True Ecumenical Cooperation

[Be sure to read the update at the bottom of the post.]

 

Bruce Charlton has a post in which he decries inter-denominational Christian conflict. It seems to this author that the key quotes are these:

There is a gross unrealism in the way such matters are discussed – the theological and doctrinal and other faults of other Christians are a topic of endless fascination, it seems, as if it is a realistic hope that suddenly everybody in Christendom will agree on the one proper way of doing things!

[snip]

Since we are stuck with multiple denominations, Mere Christianity is the only hope; in the sense that different kinds of real serious Christians must recognize that there are many other types of real serious Christians – and this is not going to go away – so the only questions is whether we will respect each other, try to appreciate each other, and work together; or not.

While acknowledging that Dr. Charlton has a point, I want to speak up for the other side. Too much ecumenism is demoralizing, and it weakens a people. Publicly disagreeing with, even sometimes attacking, those seen as wrong is absolutely necessary for us to keep up our spirits, for a man must believe that he is in the right if he is to have the spirit to protect himself and his people.

Indeed, it is the unique sickness of the current Western world that it now officially holds—and demands that all citizens agree—that it is bad to believe in the ways of your people. The greatest moral virtues are now held to be tolerance, nonjudgmentalism and openness to the outsider. That not-officially-acknowledged exceptions are granted to minorities, women, non-Christians and homosexuals only serves to highlight the tyranny, as these exceptions are never officially acknowledged, and they serve only as a means to tear down the status quo, not springing from any recognition that a people have the right to love and protect themselves.

Therefore we ought not to be so ecumenical that we lose our spirit and our love of our own. Sniping at heretics (even if they be only heterodox) is not only valid, but a certain amount of it is absolutely necessary. And even the one who calls for ecumenical unity and an end to sniping is, in fact, maintaining his spirits by publicly disagreeing with heretics.

*

But how then can we ally ourselves with other anti-liberals to fight the leftist juggernaut? How can we ally ourselves with heretics?  This author does not assume that he has the authoritative answer, but some comments are in order.

First, it appears that the basic answer must be that we will ally with others only over ideas with which we agree, and we must never allow our alliance to induce us to drop our opposition to heresy. If we feel tempted to discount the errors of the heretics with whom we are allied, we must be allowed to denounce heresy without breaking the alliance.  That is, we must give one another permission to disagree publicly without becoming enemies, because there are also legitimate areas of agreement and alliance.

An anti-liberal alliance will be similar to a real wartime alliance. Even allies that are regarded as especially close, such as America and England in the World Wars, will have national interests that diverge to a certain extent. Without discounting these differing interests, and without demanding that the two sides pretend that no differences existed, America and England cooperated when possible to defeat Germany and Japan. Something analogous is possible in the battle against the left.

 

UPDATE.   Controversy has erupted on account of my use of the word “ecumenical.” I certainly did not imply that Dr. Charlton was endorsing ecumenism in the corrupt, modernist sense of the word, as a reading of his post shows.

Ecumenism can be valid, though, if done properly. My point was to warn against excessive ecumenism.

140 thoughts on “True Ecumenical Cooperation

  1. One has to really question what planet Bruce Charlton is living on. The past 40 years has seen nothing but a sappy watered ecumenism take top priority among the leadership and across a large swath of laity of practically all Christians. This development correlates to the general rise of indifferentism thus leaving the West where it is today i,e,largely secular in practice. This mentality also has the added risk of of being easily politically co-opted by liberalism. Christian leaders it seems, think that by acceding to liberalism’s demands to “Coexist” that liberalism will recognize Christianity on its own grounds, The real result however is that such notions only affirm the liberal narrative and thus act to legitimize and strengthen liberalism overall. As far as the idea of “Mere Christianity” didn’t Charlton himself a few months ago admit that the idea was untenable? Mere Christianity being a thoroughly modern construct can offer no help.

  2. Ecumenism means you are looking to coexist with liberalism. There is no coexistence with liberalism.

    For a long time I have been harassing Bruce Charleton on “marital rape” – the position that pretty much everyone in the entire world believed before 1960, 1970 – the Pauline position that consent for sex is given once and forever, not moment to moment.

    Have not gotten a straight answer out of him.

    If you don’t support “marital rape”, you don’t support marriage. If you don’t support marriage, not a Christian.

    • Ecumenism means you are looking to coexist with liberalism.

      Not necessarily. It could also mean you are fighting alongside one another.

      • Ecumenism means you are looking to coexist with liberalism.

        Not necessarily. It could also mean you are fighting alongside one another

        Observe, as Dalrock observes, actually existent Christianity.

  3. Bruce Charlton is looking for what works against Left, primarily. Thus, the consideration of what seem like theological hairsplitting looks irrelevant. But as CS Lewis told us, Christianity should be taken for itself, and not for its usefulness for some other purpose. That would be Christianity plus something.
    Also, a consistent anti-Catholic tendency is apparent.

    • Bruce Charlton is looking for what works against Left,

      Possibly, but my perception is that he is looking for a solution that allows Christianity to coexist with the left

      If he was looking for what works against left, would find it a lot easier to notice the faults of actually existent Christianity, and a lot harder to notice the faults of the secular right.

      • If he was looking for what works against left, would find it a lot easier to notice the faults of actually existent Christianity, and a lot harder to notice the faults of the secular right.

        I think the secular right and Charlton have more in common than either side realizes.

      • my perception is that he is looking for a solution that allows Christianity to coexist with the left

        I don’t see how you could possibly perceive that. Charlton is obviously opposed to the left.

      • my perception is that he is looking for a solution that allows Christianity to coexist with the left

        I don’t see how you could possibly perceive that. Charlton is obviously opposed to the left.

        The left will not tolerate any shred of Christianity, no matter how emasculated. Every religion must walk the same path it walked. If the left would tolerate a sufficiently emasculated Christianity, he would be OK with that.

        The left demands that capitulation goes all the way to worship of Gaia and Obama the lightbringer. Charleton is not willing to go that far, but is willing to hide Saint Paul in the basement behind the water heater.

        Dalrock and Sunshine Mary say that Saint Paul was right, and that the story of the expulsion from the Garden of Eden leads to pretty much the same conclusions as Darwin on sexual selection.

        Bruce Charleton will not say they are wrong, I am pretty sure he believes that they are right, but, oh, far too embarrassing.

      • You’re being too esoteric. Charlton may be religiously heterodox, but that doesn’t make him in favor of “coexistence with the left” plain and simple.

      • Charlton may be religiously heterodox, but that doesn’t make him in favor of “coexistence with the left” plain and simple.

        If he stuffs Saint Paul in the basement behind the water heater, he is in favor of coexistence with the left, if only the left would permit it.

        The left has been against marriage and the family even back when they were still puritans, when under Cromwell they declared marriage to not be a sacrament and introduced divorce, and in the radical socialism of the early American puritans, who dissolved the family into the socialist collective after the fashion of Pol Pot and the early kibbutznicks:

        And for men’s wives to be commanded, to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, &c., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it. Upon the point all being to have alike, and all to do alike, they thought themselves in the like condition, and one as good as another

        If you are a libertarian or an anarcho capitalist, you believe in freedom of contract, in which case a woman should be free to commit herself to always be sexually available to one man, and never to any other.
        And if you are a Christian, you believe the same, since Jesus and Saint Paul said so.
        If, however, you are a leftist, you believe in “marital rape” – that consent to sex can be given only moment to moment, not once and forever.

        And if consent to sex is only moment to moment, then likewise marriage, which is to say, you oppose marriage, as the Puritans did from the beginning and have ever since to the present day.

        This is a wedge issue: All the good guys line up one one side and always have, and all the bad guys on the other side and always have.

        So which side is Bruce Charleton on? I suppose he would be on the correct side, but will not say so for fear progressives might disapprove of him and his religion.

      • This isn’t the place to bring up a pet peeve of yours. We’re not arguing about marriage. You may have a valid point (then again, you may not; it’s far from clear) but you come off sounding like a bit of a kook when you denounce people for their position on “marital rape” in the middle of a discussion of the limits of ecumenism.

      • This isn’t the place to bring up a pet peeve of yours. We’re not arguing about marriage

        If ecumenism means cooperation with that part of Christianity that has sold out to the ruling religion of progressivism, we are most certainly arguing about marriage.

        Marriage is a litmus test, a wedge.

        If one dumps marriage to appease progressivism, one will dump anything to appease progressivism. If one dumps Saint Paul, they will ask one to dump Christ the redeemer and replace him with Jesus the community organizer, and one will dump Christ the redeemer and replace him with Jesus the community organizer.

        Of course, as an atheist, you might argue that that should not worry me, but it does worry me, for any Christian who will dump Paul, will dump his present day friends and allies:

        A christian who will dump Paul has no friends to the right, no enemies to the left, which means that all his friends are his enemies, and all his enemies are his friends.

      • Dr. Charlton has already suffered significant harm at the hands of progressives, whom he has offended again and again with all sorts of politically incorrect statements – all posted, let it be noted, under his own name. Compared to his public statements on, say, slavery, anything he said about marital relations would not even register.

      • Compared to his public statements on, say, slavery, anything he said about marital relations would not even register.

        Sex roles occupy the same position in the current persecution as burning a pinch of incense to the emperor held in the Roman persecutions.

        Under Nero you could believe any religion you liked, say anything about the next world that you like, you could attend Christian Church services, except that you could not deny the divinity of the emperor and had to burn a pinch of incense to him. Under progressives, it is not the divinity of the emperor, it is female equality, even between wife and husband. It is not me that makes it a litmus test. It is them.

        Yield, they know you are not really a christian, so they are fine with you. Someone could support slavery, and be a christian, or oppose slavery and be a christian. What they want to know is that you are not really a Christian, and wifely submission is their pinch of incense.

      • So all of politics is nothing but sex, eh? It’s a charming, tidy little piece of reduction – Freud worked it to death. If it is true, then Charlton did not lose a job for his public expression of politically incorrect views that were not about traditional marriage. But he did. So it’s not.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that sex is a litmus test. It’s just that there is more than one such test. Indeed, there seem to be hundreds.

        My main point, though, it that it makes no sense to accuse Charlton of being afraid of public incorrectness when he is obviously not thus afraid. If he has not yet commented upon sex in marriage – I don’t know for sure whether or not he has, but I have not read any statements from him one way or another on the subject – it is not because he is afraid to do so, but because the subject simply hasn’t yet interested him.

      • So all of politics is nothing but sex, eh?

        All of that small part of politics that is aimed at the eradication of Christianity is nothing but sex. Observe, for example, Pussy Riot.

        That is just the litmus test our our masters have chosen, just as the emperor Nero chose a pinch of incense as his litmus test.

        Analogously, one can get away with pointing out racial differences in ability and time preference, but not with using the word n****r.

        Litmus test, progressive knee jerk reflex.

        Hence our adoption of the code phrase “human biodiversity”. We can say “human biodiversity” all day long, and not get in trouble, even though the plain meaning of the phrase is that groups of humans and categories of humans are not equal, whereas “n****r” merely means black, so if progressives acted rationally, they would treat the phrase “human biodiversity” as infinitely worse than “n****r”. However the top leaders of the progressive movement do not trust their minions to use their own judgement, so lay down simple rules, which simple rules we can game.

        And one of their rules is that Christianity is forbidden, and the Pauline position on the differences between the sexes is the litmus test for forbidden Christianity. They have not really figured out a response to the Game movement, have not identified a key and simple game doctrine to prohibit, but they have figured out a key and simple Christian doctrine to prohibit.

      • Interesting. I’m not saying your hypothesis is wrong, but it has a tough evidentiary row to hoe. This because while I for one have been my entire life wholly conscious of the taboos against, say, “n-r” and Nazism, it has never even occurred to me that advocacy of traditional marriage might be socially hazardous.

      • it has never even occurred to me that advocacy of traditional marriage might be socially hazardous

        Notice that within America there are no major organized religious groups that continue to advocate traditional marriage. They have disappeared like the Klu Klux Klan.

        Within living memory, it used to be that the Anglican Church would not endorse the sacrament of marriage to a divorced woman. The Catholic Church and Orthodox Jews still theoretically have that policy, just as they still theoretically have a lot of policies, but does anyone think that the Catholic Church continues to support traditional marriage?

        Religious institutions, not individuals, are targeted. It is hazardous for the leadership of an organized group to advocate traditional marriage. Pussy riot will smash your altar and the newspapers will have banner headlines reporting that you have some vague connection to someone who has some vague connection to someone who was, forty years after the alleged event, accused of fondling a child. Legal troubles will ensue due to this alleged connection to this alleged event.

        To the extent that Orthodox Jews support traditional marriage, we see hit pieces on their marriage and sexual practices. Those Jewish religious groups that continue to support traditional marriage are “Ultra Orthodox”. We get television shows attacking them – same measures as did in the Klu Klux Klan – state sponsored ridicule, vague allegations of horrendous crimes, and legal harassment. At present the religious groups that are under the most severe attack for advocacy of traditional marriage are “Ultra Orthodox Jews”, the Roman Catholic Church having capitulated.

