Can Diverse Christian Sects Coexist Peacefully?

Despite their many differences, Traditional Christians of diverse sects seem doomed to each other as shield mates for the foreseeable future, willy nilly. But someday their common dire enemies – modernism and Mohammedanism – will have been vanquished, if only in virtue of their enmity to Truth and disagreement with reality. The spectrum of doctrines found on the orthogonal Right will then constitute the full diapason of political discourse. Assuming they have not by then been forced by exigencies of war into a single catholic confession of brothers in arms – a not unlikely eventuality, in my opinion – will the Christian sects be able to live thenceforth together in peace?

Yes. But only to the extent that they promulgate the same basic taboos. A sect that promotes, e.g., abortion, divorce, or suttee – or (I mean this seriously) nakedness in church or eating cats – can’t be tolerated by any that forbid them. But provided they can all agree with a system of law and custom that resounds their common limits to ethical conduct, there is no reason that different sects may not get along with each other amicably from one day to the next. The intersection of their ukases – whatever their theological springs – will then limn a common civic cult. To the extent that this civic cult is merely orthodox – to the extent, that is, that it does not stray from the basic doctrines of Nicene Christianity – it may win the whole-hearted allegiance of many flavors of Christians and quasi-Christians who disagree with each other irreconcilably on details.

Even the formal establishment of a given sect and the state enforcement of its financial support by all members of the polis need not render superficial heterodoxy – or indeed heteropracty – impracticable, so long as it does not mandate common worship under a rubric that is not likewise common – this being where people tend to draw the line. “Change whatever else you like, but damned if I’ll agree to your changes to the Prayer Book!” Or, more seriously, “I’ll be damned if I’ll ever pray to Moloch! To Hell with you!”

When it comes down to brass tacks, it’s the taboos that sway people. How do you tell whether a people all share a common basic cult – a cult that is common enough, and informs enough of social life, to suffice for social cohesion and coordination, for bonds of mutual loyalty and indeed affection? They mostly share the same taboos. Then they do not irritate each other; thus only may they get along, like husband and wife well used and accommodated to each other, and to their petty differences and disagreements.

146 thoughts on “Can Diverse Christian Sects Coexist Peacefully?

  1. Pingback: Can Diverse Christian Sects Coexist Peacefully? | Neoreactive

  2. Firstly, I’d say that Mohammedism is going to last a lot longer than Modernity, and this should be kept in mind. While Modernity is experiencing ideological entropy as well as geopolitical entropy, the Islamic world is only experiencing geopolitical entropy. There isn’t a ready-made ideological counter to Islam there, so it will live through its current holiness spiral.

    As for the question of Christian sects, I return to the discussion of Nation vs. Imperium. My opinion on this is that within a nation, it is impossible and a long-term detriment. Nations are more often than not smaller, and must be bound in common by not only their ethnicity and shared cultural history, but by a shared faith.
    In an Imperium, this is not necessary. The Imperium, being much larger, can include many nations and as such those nations can be distinct in terms of sect, and even to some degree religion itself. A good example would be the Russian Empire. Essential for the Imperium are two elements.

    1) A central, ruling nation. Shared rule between two dominant nations has a history of some success, but ideally there is one nation that exerts political dominion and ethnic majority,and in this nation lies the capital and seat of sovereign. This nation of course has its priestly caste who profess the dominant religion which is universal to that nation. The judicial forces of this Church are in effect the arbiters of right and wrong within the nation.

    2) Other nations, as satellites to the ruling nation, may in some circumstances profess different religious doctrines. An ideal under-nation would profess the same religious faith, and the closer it is, the better, though even a vast theological distance is manageable given a few prerequisites. The first is that there be definite geography. You cannot have a melting pot. These sub-kingdoms must be geographically distinct and relatively isolated without any real movement into the leading nation except in some unique circumstances. These nations must also be given some political freedom. They may have their own priestly authorities, and though these are ultimately technically subject to the religious authorities of the ruling nation, it is proper that they be left alone in most regards (this makes sense if, as you allude to, the moral requirements are the same among the different religions, even if they have ritual differences). They must also control their own local affairs. They will have representation in the capital for their interests, but most regional issues will not be decided by the Imperial Monarch or his aristocratic government.

    The one problem area I can see is in Catholicism. Since the Pope is the central and supreme religious figure, it would be difficult for an Imperium led by another sect-nation to contain Catholics because of issues of external loyalty. Similarly, it would be difficult for a Catholic Imperium not to actually contain Vatican City, the seat of the Pope. Ideally, Catholic nations should exist in a Catholic Imperium, which contains the seat of the Pope.

    That which I consider undoubtedly possible is a religious pact between East Christendom and West Christendom which declares war on any traces of Modernism. Both should carry the penalty of exile against the Cult of Progress, which will come to be known to both as the worst heresy imaginable.

    • This all sounds reasonable enough. Indeed, it sounds a lot like what the Framers evidently intended, with the states able to establish their own religions, but the Imperial Federal power proscribed from doing so; so that Maryland could be Catholic, Massachusetts Congregationalist, Virginia Episcopalian, and Pennsylvania Quaker.

      There is also wide latitude within the canonical jurisdiction of the Pope. Back in the day, the Franciscans and the Dominicans were profoundly at odds, but both were Catholics. This still happens. The Reformation too began, not as a movement to leave the Church, but as just what its name denotes. By no means was it the first such movement in the Church, or the last. Some such movements went nowhere, some were anathematized, and some were institutionalized.

      Finally, there is precedent for religious toleration in Europe under the Popes.

      • To put it in an American context, imagine the USA founded as a Catholic nation, spreading west into the frontierlands. It would have presented little to no problem to have Utah remain a Mormon enclave, even if the official religion of the USA be Catholicism and Catholics dominate the seat of power completely. The Mormon ‘nation’ (to use the word a little incorrectly) would be able to have its own priestly hierarchy, and the enforcement of moral taboos would be largely the same as in the wider society. The Mormon nation would have to pay taxes to the sovereign government, and submit soldiers in times of war. This system would be perfectly workable on a theoretical level, with little acrimony at all.

      • Mark that is silly. If in some alternative universe the US were a Catholic nation from the start Mormonism wouldn’t exist. If the US were a confessional state there would in fact be many problems with groups like Mormonism. Your constant attempts to build some kind of meta-traditionalist movement are utterly unconvincing.

      • ita scripta est – your view does not conform with the history of imperium. There are plenty of empires throughout history who have had this kind of structure to them, where nations of another religious character lie within, and co-operate with the sovereign rule. And my Catholic/Mormon example was theoretical.

        I am sorry you don’t find meta-tradition convincing. From my own research and study however, I believe that Traditionalists of different theological viewpoints can make common cause. However sure, let us all concede the view that the constant fighting and hatred between the sects and religions has definitely done wonders in stopping Modernity from castrating pretty much everyone and ruining the entire globe. This is a strategy we should definitely continue.

      • Mark,

        Yeah that’s rich coming from an “orthodox Christian.” Moscow is currently waging yet another campaign of violence and intimidation against not just Catholic countries but even other “orthodox” countries like Ukraine and (and in the past Georgia) all in the name of its grand Eurasian Imperium TM I’m sure. I was just reading a Russian nationalist website where it showed 2 million Caucasian Muslims shutting Moscow down for Islamic prayers. More isolated Catholic countries like Poland have fared much better than any “orthodox” country. The aforementioned Russian nationalist commentator said that Moscow is worse off than Paris! Maybe instead of killing Christian Slavs Putin and Patriarch Krill should look a little bit closer to home?Anyway my sympathies lie with real and few remaining traditionalist countries in Eastern Europe against the decadent imperiums of Washington and Moscow

    • The Habsburgs made a reasonable fist of something similar for quite a long time. They were too tolerant of radicals, however.

  3. Pingback: Can Diverse Christian Sects Coexist Peacefully? | Reaction Times

  4. But someday their common dire enemies – modernism and Mohammedanism – will have been vanquished, if only in virtue of their enmity to Truth and disagreement with reality.

    When the Son of Man comes back, will He find faith on the earth?

    You ignore prophecies and indeed the Bible itself. You have this naive idea – typically Whig – of linear progress through enlightenment. Also, to be ignored, all evidence of history itself. Islam has lasted for 1400 years. Why couldn’t it last 1000 more years?

    Can Diverse Christian Sects Coexist Peacefully?

    Again, you ignore history. Never have the Christian sects coexisted peacefully except when in the modern era when the conservative sects were faced with common enemies.

    They mostly share the same taboos …

    Did it not occur to you that the Christian fights were not about taboos – which are arbitrary things – but about Truth? All the Western history you reduce to the level of Polynesian tribal fights.

    Christians fought because they cared about Truth and not about their “taboos.” Precisely what “taboos” do you have in mind regarding the West and what role do these taboos played in Protestant Reformation for instance?

    • Truth and taboo are related. Under every form of Christianity, a man and a woman constitute marriage; under liberalism, not only does anyone constitute marriage with anyone, but the man-woman-children marriage is derided for being “oppressive” (the liberal term for wicked or evil); in Islam, finally, woman is reduced to a chattel and the man takes women and discards them as he pleases. Only the first definition of marriage corresponds to natural law – that is, to the truth of the created, moral, dimorphic complementarity of the sexes. it is implicit in Kristor’s argument that the taboos are practical manifestations of truth.

      • Kristor gves a distinct impression that for him the key thing is that taboos are shared, not that they approximate to the Truth. The taboos merely happen to be true or correspond to the natural law in the case of the taboos you mention–man-woman marriage-but this is not pertinent to Kristor’s argument. They need to be shared by all sects.

        Indeed, the Catholic Church taboos contraception, but other sects do not. In Kristor’s Mere Christianity Utopia, this fact may well give rise to a new war of religion.

        Per Belloc, there is NO Mere Christianity. There is the Catholic Church, and there are movements inwards and outwards from Her. There will always be war between truth and error. Thus, there has never been any peace between the Christian sects and there would never be. The Lord Himself promised so. “I have not come to bring peace on earth but I have brought a sword. Brother would be divided from his brother, and father from his son (for the sake of truth).

