I am interested in getting back to somet …
I am interested in getting back to something I wanted to discuss earlier. Critics of the Catholic Church (including my parents) often conflate two issues which I see as separate issues — “conservative” teachings such as no contraception, no abortion, no women priests, etc. and a human hierarchy that enforces these teachings and often is corrupt. They come to identify these two pheonomenon so closely that they cannot separate them and basically come to believe that one leads to the other.
What I find ideal as a Muslim living as a minority in a non-Muslim society (although it leads to other problems) is that I can advocate for a stark rigid theology or even fiqh but can do so in an atmosphere of free exchange of ideas where no hierarchy can enforce one correct opinion. To me, although the presence of such hierarchies is obviously problematic for those with different opinions because they can be actually persecuted or silenced, it is also tremendously problematic for those who agree with the dominant opinion because they are tainted by being associated with the ideas of a corrupt structure.
I hope what I’m saying makes sense. It is similar to some of the arguments about why secular states are good for religion, but I’m extending it to cover church hierarchies that do not have state power. By the way, the implications of this to my mind are not as easy as many liberals would claim…I think that there are certain responsibilities to enjoin the good and forbid the wrong and one cannot merely shrink from any type of power structure in order to remain “pure”.