Contra “The Controlling” Catholic Church: Against the Caricature that The Bible is a compromised book designed to control   Leave a comment

1. Introduction

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” (1 Corinthians 13:11)

As a child coming of age into young adult years, my Reversion to Catholicism is one marked by an initial hatred for The Catholic Church as I understood it. I was the poster child of Progressive Modernist thought who yet embodied a fierce New Age Protestantism about things pertaining to The Church and the surrounding cultural and spiritual developments that I found myself growing up around in. This series is written to rebuke the writings of my Youth, a sort of self-imposed Penance to atone for my own personal ignorance. The writings of my youth are held on the internet at the Yahoo! Voices website, there are 4 Articles written between July to November 2007, just after my graduation from High School. It should be noted that the rebuke is thematically addressed rather than chronologically answered.

The First Article written in July 2007 was titled, “Christianity Vs. True Christianity: A Problem with the Church?” This article embodied perfectly my Anti-Catholic view influenced by Progressive Modernism, Protestant propaganda yet New Age influences at the time. The Second Article written in August 2007 was title, “Church of Christ: The Church is Not the Real Thing!” This article embodied my confusion and the varieties of cultural propaganda set against the Church, this article sounds most like what I hear today, and that I have come to most fight against today. The Third Article was written in the same month and was titled, “Is the Bible Really Full and Complete?” This article was my argument that the Bible was incomplete and that since it has been left to many revisions it is no longer a trustworthy book, this attack the notion that The Bible was the Complete and Final Word of God. The Fourth and Final Article was written in November 2007 and was titled, “My Road to Christian Gnosticism” Here it is showcased for all to see my love of Heterodoxy and lack of understanding of Orthodoxy, of course in celebrating fighting against the superstitious ignorance of the Church I now confess that I was the one being superstitious and ignorant.



II. My Argument Against My Past Self

As a rebellious teenager who wanted to fight the good fight of Liberation I saw the Bible as a compromised book that was subject to mass revisions and editing’s and because of this, I saw this book as losing any authoritative value that I thought it held. First of all there were seemingly unexplainable inconsistencies of the Bible between the Old Testament God of Yahweh and the New Testament God of Christ, the former sounded mean and judging and the latter merciful and forgiving. To top this, my own mind was more of a hip modern liberal, both because of the culture, the peers around me as well as the education that I received via public school, so as you can imagine my outlook was not ancient but modern when it came to notions of Liberation, my notions of what Liberty is has gone through tremendous changes since the 5 Years after High School and beginning this Spiritual Journey. This post is written to show that The Bible is not designed to be controlling in the absolute sense, but rather liberating in the ancient sense.

I fell into Heterodoxy exactly because I didn’t think the Old Testament God was the same one as the New Testament God, I fell into the old heresy of Marcionism. Back when I was younger I took a more Protestant approach to the Bible, namely Sola Scriptura or Solely Scripture, there was no Magisterium, no Tradition for me from which to put the Bible into deeper understanding, only my own fancies and opinions and in dialog with the private fancies of others. Yet I wanted to find the pure unadulterated message of Christ. As I got older, I realized that the Tradition wrote The Bible, the Bible did not just fall out of the sky, that as a Christian I am called to see the Old Testament in terms of the New Testament, with the eyes of Love through the Resurrected Christ and in multiple levels of meaning. I knew then that I needed to find the Tradition, that one needed the Tradition to make sense of what was written. I first came across Eastern Orthodoxy, but then I finally gave Catholicism a chance to speak on its own merits, and when once I thought that The Catholic Church was too controlling I understood the purpose to Magisterium of the Church through the video below:

Today as moderns and as Westerns in a Post-Enlightenment society, we see Liberation as a freedom from Oppression, or more to the point we celebrate Individual Autonomy. The ancients understood Liberty, as what has been described elsewhere as a Freedom for Excellence, the ability to become something perfectly. However, the problem here is that, one ought to want it; this is the only place that Autonomy, our free will has its place, to say yes or no. Everything else is a gift to us; the realization of our excellence is a gift to us from God and needs His participation in it to realize the Gift. The Laws of Moses (The Torah) which lead to the Laws of Christ (The Bible) are the ground for the Dogmas and Rules of The Church. If one were to play a game like a professional then we all know we would need to conform ourselves to the rules and submit ourselves to the discipline of a master coach, again our autonomy can only be granted if we Trust (have Faith in) the Coach and wish to actually pursue the perfection of what we wanted to aim toward (Fueled by Love).

No one complains when a personal trainer is hard on them, in fact the wise trainee would want the trainer to be hard so as to constantly refine the dull points in realizing the ideal body, so why do we complain when The Church with its Rules and Dogmas tells us to Fast, Keep an Active Prayer Life, Wake Up Early for Sunday Mass, Practice Almsgiving, etc…? These are equivalent to the physical disciplines that a Bodybuilder would go through, except these are spiritual disciplines: By Fasting, I go on a particular diet; by Keeping an Active Contemplative Life of Prayer, I drop and do 50; by Waking Up Early on Sunday for Mass, I receive my Food; and in Practicing in Almsgiving, I show that I am detached and will not be distracted by other things as I aim toward my goal; also by Going to Confession I admit to my trainer (who is God working through a Person who I can hear) where I have been sloppy and resolve to do better with His help, etc…

No one likes a dishonest or cheating student or trainee so they do not do their physical exercises sloppily, yet we complain when we are told to hold to these Spiritual Exertions rightly and properly. Oh if people knew that like the personal trainer who they trust to train them to love and live the life of a bodybuilder to the fullest, the Church is training those who Trust it to train them to love and live the Life of one who will live in the Light of Eternity to the fullest! If they could see that, then they would have a solid foundation from which to understand all the other Dogmas and Rules the Church has set up, to do that takes work, but if people knew someone who can help them they wouldn’t need as much work and can live it with more ease.

St. Paul also sees God as a Coach as well, when he describes the Spiritual Life of the Christian as one competing in a Race or some sport. True this Sport is Lethal, when it comes to the Eternal State of Our Souls, however the Danger of it is a call also to become Courageous and Animated, not fearful and cautious, which is what the adversary wants. If it helps to picture the Spiritual Life of the Christian as one in a Great Arena then do so. Our cultures love of Sports and Recreational Activities serves as a good analogy to describe the Spiritual Life. At a certain point I adapted this view of the Spiritual Life after watching the film, “Peaceful Warrior” which I definitely advise many people to take the time to view.


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