"Nothing is more important than family"

I often hear people state the above as if by doing so they are proving that they are a good person. But as Rod Dreher came to recognize, not just golden calves, but things that if viewed from the right perspective can be quite positive, will turn into idols if taken as more important than they are:
Once Dante unmasked this [family worship] within me, I saw that I too had made false idols of family and place. It's not that loving family and loving place are bad, but that are only good relative to the ultimate good, which is unity with God. We were all professed Christians, but it sometimes seemed that the family's real religion was ancestor worship. -- How Dante Can Save Your Life, p. 125
I had the experience, as a child, of realizing that, while my family's apparent religion was Catholicism, it's true religion was social respectability. This affected my relationship with religion for many, many years.

Nothing is more important than The Good itself: anything else you put in its place has become your golden calf.

4 comments:

  1. Do you have a recommendation for a person who was raised Catholic, as an adult could not swallow the necessity of choosing to believe in absurd-sounding myths, but still recognizes a spiritual void in their life? You know, for a friend.

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    1. Plato. Tao Te Ching. Chogyam Trungpa

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  2. Matt, that was exactly me a couple of decades ago. I found a home in a Universalist Unitarian church. A lot of it may be the great minister, who is still there, though.

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  3. I had the experience, as a child, of realizing that, while my family's apparent religion was Catholicism, it's true religion was social respectability.

    Is it really correct, though, to say that social respectability was your family's religion as opposed to being an ulterior motive for its Catholicism?

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