Alexis Jacobi wrote: ↑Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:27 pm
Immanuel Can wrote: ↑Sat Jan 22, 2022 4:54 am
Quite so. And that does not help the case, of course.
Except you took what I referred to -- tremendous and enduring service offered by millions of Catholics over centuries
-- as though I intended to add to the List of Horrors
Did you not?
These...what's your term: "horrors"? These "horrors," I don't "define" them, of course. All I have to do is mention
them. They exist, and are already in the history of the RC's, as a matter of pure historical record. Am I at fault for simply saying what we all know very well, and even they admit, they have done? It's hard to see why that's our problem, rather than theirs.
And what business has a "Christian" church in generating "horrors"?
So I would think that would be the natural way to understand it. Broadly speaking, the deeds of the RC organization have not exactly been exemplary...a fact which no shortage of its detractors have been very willing to point out, not just me.
So here is where my thinking is going at this point....I went back to the roots of Christianity, the Church Fathers, and the original form of European Christianity, Catholicism. And though that process I learned that the Greek world, and then the Northern European world (I refer to this as Indo-European culture) absorbed these religious impulses and ideas and *made them their own*. How can I do this? How can I accept that Indo-European peoples have a different existential lens? that they are not inclined to *other-worldly concepts* and largely, and on the whole, define that tendency as pathological to a degree? That these Christian forms have to do with building and constructing in this world, not in abandoning such construction (which includes civilization literally) for a world-beyond-this-world? Is this 'right' or is this 'wrong'?
The only wrong bit is the thinking that "Christian" and "Catholic" are identical. But what you describe about Catholicism and Europe is generally correct, at least at the macro and political level.
At the personal level, at the more subtle, "chemical" level, there's something badly missing from such an account. That is, what is the "organic" or "chemical" effect of a society having within it large numbers of Christians? In other words, what do true believers and followers of Christ produce in a society? You're focused, at present, on the large-scale effects of Catholicism -- it's recorded philosophies and affinity with the Greeks, its political operations, its military activities, and so on -- much easier to study, because they are the kinds of activities that leave abundant literature and artefacts behind for a historian to play with. But what if the most important effect of Christianity had nothing to do with the building of cathedrals or the holding of synods, far less the Crusades and Inquisitions, the Reichskonkordat
or wars of religion, or papal bulls? What if the most important effect of Christians is on the moral ethos of the places in which their numbers are significant? And what if it is this moral influence that is the most important element in the durability and success of Western society?
What if? It's worth thinking about. That which is easiest to study may not be the most important thing to know. Ease of study is not a measure of profundity.
Really, these are extremely fundamental questions and very important ones.
Yes: but are you presently asking the right question?
Some part of this I alluded to in a comment to Belinda, that is, about what we lend our support to. I will try to explain a bit more. It revolves around the existential, political, social and religious/philosophical conflicts that are evident and on-going today. Obviously, we are in a time of tremendous upheaval. When one examines the Conservative, right-leaning side, I could use as an example of a right-leaning centrist Jordan Peterson but there is a whole segment that is farther to the Conservative and the *traditionalist* side, the order of their concerns has to do with fundamental, ordering principles. Their tendency is to define and to try and recover and revivify those sets of ideas and I guess I'd say *practices* that are part of traditional culture. I often describe it as 'all that has made us what we are' and what is 'foundational' to ourselves. And when I say *ourselves* I mean it literally: how and through what our selves were constructed in the context of civilization.
I understand this, and agree.
But they have a problem. They are trying to revive things like love of truth, human rights, personal freedoms, critical thinking, respect for science, neutral politics, and so forth (all you will recognize as central "Conservative" concerns) without reference to the ethos that actually produced them!
They want all the "fruits" of Christianity without having to return to the "tree" of belief in God. They want to assert their rights and freedoms without having to say Who gave them such rights and freedoms. They want to assert morality without any Guarantor of morality. They want to save Science without any reference to the belief in a stable, law-governed universe. And they want to assert their right to freedom in a world that increasingly only understands itself in terms of power and domination.
And if that's what they want, what do you estimate their chances of success as being?
When the religious/metaphysical ordering is subtracted, people are adrift.
Absolutely. But it's not just "religious" people. For "religion" can be superficial and even immoral, in some cases. It's only a particular KIND of "religion," a certain set of theological beliefs and moral commitments that keep people from drifting in bad directions. So any real analysis has to drill down very hard on the question, "What are the right theological beliefs and moral commitments to renew a society?"
Hint: you'll find that the answer isn't "Catholicism." You'll find plenty of Catholic dominated societies (particularly where you live) where retrograde superstitions, tyranny, oppression and poverty are the rule, and in fact, most of the society looks pre-modern. You and I both know that.
I've been to the Nelson Mandela barrio. I've stood in the midst of those 50,000 suffering souls, walked among them, and met some of them. If Catholicism is the secret of national stability and human rights, how does that happen in a predominantly Catholic country?
But what is the upshot of all of this? You see, people talk about their 'salvation' and their situation within their belief as if that is the end of the road. This has come not to make sense to me. You say that salvation is to be released from the consequences of sin. The idea is not unintelligible to me, of course.
I was reading about your experience this morning, then, Alexis. For I was reading Matthew 3:19. Jesus says that what He would teach, if not heard with "ears to hear" (v. 9, i.e. with a will to receive and understand) would not be understood, and ultimately would be "snatched away," and not become comprehensible anymore at all. It seems that has happened for this. But it doesn't have to -- it all depends on how one is willing to hear.
To say "I am released from the consequence of sin" and therefore 'saved' cannot be the end of the process nor any process.
That's because it's not a "process" at all. Salvation is an event-followed-by-a-process, not itself a process.
Human beings look for a process, not a rescue. The reason we prefer a process is that its gradualness, we think, will allow us to retain some control of what happens, some power in a situation in which we've started to feel deficient in power. But salvation is a rescue: and the rescue must first be performed by the Rescuer...the drowning man cannot save himself -- and if he does, he never needed or had a "rescue" in the first place.
God must rescue man. Jesus Christ is the Savior. And a Saviour saves somebody. Those who want a process, rather than salvation, shall have neither: for as Jesus said, "I am the door..."
(John 10:9) The way into salvation is through Him, and no other way. There is no alternate route, no mere human process that can replace salvation.
And those who are not saved by Him are not rescued at all.