Monday, December 6

"They put the 'damn' in Amsterdam."
- My roommate

Today has been spent primarily reflecting on the moral and spiritual mess that is the Netherlands.

It began today in CCD class when my co-teacher was reviewing what we had established in our study of morality to date in the semester (we teach 7th and 8th graders). We had already established the principle of non-contradiction, the non-relative nature of morality, the application laws stemming from human nature not only physically but spiritually. Today we wated to make these foundations, based on inane examples, hit home.

It began with a student who asked why abortion wasn't to be considered simply an opinion. So we applied all of the above to this example, and it worked quite well. Then we discussed what happens when one begins to view morality as an "opinion" rather than as something proceeding from the way humans are designed. Our case in point was the Netherlands: when morality becomes an opinion, you are obliged, are you not, to let everyone hold their own opinion.

How has this played out in the Netherlands? A friend of ours (met over this blog!) told us of his encounter with some Dutch students. He asked, for whatever reason, how their grandparents were. "Grandparents?" the students asked. Yeah, you know: your parents' parents, everyone has them... "There are no grandparents in the Netherlands," was the dead-serious reply. They all move to France for fear they'll be euthanized.

And we went on to talk about the other ways in which the Netherlands is a morally stunning land. (At lunch, another friend commented that the State Department should issue a travel advisory for all Americans visiting the Netherlands under 12 months or over 65.) But I remembered, after class, that a priest I know who had been in Paris in the 1940s had said that the Dutch Church was among the strongest in Europe.

What happened?

This link was written in 1988 and explores the self-destruction of the Dutch Church and the underlying factors which paved the way. It's a worthy, but very depressing, read.

Growth of a 'new church': the Dutch experiment

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