        Only

      • And in these “movements” going inward or outward is the explicit assertion that one is exercising his God-ordained free will… Does not the free will precede the move inwards towards the Catholic Church? So what is the primary means to Faith?

      • Thomas F Bertonneau,
        Taboo is something that is possible yet forbidden, It is not correct to say that same-sex marriage (SSM) was a taboo. For SSM is a contradiction in terms, a nothing.
        Thus, I disagree that “that taboos are practical manifestations of truth”. The complementarity of the marriage was a truism (i.e. a self-evident truth regarded so in a community).
        Taboos include taboo on Jewish prohibition on pork, Hindu prohibition of beef, or taboo on brother-sister marriage.
        There is a certain arbitariness in the taboo business. It can not be linked to natural law in any straightforward manner.

    • Vishmehr:

      Before I go to the trouble of writing a substantive reply, let me just say to you yet again that you are reading all sorts of things *that I did not write.* Your knees are jerking all over the place.

      Go back and read more carefully, asking yourself whether I have in the post asserted *anything at all* about, e.g., European history.

      The ambition of the post was quite humble. It proposed no grand metahistorical theory. It asked only whether Christians can possibly live together in peace, and answered, “yes, provided that their ways of life are similar, and no one is forced to agree to doctrines he does not in fact agree are true.” This is not to say that comity among Christians will ever in fact transpire, but only to say that it can.

      • He does this all the time, Kristor. He seems to be driven by a need to show how much more learned he is than everyone else. Did you know he read Aristotle?

      • Then why the wars of religion–16-17C?
        Catholics and Protestants then had similar even identical ways of life.
        The comity among Christians has ever and will ever occur when the Christians take the doctrines lightly ie. when they become secular-minded liberals.

        Pls google The Coming Storm. The era of biblical prophecies coming true is near. The Woman clothed in Sun has already appeared- at Fatima. Great Apostacy is going on. Pope B16 declared so-didn’t he.

        You did not assert anthing about the history but you should have-that is the point. When you casually assume that Modernism and Islam would vanish just because they do not match with Realit, do you recall that Hinduism has persisted for 3000 years, at least, with no less errors than Islam, indeed far more.

      • Vishmehr, you completely misread the post. I never said that so long as you get the taboos right, comity is certain to follow. I said that if the taboos are similar enough, comity is *possible* – not, NB, certain, but possible only. If they are not similar enough, then comity is not possible. But even if they are identical, comity is by no means assured.

        You on the other hand seem to be suggesting that if there is the slightest jot or tittle of abstruse doctrinal difference between men, their war to the death is inevitable. But that would mean perpetual, incessant, pervasive Hobbesian war. It would mean, e.g., that the Franciscans and the Dominicans were literally at each others’ throats, trying to destroy each other, until one of the orders was wiped out. It would mean total war, e.g., between Rome and Constantinople over their intolerable schism, until one or the other was deleted. That stuff didn’t happen. It’s actually rather rare – outside of late Classical Alexandria, anyway.

        It does happen from time to time, of course, but when it does, it represents a rupture, a breakdown, of the normal course of things, in which people mostly try to get along.

        The Church in Europe from 1000 to 1500 is a pretty good picture of what is possible. Quite a few different theologies were in play, even among the Scholastics, without bloodshed among Catholics for their sake. The Albigensians, on the other hand – who rejected Nicene Christianity root and branch, and praught a radically different set of taboos inimical to Christian civilization – were rubbed out.

        As to your assertion that I really should have asserted something about history, let’s just say that no post can cover everything that it is important to cover. The post was not about history (although it was certainly informed by history).

        When I suggest that modernism and Islam cannot persist because they disagree with reality, all I am saying is that what cannot go on forever will not go on forever. If you keep beating your head against the mountain, your head will give in before the mountain does. I make no predictions about when these errors will fall – it could take hundreds of years (although I doubt that it will) – but error must sooner or later or fall. Were it otherwise, there would be no practical problem with error, and people would go about beating their heads against mountains over and over without ever stopping.

        I should note also however that a completely erroneous sect would be instantly lethal to itself. For any sect to perdure, it must get most of the practical stuff of life right – i.e., it must approximate to a workable set of taboos, that are more or less fitted to reality – howsoever whacked the philosophical or religious foundations of its customs.

        This goes also for philosophical schools and religions, like those of the Hindus. If they get everything wrong, no sane men will find them the least bit credible, and they’ll get nowhere. If a religion has perdured for thousands of years, it must have made a fair bit of sense to a lot of people, and worked out fairly well for them in practice. That does not mean that an erroneous cult will not fail. Eventually, it must.

      • Prohibition in America resulting from the Methodist taboo on alcohol almost did wreck the Christian comity, aimed as it was specifically at Catholic immigrants. Now, why there is no chance of this recurring is not that the Methodist error or even the political error has been recognized and corrected but simply because the Methodist do not believe their own dogma strongly–the general decay in religious belief.

        “general picture of Church in Europe 1000-1500” was nowise as rosy as you make out. Read Dante for passionate debates about Pope-Emperor relations. The Protestantism grew out of the constant debates about poverty of the Church.

      • Again you disagree with an assertion I did not make. I never suggested that Catholic Europe from 1000 to 1500 was “rosy.” Rather obviously, it was still full of disputations, troubles and wars. All I suggested was that Catholics in that era were not (for the most part) killing each other on account of their doctrinal differences.

        Don’t you get tired of wasting your time attacking phantasms? I sure do get tired of pointing out that you are doing so. I wish you would stop.

    • Vishmehr24…

      The ONLY TABOO in the America is anti-white Supremacy, ie., the taboo against the greatest of white men leading OUR country of America.

    • Vishmehr24 is mostly correct. Kristor, while I have liked your last couple of posts, I think you are glossing over significant problems in an effort to be ecumenical. As vishmehr24 alludes to even most conservative Protestants have more in common with Catholic dissenters than they do with traditional Catholics on such issues ranging from contraception, clerical celibacy, the Church’s hierarchy and divorce let alone a whole host of other issues.
      I certainly hope your prediction comes true regarding liberalism but I think we have to be prepared for the reality that some form of liberalism will very likely grind on for centuries to come. Liberalism like Christianity has a way of rebounding at the very moment its enemies pronounce it dead.

      • I’m not trying to be a PollyAnna about this. I recognize that it is not likely that Christian sects can live in harmony. I assert only that it is possible. Viz., the title of the post.

        As for what you say about liberalism grinding on, I’m afraid I agree. I have been coming around to the conclusion that liberalism is endemic among men, rather like measles and hubris. I think that, like Gnosticism, it will always be with us, and always has been.

        What makes the modern era unique in history is that in it liberalism has been in the cultural driver’s seat. That can end. Indeed, I think it must, for liberalism is autophagous. And while it is obviously very adaptable and plastic, it is also weak. And it is running out of money. And it is not reproducing itself. And it is boring; indeed, it is irritating in its bottomless sanctimony. If you want to see what the prospects for liberalism look like, observe what has happened to the Episcopal Church.

      • Kristor…

        If you believe Liberalism to be “endemic” amongst now and always then you believe that Liberalism is anti-metaphysical… Liberalism CANNOT HAVE spiritual or intellectual origin… Liberalism MUST BE a strictly physical act in its origin.

      • Kristor…

        Do not the liberationist deny metaphysics? Of course, “we” will claim this is erroneous, but when the liberationist SAYS he transgressively acts with no metaphysic IN MIND, should “we” not take this to mean that one’s Liberalism has no spiritual or intellectual origin?

        What is the cost of granting Liberalism a valid metaphysics to which its most ardent adherents feverishly deny? And swear up and down that they do not act on account of a personally held metaphysical assumption?

        DOES Liberalism, “endemic” to man… Equivalent to ideological self-annihilation REALLY possess a spiritual and/or intellectual origin?

        How is this ^^^ possible? How can ideologically mandated self-annihilation have a spiritual or intellectual origin that then does not turn these words on their head?

      • I don’t care what liberals think about their own metaphysics. They have a metaphysic whether they want one or not, and whether or not it makes any sense. But that’s neither here nor there. You wrote that, “Liberalism MUST BE a strictly physical act in its origin.” No. Every event whatever has a metaphysical basis. There can be no such thing as a thing that is not an instance of thingness – that is not, i.e., an instance of metaphysical principles. So there can be no such thing as a purely physical act.

      • Kristor…

        Then what is the metaphysics of the homo-sexual “nature?” What is the metaphysics of the self-annihilating act? Our God is the author of The Transgressive Act?

  5. I think the next half-century, perhaps the next decade, will see many supernatural wonders of great magnitude. I think we may see a great chastisement of Humanism, an end of Islam, etc. But, maybe not.

    What seems certain to me, is that the sects cannot coexist even with each other, let alone with the Church, whose spiritual enemies they necessarily are. Read again the second chapter of Don Felix Sarda y Salvany’s “Liberalism is a Sin:”

    Incipit

    WHAT LIBERALISM IS

    Protestantism naturally begets toleration of error. Rejecting the principle of authority in religion, it has neither criterion nor definition of faith. On the principle that every individual or sect may interpret the deposit of revelation according to the dictates of private judgement, it gives birth to endless differences and contradictions. Impelled by the law of its own impotence, through lack of any decisive voice of authority in matters of faith, it is forced to recognize as valid and orthodox any belief that springs from the exercise of private judgement. Therefore does it finally arrive, by force of its own premises, at the conclusion that one creed is as good as another; it then seeks to (16) shelter its inconsistency under the false plea of liberty of conscience. Belief is not imposed by a legitimately and divinely constituted authority, but springs directly and freely from the unrestricted exercise of the individual’s reason or caprice upon the subject matter of revelation. The individual or sect interprets as it pleases, rejecting or accepting what it chooses. This is popularly called liberty of conscience.

