I recently ran across this post of Geoffrey RS Sales on Mother’s blog where he attempts to distinguish Christianity from an intellectual tradition by maintaining that it’s about a person. This argument came up from Fr. Robert Barron in his Catholicism series that was watched last night at my parish. This always puzzles me since the majority of people who parrot this claim actually do, sincerely believe it to be both a philosophy and an intellectual tradition (this is why babies get to receive absolute grace but adults like me have to learn all the rules and regulations before we earn our salvation–hurray, Mother! You get saved at birth! God forces me to earn my salvation through learning all the rules and regulations and yet you still manage to believe God “loves” me–B.S., right, Mother?–still a Christian? I hope not).
Why it’s an intellectual tradition–
a) the catechumen and discipleship–obviously, if its about “grace”, there would be no need to teach a catechumen to distinguish between heresy and what-not because, hello, that’s God forcing them to earn their salvation through an entirely intellectual process…of course, Mother rejects this opinion because God loved her and cared for her and gave her grace as an infant but it’s easy for me to buy into this because God trashed me and has hated me all my life and forces me to go through all this rigourous intellectual training to “prove” my piety (which I’ve done to him but still there’s no grace because–oh right, he hates me!–STOP LOVING HIM MOTHER!).
b) the heresies–oh yes, the heresies. Even for those who just say “Nicaea is enough” you’re still arguing over a person because some are skeptical of the claim that Jesus is God. The Arians certainly were. In fact, you’ve made the intellectual decision to condemn Arianism who believed something that which you perceive to be “false” about a person.
c) arguing–let’s not forget either that the history of Christianity is littered with non-stop arguing about what even should and should not be considered “scripture” starting on with Marcion. This is a clever history that they have but the Christians prefer not to share the details with you since they assume everyone was entirely united at first. This line of reasoning of course, works great for them but it’s really a flat-out lie. “Love” is the opposite of lying, FYI. So from the history of Christianity, it’s quite easy for an outsider to make the “mistake” (more like correct identification) that Christianity is a philosophy about a person, not a person. The person may have even been made up.
I know that some are going to be offended by this post but that’s because it simply refutes the entirety of the Christian claim. I could go on about how Fr. Robert Barron even tries to make a philosophical condemnation of the Eastern Orthodox or how Met. Kallistos Ware, in making these same claims about Orthodoxy, attempts to construct a philosophical condemnation of Catholicism. WOW! Two people who make philosophical condemnations of each others’ religions and yet still parrot this whole “Christianity is not a philosophy”. This is why I refuse to believe Mother’s ideology that “Christianity is love” because I don’t really see much “love” in it at all–I see intellectual bashings of other traditions.