Saturday, February 16, 2019

Liberal Vs Traditional Christianity

Once upon a time there was a certain blogger who created controversy with a post on male preferences in women. Apparently, it was harsh and "unloving" to even suggest that not all women are perfect and that men can (and should) have some standards when it comes to choosing a marriage partner. Even though the blogger in question didn't call anyone by name but wrote an abstract statement, the post was still considered "judgemental" by many and the flame wars around it continued for ages.

Now I'm not planning to comment on the post itself or speculate whether stirring internet controversies is the ideal way to present your message.  I just find it interesting that a lot of Christians appear to be less upset by the sin itself  than by someone calling it out. Yet, Christianity didn't always use to be so milquetoast.

Consider this quote from St. Augustine, for instance:  For watchmen or overseers of the people are appointed in churches, that they may unsparingly rebuke sin

He actually goes further than that and claims that it's a duty of everyone to do the same and that God punishes us for refraining to do so:

For often we wickedly blind ourselves to the occasions of teaching and admonishing them (the evildoers) , sometimes even of reprimanding and chiding them, either because we shrink from the labor or are ashamed to offend them, or because we fear to lose good friendships, lest this should stand in the way of our advancement, or injure us in some worldly matter, which either our covetous disposition desires to obtain, or our weakness shrinks from losing. So that, although the conduct of wicked men is distasteful to the good, and therefore they do not fall with them into that damnation which in the next life awaits such persons, yet, because they spare their damnable sins through fear, therefore, even though their own sins be slight and venial, they are justly scourged with the wicked in this world, though in eternity they quite escape punishment. Justly, when God afflicts them in common with the wicked, do they find this life bitter, through love of whose sweetness they declined to be bitter to these sinners.

Many churches even go so far as to state that "we are all equally bad." There is truth to this statement as we are all born sinners. But, as you have noticed from the quote above, St. Augustine had no trouble making a distinction between "wicked" men  and "good" men (those who repented and gave their life to Christ. ) The modern liberal idea that a church-going Granny is just as wicked as an unrepentant child-murderer because she sometimes engages in gossip is preposterous and ( dare I say? ) offensive to anyone with a functioning brain.

Of course, one should choose his opportunity to speak wisely. Sometimes it's better to hold your peace or wait until a suitable moment before speaking your mind or it will do more harm than good. Augustine agrees:

If any one forbears to reprove and find fault with those who are doing wrong, because he seeks a more seasonable opportunity, or because he fears they may be made worse by his rebuke, or that other weak persons may be disheartened from endeavoring to lead a good and pious life, and may be driven from the faith; this man's omission seems to be occasioned not by covetousness, but by a charitable consideration. 

However,  he then  goes to point out that it's not really charity but fear which often  makes Christians close their eyes to the evil around them:

But what is blame-worthy is, that they who themselves revolt from the conduct of the wicked, and live in quite another fashion, yet spare those faults in other men which they ought to reprehend and wean them from; and spare them because they fear to give offense, lest they should injure their interests in those things which good men may innocently and legitimately use...

They abstain from interference, because they fear that, if it fail of good effect, their own safety or reputation may be damaged or destroyed; not because they see that their preservation and good name are needful, that they may be able to influence those who need their instruction, but rather because they weakly relish the flattery and respect of men, and fear the judgments of the people, and the pain or death of the body; that is to say, their non-intervention is the result of selfishness, and not of love.

The situation presently is little different from what he describes. People fear doxxing and internet mobs coming after them. The consequences for heresy against the dominant religion of liberalism are very real and while they don't include death yet they may very well include the damage of reputation and good name. We aren't all born to be heroes and most of us have families to consider so I perfectly understand the reluctance of many to speak up.

There is one thing though: you don't have to attack those who do in order to virtue signal! The person who never uses his judgement isn't a better or more spiritual Christian, he's just really really unwise. And it's not sinful to have standards. In fact, it's probably sinful not to.


  1. Interesting subject. I have learned to keep my mouth shut IRL (I know it is hard to believe), but it always feels wrong. But since I have no tact, me saying things aloud usually does more harm to my cause than good.

