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Mother Teresa: Scumbag? -- Writer's Poke #305

People around the world still generally view Mother Teresa favorably, but Christopher Hitchens and others have tried to take her down a notch or two. Hitchens, a noted atheist, believes that “Religion poisons everything,” and so it’s clear that he sees the “hero worship” of Mother Teresa as dangerous. Pointing out her flaws, exposing her “hypocrisy,” stripping away her sainthood, is essential as it allows people the opportunity to be truly enlightened. To blindly venerate Mother Teresa, then, is to relegate the power of reason to the garbage can.

According to Hitchens, “To ‘choose’ dogma and faith over doubt and experiment is to throw out the ripening vintage and to reach greedily for the Kool-Aid.” We shouldn’t fear doubt; we should embrace it. We shouldn’t blindly accept the purity of the messenger, no matter how much we like the “purified” message. In fact, we should be willing to question just how pure the message is, too. Mother Teresa performed a lot of good with her life, no doubt, but how much “bad” did she perform, knowingly or unknowingly, and what is the harm in acknowledging the bad or misinformed works that trace back to her? Wouldn’t it be more harmful simply to remember the airbrushed Mother Teresa that never existed in reality? Isn’t it much better to view Mother Teresa for what she actually was, warts and all?

Personally, I cannot go as far as Christopher Hitchens goes. To make Mother Teresa into a villain makes as little sense to me as putting her high up on a pedestal of admiration. Nevertheless, I do agree that we should accept that ever human falls short of perfection, and therefore, if we must engage in hero worship, we should be willing to accept that no hero exists without flaws.

Why we are we so quick to judge people? And once we make our judgment, why are we so slow to reconsider when new evidence comes to light?

“To all my little Hulkamaniacs, say your prayers, take your vitamins and you will never go wrong” – Hulk Hogan


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