance? Or is it the voice of an institution that is in so much despair about its ability to defend its theological claims with reasoned argument and evidence, that it simply falls to demonising reason itself and demonising those who, having set foot inside the gates of a university, have developed the capacity to question Catholic dogma (and we can’t have that)?

Perhaps it’s both.

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4 responses

19 11 2008
1minionsopinion

I was amazed at that article, too. I guess they wind up denouncing education because their beliefs can’t stand up for themselves without the crutches of ignorance and delusion. Can’t lead and influence people who no longer see churches as the only road to understanding the world either.

Think Education is on the cusp of becoming the 8th deadly sin?

19 11 2008
Bruce

…utilitarianism and relativism.”Taken together, these intellectual trends…

They can’t be taken together. Utilitarianism and moral relativism are mutually incompatible.

But that’s just me corrupted by an education. When you throw out reason and education, you can make any old crap up.

20 11 2008
ozatheist

surprise surprise, people think and then realise god is irrelevant and they can live happy fulfilled lives without him.

Not that my life’s exactly happy at the moment, but that’s got nothing to do with any belief of disbelief in any sky fairy. In fact on reflection if I had believed in god I think I’d be even more unhappy. (ooh I feel a blog post coming on, thanks for giving me an idea)

23 11 2008
Sean the Blogonaut

Is this why the religious right is so concerned with internet censorship? Not because of porn but because of the free access to disseting information?

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