    I used to read a blog who's writer was plainly dressing. She was not amish, but dessed that way. She said that it was comforting to know that her mere outfit will tell people her values. She was pacifist and one of her students was joining army. And she wrote how she could just show him her compassion and support and did not need to talk about pacifism, because her outfit told him that. Some sort of hate the sin, love the sinner -thing.

    So I think there is some point on wearing religious clothes or something that shows other people what your convictions are. People will know what you believe in and what your values are, but you do not need to make confrontations.

    Here in Finland people usually get cross pendant necklace when they get confirmed and have their fist communion (it is actually colled "confirmation cross" and it used to be a big thing). When I was younger, everybody used to wear that necklace all the time, but those who were really in faith kept it over their clothes and those who just wore because everybody else did, kept it under their shirt. Nowadays people don't seem to wear them anymore, exept those who are in faith.

  2. You know around the Christmas time we visited all Scandinavian churches in the neighbourhhod because they all organised Christmas markets? By Danes and Swedes men were in the kitchen, not women. Norwegian females did make some cakes, but Finnish ladies were by far the best cooks: they made traditional pies, breads and rolls and boy did it taste great! Finns had also the most young couples with kids in their church. Your country appears more traditional to me, but all the pastors of all 4 churches were women...

    Anyway, it's a sweet tradition wearing a cross, but since we live around diversity it could be probably dangerous over here. I try not to attract too much attention to myself, personally.

    Also I don't believe that I should run around preaching to everyone like a Jehovah witness but if it's a friend I would tell what I think. I usually try to influence people indirectly, tho.

  3. Interesting observations you have made. I would say Sweden is the worst, propably in the whole wide world, when it comes to liberalism, feminism and such. I would say Norway and Finland are the same, though Norway is not part of EU so they have more room to maneuver, so to speak. And having oil helps, they do not have to please anyone. Finland is trying very hard to be the best student in EU, which harms our national interests. Denmark is doing fine, they fight the paradigma and EU, especially when it comes to food.

    It is horrible if it is not safe to wear a cross in a christian country! It is still ok to wear one here, maybe I should start wearing mine. I actually have really nice rosary too, made of olive wood, but nobody wears those. And you are relly not supposed to wear rosary, are you? Some people also have icons in their homes even if they are not orthodox.

    Just to make myself clear: I don't think people should necessarily do anything. I just thought what could be a silent way of making a statement or testimony, if one wants to do that.

  4. Holland a Christian country??? I do wear a cross, but under my clothes. There were Molotovs thrown at the churches over here, though not in my area...but it's in general getting less safe. Like two weeks ago we had a robbery in a furniture store close to where I live, there were shootings in my parents-in-law neighbourhood, just the usual things, you know. You are lucky you don't have this problem, yet...But it's not that bad as Sweden.

    BTW, the Danish women wore skirts, but short ones, while Norwegian ladies put on their national dresses, very beautiful. A friend of my parents lives in Norway, they appear to be quite rural.

    Not sure about the rosary, I think you can take it with you wherever you go.

  5. I just checked Wikipedia and learned that over 50 % of your population have no religion (or belong in any church). That was a shock, here in Finland over 70 % of people are member of our Lutheran church and I actually thought we are like LEAST christian country on Europe. Of course most people are not religious, being a member of church is just a habit here.

    I haven't realized things are that bad in Holland, too. With all that terrorism and such.

    Norwegians have really pretty national dresses. Much prettier than finnish. I think about getting one every now and then but they cost like 1000 euros so... And the one I should wear is like the least pretty from finnish dresses. You are supposed to pick the one that represents the province where your family comes from. I should wear this one, the waistcoat is hideous:

    Sorry about the offtopic.

  6. In Catholic provinces most people are culturally Catholic, but we don't live there. In the North they are pretty much irreligious. Then we have a fundy Bible belt and some pockets of them in other places. Mainstream Protestantism is pretty much dead, many joined some version of a Evangelical church. Eastern Europeans are mostly religious though, we sometimes visit their churches.

    We don't really have much terrorism, is more crime like mugging, robbery, drug dealing. It's not as bad as metropolitan France or Belgium I should say. You get accustomed to it and hardly notice, but there are few women who would dare hang around alone after dark over here, especially in certain areas.

    I noticed everything Scandinavian is very expensive for us:) Food, clothes, etc. This dress is cute, though the waistcoat could e better, I agree:)