Christophobia, a gift to the Church?

“What we have before us is not Christianity but a prodigious illusion, and the people are not pagans but live in the blissful conceit that they are Christians. So if in this situation Christianity is to be introduced, first of all the illusion must be disposed of. But since this vain conceit, this illusion, is to the effect that they are Christians, it looks indeed as if introducing Christianity were taking Christianity away from men. Nevertheless this is the first thing to do, the illusion must go.” –Kierkegaard

The illusion in Kierkegaard’s time was that everyone was a Christian. To be born in a so-called Christian nation and baptized at 2 weeks made one automatically Christian without further ado. To be Christian and to be Danish was one and the same. Our situation today is not quite as illusory, but not far off.

If Christianity is the narrow road, the difficult road, the road of reproach and persecution, yet all are Christians then Christianity is an illuson. America was once very much like this. In order to find acceptance, in order to climb the socio-economic latter, in order to have an easier go at life it was very beneficial to be Christian. It doesn’t take a Bible scholar to see that this situation resembles not an iota of the Christianity Christ and the apostles knew.

Until at least the middle of the 20th century this was essentially the case in America. “Christendom” was a major power broker. Today that power is being stripped at an alarming pace.

The question I have been pondering is whether or not this a bad thing?

Is it a bad thing that so-called Christendom is being uprooted in America? Perhaps Christendom truly is an illusion, an illusion which makes Christianity impossible (“Christendom” here means, more-or-less, the fraudulent guarantee that being associated with a Christian based culture makes one a Christian by matter of course). Again, if Christianity has become the broad road and the wide gate then it is something entirely different than New Testament Christianity.

anti christian protestorsI believe many pockets of Christianity throughout America today still suffers from this illusion. But there is hope today in the very movement that many take as a grave attack on the faith. The modern day power grab for control over the culture has come dressed in the garb of Christophobia, i.e., that irrational and pervasive fear that if Christians have a voice in the public square the Constitution will burst into flames, civil liberties vanish, women made slaves, gays imprisoned, sea levels will rise, and 7-day young earth creationism will reign in every science classroom.

Christophobia has really only begun its work of routing Christianity in America and claiming the power it once held. And, without a doubt, it is much more a power grab than it is any serious fear of Christianity as such. The ‘phobia’ is merely a well-worn political tool used to crush those whose opinions one disagrees with. So long as your destruction of another group is done in the name of fear of oppression then it is safe from reasoned rebuttal.

But regardless, could it turn out that this new Christophobia will prove to be a furnace of refinement rather than destruction? It is my guess that it will help eliminate much of the distorted forms of Christianity today. Those forms that survive by preaching what they are against in the world (I’m thinking of the Westborro Baptist types), those forms that survive primarily as a con game to pocket millions from the sick, the old, and the emotionally vulnerable, those forms that exist essentially as one-man-show, Sunday morning public speaking gig with tax exemption, etc., these and many others simply won’t survive this new wave of rising persecution (unless of course they throw off historic Christianity and embrace the demands of this generation, which many are ever willing to do).

The age of Constantinian privilege is coming to an end in America, and the time to see if any faithful remain in its sea of Christians is fast approaching.

I love what Paul Evdokimov wrote in this beautiful text, “The Sacrament of Love,” speaking about a more obvious form of persecution he witnessed in Russian and Europe a generation ago:

“Militant atheists cooperate in their own way to purify the image of God. Their critique, while strangling on itself, opens spaces for the creative thought of Christian thinkers. If in past centuries man sought to escape from adulterated forms of established religion, today, where the modern world bears down on man with all its technical and political weight, it is in the unique sanctuary of the believing minority that man intuitively senses human dignity and freedom, for ‘where the spirit is, there is freedom.’ The Church is invited to present to man a ‘showing (epiphany) of the true God.”

He explains that it is not up to the Church (speaking specifically of the Orthodox Church) to reform. The Church is itself a holy miracle. Rather, “it is a question of metanoia, a change of the being of every believer. It is because he is the repository of Pentecost that he is a sojourner on earth.”

What the Church lacks is not equal treatment from the government but Christians.

The Christophobia of our age is an invitation—no, a demand!—that all who would claim the name ‘Christian’ be truly conformed to the image of Christ. Those who follow Christ in this world were given the daunting promise by Christ Himself that they would suffer persecution in this world. It was a badge of honor for those apostles, prophets, martyrs and saints who came before and who faced down the challenge of their oppressors and won their own souls.

This new wave of persecution has only just begun and is barely in its infant stage compared to what the Church faced in the not so distant past. But without a doubt it will increase and it will end the way all persecutions have ended—with a stronger, more authentic, more passionate, more devoted Church than ever. When it has run its course, Christophobia will have only served to purify the image of God.

I say, Christophobia bring your A-game.

May it produce innumerable saints to the glory of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!

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61 thoughts on “Christophobia, a gift to the Church?

  1. Spot on. I became heavily involved as a Christian in the late 1990’s during the conservative revolution. Funny how we are dealing with the same issues nearly thirty years later. By 2000 I realized that politics was never going to save mankind and Jesus was indeed the only hope of the world.

    The Body of Christ sometimes believes it can save the world. Our job isn’t to save the world or change our culture. Nowhere in the Bible does it talk about Cultural Wars. Jesus told us to preach the good news and make Disciples (not converts). We are here to pull as many people off a sinking ship, not to save the ship. The ship is doomed and so will be all who stay on it.