    Accepting this principle, Infidelity on the same plea rejects all revelation, and Protestantism, which handed over the premise, is powerless to protest against the conclusion; for it is clear that one, who under the plea of rational liberty has the right to repudiate any part of revelation that may displease him, can not logically quarrel with one, who on the same ground repudiates the whole. If one creed is as good as another on the plea of rational liberty, on the same plea no creed is as good as any. Taking the field with this fatal weapon of Rationalism, Infidelity has stormed and taken the very citadel of Protestantism, helpless against the foe of its own making.

    Explicit

    At present, there is substantial good will between the sects, and between them and the Church, because of our common enemies. But it is now incumbent upon us in the Theonomist arm of Reaction to persuade our sectarian brethren, while there is still time and good will and easily accessible historical information, of the fact that the dawn of Liberalism is one and the same thing, as the Protestant Reformation. Protestantism is First Wave Liberalism; as Don Felix explains above, Protestantism is not the product of some earlier train of thought, but is itself the premise that gives rise to the Liberal train of thought. One can see the absolute identity between them. This to me is an historically certain and easily discernible truth to any fair-minded person (I mean, hey: I’m an ex-Protestant because of it, and I was very committed to my “biblical” worldview beforehand). Because Christianity takes Truth seriously, to the point of requiring martyrdom for fidelity to the Truth, and because Protestantism foments the legitimacy of private opinion over and against the Church’s “unbiblical” authority (immanis amentia!), the mere existence of Protestantism in a society is a guarantee that there will be groups of the most egomaniacal sort of dissidents, prepared to die before they forsake their God-given mission to burn down all the Churches, destroy all the great art, decimate the social institutions, slaughter the monks and nuns and overthrow throne and altar “once and for all.” One will never be free of the false accusations and social agitations and demands for “Christian tolerance” of their “freedom of conscience.” We will never be free of Liberalism so long as this pestilence of the soul flourishes.

    The less religious Reactionaries, who nevertheless understand the crucial importance of the national cult, will probably see quite easily that there are only two options: find an entirely new state cult, or return to Christianity, since Christianity and Europe are at this point inseparable (all that was best of Pagan Europe survived in Catholic customs, whereas attempts to re-create the old Paganism would be just that: attempts, which would always fail to satisfy). And they also see that Catholicism is both the actual identity of Europe (Protestantism marking the beginning of European disintegration), and is the only Christianity with authority and an historical claim to legitimacy.

    I think a peace would last for a while between Christian sects. But, like it or not, it is dangerous to leave Protestantism alive (for then the whole threat of Liberal revolution and egomania continues to loom over society), and impossible to expect that persons who reduce Truth to their private arbitrations will ever leave society at peace for very long. Peace with the broodmother of all the Liberalisms – Protestantism, that Whore sitting upon many waters – is impossible.

    • I would have a question for Senor Sarda y Salvany: How would you oppose Protestantism? By preaching what you understand to be Christianity, or by the sword?

      As a Protestant, I would oppose Catholicism by preaching Christianity as I understand it, not by the sword.

      • Protestantism is dying. Most historical Protestant Churches–Anglical, German Lutherans have entirely surrendered to liberalism and have apostatized. They have priestesses, divorce, remarriage, same-sex mariage, same-sex married bishops, what not.

        There is no need to oppose Protestantism.

      • Both. The Church’s job is to preach; the State’s job is to put to the sword. The Church does not believe people should be killed, in a vacuum, simply for not being Catholic. Otherwise Catholic missionaries would show up in new territories and simply start shooting.

        But when a Catholic state exists, Catholics believe that the civil society should yield itself to the Kingship of Christ, and the laws are bound to maintain right order in society. This is true of Natural and Divine Laws (and Canon Law); and while it could theoretically be possible for competing cults to live alongside each other with agreement on Natural Law, the fact is that, severed from the living sap of the True Israel of God, secular institutions are not capable of long perduring in an exact knowledge (let alone observance) of Natural Law.

        Apart from this, societies generally have an interest in ejecting dissident groups, because they destabilize the society; and in point of fact, anyone who studies the “Reformation” will see that the Protestant dissidents comported themselves essentially in the same way as modern SJWs. As Kristor himself noted in his recent post on the inevitable war of competing cults, Justice Kennedy gets at the essence of Liberalism/Modernism thusly: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” Anyone who believes they have this right – and Protestants are the first to introduce it in human history – is going to have an healthy resistance to reason, and a sense of entitlement to think/do whatever the hell they want. And that’s exactly what we’ve seen happen for the past five centuries. The Reaction, the Church, has no interest in allowing the matrix of this worldview – Protestantism – to go on producing new scions. If the Reaction is going to kill Modernity, it has to do it root and branch.

        I know it doesn’t seem like I’m very concerned to reason with my Protestant friends, if I’m essentially saying that the state should cut them down, if it must. But I truly do appeal to Protestants in all earnestness and charity. We are all horrified by the self-destruction of the West in Modernity. Search out the origins of the rot, and tell me that it is not the logical conclusion of Protestantism, however horrified decent Protestants are by the logical conclusions in the excesses of modern Liberalism. Baptists call it “competence of the believer” and proudly announce that they have no binding Creed; justice Kennedy speaks of “the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning…” There’s not a lick of difference between them. All one can do is leave the whore and come back to the Bride.

      • CuiPertinebit,

        Thank you for your honesty. In grad school I had a Muslim acquaintance who told me in all seriousness that come the American Caliphate, my head would be the first on the block. I glad to see an honest Christian not lie about the form that coercion would take in a Catholic America, even though it would also take my head. Trying to find common ground with civilized Christian men (probably because the term “civilized Christian men” is an oxymoron) was a fool’s errand, I know. Thank you, truly, for making me face up to the eternal enmity that must exist between us.

      • Does anybody know if CuiPertinebit’s position is official Catholic doctrine, or just the opinion of a few chauvinists?

      • @Nilakantha108

        Your frustration pains me, and I want to say something “nice” that could make it seem better. I will say that the Church also teaches that it is often better to tolerate an evil in the interest of a greater good, than to try to extirpate every evil from society. There is some room for tolerance in the Catholic state. And honestly, it would probably not take your head, based on the fact that you seem like someone who understands a great deal of the truths of Natural Religion. You sound like you would be an upstanding and moral member of society, and that other members of your religious community would comport themselves similarly.

        But when it comes to Protestantism, let me try to put the nub of the problem to you this way. Further down the thread, you say:

        “Earl’s position on sexual sin is one of the reasons I have a hard time seeing contemporary Christianity as anything other than a thinly disguised defense of sexual perversion.”

        This is exactly what the Church has been driving at, in its condemnations of Protestantism and the necessary, logical consequence of Protestantism, Liberalism/Modernism. Protestantism is the matrix and starting-point of the Kali Yuga (or the Apostasy, as we would call it). By its own internal logic, it begets relativism and leads to the expectation of a publicly sanctioned indifference, or at least agnostic forbearance, when it comes to the Truth. Mr. Roebuck demurs and says that there are *other* authorities than just the Bible, and points to the various Protestant Confessions. But then if Calvinism continues to affirm that masturbatory sex is a sin while Anglicanism is ready to bring out the condoms and ball gags, what? The choices are a war of religion, or an appeal to the lowest common denominator of consensus. They tried wars of religion for a few centuries and it didn’t quite work out, and we all got sick of it. So, okay: LCD of consensus (and the democratic spirit is born!). Now, in 1930 the Anglicans want condoms and the Calvinists don’t, but at least we agree divorce is bad! Now, in 1960 the Anglicans want divorce but the Calvinists have only just got used to condoms… but at least we all agree homosexuality is bad! Now, in 1990… Now, in 2020…

        Well, we both know how this works: the lowest common denominator of consensus is always sliding lower… and this is only to be expected, in a society which has already accepted the premise that **the truth doesn’t really exist, or at least, we don’t know it, or at least, we don’t/can’t agree on it, and we’re not so uncouth as to fight about it anymore, so let’s just “agree to disagree” and lower the bar one… more…. time….** And the bar lowers and lowers, and the Kali Yuga plummets and plummets, and the Apostasy keeps falling away and away…

        A Catholic State can tolerate a righteous Pagan. It can tolerate certain schismatics that look to immemorial tradition and unchanging morals as the norm. It can even tolerate small numbers of economically and politically neutered Jews and Moslems. But Protestantism is by nature an ideology of relativism, hubris and rebellious, evangelical dissidence. It is, in the concept of Julius Evola, an anti-tradition. Catholics would call it the philosophy of the anti-Christ, the profane lore of the Apostasy. It necessarily begets tolerance of error, promotes indifferentism and ends in the dictatorship of relativism, as Benedict XVI aptly described it. To tolerate Protestantism, is to invite constant onslaughts of a truly infernal nature. For that reason I single it out as something which is due far less tolerance – ideally, none – in the Catholic state. It is the source of our current state of decay. But, it is also dying out on its own, as the culture war exposes its dialectic and obsolesces it, as another poster said. The Church is not fated to put Protestantism to the sword, in my opinion. I think Protestants will very swiftly be coming to a rather universal recognition of the bankruptcy and radically evil nature of that philosophy, and will return to the Catholic Church when crisis brings clarity. I just think that we will be in a much better position to weather what is coming, if we can bring as many Protestants as possible to this realization, sooner rather than later.

    • It seems to me that Faith in the existence of The Perfect Man cannot come from “on high,” but rather, MUST BE EMBRACED willingly, ie., must result from the absolute exercise of man’s God-ordained free will. Catholicism simply does not account (as far as I know and will gladly stand corrected if in error) for the real physical disadvantage of being born farthest from the Origin and thus facing the longest journey back to Orthodoxy? What else could possibly cover this inexplicably “arbitrary” gap but man’s God-ordained free will?

