I will be starting a new reflection series on the ego and how it stifles grace and truth. Here is my first post.
Psychology pioneer and atheist Sigmund Freud developed the idea of the psychic apparatus. He posited that human beings have an Id, ego and super-ego. The Id is the ‘animal’ part of the mind. Ego is the self that monitors the Id and super-ego. The super-ego is the higher levels of cognitive function in regards to thinking, discrimination and morality. Freud argued that these three must work together otherwise the individual would be mentally ill or act and think erratically.
Today, we are seeing a big problem related to the ego. Each individual wants to know better than the other even when evidence sides only with one side. It never ceases to amazing me how many times I have gotten insulted, blocked or unfollowed on social media just for thinking differently than others. Some of those doing this are Catholics themselves; people who are supposed to be ‘on my side’ in regards to religious faith. This is unfortunate indeed and feeds the atheist stereotype of religious people that they are afraid of countering views and put up shields.
Recently, I have been receiving some heat from Catholics who got offended after I found nothing wrong with the light show at the Vatican. I find that this anger stems from their political persuasions. Pope Francis has addressed this problem numerous times. Some people in religion tend to identify more with the views of their political parties than that of the Church’s teaching. This is why we see Catholics and Protestant Christians call the Pope a socialist just because he wants the poor to have their fair share of the world’s wealth. The same happens in regards to climate change or ‘global warming.’ The science has proven that the Earth is warming. Levels of co2 are rising at an extraordinary rate since the industrial revolution. Despite the hard evidence for this, some Catholics and Protestant Christians will turn blue in the face claiming all of this is a hoax. The same was said of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s as well I might add. Back then there were people denying that this virus existed and that it was all part of a government conspiracy. Even today, a few still believe this.
In the remake of the 1950’s classic, “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” a physicist meets with Klaatu played by actor Keanu Reeves known for his role in The Matrix trilogy. The movie is about an extraterrestrial who comes to Earth with a Robot. He states that humanity is a violent race and is taking its drama to space. Other extraterrestrial species are concerned and decide to send Klaatu to warn Earthlings. The Earthlings do what they do best, war. They attack him which causes the robot to destroy the aggressive troops. Klaatu becomes convinced that humanity is just a savage race that just loves to fight and kill, so he programs the robot to destroy Earth. A woman tries to convince him to change his mind but he does not. He came in peace, tried to reason but human beings just wanted to annihilate the threat (him). This woman takes him to a renown physicist, Professor Banrhardt hoping he will convince Klaatu to change his mind and allow Earth to exist. He tells him something very important which is true about the human species:
“But it’s only on the brink that people find the will to change. Only at the precipice do we evolve.”
This rings true of humanity. It is only when humanity is in ‘hot water,’ so to speak, that it changes. Humans wait until terrorists attack until they take action to secure their nations. They wait until diseases spread before looking for a cure. Now, they are waiting till the Earth’s climate changes and wipes out cities and wildlife until they take action. This is unfortunate because at this precipice it may be too late.
The human ego is the problem. Those Catholics and others who get upset with me, insult me, block me do so because they are so wrapped around in their own world that any countering view is seen as a threat. When I or others unwrapped their ‘safety blanket’ that soothes their cognitive bias, this leaves them vulnerable. When the human mind is vulnerable, the Id takes over. The animal in the human become defensive and either flees or fights. This is just how human beings are hard wired. I speak more about this in my upcoming book, “Atheism Is Stupid” in a context related to atheists who too get caught up in their cognitive bias and refuse to accept any truth.
In the book of Genesis, we see this human ego getting in the way of God’s will. God tells Adam & Eve not to eat of the tree of life of good and evil. They disobey thinking they know better than God and eat of it. Throughout Sacred Scripture we see the human ego stifling the grace of God and pushing aside truth. When Jesus reveals that He is the “bread of life” and tells the people to “eat His flesh,” all of them leave Him thinking He is crazy. Here we see the human ego once again. People do not like anything that challenges their cognitive status quo.
As a former atheist and graduate of the sciences and philosophy, I am in a different position than so-called ‘cradle Catholics.’ Religious people who are actively religious since early formative years are more receptive to beliefs, even if those beliefs are not supported by evidence. A recent study showed children in Catholic school have trouble distinguishing fiction from non-fiction compared to children who go to secular schools. I consider it a fortune that I was born in an atheist environment where my mind formed to be skeptical and not just believe things. This allows me more freedom of inquiry and questioning. Some Catholics do not understand this and attack me for it. Others have thought of me as being arrogant or trying to win every argument. This shows to me their state of mind. They seek combat. Everything to them is a combat. That is not how I see it. When I get into discussions with fellow Catholics or even atheists, it is not a battle to me. I am not trying to be right and prove them wrong. I discuss with them to the point that hopefully they will see if they are wrong or not based on how the discussion goes and how facts are applied.