    Jesus prayed that we would not be removed from this world, but he also commanded us not to follow it. The United States is not a Godly nation. There is no such thing. There are the nations of the World and there is the Kingdom of God. You have to decide which one you belong to because you can’t belong to both.

  2. Hi, Isn’t there usually a ‘Reply’ box to your post Eric?
    Anyway, I just wanted to say that today, I became a Christian (after many years of quite an effort!), so I’m really glad for this post as it’s served as a kind of confirmation, though evidently God provides them regularly! Also, I’m not sure if the Church, as you say, ‘lacks’ Christians,as God will collect all the sheep and it WILL be done in due course. We, of course, must give what help we can in this process. The point I mean by this comment, is that God’s Church lacks for nothing so we need not be concerned about this. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear that you didn’t really mean ‘lack’ in the way I’m responding to, in any case – but, I’ve said it – just in case! Thanks again for your blog Eric 🙂

  3. Excellent article, Eric. I’ve recently experienced some personal revulsion over how “Holy things” are put expressly for public consumption. (Some blather over Obama at the prayer breakfast is a for instance. Meaningless blather.) It becomes difficult to express, and I think you nail it pretty well. I mean expressly the vivisection of “Holy things” by historian, philosopher, skeptic and, as you rightly illustrate, political propagandist–on BOTH sides, assuming one can even keep accurate tally of what these “sides” even mean anymore. And that’s fairly huge as assumptions go. The “public consumption” thing is a real problem, I feel. For one thing, it repulses me strictly in an aesthetic sense. But more importantly, though I do believe we are called to share the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven pretty much with everybody indiscriminately, the mode that this is often done is in a form of “privatized” public space for consumption. The paradox is in some sense unavoidable (unless one conscientiously avoids it!) for it is a feature of the world. Finally, the problem with this “privatized public” space is that it is SO easy for important minor details to get mangled in the wash. Thank you for, in general, I believe, getting them right.

    But a question always looms rather large (and maybe, yeah, it’s the wrong one) at the back of my mind and it has ever since I started taking in, at a more serious level, the various “diasporas” (if I may be so bold) of American “Christendom:” Where is sanctity? Where is the sacred? “God” and “Country” gets shoved down throats so vigorously (yet cheaply) it surely cannot be there, or just anywhere.

    Well, I’m happy to say, I’m almost fully convinced the answer to that question is the Orthodox Church. Listening/reading the words and teaching of such individuals as Fr. Hopko’s (memory eternal) recordings over at AFR, Fr. Damick and (a personal favorite) Fr. Freeman over at Glory to God for All Things, not to mention yourself–I just get a sense of a deeper and fuller discernment of truth present than anywhere else possible in Christianity. I am also perfectly content to call the matter mysterious and leave it there. Only personal impediments remain, really: One obviously can’t expect to “get” or “catch” Orthodoxy via “internet research.” Secondly, my own theological and historical ignorance that is usually more a matter of embarrassment than anything else.

    No matter what I have been able to discern this absolute truth: ALL of the other “traditions” (assuming they can even viably be called that anymore) of Christianity REQUIRE (read: PLUNDER) “orthodoxy” in some fashion (usually plundering the Fathers) somewhere for their exposition & defense. Or they just, frankly, “cut” all exposition, tradition & defense off at the root and go “full Literalist Inerrancy” on you.

    The cricket in the audience? Orthodoxy NEEDS not one of them not one wit. Pretty funny, really.

    Somewhat perplexing this year for Easter/Pascha to arrive and think: Wait, which Sunday?

    But I concur: Bring on the Christophobia! Hope you are and continue having a blessed Holy Week.

  4. Hi savbyj
    Just to ask – ‘Politics’ – but they are appointed by God, are they not? And, we must therefore respect them, and vote in the way which shows what we think regarding their politics, should we not?

  5. Absolutely. We are blessed with the opportunity to vote and should do so. But we need to understand that a Constitutional Republic is not “Godly”. It is a system designed by men to govern men. I think it happens to be the best one on the market but it has its issues.

    It’s when the Body of Christ starts thinking that Politics will save mankind or if we just get another [Your Party Here] President and government in power then we can solve our problems. If Jesus doesn’t return soon the United States will more than likely fall like every other great civilization has since recorded history.

    This doesn’t mean that I don’t think Christians shouldn’t be politically active nor should they not be in Politics. We need them to show integrity, honesty and wisdom. We need Christians in the Democratic Party to speak out against abortion and the cheapening of life and we need Republican Christians to speak out against corruption and greed.

    Christians voting and in politics need to align their political views with their Christianity not the other way around and resist the corruption.

    It is when we trust in Politics and Power over Jesus is when we get in trouble. God forbade the Israelis to possess Chariots. Why? They were the tanks of their time, and God wanted the Israelis to trust in him, not their weapons.

    Politics will never ever save men. Only Jesus can.

  6. Hi Paul, Re. Your question ‘Where is sanctity?’ and your personal thought of probably ‘the Orthodox Church’ – Surely, the Kingdom of God, and hence,sanctity, is ‘within’?

  7. Thanks savebyj – I should have begun my question with ‘Yes, but……..
    as you’ve so kingly explained more than I needed and I perhaps, could have saved you the extra effort as I already agree with the rest of what you say. As you are evidently good at explaining well and succintly, could you please briefly explain what the ‘Contantinian privilege’ is? I have searched the internet but didn’t see a direct answer and I can see you will give me an easier answer (assuming you know, of course).

