Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Religion without dogma

There are many who would prefer a religion without dogma. A religion made in the image and likeness of man. You know, a religion where you wet your finger and stick it in the air to see which way the wind is blowing. A religion where one might roll the dice or take a vote to determine whether or not one believes, say, in the Trinity or that Jesus Christ is Lord.

This is really the choice "modern man" (talk about a chimera) must make. As Archbishop Fulton John Sheen explained so many years ago: "The modern man must decide for himself whether he is going to have a religion with thought or a religion without it. He already knows that thoughtless policies lead to the ruin of society, and he may begin to suspect that thoughtless religion ends in confusion worse confounded. The problem is simple. The modern man has two maps before him: one the map of sentimental religion, the other the map of dogmatic religion. The first is very simple. It has been constructed only in the last few years by a topographer who has just gone into the business of map making and is extremely adverse to explicit directions. He believes that each man should find his own way and not have his liberty taken away by dogmatic directions. The other map is much more complicated and full of dogmatic detail. It has been made by topographers who have been over every inch of the road for centuries and know each detour and each pitfall. It has explicit directions and dogmas such as, 'Do not take this road - it is swampy,' or 'Follow this road; although rough and rocky at first, it leads to a smooth road on a mountaintop.'

The simple road is very easy to read, but those who are guided by it are generally lost in a swamp of mushy sentimentalism. The other map takes a little more scrutiny, but it is simpler in the end, for it takes you up through the rocky road of the world's scorn to the everlasting hills where is seated the original Map Maker, the only One who ever has associated rest with learning: 'Learn of Me...and you shall find rest for your souls.'

Every new coherent doctrine and dogma add to the pabulum for thought; it is an extra bit of garden upon which we can intellectually browse; it is new food into which we can put our teeth and thence absorb nourishment; it is the discovery of a new intellectual planet that adds fullness and spaciousness to our mental world. And simply because it is solid and weighty, because it is dogmatic and not gaseous and foggy like a sentiment, it is intellectually invigorating, for it is with weights that the best drill is done, and not with feathers.

It is the very nature of a man to generate children of his brain in the shape of thoughts, and as he piles up thought on thought, truth on truth, doctrine on doctrine, conviction on conviction, and dogma on dogma, a very coherent and orderly fashion, so as to produce a system complex as a body and yet one and harmonious, the more and more human he becomes. When, however, in response to false cries for progress, he lops off dogmas, breaks with the memory of his forefathers, denies intellectual parentage, pleads for a religion without dogmas, substitutes mistiness for mystery, mistakes sentiment for sediment, he is sinking back slowly, surely, and inevitably into the senselessness of stones and into the irresponsible unconsciousness of weeds. Grass is broad-minded. Cabbages have heads - but no dogmas."


Michael Cole said...

Dorothy Sayers puts it well: "We are constantly assured that the churches are empty because preachers insist too much upon doctrine - 'dull dogma,' as people call it. The fact is the precise opposite. It is the neglect of dogma that makes for dullness. The Christian faith is the most exciting drama that ever staggered the imagination of man - and the dogma is the drama..That drama is summarized quite clearly in the Creeds of the Church, and if we think it dull, it is because we either have never really read those amazing documents, or have recited them so often and so mechanically as to have lost all sense of their meaning. The plot pivots upon a single character, and the whole action is the answer to a single central problem: What think ye of Christ?"

The Episcopalians - and other liberal Christian churches have, in large measure, answered that question already. They find dogma dull. They have opted for a sentimental religion ruled by democratic vote.

But the Catholic Church doesn't feel free to change God's Revelation or His Eternal Law. We don't take a vote to determine whether sodomy or abortion or adultery or fornication is a sin.

As Sayers puts it, we will have Creed or chaos. The choice is entirely up to us. Thus far, our society has chosen chaos. Which is why it is disintegrating before our very eyes.

Amanda said...

In Connecticut, they're choosing chaos over creed. And persecution of the Church is resulting:

"The state government of Connecticut might just be the epicenter of state sponsored anti-Catholicism in the country right now. The state is seeking to silence the Catholic Church. Again.

Ever since the Church's stance supporting traditional marriage or at least for a conscience clause for religious organizations, many in state government have sought to punish the Church or at least silence it.