        The largest group remaining are Mormons, who are somewhat insulated from these pressures because they control a state government, therefore state police and state judicial harassment cannot be used against most of their leadership, only federal police and federal judicial harassment – of which they get a fair bit.

      • No argument with all that. But it does not yet amount to social death for an individual who advocates traditional marriage. As you say, it is not individuals who are targeted by that newly developing taboo – at least, not yet – but religious institutions. The more proximate taboo for individuals is rejection of sodomitical “marriage,” I think. The legal framework for destruction of those who refuse to burn a pinch of incense at that altar is already locking into place, and has already destroyed small businesses and individual lives.

        You have accused Dr. Charlton of cowardice at the prospect of that social death on account of public advocacy of traditional marriage, which you now say is not yet a hazard for individuals at all. The accusation makes no sense, not only because the hazard you say he fears does not yet actually exist to be feared, but because Dr. Charlton has already demonstrated his valor, by publicly advocating notions so politically incorrect that he has lost position and income as a result. He has already paid a price, for the courage of his convictions, that many of us have not, and would not, if we could avoid it. It is not he that has been shy. We ought to praise him for his forthrightness and courage, and imitate him in this; not accuse him of being a scrub.

        Your charge of cowardice is extremely serious. You have impugned Dr. Charlton’s honor. As things are understood in the Tradition of the West – as, that is to say, things ought properly to be understood – you have thereby done him real economic harm, of very much the same sort as that which has already been inflicted upon him by our common adversaries, who have dragged his reputation through the gutter. It does not matter so much whether such accusations are veracious; the accusations inflict harm in and of themselves, by their very existence. So it is that, under the Traditions of the West, Dr. Charlton would be wholly justified in challenging you to a duel to the death, in defense of his honor – if, that is, he could actually find out who you are and locate you, as you could easily do with him.

        Now, I don’t think for a minute that you actually intended to harm Dr. Charlton. I feel sure that you must have written in haste, and under the influence of passion, so that your discretion was fogged. But it does seem to me that, as a gentleman, you ought now in the light of this discussion seriously to consider an apology to Dr. Charlton, and a retraction of your charge. This would repair some of the damage to Dr. Charlton’s honor, and burnish your own.

        Please understand, I bear you no ill will. I am concerned only to avoid unnecessary internecine bickering on our side of the pale. If we are able to do that, then we will engender an atmosphere for our own discourse in which the interesting things you say about traditional marriage can get the hearing they deserve.

      • But it does not yet amount to social death for an individual who advocates traditional marriage.

        That is true, and also not true. The individual can no more say “slut” than say “nigger”.

        But whether true or untrue for individuals it does amount to institutional death for a church to advocate traditional marriage.

        So if an individual attends an actually existent Church, and identifies with that Church and supports that Church, he is going to identify with an actually existent religion that opposes traditional marriage, which is usually the first step to ditching all the rest of that old fashioned Christian baggage.

        You have accused Dr. Charlton of cowardice

        I don’t address the character of individuals. Not my style at all.

        at the prospect of that social death on account of public advocacy of traditional marriage which you now say is not yet a hazard for individuals at all. The accusation makes no sense, not only because the hazard you say he fears does not yet actually exist to be feared, but because Dr. Charlton has already demonstrated his valor, by publicly advocating notions so politically incorrect that he has lost position and income as a result. He has already paid a price, for the courage of his convictions, that many of us have not, and would not, if we could avoid it.

        I ask him about his position on the Pauline prescriptions, and his church’s position, and get no clear answer.

        Which is par for the course. Few give a clear answer, unless it is the progressive answer.

        > Your charge of cowardice is extremely serious.

        I do not make charges of cowardice. Not my style at all.

        On this issue he is heterodox in the safe direction.

        Perhaps he has sincere empirical and religious beliefs that lead him to disagree with the Pauline prescriptions, or severely qualify them, and is disinclined to explain those beliefs to those likely to be unsympathetic.

        Irrespective of the truth or falsity of such beliefs, they are tactically unwise, as in practice, when accepted by an institution, they tend to presage a wholesale sell out to progressivism by that institution. When Paul is locked away in the basement behind the water heater, Christ the redeemer is soon replaced by Jesus the community organizer.

        People never give explanations and justifications for hiding Paul in the basement behind the water heater, which inclines me to suspect that were they to give their explanations, they would sound unimpressive.

        Someone, I think you, complained about me focusing on sex. OK then, what is the Roman Catholic Church’s position on Apostolic succession? It is hidden away behind a thick cloud of evasive slippery opaque words much like its position on sex. No doctrinal obstacles to WCC type ecumenism remain: One thousand megaphones, one microphone, and that microphone located in Harvard.

        > You have impugned Dr. Charlton’s honor.

        I do not do direct personal attacks. If you read a direct personal attack in my words, you misread them.

        I do not personalize issues. I address the issues, not the man.

        Sometimes certain aspects of the issues may make particular individuals look bad. It is never my intent to make an individual look bad.

        It is an entirely illegitimate argument to say “Oh, we cannot address this issue, because addressing it makes people feel bad”. That is the standard left wing approach, to frame an issue in terms of whose feelings it hurts, some people’s feelings being, of course, more important than others.

        People quietly ditch Paul, without ever explaining why, or mentioning that they are doing so. Since they will not argue their position, I am left to make up arguments that they might use, to argue both sides of the case. If you don’t like the arguments I attribute to those who will ditch Paul, seeing them as straw man arguments and accusations of cowardice, supply some better arguments of your own.

      • I guess I did misread you. You wrote:

        So which side is Bruce Charleton on? I suppose he would be on the correct side, but will not say so for fear progressives might disapprove of him and his religion.

        And I interpreted that to mean that you supposed Dr. Charlton is afraid of the disapproval of progressives. He has amply demonstrated that he is not. I suppose you would agree, given the facts of his case, which I have adduced.

        As to your substantive suggestions, I would answer that the Church is not likely to have parsed any particular issue in just the way that you as an individual have done – indeed, after 2,000 years of reflection on the issues, her understanding is far more comprehensive and sophisticated than that of any theological startups such as you or I – and so her answers are not likely to quite satisfy either of us on any score. She is likely to respond to your queries first with, “It’s more complicated than your question presupposes.” If there is one thing you can say for the Church, it is that her answers to doctrinal questions are not simple (the Catechism – the introductory text on the doctrine of the Catholic Church, written for raw beginners – is 1,600 pages long); but then, reality is not simple, either.

        Not having myself ever been much interested in the theology of marriage and sex, except insofar as it furnishes an analogy that helps us understand some ecclesiological notions (although, properly speaking, the analogy runs the other way), I am in no position to report on it. But I do know that there is a lot of it; more than just, “What Paul says.” I much doubt that anything the Church has said about marriage and sex contradicts anything that Paul said.

        There is of course always, and ever, lots of room for heteropraxy among the clergy, and heterodoxy too when push comes to shove. That’s nothing new, nor will it ever go away.

        As to the Apostolic Succession, you will be glad to learn that your impression that it is not strictly interpreted is inaccurate. The churches that claim it all interpret it differently, which is only to be expected, but they do all have doctrines on the Succession, who is in and who is not. E.g., the Anglicans insist that they are definitely in the Apostolic Succession, the Romans say that the Anglicans are wrong about that. Meanwhile, Rome says that the Eastern Orthodox are in the Succession, along with a number of other communions. It gets complicated. And feelings run high on this score.

        Finally, it was Alan, not I, who suggested that your focus on sex in relation to ecumenism was odd.

      • So which side is Bruce Charleton on? I suppose he would be on the correct side, but will not say so for fear progressives might disapprove of him and his religion.

        I interpreted that to mean that you supposed Dr. Charlton is afraid of the disapproval of progressives. He has amply demonstrated that he is not.

        If he was willing to argue with me, I think he might well say “Well, I know and you know that we cannot actually have an organized religion if that religion fails to toe the official line on sex and the family, so we have to be realistic about this, and temporarily abandon some Christian doctrine so that organized Christian religion can survive till better times arrive”

        To which I would say that if you temporarily abandon one major Christian doctrine under pressure, pressure will not relent, but intensify, and pretty soon you will have abandoned all of them.

        Which is what has in fact happened.

        But I have not had that conversation with him, so cannot know what he would say.

        Organized Christianity is as dead as the Norwegian Blue. It died between 1957 and 1964. Abandoning the Christian position on sex roles and the family, it rapidly thereafter abandoned one doctrine after another.

        No mainstream priests care about the doctrinal differences that supposedly divide the various Christian religions. Clear references to these doctrines have been removed from rituals, and replaced by a verbose flood of vague and cloudy ambiguity.

        What killed it?

        Abandoning the Christian position on marriage and the family killed it.

        It died of fear.

        Christianity can be progressive on race and nation, and still be Christianity. It can be progressive on wealth redistribution, and still be Christianity.

        It cannot be progressive on sex and the family, and still be Christianity.

        You guys are arguing over doctrinal questions that no mainstream priests today care about, and few know about.

        Christianity became progressive on sex and the family under state pressure. Whosoever says they are a Christian and does not openly oppose the mainstream Christian position on sex and the family, yields to state pressure.

        And, having yielded to state pressure on that issue, the churches rapidly yield on every other issue.

      • I agree that the churches’ collapse on questions of sexual morality has been disastrous, and that the collapse began with a failure to see that principles such as male headship of the family and and opposition to contraception were part of sexual morality. When they tried to draw the line at opposition to fornication, and then at opposition to abortion, and then at opposition to homosexual marriage, the sexual revolution was already the law of the land. One can, however, hope (and if so disposed, pray) that the foul tide that has been rolling in these past two hundred years may, one day, recede.

        I am by nature latitudinarian, but I like to think that is an expression of charity and humility, not an expression of lazy indifference. It’s not easy to say where charity and humility leave off and lazy indifference begins, however, and I do not think the subsidence of sectarian bile is an unqualified blessing. People who take their beliefs seriously take their beliefs seriously, and that means they are often rancorous and offensive. But I think I prefer the flinty rancor of some backwoods Baptist over the idiot grin of a suburban evangelical, if only because the backwoods Baptist cares enough about what I believe to get mad about it.

        Bruce Charlton wrote something not long ago about the sexual revolution as the great poison of the Church. Maybe that is what the Beast is meant to represent. In any event, whatever pusillanimity you may get from the Christian churches, I think you will find a fair number of Christians who generally agree with you on sexual questions. I usually read your blog on Wednesdays, and so was just this morning appreciating the sensible remarks you recently posted on them.

      • @jamesd127:

        Here’s what’s wrong with your Christianity-and-sex talk in this thread:

        You come off sounding like a supercilious self-appointed authority rather than a semi-reasonable person trying to make his case. We reactionaries need all the allies we can muster, even from the heterodox such as Dr. Charlton. If someone is in error, point it out without making a federal case out of it (meaning: without drumming him out of the corps.)

        Sexual doctrine is not the sine qua non of Christianity. Very important, yes. The indispensable element, no. The institutional church began rejecting Christianity long before the time period (late 1950s to early 1960s) which you identify as containing the “death of Christianity.”

        I see here that Charlton accuses you of not being a Christian. Are you in fact a Christian? If so, what type?

      • You come off sounding like a supercilious self-appointed authority rather than a semi-reasonable person trying to make his case. We reactionaries need all the allies we can muster, even from the heterodox such as Dr. Charlton. If someone is in error, point it out without making a federal case out of it (meaning: without drumming him out of the corps.)

        Sexual doctrine is not the sine qua non of Christianity.

        Sexual doctrine is the sine qua non of Christianity’s conflict with progressivism.

        It is why progressivism suppresses Christianity.

        If you will not make a stand on that point, progressives figure that you will not make a stand anywhere, and so far, they have been correct, not correct for every single individual, but correct for the vast majority of organized religions.

      • jamesd127@

        My impression is that your main concern is civilizational and not simply religious. Your argument, with which I mostly agree, is that civilization cannot be built without controlling the sexuality of females, alpha males and (perhaps) sexual deviants. The libido is either harnessed to do the work of civilization, through family formation and sublimation, or it is unleashed to flatten everything in a Dionysiac orgy (with beta males on the sidelines playing video games). Is that more or less your position?

        I wouldn’t say that progressivism actually “suppressed” Christianity, it simply deconverted Christians by feeding them progressive propaganda six and a half days out of the week and denying, until very recently, that there was any conflict between progressivism and Christianity. The few holdouts it branded as “fundamentalists” or, better yet, as “Puritans.” No doubt you have derived a good deal of sardonic mirth from the spectacle of progressives accusing other people of “Puritanism.” I know I have.

        The question, to get back to the main point, is whether Christianity failed Western Civilization or Western Civilization failed Christianity. It is true that Christianity underwrote the virtue of chastity for close to two thousand years, but the theological justifications and supernatural sanctions that Christianity furnished were over most of that span bolstered by secular authority and social prejudice. To the extent that the West was chaste, which wasn’t a very great extent, it was because of a united front of social, secular, and supernatural sanctions.