  8. Wow! Congrats, Dichasium. When you feel like it I would love to hear the story. You and I have been in contact on this blog for a number of years now and I’ve been privileged to watch you wrestle it out along the way. I’ll admit, I got just a little teary eyed when I read this. 🙂

  9. Haha, what an interesting observation, Paul, the part about all the other traditions relying on Orthodoxy but not the other way around. Yah, that’s the realization I came to when I nearly abandoned church for good a little over 4 years ago out of sheer jaded angst over the foolishness I subjected myself to for so many years. I had to spend $20,000 on a theology masters to figure it out but it was the best money I ever spent.

  10. Dichasium you won’t find it on Google because I made it up earlier this afternoon while writing the article. Constantinian privilege is metaphor meaning those nations where Christianity has had a privileged seat at the political table, like in Roman times under Constantine. That traditional civil privilege is coming to an end in America.

  11. Well Eric! You have, I am very pleased to say, made me laugh and be moved by your two replies to me. Thank-you.
    On other matters – only the other day I found something referring to a metaphor and thought how can something be a metaphor if it actually states the thing itself (as a metaphor stands in place of another). Hence, I think, (for what it is worth), that ‘Constantinian apology’ is indeed not a metaphor but the truth itself. So, I believe, it should be recognised for that and not demoted by calling it a metaphor’. So that you know my reason for telling you what appears to be trivial, I must explain myself and by coincidence (?!), it will serve another purpose, in that, you ask for my story and it will provide a succint answer to that, at the same time.

    I have used my life to seek the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth because the inner spirit dictates this. One truth I learnt is that mighty oaks from acorns grow and hence, I seek to find and share the truth, in whatever form it arrives. Those who do not want it will describe my intention as bieng pedantic and other such ill-fitting words. Some will be a little more polite and simply choose to ignore it, even though I would welcome any challenge. Each will do as they please and God gives us all time to find our own mistakes, however small they may be, because the truth will always come to the front eventually.

    I am also honoured. I am honoured to be in your company. Thanks be to you and of course, to God , which is indeed obvious and doesn’t require correction! I usually check what i have written but I’m excited to reply and so, I trust to God (you see, I’m learning still!) Thank you so much, Dichasium 🙂

    Ps. My husband, who is not yet a Christian, has offered to throw me in the river outside our house, for my Christening,(or is it Baptism?) – hubby and I always share good humour 🙂

  12. Ethan, while I have an opportunity, and, in case it may help anyone, I would like to add my comment on the subject of hell, which is, purely my current, personal opinion:

    I, contrary to popular, (or less popular, for some!), are of the opinion, that God will ultimately win over all. This logically means that for those who do not respond fully to him in their current life, they, like hardened stone in volcanoes, will go through even more pressure towards His (God’s), ultimate plan to win everything over to His plan. This, means that those in the sinking ship metaphor will, (like hardened stone), get further pressure to convert them into finer material (for God’s purpose, which he WILL win). And therefore, hell is an earlier metaphor for further pressure (which produces heat, as science has shown us), and that therefore, those who ‘miss the boat’ this time round, will have to be subjected to further treatment in the next boat journey, however, and this is where the warning comes into place, it will be a rougher journey, (because the heat will be increased)!

    Hope that helps anyone,
    God bless, Dichasium.
    Ps. If anyone thinks they know better, PLEASE let me hear you. 🙂

  13. It is a privilege to be able to communicate, so, in case anyone is listening, let me explain my earlier comment (below here), a little further. (I hope that’s ok with you Eric, as it’s on your site? I believe it will be ok, otherwise, I’d have asked before going ahead).

    The reason for my earlier comment/explanation is this – the Holy Bible says in the Old Testament that the serpent will strike only on the heel, meaning, the damage (sickness), is only temporary and will heal fully. Fully applies to the whole injury and temporary means exactly that. All sickness will be healed in God’s time, (those who are the ‘stony ground’ etc – look it up if you need more and are interested), and ‘all’, means every one of us. We are all in sickness and this is why we need the ‘salt of the earth’ to help us to heal, but, as I said in the earlier comment, some (not surprisingly), do not respond to this world, (they end up in all sorts of unpleasant situations as a result), but, when the salt is not enough to cleanse, or the seed did not reach the fertile soil but fell on the ‘stony ground’, God will apply something stronger for them until they soften and can heal. God is certainly capable of bringing all things back into His order and all will be understood and acceptable to Him. Jesus, of course, played his role in this plan of God’s, but naturally, he is not God.

    If anyone wishes to agree, question, express doubt, let me know their thoughts, improve upon my knowledge, or, point me elsewhere for assistance, I’d be extremely grateful. Please do not hesitate!

