Saturday, June 18, 2016

2016 Presidential Election, Politics, Religion, and the Protestant Rebellion

This is going to be a rather long post, inspired by a comment somebody made in a discussion on Voting and politicians on Disqus. It's too long for a comment, and will get rather deep into what I'm beginning to see as a very scary 8th generation American post-Christian religion that is emerging among Libertarian minded people in the United States of America.

As this is a religious post, on this subject, I find it important to start with a prayer- The Novena for the Election from Priests for Life:
O God, we acknowledge you today as Lord,
Not only of individuals, but of nations and governments.
We thank you for the privilege
Of being able to organize ourselves politically
And of knowing that political loyalty
Does not have to mean disloyalty to you.
We thank you for your law,
Which our Founding Fathers acknowledged
And recognized as higher than any human law.
We thank you for the opportunity that this election
year puts before us,
To exercise our solemn duty not only to vote,
But to influence countless others to vote,
And to vote correctly.
Lord, we pray that your people may be awakened.
Let them realize that while politics is not their salvation,
Their response to you requires that they be politically active.
Awaken your people to know that they are
not called to be a sect fleeing the world
But rather a community of faith renewing the world.
Awaken them that the same hands lifted up to you in prayer
Are the hands that pull the lever in the voting booth;
That the same eyes that read your Word
Are the eyes that read the names on the ballot,
And that they do not cease to be Christians
When they enter the voting booth.
Awaken your people to a commitment to justice
To the sanctity of marriage and the family,
To the dignity of each individual human life,
And to the truth that human rights begin when human lives begin,
And not one moment later.
Lord, we rejoice today
That we are citizens of your kingdom.
May that make us all the more committed
To being faithful citizens on earth.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This prayer is the background for how I believe all human beings should live and act in the case of voting. Thus it is a fitting place to start this discussion. The comment chain in particular that spawned this post is the following:
Theodore Seeber - With the way Hillary and Trump practice their Christianity, we might as well have no Christianity at all. Protestant "Morally Therapeutic Deism" in which God always agrees with the narcissist and conversion or repentance are never required or dreamed of is not Christian.

Myself, I'm holding my nose and voting Castle/Bradley I may have problems with Article I Section 8, but at least they interpret the Constitution by the theology in the Declaration of Independence, which is more than I can say for *any* other group of American politicians.

Magister_militum_praesentalis - Were you particularly impressed with Ted Cruz's Dominionist fundamentalism?

Theodore Seeber - Only partially. The fatal flaw of American fundamentalism is Sola Scriptura; with that doctrine, Bible-Only fundamentalism quickly degrades to the knowledge level of the individual, and due to Original Sin, there is a significant tendency in individual Bible study to avoid reading about one's own sins. Thus, fundamentalism too will quickly become a generic MTD in which God looks an awfully lot like yourself.

Josh McCully - I am intrigued by this response. As an evangelical, I hear an emphasis placed on Sola Scriptura all the time. But there is something in your statement that seems to 'click' for me. Can you elaborate more?

(I also don't know what MTD stands for)

This post is my elaboration on this subject of Sola Scriptura, Morally Theistic Deism, and Protestantism. We're nearly to the end of the Introduction (I said it would be LONG!).

What started me on this train of thought was this article in the National Review describing a new post-Christian theology called Moral Therapeutic Deism, from here on out abreviated as MTD. MTD is an outgrowth of an attempt to merge the theologogy of the Sexual Libertines of the 1960s with Christianity, and has resulted in a dangerous new terrorist group taking over our government, one which threatens to, in the next presidency, create facism and even concentration camps in the United States.

For my part, I say the article doesn't go quite far enough. Yes, the Sexual Libertines who have taken over the Democratic and Republican parties are extremely dangerous- it is arguable that we now have Sexual Libertine MTD believers as the presumptive candidates of both parties, and there are NO politicians that are not MTD that are able to gain a nomination in even most third parties. The two exceptions that emerged from the discussion above are the American Solidarity Party on the left and the Constitution Party on the right, but neither are on the ballot in all 50 states, let alone able to overcome the MTD Jesuit Catholics currently on the Supreme Court, so while I would support both of these as a way to still vote, I see zero political help coming from that quarter. It's still worth voting for them though, in hopes that after the coming civil war they'll still be around.

Where the article doesn't go far enough is that it ignores the Fiscal Libertines, who are almost as dangerous as the Sexual Libertines. The Fiscal Libertines, also, are tempted towards MTD- towards building an image of God in which God converts to Man rather than Man converting his behavior towards God. Where the Sexual Libertines would eliminate any mention of sex being for procreation only, the Fiscal Libertines would edit the Bible to remove Matthew Chapter 25, and the books written by Luke, the Gospel of Luke and Acts. The common good means nothing to fiscal libertines, and their method of care for the poor is limited to providing work opportunities based on unjust wages that cannot even cover basic expenses.