Moreover, science was my first ‘religion,’ so to speak. It was science that brought me to God. The Catholic Church’s role in science brought me to the Catholic Church. I was not converted by a priest like Corapi, or EWTN; nor was I converted by following some visionaries who claim to see Mary. It was science that did the trick. That being said, I am extremely fond of science. If a Catholic or anyone is going to come to me and deny evolution, global warming etc, then he or she must show me hard and strong evidence that is equal to or greater than its contrary. Telling me that “I am wrong” does not convince me. Linking me to sites with the rhetoric of journalists or other Catholics is not evidence to me. I respect their views and will read them, but if I do not see evidence, science and math in it, and if present they are not strong, then I will not be convinced.
Now this stance has been interpreted as arrogance by some when in reality it is not. My stance is to show me proof. My position changes when I see strong evidence. To date, I see no convincing evidence that proves that global warming is a hoax. One can even do test it oneself with precipitation. If someone refuses to believe scientists or the evidence, then one can do an experiment right at home and find out for themselves. They can take snow or rain and use one as a control to measure against. Next, they continue to collect samples each time there is precipitation. They can do this for 6 months of more. The longer the better because there will be more data to see any trends. When the period of the collection of samples is done, they can test for co2 levels. If each consecutive precipitation sample shows an increase of co2 level, then the person basically proved that global warming is real. It is as simple as that. Moreover, if one has time and money, one can travel to different locations and collect samples from different regions and do the experiment.
There is no denying that we have a problem. Now, is the Earth going to flood? Is Florida going to sink when the next storm hits? No, not at all. No science states this. What science states is that the Earth is warming do to co2 levels. Co2 traps UV rays in the atmosphere causing it to warm faster. The atmosphere is the engine for climate. It is here when the water cycle takes hold. If the Earth warms more, more water will evaporate and will go back up to the atmosphere. There will be more energy there which will create these super storms we have been seeing lately. They will also create heatwaves like we have seen in Europe, droughts like we have seen in the west coast of the United States. Moreover, since the Earth is getting warmer, oceans will increase in temperature. This will disturb the natural balance. Sea creatures that can only exist in a certain temperature will start to die. Usually natural selection balances this out, but this takes millions of years and if the Earth is warming every year, then this does not give organisms in the seas enough time to adapt and evolve to the new temperatures. On Earth we have a food chain. Smaller animals are meals for bigger ones. The warmer water affects the smaller animals more so these begin to die. As they die, larger animals begin to starve because they have no food. This causes a chain reaction of extinction which will eventually wipe out all life on Earth since we are all depended on one another. Unless God comes and has manna fall from the sky again, humanity will suffer greatly do to the disruption of the food chain. There are nearly 7 billion people on Earth. Those are a lot of mouths to feed, so you do the math.
We must be honest about this. Those who claim global warming is a hoax are doing a disservice to the virtue of truth. Unfortunately, these people get their information from conspirators who are not experts in the field and explain global warming erroneously. They often confuse climate with weather which are not the same thing. Weather is what happens each day, climate is a set norm for a region or place. Weather changes every second while climate takes hundreds or more years to change gradually. We must not wait to be at the precipice to take action now.
The Vatican recently had a light show calling attention to endangered species, global warming and poverty. They allowed this because they found that it fit the message of Laudato Si. Those who are out there calling it some Illuminati New Age Paganism thing are just being ridiculous. There is absolutely no evidence for this. This is why I wrote my post yesterday criticizing Father Z’s post. Many people have messaged me about it congratulating me, some others even had some bad things to say of him which I disapproved of, a few attacked me saying my post was ‘uncharitable.’ I understand all points of view and respect them. However, as stated before, I am a man of science, not superstition. I need evidence. Drumming up tall tales about New Age conspiracies is just nonsense to me. If I told you that the the White House is hiding aliens, will you believe me right then and there? Put yourself in my shoes. I found Father Z’s post extremely uneducated and unbecoming of an educated cleric. That is my opinion and apparently the opinion of many who messaged me privately. I like his posts on liturgy, but this one post was clearly done without thinking on his part.
I am not being arrogant by sharing my knowledge. Science does not have all the answers, neither does the Church. We must be realistic. We must work together to care for our world. If you want to block or unfollow me, fine. I am not here to win a popularity contest. This is not about me. I know some people immaturely use unfollowing as daggers, but that does not register with me. My mind works on a rational level, not emotional. Either way, I will not stop from telling the truth whether Catholic or scientific. I am not conservative or liberal. I go by the facts that are supported by evidence.
We must not let our ego get in the way. This is not about being conservative or liberal, but about truth.