  14. Dichasium here again – Sorry, my comment above has appeared below my earlier one, not the other way round.

  15. A good article, Eric. I agree, let them play their best game. It is only the continued turning of Christendom’s wheel. Christophobes or anti-Christians are a natural reaction to Christianity. They are part of Christendom, if we define Christendom as the Christianised world, or those societies cultured by Christianity. They have always been with us in some form or another, and always will, making Christendom a divided society of competing ideals, one being true, the other false, one sincere, the other fake. As Christ said, He did not come to bring peace but a sword to divide. And He referred to them growing with us in the parable of the weeds. And as in I&II John, their thinking came into the world alongside Christ as He introduced his teaching into the world of truth, divine love and forgiveness. Theirs is the natural and expected reactive alternative to his teaching, by those who hate truth, individual responsibility, and true love. Every teaching when introduced brings its opposite concept along with it, whether mentioned or not, like teaching up also teaches down, teaching right also teaches left, that is natural. They cannot admit they are liars, so they claim and teach that there is no truth, only individual perception. And they cannot admit they hate divine and universal love as Christ taught and demonstrated, and that they prefer power and control, so they claim to represent a higher alternative form of “caring” than what Christianity offers. Theirs is false love, often for one group while disguising hate for another group, and an oppressive caring that gives them power over whom they pretend to care for. They cannot admit they represent evil, so they claim and teach that there is no right or wrong, only individual judgement values. They portray themselves as the elite carers of society, but they cannot honour the teacher who introduced the concept of universal love and forgiveness.

  16. Hallo crossbow
    Talking, as you do, of individual judgement values, and the universal love and forgiveness that our Lord, Jesus Christ taught us – where does his admonition to cast the first stone only if you have not also sinned, come into this explanation of yours? I am not pointing the finger at you,(in case you wrongly, think badly of me), I am merely asking you to justify yourself so that we may all understand further, where further understand and explanation are necessary. This, as you apparently, will know, is what the sanctity of the Church is for.

  17. Forgiveness is not ignorant of people’s sins; to the contrary, it knows them.

    They would have self-righteously broke the woman’s skull in for her sins, before he suggested – while writing in the sand, probably their names and secret sins – that the one without sin should throw the first stone. Then their conscience persuaded them to leave. They were forgiven though, as she was, and whatever was written in the sand was rubbed out.

    Dichasium, I recognise that I can come across a bit gruff and forthright, but do not let it bother you, and do not worry that I might think bad of you, for I don’t. I think Eric is fortunate to have you regularly commenting on his articles and helping to stimulate conversations. I like the dove, an emblem of celerity and peace; and the name, Dichasium, a division.

  18. Thank-you very much for that crossbow. I like to think of dichasium as dividing – in order to produce new life.

    I believe that I already understand about total forgiveness and this is why I wondered why you seem to have cast the stone at ‘them’; as you may well recognise ignorance but surely, according to Jesus’ example, we must not judge them in this manner (as insincere, false or fake, since we all err from ignorance, in that, even when we know better, we are still not perfect, and furthermore, we surely have acted outside of the Church ourselves and we cannot even talk of ‘them’ in such ways, as to do so will be, at least in some part, casting the stone? Christophobes are surely just a step further from God than those who have always kept an open mind, and God will have no problem bringing them back to Him in His due time. And, if I have misunderstood, please take the time to enlighten me, as a fellow Christian, as we must do unto others ………you know 🙂 (Long sentence, I know, but all connected!)

  19. Yah, I like what Ernest Becker said, “Modern man is a sinner with no name for it.” Taking away the idea of good and evil doesn’t do away with the guilt that people instinctively feel whether living a life that acknowledges God or not. The same despair over life without it’s source (God) applies whether a person wants to name what it is or throw it off as religious fantasy.

  20. Dichasium,
    Killing someone for a social crime by bashing their skull in with rocks is not the same as recognising truth and falsity, right and wrong, sincerity and deceit, and pointing them out.

    There is no virtue in not being able to see sin; or in not being able to discriminate and recognise. Dumbing our self down is not spiritual growth.

    Forgiveness is not naïve or blind to sin and evils, it sees, it recognises, and it forgives – that is, it loves regardless. If forgiveness were blind, then it could not recognise and forgive secret sins; the deceitful would go unforgiven.

    When our heart expands and the forgiveness we have to give exceeds our perception, then perception expands, that we may direct our excess forgiveness. For forgiveness needs sin as sinners need forgiveness. But if we do not forgive those further sins and evils that we perceive, then the heart retracts and perception diminishes back to as they were before. For heart and mind expand together, not one ahead of the other for long.

  21. No offence given crossbow but I need to come back to you. You see, you are still explaning forgiveness to me but my reply has gone beyond that. If you look again you may see this. If not, I’ll happily have another go at explaining myself for the sake of good, wherever it comes from.

  22. Me again crossbow – just thought this may help. What i am trying to show, is reason added to love (forgiveness). In order that they may coincide, as you rightly say, is the best. Any questions?

  23. Sorry crossbow, I missed (law), out after ‘reason’. ie., it should read for the sake of improvement in clarity:

    ‘What I am trying to show, is reason (law) added to love (forgiveness). In order that they may coincide, as you rightly say, is, the best

  24. Hi Eric
    Re. “Modern man is a sinner with no name for it.”
    I think the name for it is ‘fear’. Let me explain what I mean

    The guilt that man, (modern or not), has, is due to fear, (as in Adam and Eve hiding), which is due to the consequences of sin (error, missing the mark). Righteous fear is the fear that shows concern about offending God’s righteous order. Unrighteous fear, is the fear that shows concern for itself only, (hence it is in modern and historical men, in the religious and the not religious). However, God, of course, will sort this out with love, not the ways man often falls into.

    Another point to me writing to you is that i am still undecided as to which earthly church I probably ought to join. To save me time and $20K or more (!), is there any chance that you may be completing a book on why Orthodox is best, which i once asked you for? (If it’s relevant, I think I may have Jewish/Semitic ancestry in my blood due to my family name of Balaam, but far from certain).