So, how did we get here? I see the seeds of the destruction actually being 500 years ago in the Protestant Rebellion. As was admitted at the Council of Trent, the lack of adequate formation and education in the Catholic Priesthood caused the Protestant Reformation, but at this point in Christian philosophy, two radically different approaches to the problem took shape. The first, the Catholic way, was the invention of the seminary and formal theological training, which while it has not solved the problem entirely, at least gives a common orthodox interpretation and a standard by which truth can be measured. The second is the Protestant concept of Sola Scriptura- reducing all authority in the religion to "Scripture Alone", and measuring every preacher by the words of Scripture, cutting off all of the history and experience of Christianity from before the invention printing press.

The sins that caused the Protestant Reformation- charging money for sacraments and indulgences, pedastery, ordination of men that should never have been given the great power of being a priest, let alone a preacher- were indeed very serious. They required a serious and radical change in the religion. However, as a Catholic I've got to say I prefer the formation model to the Scripture model. The Scripture model throws out the baby with the bathwater, so to speak, and by cutting us off from the traditions and history of our religion, opens us up to repeating the mistakes of the past.

So now, in conclusion, I finally get around to answering Josh's comment above, which I repeat here because this article is getting so long:

Josh McCully - I am intrigued by this response. As an evangelical, I hear an emphasis placed on Sola Scriptura all the time. But there is something in your statement that seems to 'click' for me. Can you elaborate more?

In my admittedly limited (mainly TBN and attending church from time to time with Protestant family members in various congregational Protestant settings) experience with Sola Scriptura, three things have become quite apparent to me:

1. When a denomination, church, or parish abandons the Common English Lectionary used by mainline Protestant and Catholic Churches, preaching tends to center on the personal bible study and opinions of the preacher in charge. This is dangerous because without proper formation, a preacher is rather limited in his experience to only those parts of the Bible he is actually familiar with; few ever actually read beyond their prejudices they were taught as children.
2. Individual believers often claim to know the scriptures, but when tested, can rarely remember more than the 30 or so prooftexted verses that support their own worldview and theology, and are never exposed to verses that might contradict their own worldview and theology.
3. Due to the extreme narcissism baked into the political culture of the United States, where every man is an individual and is a moral island unto himself, Martin Luther's nightmare of "Ev'ry Scullery Maid is now Her Own Pope" has come true. This has resulted in theological and doctrinal chaos in modern American Christianity- 30,000 denominations and denominations split over the stupidest reasons.

Thus, from my observation, the primary philosophical issues that have caused the emergence of Morally Therapeutic Deism are in fact in the abuse of Sola Scriptura rampant in American Christianity of every stripe. As I said before, we are now also seeing it in the Jesuit Order in the United States, in the very seminaries which were supposed to define Orthodoxy, where now "Academic Freedom" has supplanted Orthodoxy as the order of the day, with the result that even with a Catholic Majority on the Supreme Court, we saw Sacramental Marriage labeled as bigotry from the highest court in the land on June 26, 2015; and we see continuing support for outright genocide of the unwanted in the form of euthanasia and abortion from the court.

We are to the point where any attempt to convert away from sexual or fiscal sin, any attempt to preach against sexual and fiscal sins, is seen as bigotry and intolerance, and is treated as if it was terrorism in and of itself. We are seeing this at a time when *real terrorists*, the type that shoot up a gay nightclub and kill 50 people to make a point, are actually attacking our civilization, so the temptation towards facism which is always born out of fear and which often picks a softer target for scapegoating has become extreme. And with doctrinal chaos infesting that which used to be Christianity, I for one no longer see any hope or way forward for any of us.

May God have Mercy on those of us men who are still of Good Will. It is damned sure that none of the MTD types now attacking our charities, hospitals, men and women of medicine, economic systems, and our very right to life will hesitate to o us harm.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

On the Pulse of Pulse

What happened in Orlando was horrific.  It was also, very sadly, predictable, in hindsight.  We have a young man, who, due to the confusion and lies of the sexual revolution, experiments with homosexuality and same sex attraction.  He's also Islamic by family, and in keeping with being Islamic, is heterosexually married.  In addition, over many visits to this gay bar, he keeps getting rejected by the gay men there, because, as we all know, homosexuality is based on abuse of beauty and youth, and he was no longer beautiful or young.

Add to that ISIS, a radical mosque that should have been investigated, but wasn't due to White House intervention in the FBI, and you have a recipie for disaster.

Multiculturalism is a mistake.  It cannot be accomplished.  The result will always be violence.
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Oustside The Asylum by Ted Seeber is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
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