Background: For those unfamiliar with the Milgram Experiment, please watch the above video. This experiment has been repeated many times since it was first performed over 40 years ago and the results are consistent each time it is performed.
Implications to a Catholics: What insights can be gleaned from the Milgram experiment to understand why so many in our society contravene the laws of God and "go along" with the status quo of abortion on demand, contraception, death, and the violation of the laws of God and His established Church?
As seen in the Milgram experiment, there is a tendency to support unjust and evil actions and laws by the mere presence of a government "hovering over" us. In the Milgram experiment, many of the participants wished to stop administering painful and ultimately legal electrical shocks to the test subject; however, the presence of the scientist in the room propelled them on. So too do we see many in our world going along with abortion, the violation of the holiness of Sunday by shopping on it, the use of the Lord's name in vain, and so many other evils.
Likewise, if the patient was in the room for the Milgram experiment and the one pulling the level could see the pain inflicted, researches believe far fewer individuals would go all the way and administer lethal electrical shock to the participant. Planned Parenthood and the liberal agenda similarly remove us from the evils of abortion by calling it "reproductive rights," "women's choice," and the like. There is no mention of the murder of a human life - in this way, we see great benefit from organizations that work to expose the evil that abortion is and how grotesque the procedure is.
But for all sins, if we saw the pain it caused our Divine Savior and the way it marred our soul, so few of us would have the audacity to betray the simple commands of such a loving God. By desensitizing the participants in the Milgram experiment and by doing likewise in our world, we see a proliferation of sin and a loss of true morality.
Two powerful take aways come for a Catholic from the Milgram Experiment. First, we feel forced to go along with sin and injustice when it is the "law" or even "the status quo." Second, we are desensitized to the evils of sin and grow accustomed to such heinous sins as abortion because we do not see its full effects.
The Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa reminds us that an unjust law is no law at all - in fact, obeying such a "law" is a sin against God. Such a statement was previously said by St. Augustine and other true philosophers.
We must pray for the courage to at times stand up and declare the Truth, leading by our example, to increase in virtue and avoid sin. And if we should suffer rebuke, ridicule, or even martyrdom at the extreme, let us have the courage to do what the Faith and the virtues of religion and of justice demand of us.
May God have mercy on our fallen world!