  25. Eric, as is frequently the case, i meant to add something else for clarity:
    ‘God, of course, will sort this out with love’ – (because ”perfect love casts out fear”) ………

  26. Eric, My last comment on the matter and then I think I must wait to hear from you (if you wish).

    The relevance to Corvus’ comments and my comments in the other article you posted, in which you mention Becker’s book and the sin that modern man has no name for, is that, the fear I spoke of, has in this case about homosexuals, (along with other such ‘fears’), ‘come out of the closet’ by courageous homosexuals, and now does indeed need to be named. I haven’t seen Becker’s book but, if he hasn’t named it there, I reckon, (by weighing my knowledge up), it’s proper name, as I said, is Fear. And it needs its name so that perfect love can grow by applying itself to it (through recognition of the word/name ‘Fear’), then we can use this perfect love to ‘cast out fear’. (and, in crossbows words, but in this case, the other way round to my particular conversation with crossbow, love can be joined with reason – reason being the process which finds the name for ‘Fear’; the old fashioned name, being ‘Sin’, which we, in our modern time will get to the bottom of, by the process of naming it, then rightly shaming it, and not the people (us all), living under it. Then, we get the best results!

    I hope you get my train of thought, as, if correct, it needs to be spread about, like the gospel!

  27. Ha! Last thought (maybe! They’re coming so fast)
    And then (after the aforesaid), the physician can heal himself – Ref. New Testament (I have got chapter and verse at the ready and quite sure you recognise the words and the source anyway).

  28. Eric, May I remind you/others that my last few comments are not seen in sequence as ‘the last comes first’! Get it? 🙂 That was accidental on my part!

  29. Pingback: Of old and new ideas to sustain power and to feel good by loving to be connected and worship something | From guestwriters

  30. Actually I was going to ask you which church you did join when you became a Christian. From your comment it seems that would have been a hasty assumption on my part. I am not working on a book as to why Orthodoxy is the best (haha) but there are plenty of wonderful books on the faith that demonstrate that, though in a round about way (as in, not in an explicit “we’re number one” type of way).

    I would highly recommend Timothy Ware’s books “The Orthodox Church” and “The Orthodox Way” for starters. Alexander Schmemann has some wonderful books as well, I’m thinking of “For the life of the World” at the moment. And anything by Thomas Hopko. I don’t know your theological interest otherwise I could have dozens of recommends. Let me know, I’d be happy to share more.

  31. dichasium, you might really enjoy Becker. Much of what you have to say about fear leads me to believe so. His book is entitled, “The Denial of Death,” and it’s basically a treaties on how fear of death animates nearly everything we do and think, albeit on a very unconscious level most of the time. Its a fascinating read, but one that will likely change your life dramatically if you get into it as I did (it messed me up for a few months actually).

  32. Eric, Thanks. I wonder why Becker would interest me or mess me up when I already understand the nature of fear; not just as regards affecting us due to our fear of death but in every other thing in our lives that we hold dear; one of the worst being our pride (ego at its worst). But, you may be right, I’d have to read it wouldn’t I.

    Regarding you not knowing my theological interest. If I understand that question properly, my reply is this – Now that I know The Way, The Truth, The Life, which leads to Our Father, my only theological interest is to do His will and find a very good church to belong to. Orthodox sounds good but I need to investigate some more before proceeding as I’ve looked at quite a few in the past and not felt that I belonged in them, although the Jehova’s Witnesses keep coming back at me (not the members themselves) and even with their apparent flaws they have seemed to be quite high in my relative estimation. But, I need to look at the one you chose as I’ve not come across it yet, to any depth, only superficially. I’ll take at look at the books you have mentioned – I hope they’re not beyond my knowledge of Churchy matters!

  33. Eric, i must add that one church I felt comfortable in was Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Scientist’s, another American founded religious group (I must have some deep connection with America!) And now that I better understand that ‘evil’ (which is in us all by degree), is actually working out God’s purpose, I may fit there even better than before. Any thoughts? The trouble is that we moved to mid-Wales to manage some land for the sake of my husband’s (mine also), love of wildlife and animals and there are hardly any local (or distant come to that) choices! Certainly not Christian Scientist’s. Perhaps there’s an internet way of belonging to a church these days!?

  34. diachasium, please don’t take offense to this but if you haven’t heard it from anyone else I may as well be the one to tell you. Both the Jehova’s Witnesses and Christian Science sects are considered by the Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and every mainline Protestant sect I can think of, as Christian cults. They stray very far from historic and orthodox Christianity on a number of fronts but most importantly in their doctrine of Christ and the Trinity. Another book you should get a hold of is “Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy” by Andrew Stephen Damick. He does one of the best jobs of delineating the difference between historic Orthodoxy and all the other Christians sects including the various cults. But, to each his/her own. I would only pray that you know something of the historic Church before going over to one of the sects you listed. If you are still interested in them after learning about the Orthodox faith then at least you will have done so in an informed fashion. Please feel free to push back at this. I’d be more than happy to discuss it with you.

