History's End

History will end only when Man does

Location: United States
Blogroll Me!
  • E-Mail me
  • Friday, May 07, 2004

    The 25 Theses

    Joe Katzman at Winds of Change has linked to a fascinating post by Lucas Sayre, in his blog Daily Contentions. It can be found here . He states 25 Theses on the Modern State of Christian Fate. I will address some of the ones that interest me more. If I have time, I will address others.

    Theses 1 and 2 are interesting, in part because they appear contradictory at first.

    Catholicism and Protestantism are both necessary for a vibrant Christianity, just as checks and balances are necessary for a vibrant government. Protestantism acts as a check on the ability of errors and fallacies to be propagated within a unified hierarchical system. Catholicism acts as a check on the ability of new fallacies to be introduced and accepted by the whole Church.
    Continued splintering of Christianity into smaller and more narrow denominations threatens the purity and unity of all Christianity. Each denomination differentiates itself from the others through different theological doctrinalization. As the denominations grow more numerous, they naturally have to be smaller on average. With this being the case, each denomination's doctrine is tested in a smaller group and is thus subject to increased risk of error. As these fallacies gain followers, Christianity is increasingly divided by arguments between the different faithful over an ever-increasing number of points.

    As some have noted in the comments thread to the post, how can this be? If having differing Christians faiths, namely Protestant and Catholic, is a good thing, then how can splintering be bad? I believe that Lucas is making a good point here. He mentions the concept of Checks and Balances, and this applies to religion as well as government. For government, it is useful to break up the legislative powers into two separate bodies, in the case of the US, the House and Senate. Breaking them down creates some checks on the legislative power, as it is more difficult to take control of two bodies, than it is of one. However, it would be highly impractical to take that to an extreme, and have a dozen legislative bodies. In such an instance nothing would get done. The checks would be self-destructive. This can be applied to religion as well. Having several different main denominations ensures that no one form of the Christian faith can destroy the faith as a whole. If one of the denominations decides to do something that is theologically unsound, its members can always join another faith which is less destructive to Christianity in general. This has several effects. First, it tells the leaders of the denomination that they have ticked off the laity. That is going to cause them to ask why people are leaving. In such a circumstance Church leaders are likely to undo whatever wrong they have committed. If they do not, then the faith will lose adherents, and it will eventually stagnate, and whither away. Meanwhile, the other denominations, observing such an outcome, are far less likely to do something similar. Hence a form of enforced moderation on the various Christian sects.

    The unequal treatment of women in any Christian denomination is abhorrent, and without merit. Simply no reason exists that women cannot participate as fully in the expression and preaching of faith as men.

    Some verses in the Old Testament are often used to support discriminatory practices against women. Those who use them fail to realize that as a nomadic desert society, the ancient Hebrews were products of a strongly patriarchal society, one which didn't recognize women as equal to men. The Bible contains cultural history, as well as the Word of God, and thus must be viewed with caution, especially when the Old Testament is concerned. It should also be remembered that Jesus in no way ever stated that women are inferior to men, in fact the statement goes against the nature of God as all-loving. As God loves us all equally, women and man, we can't therefore create distinctions that he would not. People forget that Jesus was a radical, and sought to fix the problems that had seeped into Jewish culture over time.

    The prohibition of the use of prophylactics, even by married couples, in the Catholic Church is anachronistic, and inconsistent with that Church's general position on sexuality. The Catholic Church recognizes two values to sex: procreative and unitive (uniting a couple in their love and commitment to each other). This is why they permit infertile couples to engage in sex, despite the fact that procreation is impossible. It is inconsistent for the Catholic Church to proclaim the unitive value of sex in relation to an infertile couple but deny that value within a fertile married couple.

    This I agree with. If memory serves, the biblical reason for opposition to prophylactics comes from a scripture that admonishes man not to throw away good seed, as it is a sin against the Lord. Unfortunately, Church leaders not skilled in biology have failed to realize that this quote does not apply to preventing fertilization, as it can be liked to preventing pollination for plants. The scripture states that seeds are not to be thrown away, not that you can't prevent pollination. Instead, the scripture, which escapes me at the moment, could instead be argued to address the abortion issue, and be used as biblical evidence against abortion, as a fetus is biologically similar in development to a seed, as both are fertilized and have a complete genetic code.

    Secularism is the largest threat ever to Christianity. It is a result of the combination of modern pragmatic political thought and the rise of science. As science explains that which previously had only been explained with a call to the supernatural, God's role in the physical world appears more limited. Furthermore, pluralism has encouraged the development of humanistic values in governments, seemingly detached from any one Christian tradition or other religion.

    That is correct, although Lucas fails to mention the threat posed by Islamic supremacists, namely Saudi backed Wahhabis. In certain parts of the world, mostly Europe, "weak" Christianity is being replaced by Islam. Christian Churches in Europe have become so secularized that they have lost their inherent meaning, and serve little more than a weekly meeting, and some minor personal reassurement. Unlike the secularists, Islamists are willing and eager to forcibly convert, and have direct intentions of replacing Christianity, unlike Secularism, which merely hopes to minimize Christianity's role in the world. However, the Islamists are proponents of a backwards religion that has no place in the modern world, unlike Christianity. Wahhabi Salafist Islam is only compatible in the Dark Ages, and thus in order for it to survive, it will attempt to spread the Dark Age mentality throughout the world. This puts it up squarely against progress, something which almost certainly dooms it to failure. Barring some unforeseen circumstances at this point, the worst case scenario regarding Islamism is the destruction of the Arab/Muslim world, as predicted and outlined in Wretchard's Three Conjectures Scenario . This leaves Secularism as the biggest threat to Christianity. Part of the problem is that Christianity has trouble adapting itself to a progressive outlook, limiting its apparent "usefulness" to certain people, who consider it a relic of a superstitious past. Christianity needs to adapt and learn how to present itself to be shown as an instrument of progress, and a means of hope for a better future for humanity.

    Listed on BlogShares Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com