      • Kristor…

        Forgive me if I am not quite understanding of the relationship you are making? As neither a Catholic nor a Protestant, but simply a white Supremacist, I am trying to understand the real schism between Catholicism and Protestantism and the charge of birthing Liberalsm lodged against the latter by the former. In the real world, Catholicism looks like Liberalism and Protestantism does not seem to explicit exist. The schism in my mind is the means to Faith… Original authority or God-ordained free will. I tend to see the path to Faith only truly attained through perfect exercise of God-ordained free will through ritual, sacrament, tradition. But the free will is primary. One must FIRST free willingly step to the Father then only through a legitimate authority.

      • Mr. Bertonneau…

        Could you summarize the Catholic/Protestant schism is a paragraph or so?

        Because I see Liberalism as The Transgressive Act… Ergo, NOT spiritual or intellectual in origin… Then Protestantism birthing Liberalism is nonsensical unless Protestantism is simply defined as The Transgressive Act? Is this how the Catholics sees it and why? WHAT IS the transgressive act of Protestantism?

        PS What of your children? What steps do you take to save them?

        Thordaddy: I can’t save anyone’s children, including my own; only God can save them. The most I can do is teach them. (TFB)

      • Here’s how I would summarize the divide. The fathers of Protestantism, the Reformers, identified two basic principles of the Reformation:

        The formal principle was sloganized by sola scriptura, meaning that the Bible, not the Pope, is the highest authority over Christendom. [Note that the Bible is the highest authority. Protestantism does not claim that it is the only authority.] Since the Bible claims for itself that it consists of the Words of God and not just words written by men, this claim makes sense.

        Rome, in contrast, claims that her Church, a specific organization, was given divine authority over Christendom by Christ, and that she is therefore the supreme earthly authority. (God is supreme, but not earthly.)

        That’s why CuiPertinebit says “…the Catholic Faith holds that Christianity is a [capital-C] Church.” He sees Rome as a single unified organization, with a single unified command structure given by God.

        Protestants hold that the [lower-case-c] church is the assembly of all believers in Jesus Christ, and believers always need to be organized, but there is no single Organization.

        The material principle concerns exactly how man comes to have a right standing before God. In other words, exactly what makes somebody a Christian. Since Jesus is the Savior, and salvation has to do with rescue from danger, and since the danger is condemnation by God leading to banishment to Hell, it’s an important question. The Reformers claimed that Scripture teaches salvation by faith alone and not, as Rome teaches, faith plus other things.

        Note that they said salvation is by faith alone. The Christian life involves more than just faith in Christ, but faith is the essential element.

        The Reformers also claimed that Catholicism had, over the centuries, introduced unbiblical and anti-biblical ideas into the life of the church. It was these which they wished to reform.

      • Thordaddy,

        You will benefit immensely from reading “Liberalism is a Sin,” by Don Felix. I mentioned it elsewhere in the thread, but it will go a long way to answering your questions. I will also try to answer specific questions you may have; my email is the same as my handle, but at gmail. A link to Don Felix’ book:

        https://www.ewtn.com/library/theology/libsin.HTM

        In brief, Catholicism sees that Modernism/Liberalism is the same thing as Protestantism, because both have the exact, same, fundamental premise: the sufficiency and liberty of man to arbitrate ultimate matters of truth for himself, along with the expectation that his private arbitrations, at least insofar as they “only” concern himself, are owed a kind of recognition and deference by others and even the civil power. This produces a bristly egalitarianism, prominently visible from the Protestant decadence onwards.

        What do you mean when you define Liberalism as “the transgressive act?” Why does that exclude spiritual and intellectual qualities? Are men not able to transgress in spiritual and intellectual ways? I didn’t understand what you were trying to say, there.

        The Protestant/Catholic divide is easy to summarize in brief: the Catholic Faith holds that Christianity is a Church; Protestantism holds that Christianity is an ideology. Evangelicals will chime in with concern to say that they view Christianity as “a relationship.” So do Catholics. I’m cutting it down to the nub, though.

      • “Protestantism = liberalism” makes for a memorable meme and, like every great lie, it contains just enough truth to fool many people.

        Protestantism and Catholicism are both vast movements, each one containing many mutually contradictory elements. Traditionalist Catholics can ignore the chaos in their camp and use their leadership’s claim to divinely-appointed authority to declare that Rome solves the problem of religious confusion. For them, the authority of Rome is comforting even if it is generally not obeyed.

        Protestantism understands that people don’t always obey. Real Protestantism posits the Bible as the central authority over Christian doctrine, and the idea of “the sufficiency and liberty of man to arbitrate ultimate matters of truth for himself,” as you put it, has never been a Protestant doctrine. That’s just a Catholic libel.

        And just because you might be able to find someone calling himself a Protestant who does affirm something like “the sufficiency and liberty of man to arbitrate ultimate matters of truth for himself,” that does not make it Protestant doctrine. Catholics also make all sorts of goofy claims. But because Catholicism claims that it has a Central Command which can issue Official Pronouncements, many Catholics think that these goofy claims don’t count against Catholicism, whereas goofy claims made by self-proclaimed Protestants do count against Protestantism. It’s a convenient way to claim victory in the argument.

        You could claim that Rome has received plenary authority over Christendom from God and therefore all Christians ought to submit to her. That claim at least makes sense, although it’s mistaken. And you could make a case that Protestantism, by overthrowing a king, can lead some of its followers to descend into religious anarchy. Some of them.

        But to say that “Protestantism = every man is his own Pope” is just ignorant slander.

      • @CuiPertinebit…

        My thesis is that Liberalism is anti-metaphysical, ie., strictly physical… Ergo, an action… A transgressive action… THE transgressive action… The self-annihilating action… Er, the homosexual “nature.” Liberalism is the homosexual “nature.” There are no spiritual or intellectual origins for Liberalism… There are no spiritual or intellectual origins for homosexuality… There can be no spiritual or intellectual origin for self-annihilation. The cabal of “equalists” desire a self-annihilating “Christianity.” This goal is to be achieved through the subversion of white Christian sexual morality…

        Unfortunately, and because “we” are largely deracinated, “our” side deceitfully or unwittingly legitimates Liberalism by authoring an array of “spiritual” and “intellectual” creation myths for ideological self-annihilation at the very time that “we” should be working to delegitimate Liberalism and not be bamboozled by the idea that a DESIRE for pleasurable annihilation can be defeated root and branch.

        There is only one taboo… “We” are swamped by an insidious cult… The best of white Christians CAN NOT AND WILL NOT lead our white nations… “Our” nations can not and will not be lead by genuine white Supremacists… This IS THE ONLY REAL taboo! AND ALL, from far left to hard right, are in agreement.. There is no political spectrum and there is no real Catholic/Protestant schism where it counts most… Both are anti-white Supremacy and one with Liberalism.

      • Thordaddy, you asked how Catholicism accounts for those who suffer the physical disadvantage of having lived far from the Origin of the Gospel. I take you to be asking about Catholic doctrine on their soteriological prospects: is someone who has through no fault of his own never properly heard the Gospel thereby doomed to Hell? The answer is no. Go ahead and google “invincible ignorance” and you’ll get all the background.

      • Alan Roebeck,
        1) Why there are so many Protestant sects? Would you deny that the Protestant sects have a fissiparious tendency? What stops an individual to form his own “Bible-believing Church”?
        2) How come most established Protestant Churches dating from the Reformation have abandoned a lot of core Christian princples? Anglicans have priestesses, German Lutherans have divorce and so on.
        3) What precisely is common between thousands of Protestant sects apart from denial of Roman authority?. What precisely is common between Lutherans, Calvinists and Anglicans except this very point?

      • I’d answer those questions it I thought you were not a supercilious, cynical, quasi-skeptic. But judging by your record here at the Orthosphere, you are. When you start acting like someone interested in real back-and-forth, I’ll respond to you.

      • On second thought, vishmehr24, and since I want to set the record straight, I’ll give the basic summaries of the answers to your questions. Though I don’t have much hope that you’ll respond to them seriously and respectfully, perhaps someone else can benefit from these answers.

        Since my experience is that only Catholics talk like you’re talking, I will assume that you’re a Catholic.

        1) Why there are so many Protestant sects? Would you deny that the Protestant sects have a fissiparious tendency? What stops an individual to form his own “Bible-believing Church”?

        I’ll answer the spirit of the question rather than the letter: Despite the claimed authority of the Catholic Church, Catholicism is filled with disagreement and confusion. Despite the authority of the Bible, Protestantism is filled with disagreement and confusion. If you Catholics get to claim that your Magisterium (or however you want to word your claimed authority) solves the problem of religious disagreement despite the disagreement that fills your Church, then we Protestants get to claim that the Bible solves the problem of religious disagreement.

        2) How come most established Protestant Churches dating from the Reformation have abandoned a lot of core Christian principles? Anglicans have priestesses, German Lutherans have divorce and so on.

        You speak as if this is an indictment of Protestantism. Your Catholic Church is as corrupt as Protestantism. And if you think the special God-given authority of Rome makes her fundamentally OK despite the general corruption, then I get to believe that the existence of Bible-believing Protestant individuals, congregations and denominations makes Protestantism fundamentally OK.

        3) What precisely is common between thousands of Protestant sects apart from denial of Roman authority? What precisely is common between Lutherans, Calvinists and Anglicans except this very point?

        Actually, there are about a dozen basic Protestant types, each broken into several subtypes. The “thousands” figure may be arrived at by regarding every independent congregation as being its own denomination. Or it may just be dishonesty. And to answer your question: What we have in common is justification by faith alone, the Trinity and, more specifically, the divinity of Christ, the Virgin Birth, the Atonement, the Resurrection, the Holy Spirit’s role in bringing us to faith in Christ, Creation, the Old Testament as giving types and shadows of Christ, biblical infallibility, and I could go on and on.

      • Vishmehr24…

        The unifying belief of all Christendom is faith in objective Supremacy… Both with the natural realm and the supernatural realm.

        The ONLY TABOO of Modernity is the white man/men who seek(s) Perfection, either subjectively and/or objectively.

