Tasting notes from my travels in American Christianity
#17
Melkite Wrote:of pasty-white, bloated saints?

Hey don't be racist! Some people can't help being very white. :laughing:

whitewashed_tomb Wrote:Theology aside, can we really blame and condemn these apostate Catholics for leaving the Church when the Church has failed to inculcate morality and fallen into spiritual torpor? Personally, I'm loath to say that these evangelical Protestants are going to Hell just for being outside the Church since, morally speaking, they're living more Christian lives than many Catholics.

Theology aside, yes, in general we can "blame" them although that's the wrong way to frame it. We shouldn't be focused on "blaming" anyone (at least not in this broadly condemnatory way) but on our own lives and decision making.

People aren't mindless, stupid sheep. While we all have mob-like characteristics strongly ingrained in us, and these can easily come out with the right provocation, in general people have the ability to think for themselves and act for themselves. This is the basis of personal responsibility and morality. The spiritual life of an adult is his OWN responsibility. The Church is there to help him, and is the only true help for him. If we abandon the idea that there is any true, objective help for our spiritual lives, then we should stop going to any church altogether and stop lying to ourselves about the whole thing. If Church hierarchy fail to do their own job, which is to provide that proper aid, that is THEIR responsibility. But the teachings of the Church are easily available even to those in third world countries, and the mystics tell us that deep progress in the spiritual life is prolonged, arduous work. Finally, God always gives the grace to remain faithful. If we fail to cooperate with that grace, that is our own fault. And we know deep down this is how it should be—God completely respects our autonomy and treats us as individuals responsible for our actions but is completely ready to offer strength when we ask for it.

And morally speaking, you can't make that sort of assessment about people you don't know but can only see from the outside, and from the far distance at that. I shouldn't need to argue for this point since it seems evident.

But the biggest problem with this sort of moral comparing is that it is Kantian to its core and reduces religious differences to apparent ethical-moral ones. This strips every religion of what makes it unique and is the basis of the modern view of all religions being on an equal field (ignore the doctrinal differences; focus on how we can all live in harmony in one brotherhood of luv. Sound familiar? Thanks, Kant). Even if they were living "more Christian lives," whatever this really means, and I can guarantee that upon some philosophical scrutiny, it would quickly fall apart into meaninglessness, this has no bearing on whether they are going to Hell or not.

We should be careful to avoid emotional rationalizations and really adhere to strongly defined concepts and values. People often take the easy choice. It's not our place to "blame" anyone for doing so since we are all hypocrites and sinners. But to excuse taking the easy choice is just as wrong if not more harmful in the long run.
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RE: Tasting notes from my travels in American Christianity - by piscis - 10-11-2019, 10:58 AM



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