Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Religion Won't Save You Unless You Take Full Responsibility.

 Francis Berger has a good post on his blog about how being religious these days is not enough if you lack proper spiritual perception which is the ability to see underneath and beyond the doctrines to the truth within them. Often religious people completely fail to see the evil that is running riot throughout the world and sometimes those who do see this evil fail to see its supernatural origin and the spiritual motivation behind it. It seems we cannot bring ourselves to believe in supernatural evil. We are spiritual sentimentalists who will sing "All you need is love" as we are hauled off to the pit. Well, perhaps that is a bit over the top but the fact is religion's weapons, and Christianity's in particular, are being turned against itself to advance an agenda of spiritual destruction. The well-meaning but naive and emotionally self-indulgent will be left behind unless they toughen up and acquire the wisdom of serpents. They must develop some spiritual backbone and risk being thought bad, because apparently judgemental, by the world, and the world includes most religious people who have allowed themselves to be absorbed by it.

A commenter on Francis's post asked if there were any words of Christ's applicable to the present situation. What immediately sprang to mind when I read this were these words from Matthew 7 21-23.

"Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’"

Many people think they are good Christians because they believe in Christ. That is not enough now if indeed it ever was. You have to start becoming Christ-like. You must at least allow him to be born in your heart and not simply have an exteriorised faith. What is it to practice lawlessness? It is to go against the law and the primary law is to love God which means to love truth. How many religious people really love truth even above their religion? That is what is required. Note, I do not say love truth above Christ but I do say that all Christians must love truth above their Christianity.

In the same Gospel, verse 24, chapter 24, Christ talks about even the elect being deceived in the end times, such will be the all-encompassing but subtle wickedness of those (these?) times. If the elect are deceived then the rank and file will be too. I call it subtle wickedness though it is not so very subtle. But it is not obvious like mass murder and that is why so many religious people fail to see it. They don't realise that evil has changed its modus operandi or it has done so to a degree. Now, in line with the change in human consciousness, it likes to present itself as good. But the problem is also that we are so influenced by materialism, even if we are religious, that we just cannot accept that what might appear random has a purposeful intelligence behind it.

It is good to be able to see the evil that dominates in the world but that is not the end of the story. Sometimes those who have a serpent's wisdom lack a dove's harmlessness. We must have both and not let our awareness of evil curdle our hearts. Then there is the matter of hope. Yes, evil is everywhere but God will prevail. This is the hope, or knowledge really, that we should always keep in mind, whatever the outer circumstances.


Chris said...

This post could easily segue into that age old discussion of faith vs works...

Bruce Charlton said...

I find it strange to read trad Roman Catholic bloggers who are very obviously making personal discernments - for instance that Francis is an anti-Catholic Pope and agent of (secular, left, totalitarian, globalist) evil.

And then they suddenly 'panic' and realize that they are failing to be obedient to 'the church' - and 'walk back' everything they have just said, with some kind of 'it's just my opinion and means nothing', and 'the church must and will decide - and correctly'.

This seems to be a deeply confused and self-contradictory attitude, setting 'the heart' against 'obedience', and something which will surely be unable to withstand the pressures brought to bear on Christian faith.

They want to be meekly obedient to 'the church' because they believe that is what Roman Catholics ought to be; but they cannot decide 'what exactly 'the church' is, without using their personal discernment - which they do not want to do.

Yet they Must choose, because there are so many different (and mutually opposed) Roman Catholic voices each claiming to be 'the church' - and therefore a choice must be made between them, and indeed a choice IS made.

But the fact that there HAS BEEN a choice must then be denied!

This can't end well...

William Wildblood said...

Having never been an adherent of any particular religion I find the attitude of obedience to a church strange. I can understand the concerns with going it alone and every man being his own pope but spirituality is all to do with inner discernment and the awakening of the mind in the heart. When all is said and done, all religions are external to truth. Perhaps now people are being tested to see if they understand that and are willing to go their Father rather than remain in the safe and loving arms of their Mother. It's to do with growing up.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - "every man being his own pope"

Of course, one man's deepest personal discernment may be that the official Pope is actually the highest authority and ought to be obeyed. In other words, one major discernment, followed by obedience.

That is an extreme - but we all do this to some extent: I mean, we don't engage in careful discernment about each and every moral issue.

This is why there remains a place for churches - and for church-led Christianity.

But if someone has acknowledged this primary discernment; then he could, if necessary, go back and revisit that initial decision, to check that it still stands, given continued experience and reflection.

Unknown said...

I think we must distinguish between genuine spirituality and religion as a merely social and political institution.

For most people today, and perhaps always, religion is a social institution, which is naturally about authority, control, and obedience. People derive a sense of security and approval if they conform.

But the Spirit blows where it list, and authority is entirely the wrong model in such areas, and always has been.

But genuine spirituality is utterly subversive of the political and social order - and is always and necessarily so. Nothing is more socially radical than the Sermon on the Mount or the Tao Teh Ching or the Heart Sutra.

It explodes "natural" hierarchies and duties and responsibilities.

The Authorities can never allow this, so the Spirit must be bottled up and institutionalized, domesticated and turned to the service of the State and society - made a question of obedience and social order. And thus begins the slow death of a religion, which can climate centuries later.

The original vision persists for a while, like a glowing ember from a once roaring fire, but eventually it is smothered within the social order, with it's need to maintain hierarchy and order through obedience and conformity.

But then a curious thing happens - society completely loses touch with the Transcendent, and collapses - freeing the Spirit from it's bottle once more.

And unless I'm mistaken, we are entering such a period today :)

William Wildblood said...

You are not mistaken.