      • Kristor…

        I was merely referencing the Catholic charge that Protestantism = Liberalism. I can’t agree with this Catholic/alt-rite consensus. It doesn’t ring true to me even though I would not claim to be a Protestant. In other words, Protestantism is a liberated Catholicism in a nutshell. This seems the charge. Protestants exercise more transgressive free will? My point was in speaking of the Protestants of modern America. The Catholic idea is that the Protestant free will is primary and thus degenerately liberated. I was arguing that this is justified — this “extra-judicial” exercise of our God-ordained free will — because “we” are technically as nearly as far from the Catholic origin as humanly possible (time wise). “We” need to maximize our God-ordained free will as “Protestants” to reach back to Origins.

        It seems the nature of the Catholic/Protestant schism is universal… Who gets to exercise more legitimate freedom? It is truly every white Christian for his own free will.

      • Here again, everybody needs a scapegoat. This idea that Protestantism equals everything bad we’re currently experiencing seems to me a little far-fetched. On the other hand, a little enforced discipline within the Protestant denominations would go a long way. It can’t be every man for himself; it can’t be every man’s private interpretation of the Scriptures. That is inherently chaotic.

      • Alan, I may have asked you this before – I can’t remember. For confessional Protestants, isn’t their confession their highest authority? It seems like the confession for the Protestant acts like the Pope for Catholics.

      • A confession is the second highest authority, for it claims to be authoritative only on account of being a faithful summary of biblical doctrine. And a confession cannot summarize all biblical teaching, but only the most important. A cynic would say that since the Bible is difficult to understand, the confession is the de facto highest authority, but that does not cut against the Protestant position. There always has to be an earthly authority capable of making actual decisions.

      • I would say “critic” not “cynic” but maybe that’s the same thing.

        If you mean the confession I guess I would say that a document can’t make a decision. The document records the historic resolution to a dispute and, yes, provides de-facto authority. It can’t act “on-the-fly.”

        Incidentally, I was talking to some non-confessional Independent Baptists recently. It is an interesting contrast to the confessional Protestant approach. They don’t have confessions – they just claim they teach the Bible – so presumably this means a very direct, literal simplified version of the NT message. The critic in me says that it’s hard to believe there isn’t both historic and contemporary influence on their exegesis.

    • No 1. Protestantism is not liberalism.
      No protestants do not reject Authority but rather the illegitimate Authority of the Papacy. God is the ultimate Authority is his will is made known through scripture. Which in the end men are to be obedient to. Likewise legitimate Authority and hierarchy have already been outlined in scripture which protestants follow. Likewise the text itself is not subject to be interpreted as one seeks fit no matter what sophistry one employs to twist the word of God to ones own desires. The text (Not necessarily its translationsof course) could only mean what is it meant to mean as per the original designs of its original writers who wrote with the inspiration of the holy spirit.
      No 2. Only the heretical and apostate sects that have abandoned or are effectively disobedient to God and his Word is dying. The winnowing will show who are his.

    • @CuiPertinebit

      I’m sorry I came off as so strident in my last post. [I had read your post and responded] after a long argument with an Orthodox acquaintance who is now at Oxford about the Orthodox Churches’ descent into iniquity on the subject of contraception. She roundly refuted my Traditional and Patristic witnesses by calling me, more or less, a Moloch-worshiping faggot. My reservoir of good feeling about Christianity was pretty well dried up after this. However, I continue to believe only a revitalized and faithful Catholic Church (Roman and/or Orthodox) is the only hope European man has in his present war with the powers of darkness.

      I know I tend to harp on sexual sin ad nauseam, and I wish more people would join me. I’m a penitent and, therefore, a bit of a fanatic; but I cannot believe that any normal Christian can look out on today’s world and not hear a constant chorus of, “[C]ome out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing.”

      I’ve appended a little explanation of what constitutes sexual sin (misconduct) in my religion (Mahāyāna Buddhism).

      Sexual Misconduct

      There are four possible bases of sexual misconduct: a person with whom you should not have intercourse, inappropriate body parts, inappropriate places, and inappropriate times. Those with whom one should not have intercourse in the case of men are women with whom you should not copulate, all men, and eunuchs. The Compendium of Determinations refers to the first:

      Those indicated in the sutras-such as your mother and those protected by mothers-are “those with whom you should not have intercourse.”

      The meaning of this is as the scholar Aśvaghoṣa said:

      “Those with whom you should not copulate”
      Are those held by another, those having a religious insignia,
      Those under the protection of family or king,
      A prostitute who has been taken by another,
      And those related to you
      These are the ones with whom you should not copulate.

      “Those held by another” are others’ wives. “Those who have a religious insignia” are renunciate women. “Those protected by family” are those who have not yet become brides and are protected by kinsfolk such as their fathers, who are protected by a father-in-law or a mother-in-law, who are protected by a guard, or who-in the absence of these-are protected even by themselves. “Those protected by a king” or his representative are those concerning whom a punitive law has been laid down. The line stating that sex with a prostitute for whom another has paid is sexual misconduct shows that there is no sexual misconduct in hiring a prostitute yourself. The Great Elder also taught this in a similar way.

      “Men,” the second in the list of those with whom you should not have intercourse, refers both to oneself and to others.

      Inappropriate body parts are body parts other than the vagina. The master Aśvaghoṣa says:

      What are inappropriate body parts?

      The mouth, the anus, the calves or
      Thighs pressed together, and the hand in motion.

      This accords with what the Great Elder says:

      The “inappropriate body parts” are the mouth, the anus, the front or rear orifices of a boy or girl, and your own hand.

      Inappropriate places are areas such as the vicinity of gurus, for instance; a place where there is a stupa; in the presence of many people; and on uneven or hard places that are harmful to the person with whom you are having intercourse. The Master Aśvaghoṣa says:

      In this case, inappropriate places
      Are ones that are locations of the sublime teaching,
      Stupas, images, and the like, and bodhisattvas;
      And the vicinity of an abbot, a preceptor, or one’s parents.
      Do not have intercourse in these inappropriate places.

      The Great Elder also taught this.

      Inappropriate times are when the woman is menstruating, when she is pregnant, when she has an infant who is nursing, when she is observing a one-day vow, and when she has an illness which makes sexual intercourse inappropriate. Sexual intercourse is also inappropriate in excess of a proper amount. A proper amount is having intercourse up to five times a night.

      The master Aśvaghoṣa says:

      In that case, inappropriate times are when
      A woman is menstruating, pregnant,
      Has an infant, is unwilling,
      Is in pain or is unhappy and the like,
      Or is maintaining the eight-part one-day vow.

      • I’ve just edited your comment for clarity, Nilakantha. Hope you don’t mind.

        One change I did not make was to the word “refuted.” I doubt your interlocutor did in fact refute you. The ad hominem fallacy just doesn’t work that way.

      • Kristor, I don’t mind at all if you edit my posts for clarity. I have bad eyesight, and if I’m not in a position to have my computer read back what I’ve written, heaven knows what will end up in a post. As a quick aside, I know that a fallacy cannot refute an argument, but I also see my inartful use of irony didn’t work.

      • I understand entirely. The false doctrines on the celibate life, marriage, divorce and contraception were amongst the main things that drove me from the Orthodox Church, where I was a monk for 10 years. The Orthodox were also beginning to reject traditional doctrine on the Atonement, Christology and the nature of man, resulting from a rejection of Original Sin, which was closely connected to a rejection of traditional teaching on sex. I.e., in order to be more “sex-positive,” Orthodox were rejecting doctrines that ultimately touch on the dogmas of our salvation. Of course, these errors are also rife in the conciliar movement of Catholic apostasy.

        I agree that repentance and striving for purity are necessary first steps for Western man, if he hopes to drive back the darkness.

  6. In the ninth century Kashmiri play, Much Ado about Religion, the problem of a common civilization with numerous cults was solved in this way:
    With regard to the highest human goal, there is no contradiction among scriptures, since all teach the very same reward: deliverance. Nevertheless, differing salvific paths are taught, according to the intellect of the beings to be favored. This omniscient Lord taught various kinds of approaches when he saw that “these people can be helped to reach beatitude in the way they prefer on this path.”

    Though He is one, inasmuch as he assumes various bodies fashioned by His will and teaches all kinds of scriptures for the benefit of all beings, he bears all those diverse names which are celebrated in all the worlds.

    Shiva, Paśupati, Kapila and Viṣṇu, the divine Saṇkarṣaṇa, the Sage Jina, the Buddha and Manu are one, only these designations differ, and maybe their bodies as well, but there is no plurality in the undifferentiated Supreme Self. Even if he is different from God, an extraordinary, eminent man clearly bears the Lord’s luster. For thus taught Kṛṣṇa:

    “Whenever a being is powerful, thriving or mighty, know that he has arisen from a particle of my luster.” Or let there be many illustrious sages, like Jina, who are devoted to propagating different religions: they, too, will recognize the means leading to beatitude inasmuch as they have a pure, imperishable vision acquired through devoted meditation on the All-holy.*
    Just as people from a crowd that wants to enter a single fort or a big house also enter through different doors, liberation-seekers too enter the highest abode in the same way.

    The following wise saying of Jayanta, the prodigy, who has mastered the essence of all sciences, who knows reality, and who has shaken off error, refers to the same thing:

    “The many means taught by various scriptural approaches converge in the single summum bonum, as the currents of the Ganges meet in the ocean.”* But let’s cut the discussion short. People who talk too much incur odium, so now I curb the excessive jabbering of my tongue. Religious scriptures are authoritative because they have been enunciated by a truthful, trustworthy person, or by themselves, like the Veda, inasmuch as they have no beginning, or because they are in harmony with Vedic tradition, like Manu’s teachings. All scriptures are authoritative: thus say the political scientists.