  35. Sorry to come back yet again but I’m always like a dog with a bone when I get a good idea, and I come back with it to you to a)share it and b) see if you’ve any thoughts to offer from your advanced knowledge in certain areas.
    So, I’ve just thought, I think I saw the Love in the Jehova’s Witnesses and the Law in the Christian Scientists, but now that I see how they fit together, I think I could join any church standing for Christ. I’m not looking for perfection any more. Roots may be my best place though, so we’re back to looking at Orthodox, I think. I’ll take a look asap. Night-night, I’m off to bed now (you may be pleased to hear!) 🙂

  36. Eric dear – Offense! I cannot tell you how wonderful I thnik your reply is! You have done as I do – show concern for your fellow human. Amongst friends we can do this – even though for some their ego will still be at play and hence very slighlt injured, but nothing relative to the injury ahead if we do not learn better from the tiny assault to the ego. As Jesus explains about losing a whole limb rather than progressing to the next stage with it still causing offense to our sleves. (Sorry, i think my grammer there is amiss but I know you’ll understand what I’ve said).
    Regarding the actual content of your reply-you can see, that by other means, my thinking (shown in my words to you), did it fact end with me coming back to wanting to look first at Orthodx on thegrounds that ‘root’ sound a great place to be (rather perhaps, than to be grafted on later – get the point?).However, this removes none of my gratitude to you for bringing your thoughts to my attention as it is a caring thing and all helps for the good of all.
    On the views of others (religions or otherwise). Personally, I hesitate to think badly of anything else in life (the logical Christian Scientist coming out in me), because I think they all play a good part in God’s plan and therefore serve Him and us. But, I do think that whilst they all have some good in them (which i believe ought to be seen and acknowledged for what it is), they may well not be fully formed and could be regressive for some members (probably why some leave (others for ego)). I didn’t join any of them in the past as I found them lacking in some way. There is a thought from some who, I think, mayne ‘in the know’ (Jesus too, I understand from his actions), that to be amongst those who do not know some of what you do know, is the best way to serve our fellow man (of course one needs to humble oneself in order to fulfil this obligation properly).It is a tall order indeed! Until then, one is better to stay in the sanctuary of ones own group if we can find it.
    I’m sure that I could say more on this matter to explain more, but I’ll just sum up with the fact that I love you (in its proper sense), for feelin free enough to give me part of you (your mind). It has opened mine more to my own thoughts, which i know you have the abilty and will to allow me. It is a massive tool for bringing about the perfect freedom of us all. It removes the sin which modern man has no name for – Fear – thank you, thank you, thank you. God does bless you for it! 🙂 I hope our relationship lasts forever in whatever form it takes!
    (So excited, I must send this now, with all it’s grammatical/spelling flaws!) Please push back (as you nicely say), if you will.

  37. Just a thought Eric – the Bible always speaks for itself doesn’t it. So,- ALL things work for the good of God.
    And for my part, i add this – We do, of course, need to see the wrong, but, if we do that without seeing the good we become no better that brow-bashers and bullies; we therefore sin ourselves, all, I might add due to one or other phobia – that child of pride – Fear.

    I wonder if Becker ever read Gerald G. Jampolsky’s ‘Love Is Letting Go of Fear’. and Michael Laver’s ‘The Politics of Private Desires’.

  38. Hi Dichasium,
    Yes, pure reason and true love blend together well, unlike reason and emotion, which by their natures disagree.

    Apparently I misunderstood you somewhere above. I do not understand what you are actually asking. For my slow brain, can you word it as a brief and simple question? Thank you.

  39. Crossbow, I can’t give you my question in brief without showing you the course it took, so that you can see for yourself, otherwise, we are likely to go round in circles!!!! So, please let me take a little longer and I’m sure you’ll follow (and the evidence is there if you want to check it at your own time),

    In he beginning!…………….you, on April 11, congratulated Eric on this article. I then questioned something else you had said regarding your thoughts on it (Christendom). I asked you where was love in your attitude to ‘them’ as I believe ‘they’ are merely ‘us’ (in another guise). I believe this to be the Truth. I believe Jesus showed us this but we so often miss I,t just as many did in his time, and we go wrong when we miss this point and refer to those we do not approve of, as ‘them’, also applying words like ‘liars’, ‘evil’, fake etc. We so readily see it (fear) in others and are slow to see it in ourselves. So, that’s where the question came from a while ago (hence you losing sight of it). But, no worries, I’ll just leave it with you.

    Taking this matter a little further for you or for Eric (or anyone else), I will add this:

    Eric says an author he has read called ‘Becker’ has written about the problem that remains when we do what I am talking about, (which is taking away the idea of good and evil). He says we still are left with guilt. The truth is that we are not, because Jesus took that way for us. If we do not accept this, we would be making still another error. So, I think this may be the answer to ‘Becker’s’ problem or Eric’s definition of it. Again, of course, we need to see that those who do not accept that we have no guilt when we accept what Jesus has done for us, do not accept it due to fear of religious matters and/or misunderstanding of religious matters and that we are all sinners. This then gets in the way and blocks it the way to the truth! Sad, but, no worries as ALL works for the good of God and will be ‘sorted’ by him, in His due time.

    All has been written with speed again, so if you see anything you don’t understand due to your position or mine, please get back.
    With love (of the right sort), Dichasium.

  40. Eric, if you haven’t already, you may like to read my last reply to crossbow as it contains something further on Becker’s question.

    Ps. I appreciate that some of my recent words may have come to you as a surprise (I do hope not unpleasant for you though -your silence leaves me wondering, though I know you are busy.)

  41. Hi dichasium, busy indeed. I jumped on yesterday to check the blog and noticed you posted quite a few things. I simply didn’t have the time to read through all of them, but will endeavor to soon.

