Christianity–Philosophy or Person?

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.

About Emperor Thomas I

Catholic monarch of the New Roman Coalition. Consecrated to the Apostle Thomas, the Holy Martyr Sigismund, and the Holy Martyr Olaf II.
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7 Responses to Christianity–Philosophy or Person?

  1. I’m sorry Mother, I have two faces…

  2. jrj1701 says:

    Well I ain’t offended, and there are some things that you are saying that is absolutely true. Matt. 10:34-36 does a great job of describing our dilemma. There is one thing that I will forever disagree with you on, God is not to blame, we Christians are to blame, for in our pride we figure out our perceptions of the truth and in our pride we try to shove it down other folks throat, we are hypocrites and deluded individuals that cannot see that we are just as sick as those we claim are going to hell, never realizing that we end up putting innocent folks through hell here on earth because we cannot seem to swallow our pride, we must judge and condemn others for their sinful ways, yet insist that we are in no way responsible for their problems. We block outsiders from accepting His healing by turning them away unless they can jump through hoops and perform mental gymnastics. Notice how I said we, I accept responsibility for this problem because I have helped contribute to it, and all I can do is repent and turn to Jesus, take up my cross and follow Him. I hear your frustration and I have seen your anger, and I know that in some way I have helped confuse you and for this I apologize and strive to repent.

    • They want me to renounce a man they serve…oh, the irony!

      • jrj1701 says:

        The thing is that not all of us knowingly serve the evil one, we are just not totally honest with ourselves and refuse to see how we are contributing to the problem instead of helping to cure it, which of course we can’t cure it by ourselves, we need to turn to God, and how to do that is where there is way too much debate.

  3. theophiletos says:

    I guess I didn’t read GRSS’s post that way. Of course Christianity is not a person, but about a person. As an academic, I am constitutionally incapable of anti-intellectualism. But as a Christian, I am forbidden to think we are saved by our knowledge and understanding. The doctrine, I think, exists to safeguard the means of salvation, and what early Christians (pre-400 or so) argued about what was whether, if certain views were true, salvation could still be possible. That is why they took heresy so seriously. Jesus himself said that Christians would be known by their love, not their philosophical prowess (John 13:34-35). Though Christianity is not simply love, but rather belief in the person who loved us perfectly and sacrificed himself for our redemption. But learning doctrine is not about proving piety or earning salvation. And Christianity is not ultimately about learning doctrine; that may help, or (depending how it is done) that may hinder. When I went to seminary, one professor expressed concern that my head knowledge of Christianity might be outstripping my practical experience.

    But what matters more than my theory or your theory about Christ is who Christ really was, and is. If he didn’t die and rise from the dead, then we’ve got issues. If he wasn’t God and human, then Houston, we have a problem. How can we know the truth of these things? That is a question to which there is no uniform answer for everyone, but there are good answers. In my case, I largely learned by experience that Jesus exists, and that he answers prayers. And I’m certainly not perfect, but I’ve seen Christians love each other. Actually, before I became Christian, I was once struck by the clearest functioning model of practical communism among six Christian families who lived in the same neighborhood. They lived in separate houses like normal American families, and they were not on each other’s property deeds, but they had one newspaper subscription among them, and if anyone needed something that another had, they could just enter each others’ houses and grab it. If anyone possessed something but it wasn’t where it belonged, they would just start calling the other families to see who needed to return it. And in my own desperate moments, it has been Christians more than any others who have gone out of their ways, at cost to themselves, to help me. So there is Christian love. Too often too little of it in the blogosphere, but more in areas of practical needs.

    BTW, if I knew how to do so, I’d attach a picture of a butterfly drawn on my wrist.

    • “Belief” is a philosophical profession of the intellect. Otherwise, there would be no “heresy” it would all be “love”. Debates about “belief” prove this.

      Obviously, the Arians can pull of a debate stating he wasn’t fully God, otherwise, Dale Tuggy wouldn’t be an anti-Trinitarian, now would he?

      • theophiletos says:

        I’m afraid I’m not following either what you are contending against or what is at stake in the argument. Can you clarify? I agree that Christianity is not just love, though I have seen Christian love. I’ve never heard of Dale Tuggy, I’m sorry to say.

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