    You may object: “But surely in this way, because of the logical fault of unwarrantable extension socio-religious order on earth would be utterly ruined. Tell me a case when one could not say this about any proposition in the same manner, however worthless it may be. This objection is answered as follows:

    Provided it has a widely acknowledged, unbroken tradition, provided the Āryas are not repulsed by associating with it or discussing it, provided its accepted practice is neither antisocial nor dangerous, provided it has not just recently sprung into being, provided it is not based on the ramblings of a madman, nor on something outlandish, nor simply on something like greed: for such scriptures this method of validation is applicable, but it cannot be used for just any text. We can say about such scriptures alone, and not in any instance whatsoever, that they have been enunciated by trustworthy persons, or that they have no beginning, or that they are based on Vedic tradition.

    But these masters among disputants will definitely not allow this claim of validity for any scripture in which any contemptible duty is taught, such as making love to women one must not have sex with, or eating impure things.

    Even though Western Monotheists might have problems with some of its suggestions, it’s still worth consideration.

  7. To answer Kristor’s question: yes, one would hope so. Charles Williams paraphrased Gamaliel in Acts 5 to the effect that there is no need to be too hard against anyone of behalf of Omnipotence.

  8. Kristor,
    You are falsely claiming that I willfully misrepresent your views. I have never said anything about Christians killing each other –entirely your invention.
    My point, which you have not cared to answer, was simple–while predicting the future of Christian comity in a future age, you neglected to consult the Bible itself.
    1) Victory over liberalism and Chistian utopia–not going to happen this side of Second Coming. Bible prophecies the Great Apostasy.
    2) You talk of taboos lightly but omit to note what precise taboos do separate the Christian sects. I have given many examples–contraception, Methodist taboo on wine, Catholic taboo on usury.
    3) Chiristanity is concerned with truth and comity exists between the sects to the extent they do not believe in their own doctrines. That is, the present comity is precisely a result of liberal tendency in religion. No liberalism, more belief in doctrines, the less comity.
    You do not respond to any substantive point.

    • Vishmehr, not five minutes ago I wrote to you that I have *not* claimed that you misrepresented my views (whether willfully or not). I wrote that you have misread me.

      Now five minutes later you write that I have claimed that you willfully misrepresented my views.

      Such is the depth of your misreading.

      You are obviously a smart guy. So the problem cannot be that you are too muddled in your thoughts to understand what I have written, and what I have not. I conclude that you are trolling me again. Write back when you are prepared to respond to what I have actually written.

    • “1) Victory over liberalism and Chistian utopia–not going to happen this side of Second Coming. Bible prophecies the Great Apostasy.”

      Victory over liberalism ≠ Christian utopia.

      As for the Second Coming and Great Apostasy, you cannot know if we are in those times. Nobody can. And I have argued that in such a circumstance, it is logical to act as if we are not in those times.For all we know, the end times are thousands of years away.

      • Absolutely! I don’t know how many times, nor to how many people, I’ve said this very thing over the last twenty years, but suffice to say a bunch.

  9. Why eating cats? I wouldn’t want people in the US to start eating cats, but they do eat them in some parts of the world, right? In theory, why couldn’t there be both cat-eating and non-cat-eating Christians in the same territory?

    • I don’t know, really. It just seems like something that people who don’t want cats eaten by anyone in their territory would not be able to tolerate. There’d be outrage.

      Interesting to compare attitudes to abortion.

      Taboos and customs that seem worth fighting over, and that have been fought over, can be amazingly picayune. Consider the wars among the Russian Orthodox over how one ought to cross oneself.

    • Yes. As long as it’s clearly understood that they’re no more entitled to “equal” citizenship rights and priveleges than the common heathen.

      • I’ll be more clear. Have Jews and Christians ever coexisted in anything other than a state of permanent antagonism eventually resulting in the subjugation of the one by the other.

      • Sure. Well, it depends what you mean by subjection. The Jews in Medieval Europe were subject to Christian culture in just the way that Americans in Saudi Arabia are subject today to Arabian culture. They had to observe the proprieties, and could not foist their ways upon the host population. But they were not enslaved. They were on the contrary able to live out their lives in peace among like-minded communities of their fellows, and worship as they saw fit. And this situation continued for decades at a time, punctuated now and then by the periods of instability afflicting the wider host culture.

        Foreign cults can be tolerated without civil war or pogroms if the native cult is strong enough, and prevalent enough, and firm enough, and definite enough, and the foreigners are not too numerous. When everyone knows that this is Rome, by God, full of Romans who are all thoroughly imbued with Romanitas, then visitors to Rome will conform themselves to Roman ways. It will not occur to them to push the Romans out of their Romanitas, or out of Rome.

        The European pogroms against the Jews happened during periods of cultural or economic crisis – these usually coincide – when, feeling that their patrimonial culture was under threat, people looked about for enemies to kill.

        One of the main reasons that cultures sort themselves into national territories is that periods of crisis are bound to happen from time to time even to the most stable and successful nations; and among the ways that this sortition is carried out are war and pogrom; so that national sortition is beneficial for everyone.

  10. Alan Roebeck,
    Thanks for thoughtful answers, even though you think I am a non-deserving skeptic. Which I assure you I am not. And I am, at present, a non-sectarian person.
    Now for my response.
    1) Why there are so many Protestant sects.
    You have moved the question of “existence of sects” to a very different
    question of “disagreement and confusion”. There will always be a certain
    amount of disagreement and confusion. IT was so even with the Apostles.
    But the Catholic church remains a unity while the Protestant sects continue to
    multiply.

    2) “How come most established Protestant Churches dating from the Reformation have abandoned
    a lot of core Christian principles?”
    Again, you have moved the question of “stability of dogma” to “imperfect practice”.
    Has the Catholic Church changed any fundamental dogma?. It is the only Church that is
    holding line on contraception. I wonder if you would agree or disagree with the Catholics that
    contraception is contrary to the Divine Law.

    3) “What precisely is common between Lutherans, Calvinists and Anglicans except this very point”
    What we have in common is justification by faith alone, the Trinity and, more specifically, the divinity of Christ, the Virgin Birth, the Atonement, the Resurrection, the Holy Spirit’s role in bringing us to faith in Christ, Creation, the Old Testament as giving types and shadows of Christ, biblical infallibility.

    All of these you hold in common with the Catholics except a certain twist in justification by faith.
    But do the Lutherans, the Calvinists and the Anglicans identically interpret the “justification by faith” ?
    And do the Lutherans, the Calvinists and the Anglicans have identical meaning for the Real Presence?

    4) a further question, what is your opinion about the specifcally Catholic miracles–Fatima and Lourdes?
    DO you regard them as true or as fakes?. Or you have not given them sufficient thought?

    • Regarding point 1), the existence of a single sect is not necessarily an indication of validity. The Catholic Church remains a unity only if you grant her premise that she was divinely ordained to lead Christendom, which I do not. She claims a theoretical unity which cannot be justified and which does not occur in practice.

      About point 2), I don’t think that contraception per se is contrary to divine law. It depends to a certain extent on the situation. I would say that contraception as a widespread phenomenon is a socio-political problem, indicative of a general decline in the morals and morale of society. But Rome does not define divine law, the Bible does, and the relevant texts are ambiguous.

      And the historical record shows a number of innovations introduced over the centuries by the Catholic Church. She does not have stability of dogma over time.

      Regarding point 3), it is not necessary for the validity of Christianity for there to be perfect or near-perfect agreement among the existing sects. If the sine qua non of a person being a Christian is forgiveness of his sins through the work of Christ and the individual’s repentance and faith (as I have argued elsewhere), then disagreement on other issues does not invalidate Christianity or the particular sect. Rome maintains a unified doctrine only in theory, by defining one set of beliefs as correct. But if Rome does not actually have the authority to do this, then she is nothing but a more grandiose version of the other sects, and it falls to the individual to gather the evidence and then decide which sect is the most faithful to God’s revelation.

      I have not studied Fatima and Lourdes. But I do know that hostile supernatural powers have the ability to perform lying signs and wonders, and a miracle that is pretty close to the truth but contains an important deviation can be the worst of all. So I would not grant that a miracle could validate specifically Catholic doctrine.

      By the way, may last name is spelled Roebuck, not Roebeck. I’m not related to Glenn Beck 🙂

      • Alan,

        “She claims a theoretical unity which cannot be justified and which does not occur in practice.”

        There is unity in the papacy (visible sign obvious to all) and the magisterium of the Church (doctrinal unity) – if it doesn’t occur in practice it’s because of disobedience – those who want to seek out the Church’s unified teaching can find it.

        Completely disagree with you on point 2. Genesis 38 is not ambiguous about contraception. The Protestant sects were united against contraception until 1930 based on the Bible and natural law based Exegesis. The Protestant fathers, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Wesley, etc. were against it.

        “And the historical record shows a number of innovations introduced over the centuries by the Catholic Church. She does not have stability of dogma over time.”

        What we see is development of doctrine that always existed though often in embryonic form. Not new innovations.

      • The real unity claimed by Rome is based on her allegedly God-ordained authority. That God made such an ordination is highly questionable. In practice Popes disagree with one another and Catholic doctrine has changed over the centuries. And this is innovation, not the development of embryonic doctrine, because it contradicts clear-cut biblical principles. For example, purgatory denies the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice.

        Genesis 38 refers to the sin of Onan. The context clearly shows that the sin was failing to provide his dead brother with offspring to carry on his name, as was the custom at that time. It was not “contraception” in general, but failing to do his duty to his brother. And Christendom could have opposed contraception for extra-biblical reasons.

      • i suppose, though, that contraception is like divorce: Better to ban it entirely than to permit it with no limits.

      • I do not agree that purgatory denies the sufficiency of Christ’s atonement. This might be the case (I’m not exactly a theologian) if justifying grace were strictly imputed but I don’t think this is correct.

      • In general terms, the reasoning is clear. If Christ’s death is sufficient to atone for our sins (see e.g., Hebrews 10:14), and if Purgatory is said to atone for some of our sins, then we have a contradiction.

      • Alan,
        “if Purgatory is said to atone for some of our sins”
        Says who?. I have read a fair bit of theology but I have never ever read Purgatory as a place of atonement. The orthodox view it as a hospital, a place where the saved souls are purged or cleaned as to make them fit for heaven.

