I’m writing this more for myself than anyone else. I’m not refuting or supporting any point of view. I will say that in order for me to sift through the garbage or pearls of contemporary “pop philosophy” I have to spend way too much time and effort. The “truth” is I may enjoy both a little too much.
The “truth wars” were fascinating to me at first. Reading about the battles between realities often times reminded me of a trip to a psyche ward. Listening to presumably intelligent folks dissect philosophy to the point it lay lifeless in pieces on coffee stained copy paper was amusing. The nagging sense that someone would develop any theory or treatise just to be the one to prove truth was or wasn’t true just became nauseous.
Semantics may be the three card molly of amateur philosophers, and I don’t consider myself a philosopher, but I do look for truth. I read and listen as these crafty thinkers shuffle the deck of semantics between formal, lexical, and conceptual semantics to prove they know the truth about truth being objective or subjective; and that’s as far as I’ll go down that rabbit hole.
My point is that truths are found on many levels. It is a truth that catholicism is evil when using lexical semantics. One look at the history of any institution will quickly reveal a violence often touted for the good. It is easy to fall into this trap.
For example: It made sense to the Catholic Church to work in cohesion with the Red Cross to assist Nazi war criminals along the “rat line” to Rome where they could receive their new identities using Red Cross refugee documents. During this time communism was a real threat. Hitler wouldn’t have destroyed the church as communism would, so the Catholic Church chose the lesser of two very real evils.
Using a formal semantic approach those conditions create a frame of mind where the church was only looking out for humanity. Communism’s disdain for the church was a threat to the world and doing anything to prevent communism from spreading further West was a noble pursuit.
Using conceptual semantics I could argue about the innate fact that the world was under real threat during this time. Folks were destroyed by the millions. This was the one real Armageddon times of our history where evil and good faced each other and it created a frame of mind we can no longer grasp, except through stories or movies. Understanding the threat to the world gave every institution a sense of survival, and we think and act different in this state of mind.
It seems the truth is that the Catholic Church compromised its values by helping Nazi war criminals based on their fear of communism. Wether that’s evil or not hinges on individual semantics. I personally don’t believe the Catholic Church is evil, but understand how folks could craft this opinion.
So I could justify or malign religion using these approaches to support the statement that Catholicism is evil as a truth. This rubric seems to be popular among many of the folks out there debating truth. It is not always an intentional deceit by the person espousing their opinion, but it seems plausible that it is intentional on another level by folks trying to popularize their ideas as philosophical. Either way we should acknowledge and highlight how dangerous it is to follow or perpetrate ideas that give us pause.
The truth is never simple. It will always find an exception in the minds of someone trying to justify a position. Language is more complicated than the average person gives credit. Linguistics have been a constant companion of philosophy and can be used as a weapon, crutch, or light depending on intention. All of these variables combined with the complexity of the human condition and it’s response to society and culture make for an elusive target.
It may always be akin to that movement we see out of the corner of our eye that never manifests itself more than an illusion, but haunts our thoughts with something to grasp; it’s there non the less.