Family Values

As the Holiday season continues on, the essentiality and the mere existence of family values are becoming more and more of a relevant topic amongst individuals. If whether, individually, the evidence of any family values taught in the past are apparent, if family values have changed with time and if so, how have they changed, and what are family values in its most pure form. Focusing on these topics alone segues into a seemingly never ending list of subtopics and controversies/disagreements, some of which are going to be discussed and dissected. Alongside a few of the factors that may or may not encompass such changes.

America is very popular for its renowned rags-to-riches system. A system that doesn’t permanently designate any individual to a particular way of life, but rather emphasizes work ethic, morale, and in some cases mere luck to climb up the invisible hierarchal setup of society. This sense of self-reliance is only a microcosm of a much larger issue at hand. As it was in the early nineteenth century, humanism called for a boast on man-made accomplishments, and questioning if there really is a higher power or ethereal figure dictating all of the world’s happenings. Although it did not necessarily cause a decline in religious participation at the time, its impact on the heavily theocratic society of Western Europe as well as the “New World” is undeniable. Dynamic individuals from that time period such as Erasmus, Marx, and Camus can be accredited for this significant adjustment of the mindset of all individuals.

With history being famous for repeating itself, the topic of humanism being present in today’s society is one that’s bound to cause dissension. As America is known to stress the prominence of “self”, either directly or indirectly, it discourages its citizens to abide by the traditional-religious based conformities that was of great prevalence in the time of the country’s founding. Blatantly evident, there has been a record of a sixty percent drop of church-goers over the past quarter of a century. Although fifty-four percent of American parents still claim to be of the faith, only twenty-seven percent of those parents attend weekly services. Millennial Parents being of inconsistence in regards to religious traditions in comparison to the seemingly inexhaustible devotion of the Puritans play a key role in the evidence of change in familial values over the generations.

The ways in which these values have changed over time are of great significance. The current undermining of the church’s position in the community has caused them to result to ulterior motive in an attempt to regain favor from the general public.  This societal act of desperation has conflicted or affected the household in a very particular manner since the actions that commenced were either drastically offensive or simply incorrect. For example, a few particular individuals who were  involved in their respective church thought it necessary to resort to a more fundamentalist mindset which led to major misinterpretation of specific instances in the Bible. This then led to actions against those they deemed worthy of prosecution which made them seem like religious kooks and in consequence of that those with no knowledge of the of the Bible and its many devices then thought of everyone involved in the church on the same level as those religious kooks, thus many families with no relation to the church now attempting to avoid any and all connection to the basic principles of religion in general.

Yes, the incident that occurred with Westboro Baptist church caused a great amount of controversy, grief, and tension. However, some very influential figures have tried to ease the animosity by proposing subtle, paradoxical remedies that has actually seen a fair bit of success. The name that obviously stands out the most amongst those fighting to keep peace is Pope Francis himself. Being known to be more progressive than those before him, Pope Francis has recently made many provocative, controversial and seemingly contradictory propositions in regards to The Theory of The Big Bang as well as gay marriage/homosexuality. The new face being attempted to be placed upon the church has received a wide range of reactions.

“The pontiff appeared to endorse…that there was no contradiction between believing in God as well as prevailing scientific theories regarding the expansion of our universe.” By Ishaan Tharoor from the Washington Post. This attempt to correspond science and church has been respectively received by both the scientific and the religious community, nevertheless, this stance has also received positive feedback from a fraction of people, mostly of which are of no great political or economic significance for their country, rather the common man who has very loose to no religious ties and/or minimal political interest. In spite of that, the flagrant boldness of these premises has further smeared the image of the Church in separate individuals point of view. This is so, simply because these ideas are ostensibly sudden and supposedly contradictory, so much that those with little to no knowledge of said topics beforehand would be quick to stubbornness and a closed mind. This apparent indecisiveness of the Church’s position on such relevant topics has generally negated more away then those drawn in. Which in consequence has furthered society from establishing religious principles in their community, ultimately affecting the household.

Focusing on the theme of family, Pope Francis called for a synod which had a basis of discussion surrounding the position of homosexuals in the church. A position that included being less judgmental and more compassionate towards them as well as challenging themselves to find a “fraternal space” for them in the church “without compromising Catholic doctrine on family and matrimony.” Words from Phillip Pullella from the Huffington Post. The pontiff may have failed to gain the two thirds majority vote of the Catholic bishops, however, “Francis showed no sign of disappointment…’Personally I would have been very worried and saddened if there hadn’t been these…animated discussions… if everyone had agreed with one another or had kept silent in a false and acquiescent peace,” he said. While this may not have been an absolute victory, it can be argued that this is progress towards a long term goal of restoring the implementation of religious principles in familial values.

Phillip goes on to quintessentially say “The church teaches that while homosexual tendencies are not sinful, homosexual acts are.” This philosophy of toleration isn’t a revolutionary, newfound thought process, rather something often stressed in the great book while often overlooked due to grave misinterpretation caused by the amplification of man’s natural gluttonous and prideful nature when granted a position of authority and/or law making. If more of these fundamentally sound and morale concpets could be mainstreamed and stressed then there would be a profound societal shift in favor of the church. As it is now, religion often scares people due to fear mongering through its inclined condemnations and persecutions, but what is often overlooked is the graciousness and accepting nature of the church. If these exemplary ideals would be more emphasized there would be restoration of the classic familial values that was once often desired and sought after. But that then raises another obvious question: what are family values?

In its most pure form, family values are the basic principles that are taught throughout the generations. These basic principles include familial structure, roles, beliefs, attitudes and ideals. In correlativity to one’s particular place of inhabitance, this is setup in order to grant the youth the most favorable terms and conditions in accordance to the mindset of the ones passing down the values, whether this perspective is of wisdom or imprudence is entirely relative. Yes, these values have changed over time, as previously stated, but they are also correspondent to one’s habitual placement and the stance of one’s respective government. These factors heavily influence the specificities of family values. To sum up, the details of family values have been consistently changing since the beginning of time, with religion playing a key role in its structure and setup. Even as the traditional and general basis of familial values gradually erode away from the forefront of importance in the minds of Americans and individuals at large, it still plays a significant part. In special respects to dynamic individuals like Pope Francis and Walter Kasper(a German cardinal known in media circles as “the pope’s theologian” because of his closeness to Francis), religious principles will wiggle its way back into the mainstream. Controversially so, this grand coalescence of humanism and the restoration of religious values will result in an interesting mix in the years to come.