      • “I have not studied Fatima and Lourdes. ”
        Well, I should have thought that a person interested in Christian controversy should have studied these important 20c miracles. Don’t you realize that a non-Christian might make the same reply even to the resurrection of Christ?

      • What about non-Christians like myself who do not deny the reality of the Virgin Birth or Bodily Resurrection of Christ? I simply deny they can function as proofs for the truth of any metaphysical statement.

      • Alan,

        Forgiveness of sin is given by Christ in the person of His priest through the sacrament of confession; however, the temporal punishment required to purge the stain of evil from the soul is something different altogether. Maybe the problem in understanding goes back to the arguments concerning imputed vs. infused righteousness.

        Here’s a paragraph from New Advent that might help clear things up:

        That temporal punishment is due to sin, even after the sin itself has been pardoned by God, is clearly the teaching of Scripture. God indeed brought man out of his first disobedience and gave him power to govern all things (Wisdom 10:2), but still condemned him “to eat his bread in the sweat of his brow” until he returned unto dust. God forgave the incredulity of Moses and Aaron, but in punishment kept them from the “land of promise” (Numbers 20:12). The Lord took away the sin of David, but the life of the child was forfeited because David had made God’s enemies blaspheme His Holy Name (2 Samuel 12:13-14). In the New Testament as well as in the Old, almsgiving and fasting, and in general penitential acts are the real fruits of repentance (Matthew 3:8; Luke 17:3; 3:3). The whole penitential system of the Church testifies that the voluntary assumption of penitential works has always been part of true repentance and the Council of Trent (Sess. XIV, can. xi) reminds the faithful that God does not always remit the whole punishment due to sin together with the guilt. God requires satisfaction, and will punish sin, and this doctrine involves as its necessary consequence a belief that the sinner failing to do penance in this life may be punished in another world, and so not be cast off eternally from God.

      • A Protestant would say that, for example, the death of David’s son was a temporal consequence of sin and not a punishment for sin. Indeed, the punishment for sin is banishment to Hell, and it is this punishment which is taken entirely by Christ on behalf of the Christian, so that there is now no reason for God to send him to Hell.

      • Alan,
        I am currently learning about Fatima. It is most intriguing and Father Jaki, whose writings on history and philosophy of science I greatly appreciate, has written to the credibility of this miracle.
        He has a book on Fatima but I have not yet been able to get my hands on it.

      • “i suppose, though, that contraception is like divorce: Better to ban it entirely than to permit it with no limits.”

        Alan, if contraception isn’t sinful then why place any limits on it? Or is it sinful only in certain situations (e.g. when done for selfish reasons)? Or are you referring to practical considerations like people not having enough children?

        I think contraception shows the limits of sola fide authority. Luther and Calvin, I believe, have a completely different understanding on this issue than you do. If you, a faithful, sincere, non-liberal, Bible-believing Christian can interpret the Bible with great confidence (e.g. your words “The context clearly shows that the sin was….”) in a way completely in conflict with Protestant Church Fathers then that is evidence of problems with sola fide. Or maybe our exact position on moral issues like contraception don’t really matter that much – just the Christian’s sincerity matters or it’s besides the Gospel? The problem I have with that attitude is that there are other moral issues that the Bible is silent or ambiguous on, as the theological liberals like to point out.

        Alan I would encourage you to google the arguments against contraception and read and pray about it. It isn’t just a Catholic teaching. I have seen excellent articles from Lutherans and American Evangelicals on the topic too.

      • Alan, I might have asked you this before, I can’t remember. I assume that to be in heaven united with God we must be sinless creatures. It would seem to me that we would have to be actually sinless creatures not just creatures whose sin God doesn’t look upon or impute to them. This is why the cleansing/purifying/perfecting our love of purgatory makes sense to me. How do Protestants understand how this happens? Do they teach that upon death or resurrection we become actually sinless/analytically justified? Or do they teach that we have sin in heaven?

      • Protestant teaching understands the Bible to say that righteousness is imputed (credited) to us by faith in Christ. The righteousness is real, not a “legal fiction,” but is ours by credit, not by actual earning. According to Scripture, this is enough.

        Also, I believe that Protestant teaching is that we are changed when we are in Heaven so that we do not actually sin. It’s not a result of punishment in Purgatory, but a changed nature. But that’s not enough; we must also have righteousness to cover our sins on Earth so that we merit heaven.

      • As a Prot I am only against contraception when it intentionally endangers the life of a child, which I consider endowed with the image of God from the moment of conception.

        So I am not against “spilling my seed on the ground” to prevent conception, but I am against intentional abortifacients of any kind.

        I will admit that all purposefully non-productive sex is masturbation. Only those acts which are intended (or hoped) to cause reproduction are true acts of sex. Everything else is a shadow, a play.

      • And Genesis 38 verses 9 and 10 read “But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his. So whenever he went in to his brother’s wife he would waste the semen on the ground, so as not to give offspring to his brother. And what he did was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and he put him to death also.”

        This seems pretty clear in identifying the sins as not giving offspring to his brother, and not birth control per se.

        Of course, sometimes it’s valid to extrapolate, but it’s not clear to me that one can do so here.

      • Come again, Earl? Am I misreading you? As a Protestant, you’re not against masturbation?

        I‘ve read that Christendom was united on this issue from time immemorial to 1930 and even the infamous Lambeth declaration of 1930 was extremely prudish and old-fashioned by today’s Protestant standard.

      • Alan your conclusion is not at all clear. Both the intent and action are described in the verses. It is not made perfectly, directly clear, independent of other arguments. The graphic nature of the description is generally reserved for forbidden sex acts in the Hebrew scriptures.
        “And the thing which HE DID displeased the LORD” , MY EMPHASIS

      • “Also, I believe that Protestant teaching is that we are changed when we are in Heaven so that we do not actually sin. It’s not a result of punishment in Purgatory, but a changed nature.”

        Alan, why does this changed nature (what sounds like the Catholic doctrine of analytical justification) only happen at or after death?

      • I don’t know for sure, but I think it is an inference: Scripture says that even Christians continue to sin, but they do not sin in Heaven.

      • I don’t see Scripture being against masturbation. I don’t think Onan’s sin was masturbation. You think masturbation is a capital offense?

        I also recognize new understandings of theology- for example I am a Preterist when it comes to eschatology, despite the Reformers being Historicists. I am also an Old Earth Creationist. What is your eschatology?

      • Earl,

        I could be missing some obscure verse but I don’t think scripture is “against” fondling little boys if by “against” you mean directly addresses the exact behavior with unambiguous language. By this definition, it’s not really “against” abortion either. Nor is it “against” husband-wife anal sex.

        I believe masturbation is a mortal sin.

      • Earl,
        Thank you for the link. I am fairly familiar with confessional Lutheran (I attended a WELS church for a while) doctrine and pretty well versed in Anglican theology (for a layman). I am somewhat less familiar with Reformed theology. I read Alan’s confession (Heidelberg, I think) a while back. It’s all very interesting. FWIW, I have personal biases towards Protestantism, the faith of the “old stock” Americans and tend to see the Catholic Church as the “immigrant Church.” So an emotional bias against Protestantism isn’t an issue with me.

      • The Bible does not set out an age for marriage. It is also not against abortion. Nor is it against slavery. It is also not against non-procreative man/woman sex. Nor is it against another certain thing (that is in the Westminster Confession) that I’m guessing would get this comment deleted.

        The Bible is however, FOR procreative sex, life from conception, a studied Christian liberty from The Law and “Mortal Sin”, equality IN CHRIST, and one man/one woman in marriage.

        There is only one Mortal Sin.

        To say that masturbation is not a Mortal Sin is not to defend it.

      • Earl’s position on sexual sin is one of the reasons I have a hard time seeing contemporary Christianity as anything other than a thinly disguised defense of sexual perversion:

        …[E]arly Church fathers such as St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine and St. Clement of Alexandria were very firm in their univocal condemnation of any act that would intentionally render the act of marital union sterile. Chrysostom placed the use of contraceptives by spouses at a level of moral depravity even below that of murder, since the couple conspired against the very coming into existence of a new human being. Whereas in abortion they intentionally kill a child already formed. And Augustine says that those couples that choose to intentionally sterilize their act of union are not even engaging in an act worthy of the name “marriage.” He goes so far as to say that the husband and wife treat each other in the manner of harlots when they use contraception. The witness of the early fathers on the matter is, then, quite clear. — Orthodox Christianity, Marriage and Contraception: Understanding the Mystery of Marriage and the Problem of Contraception from within the Orthodox Christian Dogmatic Tradition

      • The Bible is against all of those things, Earl. You’re simply wrong. I suggest you study it more intensely. If you’re going to hold to Sola Scriptura, then hold to it dammit! But don’t force your Protestant brethren to defend the indefensible! Namely masturbation, among other things.

      • nilakantha108,

        Not just the Early Church fathers. Luther categorized the contraceptive sex act as a sodomitic sin.

      • Trying to understand Earl. So the Bible (God really) isn’t against things that aren’t explicitly, unambigously condemned in scripture? He might be for other things which tend to lead us away from these things that aren’t explicitly condemned? Presumably He is against things which are explicitly condemned like sodomy.

        Alan, is this Reformed Christianity’s understanding?

      • Protestantism in general understands that some things are to be opposed or condemned by implication of Scripture, but are not explicitly identified in Scripture.

      • If God has not explicitly stated that He is against something, then what else can you go by, Bruce? You can only go by what he has positively commanded and affirmed. To take a closely related commandment from God and then put words in God’s mouth on your little pet project is not a good idea.

        Please note again that I have not “defended” masturbation, but have said that it is not a mortal sin, and have said that I cannot find a prohibition on it in the Bible, and have indicated that there are numerous positive commands which would be binding on the act (and all other acts which are not clearly prohibited by The Bible.) Can we all agree that there are things where God is not clear, perhaps intentionally not clear?

