Daily Archives: October 13, 2013

Christianity is not about Morality

Some of my most recent posts have dealt with the reasons for adhering to particular religions, versus the modernist attitude that “all religions are equal.” The latter is derived from the belief, for which Freemasonry was condemned in the 18th Century, that the primary purpose of religion is to “make people good citizens.” Then, of course, there are the controversies about the “papal interviews”,

“Hi, everybody!”

particularly this line from the recent interview for the Jesuit publications:

The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus. We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.

This weekend, like many, I’ve been reflecting on Nobel Prize Nominee Malala Yousafzai,

She doesn’t merit a Nobel Peace Prize, but Obama does?

and how her teachings, which she claims are authentic Islam contra the “radical” wing of Islam, which Diane Sawyer claims are “only” 1% of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims (equivalent roughly to the populations of New York and London combined).
Malala’s teachings on non-violence would fit more with the New Testament than the Koran, contrary to what modernist revisionism would say. Similarly, as Fr. Barron points out, another popular non-Christian advocate of peace, Mahatma Gandhi

He read Matthew 5 at Oxford and went to the Christians and said, “This is amazing teaching!” The Christians said, “We don’t really follow that; it’s too extreme.”

(whose name, interestingly enough, was recognized by WordPress’s ‘spell check’ even while many common Christian terms are not), got his teachings from the Sermon on the Mount. While some of Jesus’ teachings may be considered original (and obviously, *all* His teachings are original to Him, since He is God), most of them can be found in previous “moral teachers.”

“I say unto you . . . “

While the Church is certainly the Arbiter of Natural Law, there are two sides to Pope Francis’s argument about the Church’s moral teachings “falling like a house of cards”: 1) because they are about Natural Law, they should be argued based upon reason not “The Church says so”; 2) Christianity is not primarily about teaching morality. It’s “about” the Person of Jesus Christ, Who spoke with authority, unlike the Pharisees. The Old Testament Prophets said, “The Lord said to me, . . . ” The Pharisees would say, “Well, Rabbi X says that, but Rabbi Y says that, the Book of Leviticus says this, but the Book of Deuteronomy says that. . . . ”
Jesus sat down and said, “You have heard it said, BUT I SAY TO YOU . . . ” (Matthew 5:22). That is His claim to divinity. He is the first in the history of the Israelite religion to make such a first-person claim to teaching authority. He is not, as C. S. Lewis points out, “just a good moral teacher,” and His “moral teachings” cannot be extracted from the Gospel in an arbitrary “Jesus Seminar” manner, because the moral teachings themselves contain the implication, “I’m God, and here’s what I have to say”. No, Jesus must be either insane, a liar, or God, since He claims to be God in just about every sentence.
The most “controversial” moral teachings of the Catholic Church can be argued based upon reason without necessarily appealing to Revelation (though that certainly makes it easier). The purpose of Revelation is not to teach us what God wants us to do but to teach us Who God *is*, and to show us that He is willing to “forgive us our trespasses.”

[6] For the wisdom of the flesh is death; but the wisdom of the spirit is life and peace. [7] Because the wisdom of the flesh is an enemy to God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither can it be. [8] And they who are in the flesh, cannot please God. [9] But you are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. [10] And if Christ be in you, the body indeed is dead, because of sin; but the spirit liveth, because of justification.

[11] And if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you; he that raised up Jesus Christ from the dead, shall quicken also your mortal bodies, because of his Spirit that dwelleth in you. [12] Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. [13] For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die: but if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live. [14] For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. [15] For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear; but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father).

[16] For the Spirit himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God. [17] And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him. [18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us. [19] For the expectation of the creature waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him that made it subject, in hope: (Romans 8:6-20, Douay-Rheims)

[11] Strengthened with all might, according to the power of his glory, in all patience and longsuffering with joy, [12] Giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light: [13] Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, [14] In whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins; [15] Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.

[16] For in him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and in him. [17] And he is before all, and by him all things consist. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he may hold the primacy: [19] Because in him, it hath well pleased the Father, that all fullness should dwell; [20] And through him to reconcile all things unto himself, making peace through the blood of his cross, both as to the things that are on earth, and the things that are in heaven. (Colossions 1:11-19, Douay)

[6] Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: [7] But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. [8] He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. [9] For which cause God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names: [10] That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth
[11] And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father. [12] Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more now in my absence,) with fear and trembling work out your salvation. [13] For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will. [14] And do ye all things without murmurings and hesitations; [15] That you may be blameless, and sincere children of God, without reproof, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation; among whom you shine as lights in the world. (Philippians 2:6-15, Douay)

And, finally, as Jesus Himself says:

[11] Amen, amen I say to thee, that we speak what we know, and we testify what we have seen, and you receive not our testimony. [12] If I have spoken to you earthly things, and you believe not; how will you believe, if I shall speak to you heavenly things? [13] And no man hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven. [14] And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up: [15] That whosoever believeth in him, may not perish; but may have life everlasting.

[16] For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. [17] For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him. [18] He that believeth in him is not judged. But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [19] And this is the judgment: because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works were evil. [20] For every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved. (John 3:11-20, Douay)

That’s what Christianity is all about, Charlie Brown.