        Now which of these sanctions collapsed first? By my reading of history the order of collapse was secular, social, religious. First the laws were changed (or left unenforced), then the attitudes changed, and finally the churches threw in the towel. This doesn’t negate a very large part of your argument, but it does suggest that Christian spinelessness is not to blame for the sexual license we see today. The Christian churches may have been routed in the end, but they were the last Western institution to be routed.

      • I wouldn’t say that progressivism actually “suppressed” Christianity,

        Progressivism is attempting to funnel all other religions, particularly and especially Christianity, through the same transformation it went through. It wants all other religions to become progressivism in the same way it became progressivism.

        When Christianity converted the pagans, its tactic was to convert the elites by a combination of persuasion, social pressure, and, often, military pressure. The elites would then continue to preside over pagan rituals, while subtly imbuing these rituals with Christian content and emptying them of pagan content.

        Similarly today, the Churches nominally continue to exist, but are run by progressives, not Christians, and, accordingly, are being subtly emptied of Christian content and filled with progressive content, replacing Christ the redeemer with Jesus the community organizer. Trinitarianism becomes unitarianism, unitarianism becomes atheism, and atheism becomes militant atheism. If Jesus was around today, supposedly he would drive a prius, because he was actually a Gaia worshipper. Google Jesus Prius.

        Now which of these sanctions collapsed first? By my reading of history the order of collapse was secular, social, religious. First the laws were changed (or left unenforced), then the attitudes changed, and finally the churches threw in the towel.

        If you look at the period from 1857 to the present, that is arguably true, but if you look at the period from 1800 to the present, not true.

        Around that earlier period, you see the heresy that women are naturally more chaste and pure than men, and that therefore an impossibly high standard of evidence is required to accuse a woman of adultery, etc. You also see the various movements to rescue fallen women – by removing all adverse consequences of falling, since naturally women never fall because they felt lecherous, only because evil men made them fall.

        The superior holiness of women was part and parcel of the holier than Jesus movement – holier than Jesus because against the oppression of women, holier than Jesus because they proposed to eradicate slavery with fire and steel, holier than Jesus because they proposed to eradicate alcohol with fire and steel.

        In 1950, the churches still opposed the remarriage of divorced women and the conception of illegitimate children, still would not let women exercise authority in church, but they had abandoned the position that underlies that doctrine – that women are the morally weaker sex and need male supervision and authority. Their position was internally incoherent and made no sense. Having accepted half the leftist package, they logically had to accept the other half.

        Every Christian Church that supported prohibition was holier than Jesus, therefore, not Christian, or well on the way to ceasing to be christian. Therefore, Christianity was dead or fatally ill well before 1950, and their capitulation on sex issues merely a symptom.

      • Says jamesd127:

        Similarly today, the Churches nominally continue to exist, but are run by progressives, not Christians,…

        While this statement, like most of what he has said here, contains a fair amount of truth, the problem is that jamesd127 is not a Christian, nor even especially sympathetic to Christianity, as the comment thread at this post at his blog makes clear.

        Not being a Christian himself, Jim is not qualified to decide who is and who is not a Christian. Nor is he qualified to comment on the overall state of Christendom. Christianity is most fundamentally about individual repentance from sin, and faith in Jesus Christ. What the institutional church is saying (or not saying) about marriage, or about any secondary issue, does not make it invalid Christianity.

      • Not being a Christian himself, Jim is not qualified to decide who is and
        > who is not a Christian.

        I hear you telling us the progressive doctrine on identity: If someone thinks he is an X, then he is an X.

        By which standard, Bolz Weber and Reverend Wright are Christians.

        I probably know the bible and pre 1950 Christian doctrine better than you do. This qualifies me tell who is a Christian, and who is not.

        If Christianity is whatever those who consider themselves Christians think it is, then the doctrine is infinitely malleable. Being infinitely malleable, is swiftly reshaped into progressivism.

      • I don’t see how anyone could conclude from my words that I endorse the “progressive doctrine on identity.”

        Are you saying you are a Christian? If you are, what kind of Christian are you? If you want to present yourself as an interlocutor worthy of serious consideration, please answer my question.

        I don’t see any good evidence that you are a Christian. I don’t see you identifying yourself as a Christian, nor do I see you being sympathetic to Christians or to Christian doctrine in general. I see you angry at the church for failing to uphold certain standards, which suggests that you have a utilitarian interest in Christianity as a social phenomenon.

        Now maybe I’ve inferred wrongly. Maybe you really are a Christian. But if you will not identify yourself as such then we are entitled to regard you as not one of us Christians.

        And the problem is, if you are not a Christian, then you do not judge things Christian according to the true definition of Christianity, which was supplied by Christ and the Apostles in the pages of Scripture. Christendom has indeed been corrupted by the world, which you are correct to point out, but I see in you so far no sympathy for the real believers and the real Christianity, which still exist, and which can still serve as an inspiration toward better things.

      • I don’t see how anyone could conclude from my words that I endorse the “progressive doctrine on identity.”

        Do you think Bolz Weber and Reverend Wright are Christians?

        Are you saying you are a Christian?

        No.

        nor do I see you being sympathetic to Christians or to Christian doctrine in general.

        I am sympathetic to Christian doctrine in general. Progessives are not, loathing the whole lot from top to bottom partly because of its association with inegalitarian views on the sexes, partly because of a heretic’s resentment of his parental religion, and I don’t see much evidence that you are sympathetic to Christian doctrine in general, or even very familiar with Christian doctrine in general.

        I see you angry at the church for failing to uphold certain standards, which suggests that you have a utilitarian interest in Christianity as a social phenomenon.

        Sure. The faith is Europe, Europe is the faith. Rome fell when paganism fell. The death of Christianity is the death of Western Civilization. Probably a post Christian descendent of Western Civilization will survive in some sense in parts of Asia, most likely centered on Singapore, as post pagan Rome survived in a sense in Constantinople. The Singaporean facing parts of Australia show a resistance to social decay that probably reflects the religious and cultural dominion of Singaporeans and Hong Kongers.

        I regret the death of Christianity in pretty much the same way as I regret the death of paganism.

        And the problem is, if you are not a Christian, then you do not judge things Christian according to the true definition of Christianity, which was supplied by Christ and the Apostles in the pages of Scripture.

        But I can read scripture also, and do, probably know it considerably better than you do – and, unlike you, I can and do read it without the distortion induced by an emotional commitment to rationalize that the preacher in my church is a christian, rather than a hostile entryist inserted in the church by a quasi state organization dedicated to the eradication of Christianity.

      • Nadia Bolz-Weber and Jeremiah Wright are not Christians if they are not forgiven by the blood of Christ on account of their repentance and faith (knowledgeable trust) in Christ. I cannot see inside their minds, but I can judge by what they teach. They are probably not Christians.

        I don’t see much evidence that you are sympathetic to Christian doctrine in general, or even very familiar with Christian doctrine in general.

        Then you have not been paying attention. See here, here, here, here and here for starters.

        I can and do read [Scripture] without the distortion induced by an emotional commitment to rationalize that the preacher in my church is a Christian…

        If you’re implying that’s what I do then this is a silly comment, as I clearly don’t think in that way. More generally, if you are not a Christian, then you do not read the Scriptures fully accurately on account of your hostility to its fundamental message of the divinity of Christ, His atoning work on the Cross, and God’s plan of salvation. Absent these, Christianity is just a list of ideas and commands, along with a large group of people and institutions which bear the label “Christian” and are currently doing a lot of harm to the world by cooperating with the left, as well as a lot of good.

        in other words, if you do not have a basic trust in Christ, then you cannot see the good in Christianity. And since the good emanates from God and not man, you are missing the most important part.

      • Nadia Bolz-Weber and Jeremiah Wright are not Christians if they are not forgiven by the blood of Christ on account of their repentance and faith (knowledgeable trust) in Christ. I cannot see inside their minds

        Although Jeremiah Wright was baptized, he and his congregation do not practice baptism, thus Obama was never baptized. Jeremiah Wright does not say Jesus is Lord, nor does his congregation say it as part of their worship service – their worship is unitarian, not trinitarian. Jeremiah Wright does not preach that Jesus died for the redemption of our sins, thus does not worship Christ the redeemer.

        Of course you could, and probably would, argue that they do not actually deny that Jesus is Lord, just as you would argue that the Roman Catholic Church does not actually deny apostolic succession.

        in other words, if you do not have a basic trust in Christ, then you cannot see the good in Christianity. And since the good emanates from God and not man, you are missing the most important part.

        Your addressing me as if I am criticizing Christianity. I am not criticizing Christianity. I am criticizing post 1960 “Christianity”

        And the trouble with your criterion is that Jeremiah Wright, unlike me, does have a basic trust in Jesus the community organizer, so can truthfully claim to have a basic trust in Christ, even though not in Christ the redeemer,

      • As to the Apostolic Succession, you will be glad to learn that your impression that it is not strictly interpreted is inaccurate.

        Mr. Praline: I wish to complain about this parrot what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.

        Owner: Oh yes, the, uh, the Norwegian Blue…What’s,uh…What’s wrong with it?

        Mr. Praline: I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my lad. ‘E’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!

        Owner: No, no, ‘e’s uh,…he’s resting.

        Mr. Praline: Look, matey, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now.

        Owner: No no he’s not dead, he’s, he’s restin’! Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, idn’it, ay? Beautiful plumage!

        Mr. Praline: The plumage don’t enter into it. It’s stone dead.

        Owner: Nononono, no, no! ‘E’s resting!

        Mr. Praline: All right then, if he’s restin’, I’ll wake him up! (shouting at the cage) ‘Ello, Mister Polly Parrot! I’ve got a lovely fresh cuttle fish for you if you show…

        (owner hits the cage)

        Owner: There, he moved!

        Mr. Praline: No, he didn’t, that was you hitting the cage!

        Owner: I never!!

        Mr. Praline: Yes, you did!

        Owner: I never, never did anything…

        Mr. Praline: (yelling and hitting the cage repeatedly) ‘ELLO POLLY!!!!! Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o’clock alarm call!

        (Takes parrot out of the cage and thumps its head on the counter. Throws it up in the air and watches it plummet to the floor.)

        Mr. Praline: Now that’s what I call a dead parrot.

        Owner: No, no…..No, ‘e’s stunned!

        Mr. Praline: STUNNED?!?

        Owner: Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin’ up! Norwegian Blues stun easily, major.

        Mr. Praline: Um…now look…now look, mate, I’ve definitely ‘ad enough of this. That parrot is definitely deceased, and when I purchased it not ‘alf an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein’ tired and shagged out following a prolonged squawk.

        Owner: Well, he’s…he’s, ah…probably pining for the fjords.

  4. Christianity arguably has a leftist position on class and race differences.

    Unarguably has a reactionary position on sex differences.

    If, to coexist with the left, Christians will ditch the Christian position on inequality between the sexes and the duty to perform sex roles, they will ditch everything and worship Obama the lightbringer, and leftists know it.

    And the overwhelming majority of Christian churches have ditched the Christian position on sex differences.

    • “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” — that’s from your Bible, and maybe at least puts a dent in your “unarguably”.

  5. The term “ecumenical” took on unfortunate connotations in the 20th Century. It came to mean the idea that unity was the most important good, that Christian unity was more important than Christian truth, and that Christian truth can and should be sacrificed for the sake of Christian unity. For this reason, 20th Century ecumenism has largely been an instrument of theological liberalism. Fundamentalism began as a sort of counter-liberal ecumenism among Protestants – the fundamentalists even founded anti-liberal counterparts to the World and National Councils of Churches – but it did not remain such, its member churches becoming quite schismatic and sectarian. A better approach would be a conservative Christian ecumenism in which Christian unity is founded upon Christian truth, and particularly Christian truth as formulated in the ecumenical creeds of the early, undivided, church.

  6. @AR – You seriously misrepresent my views here – I have never argued in favour of ‘ecumenical’ cooperation (with all the horrible liberal baggage that term entails).

    The fact that some commentators have apparently believed your misrepresentation – rather than actually reading the short post that I wrote – does them no credit.

    It would be a waste of time to respond further – so I won’t!

    • I did say that you have a point. And I have added an update warning readers not to assume wrongly that you endorse ecumenism in the corrupt modernist sense.

      But we also need to warn against excessive ecumenism, which is part of the evil spirit of the times

    • From your post: To be a Mere Christian is to believe that heresy is not of fundamental importance – so long as someone is a real Christian.

      I do not think that word “heresy” means what you think it means. It is heresy that causes divisions. Winking at heresy does not lead to any kind of Christian unity.

  7. What impresses me about Dr Charlton’s post is the evident gulf in his understanding of the word “heretic” and mine:

    To be a Mere Christian is to believe that heresy is not of fundamental importance – so long as someone is a real Christian.

    This is just as well, because – if we are brutally honest – each of us regards almost everybody else, even in our own denominations, as a significant heretic . . .