        I will admit that there is very little chance that going into the closet and rubbing one out is not going to be sinful. Where is your spouse? What are you imagining as you do the deed? Where is your heart? Have you studied this out and understood the spiritual consequences?

        But am I going to say that the physical act itself it is clearly and inherently sin, let alone a mortal sin, when I cannot find support for it? No thanks. I am not going to coach and guide my kids through puberty by declaring the act a mortal sin. I am going to build them up and edify them and teach them the narrow path and focus on the heart, not the flesh. Lord make me chaste!

        Nilakantha and Bruce, at the end of the day, I greatly esteem Augustine and Calvin (and yourselves so far) but they are mere men, and they were wrong about some things. Bring scripture next time. Genesis 38 was a good attempt, but unpersuasive.

      • I acknowledge that you did not “defend” it.

        “If God has not explicitly stated that He is against something, then what else can you go by, Bruce?”

        The magisterium of the Church guided by natural law/reason, tradition, and the Holy Spirit to make these sorts of modest extrapolations from scripture.

      • Earl,

        Gen. 38 was persuasive enough for all Christians prior to 1930.

        Lambeth represented a fundamental change that was complete within less than two generations.
        Alan, how can you not be suspect of such a fundamental change as Lambeth that occurred so recently?

      • Bruce, I’m probably a lot closer to your position than you think, but I don’t want to get into this subject right now.

      • To say a thing is not necessarily sinful is tantamount to defending it. Earl, we can know from what we know of God’s nature that He disapproves of masturbation.

      • Earl,

        Thanks for the clarification. I tent to agree with your ethical epistemology. As a Buddhist I believe the only source of knowledge of metaphysical and ethical truths is the reliable testimony of an omniscient person, which is primarily contained in Āgama (Scripture) containing Buddhavacana (the Word of Buddha).

      • I do not recognize the authority of The Magisterium of the Church. I do accept the Magisterium, natural law, reason, and tradition, as guides. The Holy Spirit and his inspired revelation is my authority. Natural Law and reason are very debatable on this subject. Tradition is strongly against it, I know, I know. Revelation (scripture) is not clear on it.

        Procreation is definitely the telos of sex, but masturbation may be within the nature of virility.

      • Earl,

        The classical interpretation of the word “effeminate” in I Corinthians 6:9 is “masturbators”. What do you believe the sin referred to here is?

        Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, — I Cor. 6:9

      • I believe it is referring to men who shirk their duties/roles as men. It makes me think of Adam giving in to Eve, and think of the roles they were given before and after the Fall. There are also possible connotations of sexuality considering the sex and abuse with mankind mentioned next to it. I don’t see it being likely a reference to masturbation, partly since it leaves out women. In your view it is a sin for women to masturbate, right?

        Where the Bible is clear, I am clear. Where it is not, I am not. Thank you for bringing scripture, even though it is hard to have that kind of study via internet, without my resources (concordances/commentaries).

        I was thinking that perhaps some context is due. When I think of licit masturbation, I think of a soldier, forward deployed away from his wife, thinking only of his wife, having a desire for his wife, or even trying to take away temptation around prostitutes. I think of a woman with a terminally ill husband, late at night by their bedside. I think of the 13 year old child (male or female) who’s never seen pornography and has been kept from sexual immorality but is doing what came to their mind under the sheets when everyone is asleep. Personally I have learned that time away from my wife results in a nice dream I have about her, so I am convicted that I should not do the deed. But that is just me.

        Are they sinning, let alone committing mortal sin? I don’t know. I don’t think so.

        Should they seek a higher path, a narrower gate, something more glorious? I would say so. Think of it as any other trial. At all times pray that your sins are revealed and that you are given the power to fully repent and teach others what you’ve learned from Christ. (Reformed believe that everything they do is tainted by sin at all times until they are Glorified at their death, but pray that during life their sins decrease and their holiness increases as they mature in Christ and He has his will done in them; see the doctrine of Sanctification and keep the doctrine of Total Depravity in mind, and remember the Reformed view that Justification comes before Sanctification.)

        James 4:17 comes to mind. If I know that there is a higher way that is good, then to do this thing might indeed be sin for me. But is it for the 13 year old above?

        It seems, at last, and yet again, it’s all come down to our views on Legalism. Reformed do not believe that breaking The Law results in punishment after salvation. Reformed (most) believe that they are forgiven of all sins past present and future, and God’s salvation is unbreakable- Perseverance of the Saints. Reformed temper this seemingly libertine realization with Romans 6.

      • I have read that it referred to “feminine” homosexuals i.e. “catchers” not “pitchers.” This was a distinction that used to be made, one we’re still aware of but people now just call all sodomite men “gay.”

        If I understand the Catholic position, masturbation is a grave sin. It may be mortal if this knowledge and full consent of the will is present with the action.

    • Alan Roebuck,
      Sorry to misspell your name. The point about contraception was not about rightness or wrongness of it but simply that the Catholic Church has maintained its ban while most Protestant Churches have yielded to the zeitgeist.

      There is s futher point associated with the use of word “Church” by the Protestants. You say that Christ did not establish any Church. Then who did?
      And if the Protestants believe with you that Christ did not found any Church, then why are almost all Protestants found organized into Churches?
      The Anglicans at least have all the hierarchy found in the Catholicism–bishops, archbishops, even monks. And you would include them in Protestantism, won’t you?.
      So you need to define your notion of the Church, the Bride of Christ, as it is called so in the Scripture.

      • Well, consistency is not the necessary marker of truth. It’s possible to be consistently wrong.

        Christ did not establish a capital-C Church, a single organization charged with the authority Rome claims. Christ founded a lower-case church, an assembly of believers with a clergy to lead them. Organization into congregations and denominations is necessary as a practical matter.

        Sure, Anglicans are Protestant, although some lean Romeward.

      • Is the Catholic Church consistently wrong? If she is wrong with contraception, she may be wrong with same-sex marriage as well.

        I do not know what lower-c church and capital-C church means,. Many languages lack this lower- and capitals distinction.
        What I know is Europe upto 1500 AD was organized by a single Church, organized by bishoprics and dioceses as a practical matter. But the Church as a unity existed and had existed for at least thousand years.

        But denominations do not exist as a practical matter. They exist because of disagreement over doctrines. Do you believe that various Protestant denominations have ever existed as a practical matter and have not arisen due to doctrinal disagreements?

      • Catholics call their church the Church to mean that it is a specific organization. In English, specific organizations are capitalized. An uncapitalized church is not one specific organization.

      • Alan,
        You stated that Christ founded a small-c church. Later you clarified tha “tAn uncapitalized church is not one specific organization. ”
        So, it must mean that Christ founded a unspecific organization. But any particular organization must be specific-by virtue of founded by Christ, the organization becomes specific.

        So, I am not able to understand why the church founded by Christ himself should be regarded as a non-specific organization or church.

      • I thought you knew about the claims of Catholicism. They say Christ founded a specific organization, like Ford or Microsoft. Or, more to the point, like The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, as opposed to Lutheranism, or Protestantism.

        If a lutheran were to claim that The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod is God’s organization, and that all Christians must either be members of that specific body or else members of a body “in communion with it,” then the LCMS would be behaving like Rome.

        We Protestants say that none of the specific organizations, with proper names, web sites, and mailing addresses, is the one and only church founded by Christ.

      • The opposite of a specific organization is not an “unspecific” organization. The opposite of a specific organization is many specific organizations.

      • Alan,
        1) What happened to the church that was founded by Christ?
        Does NT speak of it?
        2) What is the point of belonging to a Church that does NOT claim to be the church that Christ himself founded?
        3) I am aware of the Catholic claims–no salvation outside the Catholic Church but the corresponding claim on the various Protestant churches is unclear. Supposing you belong to LCMS. Then what is your belief as regarding possible salvation of people that are outside of LCMS?

      • The Protestant position, in general, is that the church Christ founded is the communion of believers. It is visible in the sense that believers assemble for public worship. Usually protestant churches acknowledge that those of other denominations can be saved but their way is the best. E.g. Anglican 39 articles on the dominical sacraments that are “generally necessary for salvation.”

  11. The Protestant fathers did not agree with your interpretation of Genesis 38. Luther in particular.
    The following is my understanding (which some Protestants still embrace btw). In Genesis 38, the Levirate custom (not law yet) was to raise up your brother’s offspring. When it later became law in Deut, the specified punishment was public humiliation not death. So if you were right, the punishment when it was custom was much more severe that when it became law.
    Also the Gen 38 text emphasized it was the action, not the intent that angered God. Gen 38 is graphic in description of the act. In general, the Hebrew texts aren’t graphic in describing sex acts but indirect (“knowing” one’s wife) unless it involves a sinful act that must be described directly.

  12. Alan,
    “The real unity claimed by Rome is based on her allegedly God-ordained authority.”
    I speak of unity, not in a theological sense, but as a matter of direct observation. The Catholic Church is a single organization. Just as USA is a single nation, though it consists of multitude of mutually disagreeing individuals and authorities, we can speak of policy of the USA or her interests.
    Whereas, Protestants are divided into numerous organizations. It is the visible unity I am speaking of. The Bible, who you recognize as the ultimate authority, speaks of the unity of the Church as a great good. This good is denied by the fissiparous tendency of the Protestantism,

    • Having a united organization does you no good if the organization is corrupt and possess an erroneous self-image. Of course, if you like the sort of impressive display put on by Rome, then that’ll draw you in.

      • To me personally, it is not the display–which is none too impressive these days, but the fact they have held the line at multiple places, while the Protestant Churches have yielded and yielded, with priestesses, gay bishops, and acceptance of divorce, contraception and even abortion.

      • Are they really holding the line? I mean check out churchmilitantv on youtube which reports from a genuinely catholic perspective about catholicism having an entryist problem.

  13. Pingback: This Week in Reaction (2015/08/23) | The Reactivity Place

  14. Pingback: A Pact between Factions of Christendom? – The Orthosphere

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