If you'll recall a few months ago two Democrat state legislators proposed a bill targeting Catholic parishes by instituting elected boards to oversee parishes. This, of course, caused an outrage as the government had no right to intervene in the Church's affairs.

But, Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner reports that:

The public uproar spurred the bill’s sponsors to withdraw it and cancel the hearing the night before. But the church-sponsored rally went on anyway, making the diocese a renegade lobbyist.

Six weeks after the rally, the Office of State Ethics informed the diocese that it may have violated state law by lobbying without being a registered lobbyist. In a meeting between the bishop and the OSE (Office of State Ethics) the next week, an OSE official said he had enough evidence to file a formal complaint against the diocese. A complaint could trigger multiple fines of $10,000 or more....

State law defines lobbying as “communicating directly or soliciting others to communicate with any official or his staff in the legislative or executive branch of government or in a quasi-public agency, for the purpose of influencing any legislative or administrative action. ...”

Anyone who spends more than $2,000 “lobbying” — for instance, renting buses to organize a statehouse rally against an unconstitutional assault on one’s liberties — is a “lobbyist,” according to the OSE, and must register as a lobbyist.

So let's just boil all this down. Two idiotic Connecticut lawmakers try to pass a law taking all the power of parishes away from the Church and forcibly hand it over to an elected board. And the Church responds by asking Catholics to stand up against this blatant anti-Catholic power grab only to have the state declare that the Church engaged in unauthorized lobbying which violates state ethics laws.

And as Carney points out, pinning the lobbyist tag on the Church is a big deal.

Registering to lobby is no small matter of filling out a form and paying a fee. Registered lobbyists must, thrice a year plus once a month while the legislature is in session, file detailed reports on all their activities and expenditures related to lobbying. They are also required, whenever lobbying, to wear a badge identifying themselves as lobbyists.
So Carney asked if priests would be forced to wear a badge identifying them if they were going to speak about abortion in a sermon. The government had no response.

Hmmm. This kinda' reminds me of something else though. The government forcing certain people of a religious persuasion to wear a badge of some sort to single them out. Hmmm...Ringing any bells for anyone else?

But thankfully the diocese isn't sitting still.

The diocese recently announced that they're suing in federal court to block the state from enforcing the lobbying laws against it.

(Courtesy of Creative Minority Report).

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Marie, I read the comment you forwarded in an email and which was left at Defend the Faith by "Jelly." Her statement constitutes an acknowledgement that homosexual and lesbian acts (and the lifestyle in general) are not genetically determined but rather are free and voluntary acts.

Speaking of her lesbianism, she writes, "I certainly don't plan on switching teams EVER!" This statement reveals more than she realizes. You see, a free act supposes two or more eligibile alternatives, at least the alternatives of acting or not acting.

A voluntary act, as the product of of an individual's own will guided by his or her own reason, is the actual exercise of the individual's mastership over his or her conduct.

Unless the human will is free, a person cannot choose between right and wrong, is not responsible for what he or she does, and cannot direct the course of his or her life.

When "Jelly" writes, "I certainly don't plan on switching teams EVER!," she is acknowledging that she is making a choice, a free and voluntary act of the will. And writes the word "ever" in capital letters to highlight the fact that she intends to never change. She is free to choose between the two alternatives of acting or not acting. In her case, of "switching teams" or not "switching teams." Of remaining in a lesbian lifestyle or abandoning it.

"Jelly" is acknowledging that it is her choice to remain in a lesbian lifestyle. This isn't a question of genetics. It is a free and voluntary act of the will.

Ted Loiseau said...

Mr. Melanson, your post last year warning that many view Obama as a sort of "secular messiah" was right on the money. Now Newsweek Editor Evan Thomas has just said, "In a way Obama is standing above the country, above the world. He’s sort of GOD. He’s going to bring all different sides together."

Once again, your posts have proven to be prophetic.

- Newsweek editor Evan Thomas

Ellen Wironken said...