    Can you be a Christian heretic and yet saved? Yes.

    Can you be a Christian heretic and yet spiritually advanced. Yes.

    Heresy is therefore, at most, a matter of mere matter of pros and cons, of statistical probability, of potential implications or consequences…

    A doctrinal disagreement which disagreement is not fundamental and which disagreement does not threaten one’s salvation is not heresy. It’s just a disagreement. There are lots of false things one can believe without being a heretic. If we can’t or don’t know, for certain, that belief X is false, then belief X is not a heresy. Heretics are, by definition, not real Christians. They are cut off from God’s Church. If they adhere to their heresy until death, they go to Hell.

    Presumably, for Dr Charlton, there is some word for a category of things, the belief of which, makes one not a “real Christian.” This word, whatever it is, is what more than a few of us mean when we say “heresy.”

    Also, it would be agreeable to have the use of “gay” to mean joyfully carefree, and “heretic” to mean “a professed but not real X by dint of believing a known falsity about a fundamental tenet of X.” What is the point of conducting these wars against the dictionary?

    It’s also hard to tell what the point of this ecumania is. I’m perfectly happy to wait to start burning Christian heretics in the fire until after we’re done burning leftists. Why do we need to work out some detailed understanding of how we’re all OK with each other before we start in on the Cultural Marxists? Nobody is dumb enough to believe that we Christians are not going to go back to fighting each other once the heathens have been expelled, are they?

    It’s not productive or prudent to start fights with the Mormons, so let’s just not. They are admirable in many ways, and we can normally focus on that. The fact that they are going to Hell is not a barrier to exchanging birthday presents or working against gay marriage with them, is it? It’s not even a barrier to learning from them, if, as Dr Charlton believes, they have the secret sauce for resisting modernity. Is anyone actually advocating a “convert the Mormons first” approach to healing Christendom?

    • Not a detailed understanding, but it might be wise not seriously to advocate burning one another, not even to say, “By the way, if we once succeed in expelling the cultural Marxists, I just want it to be clear that I do hope to outlaw your religious sect, and I think burning at the stake isn’t really a big deal and was a pretty good idea for people of your persuasion in the past.” Particularly in the reactionary blogosphere, there are those who say something pretty much exactly like that. I could give other examples. Here’s one: There’s been a link going around lately to a picture of a butch-style woman who calls herself a “pastrix,” is covered in ugly tattoos, and specializes in profane language. Naturally, the MSM loved her. I saw a Catholic blogger who could not refrain from saying, “This is all part of the atmosphere of modern Protestantism” and defended this upon being challenged. It wasn’t enough to deplore this “pastrix,” some meta-point had to be made about how this is what the Protestant doctrine of “individual interpretation of Scripture” leads to. And so forth. There are many such examples, on both the Protestant and Catholic side. So, okay, that’s their decision and their priority, but I presume that was the kind of thing that Charlton had in mind in his post. This has practical consequences regarding what legislation one endorses–for example, does one or does one not write a post in which one applauds some other country that has laws prohibiting evangelism by Baptists? (There are such, and the issue came up at my own group blog about six years ago.) The extent to which one does or doesn’t think co-belligerence with Baptists to be important will determine in part whether one writes such a post. So Prof. Charlton is not tilting at windmills, by any means. These are actually rather pressing questions nowadays–what one does or doesn’t say about co-belligerents and what should happen to them, what one is aiming for with regard to them, etc.

      • Prof. Charlton is not tilting at windmills, by any means.

        Agreed. I even said he has a [valid] point. My point was to assert out that some “sniping” (mind that word “some”) is necessary as a way for us to keep up our spirits.

      • Yeah, I was just replying to the, “Whom are you addressing? What’s the point? Nobody advocates x…” aspect of Dr.Bill’s comment, not to what you said, Alan. And for the record, I actually agree with you rather than Dr. Charlton that Mormons are theologically not Christians, so our co-belligerence with them would not be Christian co-belligerence. However, as I have no ambitions, either now or in any utopian future, to prohibit Mormonism per se (absent polygamy) nor even to prohibit Mormon evangelism, and certainly not to burn Mormons at the stake, the fact that I do not regard them as fellow Christian believers does not make a huge political difference.

        As for whether “sniping” keeps up our spirits…not at all sure. Be honest, now: If you were Catholic, would it keep up your spirits to hear fellow Catholics pine for the day when they could lock up Baptists? I hope not. I don’t think you’re like that.

        I will admit that I do sometimes find it interesting to discuss, with those with whom I _agree_ theologically, the _disagreements_ I have theologically with other Christians, and even to shake our heads together and say, “I just don’t know how those Calvinists (or whoever) can believe that!” Maybe that’s the kind of thing you have in mind. But to what extent should it be part of, for example, our Internet presence? Can’t we do that kind of interesting talking and mutual agreement better in person?

      • “Sniping” was a word Charlton used in his post, and I was using it semi-ironically. What I meant, more accurately expressed, is that we must be allowed to have and to express the belief that other Christians (broadly defined) are wrong, without the fear that this will break the alliance by alienating our allies. Obviously there are ways of going too far in this. As I said in my post, Charlton has a point, but I want to emphasize the opposite point.

        As to whether we will make it public: If we never make it public, then we are de facto agreeing with the too-ecumenical party. We need to show onlookers that we retain our integrity as we ally with those who are right about the issues for which we fight together. Of course, there is a fine line between public integrity and uncalled-for divisiveness.

      • it might be wise not seriously to advocate burning one another, not even to say, “By the way, if we once succeed in expelling the cultural Marxists, I just want it to be clear that I do hope to outlaw your religious sect, and I think burning at the stake isn’t really a big deal and was a pretty good idea for people of your persuasion in the past.”

        Particularly in the reactionary blogosphere, there are those who say something pretty much exactly like that.

        Queen Elizabeth did not persecute Catholics in the sense of people like Shakespeare who, to the extent that he believed in Christian doctrine, believed in Roman Catholic doctrine. She persecuted Roman Catholics in the sense of Guy Fawkes, people who were taking orders from a hostile religious leader who intended to murder her, members of the house of lords, and members of the house of commons.

        Similarly, William Wilberforce should have been executed or enslaved and sent to Jamaica, and all members of his church suppressed, and failure to do so led to disaster.

        The problem is not people believing differently from the official belief system. The problem is people believing differently from the official belief system and wanting power as an organized group united by their beliefs and seeking to overthrow the official belief system. If believers in X are acting in concert to overthrow believers in Y, then believers in Y need to do something about it.

        The problem therefore is not heretics, but pharisees – the problem is those that are holier than thou and entitled to rule because of it.

      • This has practical consequences regarding what legislation one endorses–for example, does one or does one not write a post in which one applauds some other country that has laws prohibiting evangelism by Baptists?

        Uh, are you talking about this thread?. Even in the thread, the facts of the matter are pretty vague, and the link to Larison’s original post is broken, so I can’t really follow the discussion back.

        I think the controversy went like this. In some Eastern Orthodox countries, Orthodoxy is the state religion (de jure and de facto?) and enjoys privileges typical of that status, including various measures against outside evangelism, presumably including fines, imprisonment, and/or expulsion. Protestants don’t like this because they are frequent targets of such measures. Here is a representative quote of Lydia’s:

        You say that Russians and others in those regions have trouble with religious diversity. Well, they should get over it. Meanwhile, the Orthodox shouldn’t just ask that the evangelicals suck it up and shut up when the Orthodox try to pass anti-cult laws to force them to close down shop.

        So, in the name of inter-Christian understanding, the majority Protestant US should put pressure on Orthodox countries to ensure that their laws make it as easy as possible for Protestants to convert their populations. And the Orthodox should “get over it” because, after all, we are only doing what is objectively right. But, we should reassure the Orthodox that we’re really their friends by explaining that we don’t think heresy is that big a deal.

        This sounds like an unpromising method of coalition building to me.

        My suggestion would be to be completely upfront with the Orthodox that we think they are heretics, but that we agree with them about enough that we should put off fighting each other till after we are done fighting the left. Sort of like teaming up with the USSR against the Nazis—except that the Orthodox are not hideous monsters like the leadership of USSR, of course. Hmmmm, so it isn’t actually much like that: it’s a much easier call. Oh, and “the evangelicals should suck it up and shut up” for the duration, as should the Catholics, who have broadly similar complaints against the Orthodox. And we definitely should not mention any heresy-isn’t-so-bad type ideas we might have floating around in our heads. I hear that doesn’t go over well on Mt Athos.

      • Dr. Bill, imprisoning each other and praising those who imprison each other is *hardly* an example of “putting off fighting each other,” now, is it? That sounds like fighting each other to me!

        But again, my main point to you is that the kind of thing Charlton is talking about *does get said* and therefore that, to the extent that you were implying that he’s attacking something that nobody is advocating, you’re mistaken. Maybe you think it’s no problem to go around loudly trumpeting that Catholics (or Protestants, or Orthodox, or whoever) ought to be locked up and/or fined for belonging to that religious group. Okay, whatever. But _that_ is what Charlton was recommending against, and it does indeed take place.

      • Maybe you think it’s no problem to go around loudly trumpeting that Catholics (or Protestants, or Orthodox, or whoever) ought to be locked up and/or fined for belonging to that religious group.

        Observe that the only Christian religion that seems to be successfully resisting feminism, Gaia worship, Obama worship, and so on and so forth, is Greek Orthodox in those countries where they do lock up protestant evangelists.

        Which is why we should have executed or enslaved William Wilberforce and suppressed his church. He should have been charged with Treason and apostasy for falsely swearing to the 39 articles.

      • Lydia, can you actually link to what you are talking about? I went and tried to figure out what you were talking about. Evidently, I failed. Evidently, you have in mind some sua sponte enthusiastic praise for protecting the Orthodox Church from evangelism—i.e. one not occasioned by Protestants agitating against such efforts.

        As for this:
        Dr. Bill, imprisoning each other and praising those who imprison each other is *hardly* an example of “putting off fighting each other,” now, is it? That sounds like fighting each other to me!

        The example of the USSR is there to deal with this objection. So, yes, it is such an example. Assuming that my recitation of the facts is more or less accurate, then the Protestants were the aggressors and your apparent preferred approach represents further aggression.

      • Yeah, Dr.Bill, because trying to convince people to become Protestants is “aggression,” locking them up is merely “defending oneself,” and objecting to one group of Christians that persecutes another group of Christians is further “aggression.” The really loving thing to do, the real sign of Christian harmony and peace and a desire to work together, is just to shut up and not object when Christians persecute each other. Otherwise you might offend the persecutors.

        Y’know what? [That’s nuts. Seriously. It’s] one of the reasons nobody should ever become a reactionary. Heck, I’d rather deal with the most thoughtless Rush Limbaugh fan than [that sort of thing].

        [Edited for conformity with Orthosphere Comments Policy – ed.]

      • Yeah, Dr.Bill, because trying to convince people to become Protestants is “aggression,” locking them up is merely “defending oneself,” and objecting to one group of Christians that persecutes another group of Christians is further “aggression.”

        A meme complex that is primarily transmitted parentally is selected for prosocial characteristics, and is therefore likely to be beneficial to the host. A meme complex that is selected primarily for virulence is likely to be harmful to the host.

        Thus, long established religions tend to transmit ancient wisdom, and support this wisdom by attributing it to divine authority, whereas aggressively prosyletizing new religions tend to have the characteristics we associate with cults.

        Religions prone to rapid mutation are the memetic equivalent of cancer, thus a long established religion that destabilizes and cuts itself off from its ancient roots is apt to become cultish.

      • This is ridiculous.

        Y’know what? [That’s nuts. Seriously].

        From Comments Policy

        Comments containing personal accusations relevant to the discussion at hand (e.g., claiming that a commenter or contributor is “working for the other side”) will also be deleted unless accompanied by compelling evidence.

        AND*

        In some cases we may also delete comments on grounds such as libel, obscenity, incoherence or stupidity.

        Why is this permitted to go on?

        [Quote of Lydia’s comment edited to comport with Orthosphere Comments Policy – ed.]

      • Ita Scripta Est:

        Lydia reacts badly when faced with people to her right. Normally, I just write this kind of thing off with a link to my favorite John Zmirak essay, in which he explains this kind of behavior as a kind of ritual purification performed by detested minorities.

        Here, however, I think it is something else. Consider this comment from a post at WWWtW from a few years ago. One of Lydia’s really admirable qualities is her dedication to life issues. At some point, she did what most pro-lifers did and signed up to the whole fusionist, GOP, neo-con thing. One suspects that a considerable chunk of her social circle is similarly signed up. The price for entering that coalition, of course, is to pledge eternal fealty to liberalism (while bizarrely renaming it conservatism).

        Suppose you suspect, at some point, that you have been conned: that the whole fusionist/GOP/neo-con thing is only about deregulation, cutting taxes, and lowering wages and that theo-con types are never getting anything. That they are marks. That’s unpleasant and is the kind of thing you want to ward off. But something like that is going on in the linked comment.

