As I stared at the clock, it read 3:14am. Like a nightly ritual I turned on my TV and lied in bed and began to slowly slip away to dreamland. As I began to subconsciously change channels, I settled on an HBO special on the scandals revolving the Catholic Church. The special delved into the circumstances regarding the situation as well as having first hand accounts of ‘abuse survivors’. What astonished me was that most of the victims still attended church on a regular basis with even more determination to become a ‘good catholic.’ As I listened to one after another speak of the unforgivable acts that occured, only one thing came to mind: Why? Not why did the events happen, but why do they still believe in the church and what it stands for.
Many believe that religion causes wars. That is partly true. They weren’t called the ‘Crusades’ for nothing. But aside from that, religion also provides hope, reason and most importantly faith. Faith that humanity has a future. Faith that there is some good in this world. Seeing the torn faces of the ‘abuse survivors’ I could only feel pity for them. Listening to them speak words that could only come from the heart was surreal. These were people who had there ‘faith’ taken away from them. The church is supposed to embody the teachings and beliefs they preach. They are in a sense the ‘library’ or ‘school’ of the religion. The church teaches people ways to interpret ideas and concepts and how to apply them to there daily life. From how to treat others to views on abortion and same sex marriages, the church plays a vital role in many peoples lives. But for the people who are victims of the church, they are faced with a room with no light. To find the switch to turn on the lights, they must go to the only place they know: back to the church.
Wouldn’t an event so devastating and so life changing not make one question there ‘faith’ or whats left of it? To make the question clear, I will make the comparison of love and religion. Love is a word we use to describe an emotion. While there is no general way to define what it ‘feels like to be in love’, when it happens, we just know. Whether it is the sudden realization that you can’t live without someone or the fact that you will miss them that one weekend you are gone, we can say we know love exists. When we break up with someone that we love, we hate the world. We hate everything associated with love and that relationship. Still, we won’t deny that fact that love exists. Going back to religion, we have the similar situation as with love. An individual that is a devoted to there religion can go to church everyday, pray everyday and live by the teachings. But the main difference is that while in love we can experience it and know it exist, in religion an incident like the situation with the priests that sexually abused the children, it makes one question its existence.
As I once heard someone say,
“Life without love is empty, but life without hope, meaning or faith is not a life at all”