Friday, April 27, 2007

Christian Faith a Pharmakos?

Drug and Poison?
In an article entitled, "Christian Background To Political Correctness?" in the online journal Global Politician, Fjordman makes a disturbing yet largely accurate observation:
Christian ethics have proved more durable than Christian beliefs.
Furthermore, he notes that while he is not a Christian, he has deep appreciation for the contributions made by the Christian faith. However, the question that distresses him in the present cultural crisis facing the West is, "precisely because Christianity has so profoundly shaped our culture, isn’t it plausible that it may also, at least indirectly, have contributed to some of the flaws that currently ail us as well?"

This nearly borders on a hat-in-hand Nietzschean position, but one can understand Fjordman's observation. The Church contains and guards the deposit of faith in Sacred Scripture and Tradition via the Magisterium. Yet the plethora of expressions of Christianity in greater or lesser degrees represents and misrepresents Catholic truth in word and action.

Fjordman notes that Christian ethics sans Christian beliefs can be deadly to a culture, as we see in the West:

One major component of Western self-loathing is the idea that we should we be punished for crimes, perceived or real, committed by our ancestors before we were even born. It could be argued that this idea has its roots in Christian thinking, in the concept of original sin, committed by Adam and Eve, but where all their descendants are subject to its effects. Christian ethics have proved more durable than Christian beliefs. Even when we have supposedly left the religion behind, we still believe we have to make atonement for the sins of our forefathers, but since we no longer believe that Christ has made that sacrifice for us and washed away our sins, we end up sacrificing ourselves instead...

Perhaps Christianity, despite its many great qualities, needs to be balanced out by other more worldly elements, such as attachment to nation states.

So, for those who still maintain the theological virtue of hope, it is not time to compromise with the state, as Fjordman suggests. It is time to evangelize the truth claims of the Gospel and the deposit of faith -- the beliefs -- vouchsafed by the Magisterium. For truly, Christian ethics, which a secular West won't even give credit to -- can, as Fjordman says, be deadly with Christian belief.


David Nybakke said...

My dear Athos, where o' where you come up with these articles is great, but you must get to reading Banished from Eden. Your buddy (tongue-in-cheek) Fjordman needs to be introduced to Raymund Schwager as well. Schwager so eliquently turns the table on the logic used by Fjordman in this article. As I commented on Gil's blog, Catholics need to get to rolling up our sleeves and properly "instructing" ourselves and then the rest of the world. This instructing is not to detract from our evangelizing of the world about the Good News, however it should be an on-going deepening of our understanding of faith, hope and love.


Athos said...

Fjordman doesn't suggest evangelizing, I do, Aramis. Your last sentence says to me that you agree with me about evangelizing, AND you see the need for Catholics to deepen in catechesis and mystagogy so as to make our witness to the Church's teachings more authentic to the world at large. Yes?


David Nybakke said...

Yes, yes.

I know that Fjordman is saying it best to do away with the religion if possible. So I was not inferring that he would go along with evangelizing -- it is we Catholics, as you said, that need to be about spreading the Good News, but we need to ALSO be deepening our understanding of it at the same time. This is where Girard and Schwager come into it -- they are exploring some very interesting ways to better grasp and pass on the faith.