        You don’t just lose confidence in your team, though. Your team becomes a bunch of suckers led by con men. And how pleasant would that be to find out? How would that affect all your relationships? More, all kinds of normative stuff that seemed settled becomes unsettled and has to be re-thought. Many current traddies or paleo-cons moved because they saw through this con: on life, on free trade, on Iraq, on immigration, whatever. It absolutely sucks, though, to be the guy blowing the whistle on Bernie Madoff.

        She concludes:

        I’d rather deal with the most thoughtless Rush Limbaugh fan than [that sort of thing] …

        Her team is composed of suckers led by con men, but she’d rather have that. The alternative is too threatening.

        Cause for optimism, I’d say. To be clear, it is hard to break away from a seductive con, especially when you have a lot to lose by doing so. Nevertheless, I think highly enough of Lydia that I see it as a real possibility. She does want to save babies from being dismembered, and that is more important than her feelings. Whether I get to remain a witch after such a move is another question. 😉

        [Quote of Lydia’s comment edited to comport with Orthosphere Comments Policy – ed.]

    • Alan, you say, “As to whether we will make it public: If we never make it public, then we are de facto agreeing with the too-ecumenical party. We need to show onlookers that we retain our integrity as we ally with those who are right about the issues for which we fight together. Of course, there is a fine line between public integrity and uncalled-for divisiveness.”

      I don’t think it’s a sign that you lack integrity that I, who have been reading you off and on for quite a few years, don’t even know what denomination you belong to! I vaguely recall that you aren’t Catholic, but I could even be wrong about that. I mean, who is “we”? Suppose that you are Presbyterian. (I’m just making that up as an example.) It’s not as though you have been needing to hearten yourself and reaffirm your specific religious identity all these years of blogging by posting from time to time saying, “Hey, let’s talk about why Catholics are flat-out wrong about the infallibility of the Pope.” Now, some people are uniquely suited to and/or called to theological controversy in blogging, including inter-denominational controversy. I myself “feel called to” write controversial posts advocating evidentialism as an apologetic approach as against various forms of anti-evidentialism, though I know this will step on some fellow Christians’ toes. It doesn’t really fall neatly along denominational lines, but I suppose that is somewhat of a coincidence.

      So I understand that some Catholics have a role to blog calling upon Protestants to change their minds, and the guys at Pyromaniacs consider themselves to have a special role as Calvinist bloggers and the like.

      But obviously that isn’t everybody, and it doesn’t need to be everybody. In particular, it doesn’t need to be everybody who is trying to do this culture war co-belligerent stuff. If I put up “Why I Am Not a Catholic” posts at W4, where I have valued and deliberately recruited Catholic co-bloggers, that would be…tacky.

      • I’m Reformed, for what it’s worth, and I’ve argued at VFR against some of the Catholic distinctives.

        I’m certainly not specifying how individuals should maintain their integrity. It depends. I’m just pointing out the dangers of being too “ecumenical” in one’s own mind.

  8. I just do not see how “sniping” between Christians is a serious issue. A cursory review of all the major sects shows that if anything there is a way over emphasis on “cooperation” with what we have in “common.” Speaking as a Catholic, it is no secret that the Roman Catholic Church has bent over backwards beginning at Vatican II to accommodate other Christians and religions to the absurd point of having Protestant advisers attend the Council to help with the “reform.” Popes since the Council have been most enthusiastic to attend all sorts of photo ops. Even Pope Benedict was quite happy to pose in a photo with Lutheran “priestesses” all in the name of “Christian unity.” What is more interesting is that quite a bit of the language used to justify these types of gatherings is very similar to some of the arguments forwarded here and elsewhere. Very “Mere Christian.” Every major publication or political rally event trumpets this as well. Whether it is First Things or National Review the idea that “conservative Christians” of all stripes need to bind together is theme that is constantly reiterated. Political spectacles like the recent “Values Voters Summit” are much the same. So to say that this is somehow a “big issue” that just must be addressed so we can get on with our grand alliance is just absurd.
    Speaking for myself I think it is much better for Catholics to create some cultural breathing space between themselves versus the wider secular culture and other religions. We have allowed ourselves to be co-opted by Liberalism with the complete of the Faith ensuing.

  9. Mere Christianity is over-rated. Belloc provides a far superior model to understand things. There is the Church and various heretical and schismatic movements that are proceeding from and towards the Church.

    First Amendment is over-applied and over-generalized. Strictly speaking, it ought to apply only to the Federal Govt. It does not apply to foreign govts and the position of the Catholic Church is not the same as the First Amendment.
    In reality, religious freedom is contextual. It is doubtful there would have been religious freedom for 100,000 Hindus in 18C America had there been an immigration of this quantity of Hindus then.
    Religious freedom was provided only for mainstream Christian sects.

    A nation is fully justified to maintain its integrity, and that includes cultural and religious integrity. But this point is never going to be understood by right-liberals who will die for 1st Amendment as understood in 1960s.

    • “Religious freedom was provided only for mainstream Christian sects. “

      The First Amendment draws no line between mainstream Christian sects and other sects. George Washington recognized the equal status of Jewish Americans as early as 1790. Religious freedom may have been denied to certain groups in practice, including discrimination or even violence directed towards Catholics, but only by denying inalienable rights. The 14th amendment, subsequent court decisions, and individual state constitutions have gradually extended the First Amendment to the states. American integrity includes freedom of religion.

      • inalienable rights

        These rights are a fiction.

        The 14th amendment, subsequent court decisions, and individual state constitutions have gradually extended the First Amendment to the states. American integrity includes freedom of religion.

        That is a rosy way of looking at it. There are inumerable examples in US history where the government has constrained the freedom to fully practice one’s religion.

  10. The theological concepts need to be applied carefully. Current Protestants are not heretics, but ‘separated brethren ‘. Indeed, I wonder if the concept ‘heretic’ can be legitimately be used by a Protestant writer at all.

    There is no need to wonder, as Bruce Charlton does, whether a heretic can be saved or not. Even a satanist may be saved by the grace of God who desires salvation of all.

    Some reactionaries seem eager to pronounce that many, even most people will not be saved. But they have no justification in this. They misapply the qualitative message of Gospel as quantitative. Worse, it comes out self-righteously in public–I wonder if they think of their own possible damnation first and foremost-and repels people and discredits the Christian religion.

    • Bedarz, while agreeing with your overall point, I would note that Charlton did not, in fact, wonder whether a heretic can be saved. Indeed, his argument depended in part on the fact that perfect orthodoxy is not altogether dispositive of our salvation. A good thing, too; on what basis could any of us lay absolute claim to absolute fidelity to Truth on every score? Aside from Mary, that is.

      • Charlton is using terms in an idiosyncratic way. Would you say that
        “Heresy is therefore, at most, a matter of mere matter of pros and cons, of statistical probability, of potential implications or consequences..”
        And what is a “real” Christian anyway?
        “To be a Mere Christian is to believe that heresy is not of fundamental importance – so long as someone is a real Christian”

        A typical recent example of his fundamentally mistaken quantitative analysis:
        “Qualitative near-universalism is compatible with a quantitative estimate that – in practice – but few will be saved and a majority, maybe a large majority, will reject salvation hence choose indirectly to ‘go to hell’. ”

        What is “in practice” doing here?. Whence the “quantitative estimate”?

      • Yeah, Bruce is idiosyncratic, all right. It gets him into trouble, but it is also a source, or perhaps an indication – or both – of his genius, and his usefulness.

        As to your last question, it seems to me that what he is there saying (I could be wrong, of course) is only that while God might save despite almost any sort of heterodoxy, it might turn out that most souls opt for the one heterodoxy he cannot forgive: the sin against the Holy Spirit. Most *sorts* of heretics, then, might be salvageable; but not most heretics, perhaps. A Nestorian, or even perhaps an Arian or Muslim, might avoid the sin against the Holy Spirit; and a professing, outwardly pious and righteous Catholic might not. Who can be sure after all that he really believes in his salvation – i.e., that he really believes in God? Very few, perhaps. As I review my own sinful acts from one day to the next, it sure looks to me as though I don’t really believe in God, at all. For if I did truly believe, how could I then behave as I do?

        You ask what, under Charlton’s construction, a real Christian might be – how would we tell who the real Christians are? It’s an interesting question. The Catholic Church responds to it by saying, essentially, “God knows.”

        Finally, as to your first question: I think what Charlton is saying here is simply a reiteration of the notion that ostensive heresy, or orthodoxy, are not in themselves alone dispositive of salvation, unless they involve the rejection of that salvation – i.e. the sin against the Holy Spirit.

  11. Well, undisciplined speculation has ever been Christianity’s trouble. The ideas are so powerful that they overpower one’s imagination.

    The theological speculations should be made in a proper form with references to authorities. There is no excuse to pass-off speculations as certainties.

    A course of Sirach would be useful. Do not ponder over matters too deep for you.

    The words “heresy” should not be uttered lightly. Especially when you try to pass-off Mormons as the real Christians. Does even any Protestant Church recognize them as fellow-Christian?

    • Agreed: creativity is dangerous. And, heresy is certainly no joke. That belief in a mildly heretical notion decreases your chances of everlasting life and infinite ecstasy by 0.0001% is just huge: 0.0001% of infinity is infinite.

      Yet I don’t read anything Charlton said in that post as contradicting what we have been saying to each other, or what the Church says. Perhaps I am being too generous, or too sloppy, or too sloppy in my generosity. But, honestly, that’s how I read what he has said in that post.

  12. Protestantism is passe. Now the latest is Reformational Catholicism–Peter J. Leithart at First Things.

    Like a Protestant, a Reformational catholic rejects papal claims, refuses to venerate the Host, and doesn’t pray to Mary or the saints; he insists that salvation is a sheer gift of God received by faith and confesses that all tradition must be judged by Scripture, the Spirit’s voice in the conversation that is the Church.

    but

    A Protestant believes (old-fashioned) Roman Catholic claims about its changeless stability. A Reformational Catholic knows that the Roman Catholicism has changed and is changing.

    and

    A Protestant views the Church as an instrument for individual salvation. A Reformational Catholic believes salvation is inherently social.

    A Protestant is indifferent or hostile to liturgical forms, ornamentation in worship, and sacraments, because that’s what Catholics do. Reformational Catholicism’s piety is communal and sacramental, and its worship follows historic liturgical patterns.

    This is the Mere Christianity people may be looking for. Rather Anglo-Catholic. Just like CS Lewis himself.

    • Indeed. It is as you say: “There is the Church and various heretical and schismatic movements that are proceeding from and towards the Church.” I look for the reconciliation of the Orthodox, the Catholics, and the Copts in the very near future – say, within 200 years. I rather doubt most of the mainline Protestant denominations will survive that long, and so I expect most of their less heterodox portions will fall back into communion with Rome (it looks as though Leithart is on his way). What will then be left outside the communion will be that penumbra of religious entrepreneurs and innovators that has been ever with the Church: such as the Beghars on the one hand, who were not admitted to the fold, and the Franciscans on the other, who were.

      • Kristor, I have been reading some of your comments in this thread, and it makes me wonder…
        have you become a Catholic? Last time I checked you were an Anglican (Anglo-Catholic?), but many of your comments on this thread make you sound (to me at least) like a Catholic (i.e. your references to the Church, and what it teaches, and the catechism, and agreeing with the Belloc line, etc, etc).
        Maybe I’m just misreading things here, I am after all, still the new guy here.
        But FWIW, you never really did strike me as a protestant, at least not like any prostestant I’ve ever met, which is why I asked you about it, on a post several months old now.

      • Kristor, I have been reading some of your comments in this thread, and it makes me wonder…
        have you become a Catholic? Last time I checked you were an Anglican (Anglo-Catholic?), but many of your comments on this thread make you sound (to me at least) like a Catholic (i.e. your references to the Church, and what it teaches, and the catechism, and agreeing with the Belloc line, etc, etc).

        It’s not just you – I had the exact same thought.

      • Kristor,

        By Beghars do you mean the Beguines and Beghards, who were active in Germany, France, and the Low Countries in the 13th through the 16th Centuries? To say they were “not admitted to the fold” considerably understates their treatment. They were condemned as heretics (quite relevant to the original post from Bruce). Marguerite Porete, a French Beguine and mystic, was burned at the stake in Paris in 1310. The Beghards were condemned by Popes, Synods, and the Inquisition, resulting in a persecution that reduced the movement to small numbers.

        The Copts (who have their own Pope and and who are Non-Chalcedonian) and many other Middle Eastern Christians (some of whom are also Non-Chalcedonian) are in very real danger. UK Minister Lady Warsi recently warned that “Christianity is in danger of extinction in some countries because of persecution in areas where its followers are in the minority.”

        http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/15/christianity-risk-extinction-persecution-minority-warsi

        Lady Warsi is correct. Christians in the Middle East are receiving treatment not so unlike that given to the Beguines and Beghards, with the same results to be expected.

  13. I don’t see that “ecumenism” has much to do with establishing religious truths or, for that matter, with upholding them. It’s merely a sentimental gesture.