  42. Quick response, one needs to read Becker’s book to really get what he discusses in it. It’s not light reading and cannot be synthesized with a quick summation (such as the one above). I only noted it for some interesting reading if you ever had the time. As far as Christ having taken away our guilt, sure, guilt of having fallen away from God through our own choices. However, psychic guilt still remains and is a battle for most or all of one’s life. Guilt is the basis of why we continue to repent, though we are joined to Christ. One should probably note the difference between guilt and shame on this matter. Shame is when one attaches his/her identity to the mistakes or trauma one has gone through, whereas guilt is a recognition of having committed wrong and seeking emotional-spiritual equilibrium. In short, guilt is not altogether a bad thing. It is useful in one’s spiritual walk and should not be dismissed without allowing it to have its purging effect in the soul.

  43. Thanks Eric, but I must protest 🙂
    I wouldn’t dream of trying to synthesize or summarise an author’s book even if i had read it. I’m just sharing my thoughts (as propositions), and fishing for any offers of help rather than anything else. I am mostly responding to something you said you got from the book. But, I see that this is not the way forward. Maybe I’ll get to read it and then make propositions to others if I have any.
    Also, I don’t dismiss anything without years (probably my lifetime) of consideration. It is only now that I can feel free enough to voice my thoughts and knowing that I’ve never intentionally harmed anyone, and that those who do harm are not mentally stable (as i believe that no-one in their right mind would harm others), this makes me free from psychic guilt,or from trying to accuse others, but I appreciate others are dealing with it.
    Thanks for you attention and offers of help. It is appreciated as it will test my position,

  44. Hmm. I still don’t see the question, although I sense your position, and our difference, so I will take it as a comment.

    It might assist for me to say that regardless of the mistakes, injustices and evils, that we see in the world, love and forgiveness can and should accompany our perspective.
    We might define love as the heartfelt wish that others learn and grow with a minimum of suffering. And forgiveness is that part of love that we can direct to things distasteful; that part of love that gives us no excuse to withhold love, and to love even what we find abhorrent; to love regardless. Understanding assists forgiveness, but it is not essential to have understanding first, for forgiveness can reveal truth and supply us with understanding. My dislike and criticisms of the group I refer to (the phony do-gooders and Godless altruists, anti-Christians and anti-western-westerners, who portray themselves as society’s good people and caring elite, but in fact manipulate unhappiness, destruction and oppression, enjoy power and control, image and status, and are happy to see harm come to those outside of their own) does not mean I do not understand them, forgive and love them. I have worked and associated with them in those professions in which they like to congregate, and I know them very well indeed. Love and forgiveness, when properly understood and practiced, has nothing to do with like and dislike, and is regardless of criticism.

  45. Hallo crossbow
    I could not agree more – absolutlely! I can also understand the most abhorrent things. i merely look upon these as people who are ill – not in their right mind. The danger I see is soething other than that which you have been speaking about. My original comment was a little more than a comment, it was a proposition. It is something that I feel/think and i like to challenge it where I come across it, for my sake and, if the cap fits, for others. I want it tested. However, if i put it in stronger words it will appear as an attack and that would be offensive to both parties, besides which, that would be inappropriate before any response it would cause, since it is just a proposition. Even if I was right (and yes, I think I may be), I would only like it to drop as a seed and leave it to other methods to do its work. Just as, I hope any dialogue would likewise work on me if I missed it’s original function.
    i’ve said this in response to your additional efforts to explain forgiveness to me. You evidently think that i am missing the point and i must try to explain that you think i am,but I am not. This can happen when the otherperson feels/thinks that they may be under attack in some small way and do not know where or why but instinctively feel a bit of pressure. I do hope i have not made you feel like this, though it can be hard to admit when it does occur. In case you have at any time during our chat, or do in the future, please let me reassure you that this would never be the case. I seek only to share the truth. There is nothingbetter than that in my books. I cannot though, help you further with my proposition, other than to add that i think we should think twice before we use derogatory language about anyone. I think it stirs up the beginnings of war, instead of love, even when done amongst like-minded people and not immediately at those being discussed. As, I say, i prefer to think of it as behaviour acted on out of fear. I also think Jesus is our example and he only showed righteous anger but in a different way from the matter in discussion. As usual these days, I’ve written this straight from the heart with no mental checking, so, if you have any queries, for any reason, please get back to me. With love, Dichasium.

  46. thank you Eric – i do hope that is being asked in all sincerity. I think, from what i know of you so far,it will be so, here is my reply – I may or may not have things that require repentance – that is between me and God and i know he will bring me to it if i have, and furthermore, i will welcome it as i now recognise what is necessary to make this transition smooth. The crux of the matter for me, regarding this issue, is that i have do not any anxiety over it, so the way you were talking about it (won’t bother to verify,as I think you will not have lost the plot and you can do it for yourself, if you have and care enough to do so), does not apply to me and, i know that anyone else who is speaking from their truth (as they currently see it), and has no will to harm, will be able to do the same. Does that spring up any feelings that you would like to test me on again? If so, I’ll do my best for us both. I’m doing all these blogs unusually quickly these days so, they’re not checked by me and i understand there may be some clarification necessary. I think i’ve already told you that, so i won’t keep saying it if/when we converse further. Cheers 🙂

  47. BTW Eric, Just to add (in case you interpret what i said wrongly, as arrogance, which it certainly is not), I am learning every minutue of the day. Hence, nothing goes amiss, i take it all on board and do what is necessary as soon as is possible. ok?. At least, to the best of my ability, as far a si am aware and i keep myself on my toes as much as i know how to.

