When religious faith is marginalized, particularly Christian faith and, in my view, especially Catholic faith, something has to fill the void... and something has.
In a recent case in North Carolina, a sweet faced and intellectually accomplished nun came to a Catholic high school to address the students about human sexuality. We don’t have the text of sister’s talk, but from the outrage expressed she not only criticized homosexual actions, but was down on divorce and sexual sin.
The mother of one student reported her son’s comments, “We had the worst assembly today, we tried
to leave but were made to sit down. There are students in this school who are openly gay and some who are not out yet. Obviously, they felt bullied.” A petition organized by students stated, “We resent the fact that a school wide assembly became a stage to blast the issue of homosexuality after Pope Francis said in an interview this past fall that ‘we can not insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptives methods.’ ” Other students and parents were “outraged” and “in tears.” A meeting between parents and school administrators was held in which the wild emotions over the issue continued.
While high emotion often accompanies hot topics like sex in schools what we are seeing in the current moral debate in America is more than a typical emotional reaction to sex education. Instead of this being an emotional element in a heated debate, the debate seemed to consist of nothing but heated emotions. This is not emotion about morality this is emotion instead of morality, and there is a philosophical term for it: Boo-hurrah morality.
Another term for Boo-hurrah morality is emotivism. Emotivism is a gut level theory of the origin of ethics which suggests that moral judgements are no more than emotional reactions expressed forcibly to change someone else’s attitudes and actions. If you think this is all made up academic hocus pocus you would be correct. It was first proposed by the logical positivist A. J. Ayer in his 1936 book Language, Truth and Logic—a book which should have been titled, There’s No Such Thing As Language, Truth and Logic.
Emotivists contend that words which suggest an objective morality like “good”, “bad”, “right”, “wrong”, “should”, “ought” have no basis in reality. They are merely the emotional expressions of the speaker and that he uses these words to bully someone else to do what he wants. It’s called “boo-hurrah” morality because the morality consists of nothing more than one person saying, “Hurrah! to this” or “Boo! to that.” Morality is thus reduced to “It’s right because I said so loudly” or “It’s wrong because I objected loudly.” Emotivism excludes social, historical, cultural, spiritual, and religious considerations from the discussion of morality.
Emotivism is moral judgment as exclamation. Thus if Sister Laurel says, “Divorce is bad” she is only saying “I don’t like divorce.” If the students of Charlotte Catholic say “Fornication is okay.” they mean “I like fornication.”
I am not suggesting that American high school students and their parents are students of A.J. Ayer or that they are consciously aware that their “meta-ethical conclusion is emotivism”. Instead I am observing that emotivism describes the moral morass of our society.
Much more at the link.
We are beginning to more fully see the consequence of society's embrace of relativism.