President Barack Hussein Obama, just referred to by Newsweek editor Evan Thomas as a "god" of sorts, has himself called for a New World Order:

Obama's speech in Egypt
By Chuck Baldwin

Much has been made of President Barack Obama's "reconciliation" speech in Cairo, Egypt, last week. For the most part, the American media have focused on Obama's attempt to "repair" relations with the Muslim nations of the world. For example, Obama referenced the Koran five times, and the Bible only once. (It is noteworthy that one of the Koranic references Obama used was a verse dedicated to Islamic Jihad, in which Muslims are required to kill infidels — meaning those who are not Muslims, of course. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of America's major media failed to report this story. See: )

As nonsensical and revolting as much of Obama's speech was, the most egregiously dangerous statement he made in his Egyptian speech was another one that all but a small portion of America's mainstream media bothered to report. The sinister statement is as follows:

"Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. So whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners to it." (Barack Obama 06/04/2009, Source:

Like his predecessors, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush, Barack Obama envisions a global union, in which all nations are linked commercially, governmentally, and militarily. Bush I called it a "New World Order;" Bush II called it an "international order;" Clinton often regurgitated Bush Sr.'s "New World Order" mantra; and Barack Obama called it a "world order." Do people not recognize that every President since Ronald Reagan (both Democrat and Republican) has called for an international one-world order? Obama's speech goes a step further, however.

In calling for a "world order," Obama blatantly said "Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation . . . over another will inevitably fail." Does everyone understand what Obama is saying? In order for this new "world order" to materialize, no individual nation can be preferred over another — not even our own. In a word, no country can be allowed to maintain national sovereignty, independence, or military superiority. All nations must be willing to surrender their sovereignty and independence to the new "world order." Furthermore, all nations must be willing to submit their militaries to a new global military. Oh yes, my friend, all of this is inferred in Obama's statement.

The last half of Obama's statement is equally chilling: "Whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners to it." In other words, Americans must forget about the heritage and tradition of our past. The ideas of national sovereignty and independence are archaic. The notion of "America First" is passé. The principles of constitutional government must be replaced with the international principles of a new "world order..."

Alzina said...

Author has documented the activities of a shadow government hell bent on creating a New World Order and destroying the old order.

This New Order will have to eradicate the Catholic Church which stands in its way.

Stewart said...

Ted Flynn says (in his book The Thunder of Justice) that in order for the New Age to triumph, "the breakdown of Catholicism needed to happen first." He adds, "In the past, the Roman Catholic Church was too well-organized and too strong. It had to be dismantled, and it had to happen first from within...The agenda of the New World Order is being funded by literally hundreds of organizations. On is the Lucis Trust - called at first the Lucifer Trust.."

This is what we are up against people. A vast coalition of satanic groups bent on dismantling the Church in preparation for the Man of Sin. We are in the last stages now.

John Ansley said...

Marie, I left this comment at the Defend the Faith Blog in response to Blogger Renee Aste:

"Right Marie. Social scientists Robert T. Michael, John H. Gagnon, Edward O. Laumann and Gina Kolata carried out an extensive survey on American sexual behavior and published their work in 1994. The authors comment on the investigations done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1982, when AIDS first appeared, and conclude: "Gay men with AIDS interviewed in the early 1980's reported they had on average 1,100 partners in their lifetimes and some had had many more." 9Robert T. Michael, et al., Sex in America: A Definitive Survey; Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1994, p. 209).

There is something else that Renee said that concerns me. She wrote, "We need differing sets of laws that recognize the different dynamics of differing types of relationships."

This sounds like nothing more than an attempt to justify same-sex "marriage," whether under this name or the euphemistically labelled "civil unions" or "domestic partnerships." But the acceptance of any of these contentions will redefine the concept of marriage in total disregard for its true nature. If this happens, law loses its foundation in the natural order and right reason and thus its legitimacy. As St. Augustine says: "that which is not just seems to be no law at all" (De Lib. Arb. i,5).

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in its document titled "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons," had this to say: "The inevitable consequence of legal recognition of homosexual unions would be the redefinition of marriage, which would become, in its legal status, an institution devoid of essential reference to factors linked to heterosexuality; for example, procreation and raising children. If, from the legal standpoint, marriage between a man and a woman were to be considered just one possible form of marriage, the concept of marriage would undergo a radical transformation, with grave detriment to the common good. By putting homosexual unions on a legal plane analogous to to that of marriage and the family, the State acts arbitrarily and in contradiction with its duties." (No. 8).

It would appear that Renee is dissenting from this authoritative teaching when she asserts, "We need differing sets of laws that recognize the different dynamics of differing types of relationships."

How unfortunate."

It would seem that Renee has succumbed to homosexual ideology to a certain extent and is calling for legal recognition of homosexual unions. This is why she says that we need laws that recognize "differing types of relationships."

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