Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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Catholic Education Daily

 

Archbold: The Coming Thud on American Campuses

For years, many have warned that the culture has been sliding down a slippery slope. We’ve been on it for so long you might expect to hear a thud soon from hitting bottom. But we haven’t yet.

Every time we think we’ve hit bottom, the floor drops and we’re forced to realize that there’s a lot of falling still to do. And you can thank Harvard University for recently showing us that there’s so much further to fall with their announcement that they’re approving a BDSM club.

For those who don’t know, BDSM is short for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism. Amazingly, Inside Higher Ed reported that Harvard is not alone in this, because Cornell, Tufts, and Yale Universities already have similar fetish clubs on campus.

This is the kind of stupidity that could only be approved by people with PhD’s. And while many may mock this, please remember that things occur regularly now that would have seemed outlandish just twenty years ago. Yesterday’s punchline is today’s cultural mainstream.

But all of this makes perfect sense if you stipulate secularism as the dominant religion on most college campuses. And to stipulate secularism is to agree that there is no objective truth, no right and wrong, and no inherent dignity to each human person.

In every interaction I have with people I strive to never make people simply a means to some other end. Even going through tolls or taking a cab, I attempt some level of human interaction with toll takers and cab drivers. Whether it’s asking how they’re doing, if they’re busy, cold, or hot. And I wish them a good day. Human interaction isn’t supposed to be a “you get yours, I get mine” negotiation. As a Christian, I believe we are here to enrich each other’s lives. We are called to love. If an institution doesn’t accept that as its premise, why would you want to attend there or pay for your children to attend there?

That’s why I believe that faithful Catholic education is the counter-revolution today. This is where the battleground is today.

I’ll sometimes hear the slander that Catholic education is almost an oxymoron as if faith and reason are mutually exclusive. Some ask how can you have education in a faith filled environment? I would ask how can you have one that’s not. Education must be more than facts, a moral force, or it is wasted. In their rush to rid every subject of theological implication, too many colleges have rid all actions of any moral implication.

We are becoming a culture without givens where every choice is valid and equal. All human interaction is judged simply by whether there was consent. Not whether it is right or wrong or harmful or helpful. Consent is the sole justification. What’s the one message on sexuality delivered on most campuses today? “No means no.” That’s it. There’s little or no discussion of the harm of the hookup culture. It’s all about consent.

In the same vein, on the wider cultural level, it’s polls. When there’s no right and wrong to argue, it inevitably comes down to a Darwinian appeal to numbers. It’s often said that this country is having heated arguments over issues like the contraception mandate and abortion. We’re not. We’re being showed polls that say a majority of women contracept or a majority believe in abortion. We don’t discuss whether any of it is right or wrong. Just if it’s been consented to by a majority. The inviolability of the soul has been replaced by the tyranny of the poll.

On many college campuses today, one of the only moral sins is racism. But racism is wrong because it devalues indiviudals. And isn’t that what sadism does? Isn’t that what the hookup culture does? Even when a person submits to it willingly, it is still submission to sin.

On too many college campuses today nothing is necessarily right but religion is definitely wrong. So colleges continue descending the slippery slope into moral anarchy and they have the ignorance to be enjoying the ride. They think the ride will last forever.

I find myself listening intently for the thud because it’s only when we hit bottom that we can start looking up and start the climb.

But no thud yet. Still falling.

Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.

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