  14. There is no need to conflate and confound heresy and salvation. Nobody claims that orthodoxy is sufficient for salvation. We can not know about salvation. Indeed, we have been told not to think over-much about the salvation in quantitative terms but work out our own salvation in fear and trembling.

    While heresy is an opinion that has been authoritatively declared to be contrary to the deposit of faith. Thus, heresy is something known.

    The real Christians in that peculiar sense, we can not know. It is simpler to define a Christian as a baptized person. The ‘real Christians’ are unknowable and it is useless to speculate about them.

  15. Perhaps we could speak of real ecumenicalism as striving towards doctrinal unity by rooting out false or trivial differences of opinion, and phony ecumenicalism as claiming doctrinal unity by ignoring real and important differences. But since Charlton’s question strikes me a strategic rather than doctrinal, I think the unity he endorses might best be described as a modus vivendi. I see this idea behind many of the comments as well. I can live on terms of peace with a great many Christian sects whose doctrines I find very odd, simply because we can together create a community in which our faiths are not under perpetual assault. There would have to be rules against very aggressive proselyting, but if my children are vulnerable to moderate proselyting, I and my church are to blame.

    • Although all the old doctrines are theoretically in effect, modern Churches subject to Cathedral rule refrain from mentioning them except in profoundly ambiguous fashion, drowned in a squidlike cloud of ink,

      So what differences remain? Apostolic succession, the Eucharist, and marriage have all vanished. Actually existent Christianity, actually existent churches, do not disagree on anything, in part because they don’t actually say anything, other than watered down progressivism.

      The religious right, meaning organized religion that believed in all that old stuff, has almost disappeared.

      You are all speaking and arguing as if Christianity as it existed before 1957 is a going concern and a major force. It is dead as a doornail. You cannot have institutional ecumenism because your institutions are dead, mere megaphones for the Cathedral, one microphone, many megaphones.

      Someone complained about me bringing up the subject of marriage. But observe: None of the major churches want bring up the subject of the validity of the sacraments, ordination, etc either.

      What is left to disagree on?

  16. Lydia’s error is in political theory. Being unable to see that nations too have an irreducible identity and an integrity and are justified to defend that integrity.

    Thus, an Orthodox nation is justified in restricting Protestant propaganda and similarly a Hindu nation in restricting all Christian propaganda, if it chooses.

    • Yes. Specifically, she apparently believes something like that, first, there are universal human rights whose guarantee must trump national concerns and that religious freedom is among those universal human rights.

      More than that, she does not think that acting on these beliefs should be set aside “for the duration” of the hostilities with the left, even to pick up allies as valuable as Orthodox countries.

      • she apparently believes something like that, first, there are universal human rights whose guarantee must trump national concerns and that religious freedom is among those universal human rights.

        This also reveals why any kind of alliance is simply not possible.

      • No, it “reveals” that it is impossible to ally with people with whom it is impossible to ally. That’s all it reveals.

    • “Thus, an Orthodox nation is justified in restricting Protestant propaganda,” etc.

      And, therefore, a Protestant nation is justified in restricting Catholic propaganda?

      • This is an interesting question. As you know, Protestant Britain restricted Catholic propaganda very vigorously in the 17th century, and a great many Americans would have liked to restrict Catholic propaganda in the 19th century, but were hobbled by the Constitution. They hung proselyting Quakers by the neck in 17th century New England. None of this speaks to the question of justification, of course, but only serves to show that Protestant churches are not not naturally tolerant. If one Protestant sect controls a territory, it will do what it can to exclude missionaries. The weakness in the United States (apart from the Constitution) was denominationalism, which is to say Protestantism as a collective whole.

        Setting aside the question of the truth of the religion, and viewing the question strictly from the vantage of political theory, I believe a state is justified in reasonable efforts to preserve religious homogeneity. The purpose of the state is to preserve order and religious pluralism is not conducive to order.

      • Justified is not the best choice of words. Tolerable would be better. The discussion is about prudential calculations in the face of weakness and division in a fight against a strong and evil foe. So, it would be better to say “Thus, an Orthodox nation should be tolerated in restricting Protestant propaganda” etc.

      • And, therefore, a Protestant nation is justified in restricting Catholic propaganda?

        Examples: Restoration England should have done so, Elizabethan England did do so.

      • “Thus, an Orthodox nation is justified in restricting Protestant propaganda,” etc.

        And, therefore, a Protestant nation is justified in restricting Catholic propaganda?

        Of course. Referring back to Jeffersonian’s proposal of county-by-county secession from the Union to create a new country, it seems to me that we might be better off with three countries in what is now the territory of the USA: the Federal Republic of America (Protestant); the Holy Kingdom of America (Catholic); and the Democratic People’s Republic of Ameristan (leftists). While missionary activity should be undertaken in the DPRA, it might be best for the FRA and the HKA to restrict or ban the other’s religion.

      • yes. But the matter of religious freedom is much more subtle than the simplistic one-word answers. What an individual may do and what an organized entity might do are have to be treated differently. There is a Chesterton saying (in the context of free markets) that the entity that puts its slogans or adverts in the sky can not plead the shy privileges of privacy.

      • Restoration England

        Nah. Restoration England should reestablished Catholicism and strangling Anglo-liberalism in it’s cradle thus making this discussion today largely moot.

      • Nah. Restoration England should reestablished Catholicism and strangling Anglo-liberalism in it’s cradle thus making this discussion today largely moot.

        Holier than thou disease, Phariseeism, followed the same path in France as it did in England. The war in Spain and the war in the Vendee were holy wars, even though both sides claimed to be Roman Catholic.

        In France, as in anglosphere, we saw holier than thou become holier than Jesus, holier than Jesus become unitarianism, unitarianism become militant atheism. If Napoleon had won, today’s progressivism would have had its roots in the false popes of Avignon, instead of in the ultra protestantism of the puritans.

        Now I think you can plausibly claim that the revolutionaries were no more Roman Catholic than William Wilberforce was Anglican, but the decadent and infiltrated french government had no more will to suppress the heresy of faux Catholicism, than the British had to suppress faux anglicanism.

        William Wilberforce swore to the thirty nine articles, despite being a holier than Jesus Unitarian. Should have enslaved him and sent him to Jamaica, for apostasy from his oath.

        But if the British lacked the will to suppress superficially hidden heresy aiming for political power, the French Monarchy even less had the will.

      • Holier than thou disease, Phariseeism, followed the same path in France as it did in England. The war in Spain and the war in the Vendee were holy wars, even though both sides claimed to be Roman Catholic.

        Huh?

        In France, as in anglosphere, we saw holier than thou become holier than Jesus, holier than Jesus become unitarianism, unitarianism become militant atheism. If Napoleon had won, today’s progressivism would have had its roots in the false popes of Avignon, instead of in the ultra protestantism of the puritans.

        Now I think you can plausibly claim that the revolutionaries were no more Roman Catholic than William Wilberforce was Anglican, but the decadent and infiltrated french government had no more will to suppress the heresy of faux Catholicism, than the British had to suppress faux anglicanism.

        William Wilberforce swore to the thirty nine articles, despite being a holier than Jesus Unitarian. Should have enslaved him and sent him to Jamaica, for apostasy from his oath.

        But if the British lacked the will to suppress superficially hidden heresy aiming for political power, the French Monarchy even less had the will.

        Well I guess you have the “freedom” to spout strange historical theories. In that you and Charlton are birds of a feather.

      • Holier than thou disease, Phariseeism, followed the same path in France as it did in England. The war in Spain and the war in the Vendee were holy wars, even though both sides claimed to be Roman Catholic.

        Huh?

        The central issue in the War in the Vendee and the Peninsula war was who got to appoint the priests. Whichever side won, all the other side’s Roman Catholic priests would be executed, and new Roman Catholic priests appointed.

        Revolutionary victory in the Vendee led to wholesale execution of all former priests, and wholesale appointment of fresh priests, and the counterrevolutionary side in the Peninsula wars reasonably and realistically expected the same.

      • jamesd127

        It is simply ridiculous to condense those two wars to that one element. But it is even more ridiculous to claim that the Naploeonic/Republican forces wanted to be “truly Catholic.”

        By the way I find it ironically amusing that you throw around the word ” Phariseeism” that word being quite in vogue with the current occupant of the Chair of St. Peters.

      • It is simply ridiculous to condense those two wars to that one element.

        They murdered people primarily on the basis of their religion, therefore those were religious wars.

        But it is even more ridiculous to claim that the Naploeonic/Republican forces wanted to be “truly Catholic.”

        The counter revolutionary forces in the Vendee, the Spanish forces in the Peninsular war and the Fascist forces in the Spanish civil war wanted to be truly Catholic and loudly and frequently said so, denouncing their revolutionary opponents as atheists, unitarians, etc. Napoleon counterclaimed to be more Catholic than thou.

        The Republican side in the Spanish civil war did not counterclaim to be more Catholic than thou, but they did counterclaim to be holier than thou, which claim of superior holiness traces back to the false popes of Avignon, not to the Puritans.

      • Indeed, the religious roots of leftism were still live in the 1930s, when the Republicans in the Spanish civil war executed all priests, nuns, and monks that they caught, when they demanded people hand over their bibles, crucifixes, and rosaries, then searched people’s houses for contraband religious materials and executed anyone they found in possession.

      • James,

        I don’t deny the theological roots of leftism. Following Plato, Augustine and Schmitt I concur that any political order is always underlined by a theology. I think certain strains of leftist thought are more forthright about this fact and are therefore offer much more to traditionalist thought than libertarianism could ever do.

      • All wars are ultimately religious in some sense. As far as the origins of modern leftism look no further than the classical liberalism of the Enlightenment. It is all well and good to blame “Avingon Popes” and “Purtians” but the origins of modern leftism spring rather out of early Enlightenment thinkers especially British thinkers like Hobbes, Mandelville, Smith and Locke. But then I don’t expect someone who’s blog title is “liberty in an unfree world” could bring himself to honestly examine the question.

      • It is all well and good to blame “Avingon Popes” and “Purtians” but the origins of modern leftism spring rather out of early Enlightenment thinkers especially British thinkers like Hobbes, Mandelville, Smith and Locke.

        American puritans imposing socialism and abolishing the family, Pol Pot style, early Israeli Kibbutzim style, long predate Hobbes, Mandelville, Smith and Locke.

        Marx identified with the diggers as the first communists, linking himself to the Puritan, rather than the Jewish tradition (more because he hated Jews, than because of actual linkage)

        The diggers, the first communists according to Marx, long predate long predate Hobbes, Mandelville, Smith and Locke.

        And if Napoleon had won, Marx would be similarly linking back to people who claimed to be ultra Catholic, instead of linking back to people who claimed to be ultra protestant.

      • American puritans imposing socialism and abolishing the family, Pol Pot style, early Israeli Kibbutzim style, long predate Hobbes, Mandelville, Smith and Locke.

        Marx identified with the diggers as the first communists, linking himself to the Puritan, rather than the Jewish tradition (more because he hated Jews, than because of actual linkage)

        The diggers, the first communists according to Marx, long predate long predate Hobbes, Mandelville, Smith and Locke.

        And if Napoleon had won, Marx would be similarly linking back to people who claimed to be ultra Catholic, instead of linking back to people who claimed to be ultra protestant.

        Actually those groups come out of the exact same milieu of Anglo early modernism. Even still I see those groups attempting to recapture elements lost by the Protestant Revolt albeit in a hodge podge water down manner. In this essential way you as libertarian share a basic ideological affinity with them since libertarianism is also a product of early modern Anglo thought.

      • Actually those groups come out of the exact same milieu of Anglo early modernism.

        I don’t think so. You trace Women’s lib back, you don’t get Hobbes, you get William Wilberforce supporting that dreadful slut Queen Caroline in the name of chastity and religion.

        William Wilberforce is Anglo early modernism?

        I don’t think so.

      • Firstly, I know of no Protestant sect that believes marriage is a sacrament, so that cannot be the Puritans fault. Secondly, Puritans only argument in regards to divorce was that in cases of adultery or abandonment, that the innocent party would be allowed to remarry which is not unreasonable and far more restrictive than per-christian Rome, Greece and Egypt, and many Puritans sided with Charles the First and wrote defenses of Royal absolutism that could only be matched by Robert Filmer. Also even the Anglicans accepted divorces that were passed by Parliament, although obviously only aristocrats could have this done. Diggers were not Puritans and existed at the same time as Hobbes was writing. And finally William Wilberforce was not a Unitarian and voted almost one hundred percent of the time with High Tories such as Lord Sidmouth, even when repressing political dissidents. The only time he voted against them was that he was against declaring war on revolutionary France, which considering that the Tories of all previous eras wanted nothing to do with the continent meant that his was the more traditionalist position even if I disagree with him about it. So neither Puritans or Wilberforce were leftists or the source of leftism, Although there were undoubtedly some leftists among the Puritans. I apologize to everyone if this has similar consequences to the debate about Nicholas II, but I apparently have a low threshold for such things.

