Wow I can't believe how long it has been since I've blogged...stupid working two jobs!

I find it funny that a lot of my blog inspiration comes from things I encounter at work. Today, I was collecting coffee pots and while waiting for the elevator, I ran into our nun. Since my hospital is mildly Catholic, we have a chaplain as well as a nun on staff. She's this itty bitty woman, probably in her late 70's and a total sweetheart. However, as I was making small talk with her, I couldn't help but sorta think that this woman had wasted her entire life in the service of a god that didn't exist.

Just from the few times that I've interacted with her, I can tell she would have made a loving, faithful wife, an excellent mother and the most doting grandma a kid could want. Who knows what else she could have accomplished if she hadn't been stuck in the church. Instead, she has spent her life as a "bride of Christ."

But then I thought...wait, what has this woman done with her "wasted" life? She has probably done several times more charity than I will ever do. Working in a hospital, she's probably helped countless people deal with death or the death of a loved one. She has led a completely selfless life, even if the god she led it for is fake.

I guess this sort of goes along with that "who cares if god isn't real if religion helps people be good" argument. I'm still not sure how to feel about her though. Maybe its more important that, as she is coming to the end of her life, does she feel fulfilled?

Its probably one of those topics with no easy answers...but I'm still interested to hear what others think.

Views: 26

Comment by John Nguyen on July 21, 2009 at 10:54pm
The root of the uncertainty when it comes to questions of the "worth" of lives is the criteria we use to judge them.

If we are to take the moree mainstream understanding of a life's worth, then the value of her life should be judged based on the good that she has done. This, being another ambiguous term, I take to mean the ways in which lives (not merely human) have been enriched by the existence and actions of the person (the meaning of "enrichment" beyond the scope of how far I'm willing to pursue it).

In other words: has the nun made other living being's lives better?

From what you have said, it seems that by all means, she has. Regardless of the reason why her life had worth, it did.

Good acts and attitudes, misguided or not, are good because of their effects. If the benefactor happens to think that they are good because of some objective source of morality, that is irrelevant to the worth of their actions, and consequently, of their lives.

It would be great if people could be motivated to give and help without the threat of damnation to prod them on, and surely there are such people. Unfortunately, they are definitely in the minority. What to make of that, I still don't really know.
Comment by Gaytor on July 22, 2009 at 1:59am
Mother Teresa had difficulties with her faith. The life that some nuns lead is emotionally trying in helping people through suffering. There is a ton of BS that they espouse, and even hate. The contact that most nuns have is with Catholics. While we might want them to live in our definition of reality, most of their followers are going to believe no matter what is said to them. It's a form of enabling but with the best of intentions. I don't think that it's done with an evil heart.
The difficulty with what they do is people leave tons of money to the church and hospitals that ends up with the Vatican. That in turn causes suffering through various channel including over-population and the prorogation of HIV through the advice to not use contraception.
There is no easy answer. A nun at a Catholic Hospital helps people whom agree with her views through a tough time. Our arguments serve no purpose but to alienate people in those hospitals. I respect their intentions and their spirit of caring is greater than anything that I do in my life. The Nuns that educate... Now there is a group that I'd be happy to attack!
Comment by Sajal Banerjee on April 1, 2012 at 5:12pm

May be for this lady, her life is not wasted, but consider the pain all has to bear for following the religious rituals, the bloodshed that's all over the world to prove supremacy of the respective fake GODs.

I am sure this lady would have done similar kind of stuff even if she was not religious.

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