  48. Me again crossbow
    I am so grateful for your input, so please hear me out (actually, I know you will, unless you’ve changed!), in my effort to show you that I have indeed understood what you offer in your kind effort.
    Re. Preaching to the converted – There is, of course, room for improvement in the converted, and whilst I have the opportunity, I will do my very best to enhance this for myself, you and all others, whoever can benefit from my truth or error. We are lucky to have Eric’s site for this to be exercised, aren’t we.

  49. I get you. You’re essentially saying that you may or may not have something to repent over in the future, but you are at least confident that you will have no anxiety over it. Fair enough. And yes my question was entirely sincere. I take great interest in the “therapeutic” aspect of the faith, and I know that repentance is a key practice in a healthy soul and a practice that lasts a lifetime regardless of who you are. I would even say that anxiety use properly is therapeutic. Anxiety is a basic animating quality of humankind and can be as beneficial as it can be damaging.

  50. I agree absolutely Eric. Likewise, ‘Christendom’ can be perfectly acceptable, to those who understand why. ‘There is a time and a place for everything’, because, ‘All things work for the good of God’.

  51. Eric, I just thought, you have understood what I said 2 posts before this, but I hope you haven’t forgotten the reason why this conversation began. have you, only you have not referred to it but just added a new comment (which I’ve just answered). Just in case you have gone off track, I’ll remind you (I did mention that you may like to check it out but I’ll bring you back to it):

    ‘Yah, I like what Ernest Becker said, “Modern man is a sinner with no name for it.” Taking away the idea of good and evil doesn’t do away with the guilt that people instinctively feel whether living a life that acknowledges God or not. The same despair over life without it’s source (God) applies whether a person wants to name what it is or throw it off as religious fantasy.’

    You see, it was this comment of yours, that my responses have been with regard to. The whole point was to get to the meaning of your response to Ernest Becker. Another part of our conversation was to find the name for modern man’s sin. Two issues running concurrently. Hence, discussing anxiety is a part of it, but only a small part – it doesn’t end there. Unless, you want it to, or unless we both get lost, an easy thing to do! If you want to leave it there, that’s fine, I really don’t mind either way. It’s all good wherever it leads.

  52. Indeed, I would only caution that not all “Jesus'” are created equal, meaning the two churches you mention have very aberrant views of Christ. JWs for instance do not hold the divinity of Jesus, they believe he is merely an exaulted man, among many other things. That’s no Jesus at all. Christian Science is also a non-Trinitarian sect that believes in a radical disjunction between Jesus and Christ. Way left-field of Orthodoxy.

  53. Thanks Eric, I would like to explain my position on this for you and, if you think you can offer any advice from there, all well and good! My aim in life, since I was young, was to beware of foolish behaviour (said with caution due to the bit you know about ‘Raca’). I was not brought up within the church but had two lovely parents. My father was always eager to help others but fought mentally against the world’s sad issues. My mother was content with her ‘cross to bear’ and would occasionally mention things about God, like ‘there but for the grace of God, go I’ and ‘God works in mysterious ways’ my father would be the one to say philosophical things. I took note and heed. Religion at school was thin on the ground and not much came from R.E. apart from being a tiny bit favoured by the teacher (when I look back, I see this). So, as a young adult I had little religious food. But what I had, I valued, and always kept it in mind, weighing it up against my personal life. Finding it good, I began to search into religious matters by joining a variety of groups. Then I began to read what Jesus had to say and found it tallied with my own thoughts about us humans. From there, I’ve tried to see more and more from his teachings and have wanted to put them into practice. Like my father, I too had anxiety, of an internal nature (not adversely affecting my life), over what I saw in human behaviour. I spent virtually my whole time (at least in my personal time, when not acting as mother and wife), juggling everything that occurred in my life. I did not need to travel, read novels or debate the news. Jesus was of fantastic support. I cannot say what exultation he rightly deserves. At this time in my life, I leave that to God. I have no need to debate it. I just want to follow his guidance. So far, doing this and learning more about God and Jesus’ description of his own relationship with God has served me so well, that I have now reached the position that I gave you, in answer to one of your questions – free from anxiety. Jesus has been wonderful for me and I know he can be for others. I’ve looked at ‘religions’ and philosophy from other countries, but, as I once said in the Brahma Kumaris, ‘Jesus came to me first, he has not let me down, (only the people who argue about him have), so, why would I leave him? I have no intention of going elsewhere, I’ve done my searching in that respect, and have found no better. What he meant by the son of God and the son of man I cannot be certain, but I have my own opinion, at this time i am content with it, and I personally exalt him, regardless of any other debate about him. I will not have explained by position entirely for you, but you’ll have the gist. And furthermore, I have no anxiety over this. Jesus loves me! This reply will double for another I was going to explain regarding my position on anxiety. Hope it helps in some way and if you have anything to offer please provide it. I’ll weigh it up against the truth i have fund and see if i need it, or I’ll save it for later. I just need to say it ‘God bless you Eric’.

  54. Eric, is ther any chance you may find a minute or two to help me with a quick answer? I see ‘good’ and ‘bad’ everywhere. Just as you’ve written a few words to warn me of ‘others’, could you please give a few words, also, on why you are with the ‘Orthodox’. I’d be gratefulwhe/if you get a mo or two. Cheers!

  55. Eric, Just to reassure you – I know it’s not a cop-out – You evidently, do you best every single time, and I will read it asap (we all have other commitments – there’s ‘more than one way to skin a cat- not literally of course! 🙂 . Thanks you very much.

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