      • Firstly, I know of no Protestant sect that believes marriage is a sacrament, so that cannot be the Puritans fault.

        Anglicans, among others, held that marriage is a sacrament up to 1960 or so. Now they have gone ambiguous and evasive on that issue – but so has the Roman Catholic Church, at about the same time to about the same degree for much the same reasons.

        and many Puritans sided with Charles the First and wrote defenses of Royal absolutism that could only be matched by Robert Filmer.

        Oh come on. Puritans executed King Charles the First, and then ruled as puritans, identifying as puritans, some of them with ridiculous ostentatiously silly puritan names,

        They implemented all manner of radical left reforms, among them divorce and secular marriage.

        They ruled until violently overthrown by General Monck leading to the restoration of Charles the first.

        Diggers were not Puritans.

        In the sense of having already made the progressive transition from holier than Jesus all the way to atheism, but they originated from puritans.

        And finally William Wilberforce was not a Unitarian

        So he said, claiming to be an Anglican. However, churches undergoing the progressive transition to unitarianism found themselves in possession of bequests that had been willed to them as trinitarian religions. Parliament had to rule on whether unitarians were allowed to hold onto bequests intended for Christians. William Wilberforce and his supposedly Anglican Church within the Anglican Church predictably backed the Unitarians, many of whom were already well on the way to atheism.

        and voted almost one hundred percent of the time with High Tories such as Lord Sidmouth, even when repressing political dissidents

        He voted against them on slavery, on Catholic emancipation, and on that dreadful slut queen Caroline, which were the major issues distinguishing left and right, whig and tory.

        He supported the overthrow of King Charles X of France.

        During most of his career there were no well defined Whig or Tory parties. The first government that was actually a Whig government was Lord Grey’s government, which William Wilberforce supported.

        When a Whig party actually existed, he voted whig.

        Before the whig and tory parties existed, he voted, and campaigned, on the issues that we now use to identify whig and tory – voted left on slavery and female emancipation, and on the issues that we have forgotten identified whig and tory – he voted against the authority and special state role of the Church to which he supposedly belonged.

        Being an entryist, William Wilberforce always said one thing and did different thing, helped his supposed enemies and damaged his supposed friends, but, at the end of his life, he came out as a whig.

      • I mucked up the formatting of my previous reply: Please delete or ignore it. Here is the reply correctly formatted.

        Firstly, I know of no Protestant sect that believes marriage is a sacrament, so that cannot be the Puritans fault.

        Anglicans, among others, held that marriage is a sacrament up to 1960 or so. Now they have gone ambiguous and evasive on that issue – but so has the Roman Catholic Church, at about the same time to about the same degree for much the same reasons.

        and many Puritans sided with Charles the First and wrote defenses of Royal absolutism that could only be matched by Robert Filmer.

        Oh come on. Puritans executed King Charles the First, and then ruled as puritans, identifying as puritans, some of them with ridiculous ostentatiously silly puritan names,

        They implemented all manner of radical left reforms, among them divorce and secular marriage.

        They ruled until violently overthrown by General Monck leading to the restoration of Charles the first.

        Diggers were not Puritans.

        In the sense of having already made the progressive transition from holier than Jesus all the way to atheism, but they originated from puritans.

        And finally William Wilberforce was not a Unitarian

        So he said, claiming to be an Anglican. However, churches undergoing the progressive transition to unitarianism found themselves in possession of bequests that had been willed to them as trinitarian religions. Parliament had to rule on whether unitarians were allowed to hold onto bequests intended for Christians. William Wilberforce and his supposedly Anglican Church within the Anglican Church predictably backed the Unitarians, many of whom were already well on the way to atheism.

        and voted almost one hundred percent of the time with High Tories such as Lord Sidmouth, even when repressing political dissidents

        He voted against them on slavery, on Catholic emancipation, and on that dreadful slut queen Caroline, which were the major issues distinguishing left and right, whig and tory.

        He supported the overthrow of King Charles X of France.

        During most of his career there were no well defined Whig or Tory parties. The first government that was actually a Whig government was Lord Grey’s government, which William Wilberforce supported.

        When a Whig party actually existed, he voted whig.

        Before the whig and tory parties existed, he voted, and campaigned, on the issues that we now use to identify whig and tory – voted left on slavery and female emancipation, and on the issues that we have forgotten identified whig and tory – he voted against the authority and special state role of the Church to which he supposedly belonged.

        Being an entryist, William Wilberforce always said one thing and did different thing, helped his supposed enemies and damaged his supposed friends, but, at the end of his life, he came out as a whig

      • James,

        My point still stands. Those figures you mention come out of the Anglo-milieu. I agree that protestantism generally provides fertile breeding ground for liberalism, but I do not think it is synonymous with it.

      • Since Martin Luther no confessional protestant sect has had more than two sacraments, baptism and Eucharist, some later Anglicans tried to reintroduce the other five but called them mysteries. Furthermore, Not all people who fought for the Round-heads were Puritans and not all Puritans fought for the Round-heads and your reference to the diggers is question begging. Also Wilberforce voted for punishing people for spreading seditious literature and revoking habeas corpus during the Napoleonic wars and the various repressions that led to the Peterloo massacre. Also it was mostly the Whigs and their bourgeoisie base that backed slavery and the slave trade, The Tories and country gentlemen generally frowned on the upstart nouveau riche who gained their wealth in dubious imperial ventures. He supported Lord Addington and the Duke of Wellington during their Prime Minsterships the latter of which was the one to pass Catholic emancipation despite being the highest of high Tories. He was also one of the main reasons the the East India Company was forced into aiding missionary work. Also why refer to Caroline as the “slut” queen. To my knowledge she was quite well known for being loyal and dutiful to her husband, even though she was liberal politically.

      • Since Martin Luther no confessional protestant sect has had more than two sacraments, baptism and Eucharist, some later Anglicans tried to reintroduce the other five but called them mysteries.

        The 1662 Anglican marriage rite is still theoretically official, which rite tells us

        that marriage was “instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency.”

        and that God “hast consecrated the state of Matrimony to such an excellent mystery, that in it is signified and represented the spiritual marriage and unity betwixt Christ and his Church.”

        There is a big difference between that and the Puritans having a justice of the peace do it.

        A church’s actual position on an issue is the position it tells the congregation.

        Also Wilberforce voted for punishing people for spreading seditious literature and revoking habeas corpus during the Napoleonic wars and the various repressions that led to the Peterloo massacre.

        Lincoln did much the same. It is always the left that engages in repression and terror. That is one of the major reasons that they usually win.

        Also it was mostly the Whigs and their bourgeoisie base that backed slavery and the slave trade,

        The slave trade act of 1807, which ended British participation in the slave trade, was passed by the Grenville government, a Whig government led by Lord Grenville, a Whig, a government supported by William Wilberforce.

        Also why refer to Caroline as the “slut” queen. To my knowledge she was quite well known for being loyal and dutiful to her husband, even though she was liberal politically.

        She was quite well known for having sex with her manservants, and overwhelming and undeniable evidence of her sexual misconduct was presented, eyewitnesses of her in bed with servants, a serving lady who cleaned the lovestained sheets. The proposition that she was not trash, not a slut is based on the principle that women are naturally chaste angels, and that therefore no evidence of misconduct could ever possibly be adequate.

        And that therefore the various laws restraining female misconduct should never be enforced. Which principle took us a large way to the present day situation, where the marriage laws and sex laws are enforced only on men, not on women.

        The trial of the slut Queen Caroline was the beginning of today’s harsh and one sided sexual laws against men.

        The rot set in when, during the the divorce proceedings of King George the Fourth, the left got away with arguing that it was so extraordinarily unlikely for a woman to behave badly, that extraordinary evidence of bad behavior was required, thus effectively negating the existing laws against such bad behavior, which laws were finally repealed in 1857.

        Social and cultural enforcement of these laws, however, continued until the 1950s, revealing that the attack on marriage was a state centered attack.

        Well of course it was a state centered attack, the state attacking society. The state is the left and the left is the state.

        If it is extraordinarily unlikely for women to behave badly, then obviously the entire apparatus of coercion to make people fulfill their marital vows was completely unnecessary for women, and only needed to be applied against men. Applying it against women was supposedly just sheer gratuitous cruelty.

        And thus, the left completed their attack on marriage that they began during the reign of Cromwell, when parliament declared marriage not a sacrament. Marriage was indeed smashed in the sixties – the eighteen sixties.

      • Wilberforce was punishing leftist revolutionaries that wanted to reproduce in England what had occurred in France and just because many Whigs wanted to end slavery does not mean that it was an anti-Tory position to take. Furthermore, nothing you mentioned about Anglican marriages would be objected to by puritans. In fact you seem to think that all puritans were separatists, while a great many of them were Anglican and some still are such as the Reformed Episcopal Church. As for dissenting protestants they wanted civil marriages because that was the only way to get their marriages recognized by the state without having to go through an Anglican ceremony. It should also be mentioned that Luther also thought that marriages should be a civil affair. As for the issue about Queen Caroline, I apologize I was thinking of the wife of George II not George IV

      • Wilberforce was punishing leftist revolutionaries that wanted to reproduce in England what had occurred in France

        Puritan descended leftists have regularly gone war with Jewish and Catholic descended leftists, until Anglosphere leftism, puritan descended leftism, achieved total world dominion over all other left sects. Most wars are left versus left wars. Where communist countries were neighbors, either one subjugated the other, or the border was in a continual state of war or near war.

        Furthermore, nothing you mentioned about Anglican marriages would be objected to by puritans.

        And yet, they did object.

        In fact you seem to think that all puritans were separatists, while a great many of them were Anglican

        Entryists. Puritans in the Anglican Church were analogous to communists in the state department. Like the Clapham sect, they viewed themselves as the elect, the saints, and regular Anglicans doomed to hell. They worked within the Anglican Church to disestablish it, collaborating with their fellow religionists outside the Anglican Church.

        As for dissenting protestants they wanted civil marriages because that was the only way to get their marriages recognized by the state without having to go through an Anglican ceremony

        Puritans in power in America imposed civil marriages and forcibly suppressed the Anglican ceremony. Puritans believed that marriage should be performed by a magistrate of the state.

        Oliver Cromwell’s civil marriage act of 1653 did not forcibly suppress the Church ceremony, but treated it as irrelevant and non binding, merely some sort of party. You had to get married by a civil magistrate, for it to be a marriage. Church marriage in Puritan England was socially discouraged, much as saying unkind things about blacks, gays, and transsexuals is today, though not forcibly suppressed.

        Cromwell did not ban the Anglican ceremony, but he did render it non binding, render it of no legal authority.

      • It should also be noted that Grenville’s government was a unity government involving the followers of Lord Sidmouth in addition to the Whigs, Thus Wilberforce supporting his government is no treason against Toryism.

      • Puritans were a part of the Anglican church since it was founded and still are except for those that broke away because the Anglicans, and in America the Episcopalians, became to theologically liberal. Of course Puritans thought Puritanism was correct and everyone else were heretics otherwise they would not be Puritans. They did,however, think of themselves as the true Anglicans and wanted their church to reflect what they viewed as the truth, where as the Separatists thought that it had become to corrupt and had to be done away with, thus making neither group entryists. Nothing you have mentioned about Puritan views on marriage contradicts your quotes from the Anglicans. Furthermore Cromwell, while a Puritan, was not Puritanism incarnate as many Puritans fought against him. Once more not all Puritans were separatists and not all separatists were Puritan, and the Puritans that were not Separatists were certainly not entryists.

      • Although no one is probably interested I thought I should point out for the record that William Wilberforce actually introduced the legislation that took the prayer for the queen out of the Anglican liturgy during Caroline’s stint as queen and did not vote on her “trial” as he was very ill at the time due to old age and bad medicine. Therefore he could hardly be reckoned as one of her supporters. Also, Though he did eventually vote for Catholic Emancipation, he was conflicted for a long time, he also denied grant money to Maynooth college on the basis that they would use it to train priests. I am still trying to track down his vote on the Doctrine of the Trinity act, however as I said he was very ill at the time and went to the House infrequently and most of his efforts were geared toward allowing christian proselytization of India.

  17. @Wm. Lewis Nov 15th 2013, 11:35 pm
    “it seems to me that we might be better off with three countries in what is now the territory of the USA…”
    “the Holy Kingdom of America (Catholic)..”
    God bless you, Sir!
    If only it could be so…

    Then maybe the line of James II could rule over us, once more.
    Think about, America used to belong to the Brits (parts of it anyway), so why not have have the Stuart line rule in the HKofA? It’s a perfect fit!
    Again, if only it could be so…

    • I am not sure it it is an urban legend or not but I have heard that this was initially considered by some Americans in the post revolutionary period. Also there was some talk of bringing in a German prince as king. There is also Alexander Hamilton’s pro-monarchical statements in the ratification debates. Still it seems like in any case a hypothetical American monarch would have been a mere figure head anyway not a return to older form of kingship.

    • Just for the record, I only propose a “Holy Kingdom of America (Catholic)” so that all you heretics can stop messing up our correct practice of Christianity in the “Federal Republic of America (Protestant),” where I would live. We can mess it up ourselves without any outside interference just fine, thank you. 😉

      More seriously, since Protestants and Catholics cannot but disagree, it seems wisest to separate. Of course, Catholics should never have been allowed to immigrate to America in large numbers anyway, but we can’t change the past. The damage has been done; the question is how to improve the situation and minimize future damage.

      • Catholics should never have been allowed to immigrate to America in large numbers anyway

        And Protestant America should have never have revolted and imposed itself into Catholic parts of America, like Florida, Louisiana territory, the Southwest, the Caribbean as well as the Philippines.

      • Well, we did buy that land from France, and considering the barbarity of Spanish rule, I can think it only a good think that the Spanish withdrew from North America—sometimes under pressure, of course.

        I have wondered about the propriety of the claim to independence, but again, we can’t change history.

      • Yeah, Jefferson that lover of small government and the rule of law, circumvented the rule of law to sign a deal with a the revolutionary dictator Napoleon. Very few of the Catholics wanted American “freedom.” Just like none of the Catholics in Quebec wanted it and successfully fought against it.

        “Spanish cruelty”

        Compared to what America? Yeah Spanish rule was cruel alright that is why black slaves fled to Spanish territories. That is of course until American “freedom” came. Heck in Mexican Texas slavery was outlawed- a major reason Americans cooked up a revolution there for “freedom” their “rights.”

      • There is approximately one regular commenter on the Orthosphere who defends slavery.

        I am not he.

        Of course slaves would flee to another country if they could. That’s a no brainer, and orthogonal to the discussion. It still doesn’t mean that those other countries were better for freemen than the US was.

        As for Jefferson… let us say I am not a fan, and leave it at that.

        Very few of the Catholics wanted American “freedom.”

        Would that they had left at the time!

        Like it or not, a major factor in the colonization of America was so that the Separatists, a.k.a. Puritans, could practice their Calvinistic faith without oppression. The history of religious conflict within Christendom has convinced me that we are best off with as few sects within a country as possible.

        I have no idea what will happen, but should America fall apart, I hope that whoever is in charge when the dust settles will take a look at history and decide that something like Separationism should apply not just to Islam but also to Catholicism. No, I am not placing Catholicism in the same category as Islam, but if we do fracture, Protestants and Catholics should have their own places, so that we can each live as we see fit.

        I wish no ill will to my Catholic brethren. I just wish it were harder for us to harm each other, and one way towards that goal is physical separation.

      • Of course slaves would flee to another country if they could. That’s a no brainer, and orthogonal to the discussion. It still doesn’t meant that those other countries were better for freemen than the US was.

        It is important because it does indict the US that as a country explicitly founded on liberty in the abstract, it would have extensive institutionalization of slavery. Too many modern American conservatives shrug this off and constantly beat the drum of “we have to get back to the founders” without really pondering the ideology itself.

        Like it or not, a major factor in the colonization of America was so that the Separatists, a.k.a. Puritans, could practice their Calvinistic faith without oppression. The history of religious conflict within Christendom has convinced me that we are best off with as few sects within a country as possible.

        Well, that was only part of the country. Even from the mid 17th century there were Catholics in Maryland. Indeed the South was not particularly Calvinist in practice. Had the Calvinists made the North East a little Switzerland I think that would have been much better. Again, Catholics had already conquered and were colonizing large parts of the continental US long long before the New England settlements. The early Americans and their increasingly secular descendants captured and established America largely in the name of liberalism. I have not found any convincing argument here at the Orthosphere against why Calvinist cultures in particular provide such fertile ground for liberalism? It seems where Calvinism reigned a virulent form of liberalism almost always ensues- whether it is Holland, England, or New England. Furthermore the transition is usually almost seamless, whereas at least in Catholic and Orthodox countries there is significant resistance and sometimes success. As far as Christendom, I strive to make it whole, encompassing the entire world as my Faith requires if that offends American protestants then so be it.

        No, I am not placing Catholicism in the same category as Islam

        Actually quite a number of American conservatives do just that and with good reason. Americans including most American Protestants and Mormons worship American “freedom,” and rightly see Catholicism as a threat to that (wrong) notion of freedom. Islam is precisely hated for this reason, and as Catholicism has declined many of the old prejudices are transferred onto Islam. Although I do note that you seem to have become a bit more critical of some of the founders like Jefferson. I find this to be a positive development. I have defended the Reformed communities especially that thrived here early on in America against “neo-reactionary” and libertarian attacks. I wish more mainstream conservative Protestants looked back to pre-1776 America which was in so many ways a much better social order.

        As regards separatism I think Catholics at least need not a physical or territorial separation but a cultural and ultimately spiritual separation from the dominate protestant/secular culture. This would entail a lot of things but especially it means an end to this useless ecumenism and complete detachment from American political ideology.This is my problem with Charlton. The whole notion of Mere Christianity is such a thoroughly modern reductionist concept that it really is a reflection of the times more than a serious challenge to modernity.

      • It does indict the US that as a country explicitly founded on liberty in the abstract, it would have extensive institutionalization of slavery.

        Some people need masters. When the slaves were freed, there was a big die off, which does not prove that all, or even most slaves were better off as slaves, but does prove that a great many of them were.

        When they were freed, their living standards fell substantially, which indicates that for many blacks to be employable, their employers need authority to physically discipline them.

        Of course material living standards are no everything. They may have been better off in that they were no longer subject to the violence of their masters, even though economically worse off – but on the other hand, they were a lot more subject to the violence of their fellow blacks.

        The “man and a brother” anti slavery position was an embarrassing and disastrous failure, and was replaced by a more realistic anti slavery position that it was a very bad idea to have blacks and whites in the same country.

      • James,

        Why do you blame the victims? Why not blame the idiot Southerners who imported massive amounts of slaves into the South to the point of there being 2 or 3 to 1 ratios in some states? Or people like Jefferson, a radical for liberty and perennial darling of the libertarian movement. I argue that Jefferson in his revolt against his rightful King proved to be much more a forefather of modern liberalism than some obscure early 19th century preacher. In other words, can we begin to admit that classical liberal orders tend to sow their own destruction?

      • Why do you blame the victims?

        It is not apparent that the slaves imported to America were victims. They grew taller, and had a higher reproduction rate than the ones that missed the boat. On average, blacks benefit,benefit substantially, from white supervision and control. Majority black cities in the US can exist only through federal handouts.

        Further, most of them were unwanted people who would have been killed out of hand had their not been another, more profitable, way of getting rid of them. When the British stopped the Ashanti empire from selling troublemakers, the Ashanti empire just slaughtered them instead.

        Black Africa was close to Malthusian equilibrium. In a society close to Malthusian equilibrium there is not a lot of demand for people who are so difficult that they need an overseer with a whip to get useful work out of them and prevent them from causing problems, so the tendency is to just kill them.

      • As for Calvinism leading necessarily to the most virulent forms of liberalism, there are counter examples. Northern Ireland for instance is one of the more conservative places in Europe and the ones pushing for socially liberal policies are the so-called catholic parties. Also Scotland seems in no way more liberal than the rest of western Europe with the Western Isles being one of the most Conservative places in the western world. The Netherlands is no more liberal than than Catholic Belgium. So I don’t quite see the connection between Calvinism and leftward movements.

      • Skeggy,

        You may have found a counterexample with Northern Ireland though I would note as you said that Northern Ireland was never purely Calvinist. Scotland is a perfect example of what I am talking about. Lowland Scotland was a major center of the Enlightenment and produced some of the most important and problematic thinkers of the “age of reason.”

      • The Ashanti Empire would not have existed were not for trading slaves to the Europeans for firearms. Nor were they merely selling off their criminal element but also raided other tribes for slaves which they would not have done if there were no buyers. Also considering that the American south treated their slaves more cruelly than anyone at the time except for the Carribean and the Ottoman Empire, I would think any kind of other life would be preferable to being enslaved there. Also, In that same region there had been many large and complex empires which in addition to the medieval Kingdom of the Congo and Ethiopia demonstrate that Blacks can do well enough without white overlords.

      • To Ita Scripta Est:

        Personally I prefer Hume and Adam Smith to Voltaire and Rousseau, though I despise them all and could understand how someone could hold a different opinion.

      • It is not apparent that the slaves imported to America were victims. They grew taller, and had a higher reproduction rate than the ones that missed the boat. On average, blacks benefit,benefit substantially, from white supervision and control. Majority black cities in the US can exist only through federal handouts.

        Further, most of them were unwanted people who would have been killed out of hand had their not been another, more profitable, way of getting rid of them. When the British stopped the Ashanti empire from selling troublemakers, the Ashanti empire just slaughtered them instead.

        Black Africa was close to Malthusian equilibrium. In a society close to Malthusian equilibrium there is not a lot of demand for people who are so difficult that they need an overseer with a whip to get useful work out of them and prevent them from causing problems, so the tendency is to just kill them.

        It seems that you yourself betray a very progressive understanding of history here by tying it to material prosperity alone. I am not willing to judge a people’s fortunes solely on material prosperity grounds.

      • Responding to ISE.

        Slavery was a fact of America at the Founding. It had to be dealt with in order to get the South on board with the new country. As Lincoln pointed out, time and time again, the Founding Fathers did not intend for it to be a permanent feature of America. Since they could not eliminate it at the Founding, they kicked that can down the road.

        Much is made in some circles of Washington and Jefferson being slave owners. Most of Washington’s slaves were his wife’s; he did not own them so could not free them. Furthermore, there was significant intermarriage between the Washington slaves and the Custis slaves, and Washington did not want to break up families. He did manumit his slaves at his death, though.

        As I recall, Jefferson could not free his slaves due to his debts. Our first leftist president was, like so many leftists, bad with money (why is that such a common theme among leftists?).

        ISE: “I do note that you seem to have become a bit more critical of some of the founders like Jefferson. I find this to be a positive development.”

        I owe my misgivings about Jefferson to the late Lawrence Auster.

        ISE: “… why Calvinist cultures in particular provide such fertile ground for liberalism”

        I do not believe that Calvinism leads ineluctably to liberalism; apostasy is the primary factor. Post-Catholic “Catholics” are every bit as bad if not worse, what with their open-borders fanaticism and advocacy for socialism.

        On the positive side for Calvin’s team, Britain, Holland, and America have all produced great explorers, inventors, thinkers, and leaders, and often left Catholic countries in their dust (I don’t recall where I first read this, but the idea is not original to me). This is not to deny the French, Spanish, Italians, and other Catholic countries their greats in the post-Reformation period, but their achievements often do not match those of Protestant countries.

      • Slavery was a fact of America at the Founding. It had to be dealt with in order to get the South on board with the new country. As Lincoln pointed out, time and time again, the Founding Fathers did not intend for it to be a permanent feature of America. Since they could not eliminate it at the Founding, they kicked that can down the road.
        Much is made in some circles of Washington and Jefferson being slave owners. Most of Washington’s slaves were his wife’s; he did not own them so could not free them. Furthermore, there was significant intermarriage between the Washington slaves and the Custis slaves, and Washington did not want to break up families. He did manumit his slaves at his death, though
        I do not believe that Calvinism leads ineluctably to liberalism; apostasy is the primary factor. Post-Catholic “Catholics” are every bit as bad if not worse, what with their open-borders fanaticism and advocacy for socialism.
        On the positive side for Calvin’s team, Britain, Holland, and America have all produced great explorers, inventors, thinkers, and leaders, and often left Catholic countries in their dust (I don’t recall where I first read this, but the idea is not original to me). This is not to deny the French, Spanish, Italians, and other Catholic countries their greats in the post-Reformation period, but their achievements often do not match those of Protestant countries.

        I guess to summarize my position on this thread I find it troubling how many American conservatives fall back upon (classical) liberal categories. The problem seems largely definitional- we cannot agree on what precisely constitutes liberalism. Quite a number wish to salvage aspects of liberalism especially in critiquing what they perceive to be Marxist-socialism. As you have pointed out, we ought to just chalk this up to irrevocable differences between Protestantism (especially of the Reformed variety as opposed to say Anglicanism) and Catholicism

      • As Kristor has pointed out, we are all recovering liberals. I am not at all surprised that I retain some liberal tendencies, even if only of the classical variety.

        The “irreconcilable differences” are indeed why I think that we should part, amicably if possible. I find it preferable to religious war, which could follow in the wake of liberalism’s fall.

        As an aside, I predict that forced relocation of minorities will follow liberalism’s fall, and I fear genocide might as well. That such misery, caused by self-righteous liberals, is predictable and was preventable, only makes the liberals’ actions all the more reprehensible.

  18. No one is allowed to restrict the truth.

    An intelligent man will recognise that human beings are fallible and therefore will leave some room for “error”. It’s the fanatic who is always right.

  19. Pingback: Lightning Round – 2013/11/20 | Free Northerner

  20. Pingback: Toward an Anglican Rite | The Orthosphere

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