Tuesday, 20 March 2007

The Charter

On Sunday, I had a very interesting debate with Mother about the conflict between Christian values and socially accepted values. I thought I'd relay and extend this intriguing issue for your general contemplation. Those of you who are share the Faith may find it directly relevant. Those who do not may nonetheless be interested to see my perspective once again.

External values

In our society, tolerance and acceptance are favourite concepts of the masses. You can read my separate post on Tolerance if you wish.

We as Christians are called upon to accept and love our neighbours. That is, naturally, what we should do. But increasingly - even in the past four years - I've seen that my own Christian beliefs are coming into conflict with those of society. Mother concurs, with an even longer sample of time.

Homosexuality
One issue that's come up recently. The Catholic Church adoption agencies refuse to place children with homosexual couples. They are right to do so. In a neutral way, I would suggest that it is wrong to compel them to go against their beliefs. That is intolerant. As a conservative Christian - if not actually a Catholic myself - I would also agree with them on ethical grounds: homosexuality is a sin, and thus cannot be condoned.

That sentence may well provoke outraged comments from commentators objecting to its intolerance. Good. I believe that I am right. I have nothing against homosexual people, just what they do. I have nothing against psychopathic killers either; just their actions.

I have deliberately not tempered my comments. These are my non-politically correct beliefs. Normally, I'd make them less controversial. But as my point is to show how non-PC my beliefs are, it would be silly to do so.

The issue has also been raised in other contexts: 'civil partnerships', whether we should actually allow 'gay marriages', and practising homosexuals in the Anglican orders. Naturally, I would oppose all of them most vehemently. An unrepentant homosexual is a sinner.

These are my beliefs. Controversial, n'est-ce que pas? Yet I firmly believe that I am right. And so should all other Christians. I'll move onto the intra-church conflicts later.

Other religions
Similarly, I would observe that my faith obliges me to reject outright any religions when it differs with Christianity. Some of its teachings may be correct, certainly. But not if they disagree with the Church's teaching.

Abortion
This is now merely a medical practice. As I have mentioned in the tolerance post, however, I believe it to be - in almost all cases - simply sanitised infanticide.

As I wrote earlier: It is the practical applications of such a position when one starts to commit social sins. Take abortion, for example. My beliefs lead me to think that it's murder. Nothing else, except in the very rarest of circumstances, when killing the child is necessary. Such as to preserve the mother's life.So where does that leave me? In 2004, in England and Wales, 193,160 abortions took place. Of these, only 19% were for medical reasons. Thus with the most conservative estimates possible, that's 156,456 murders of unborn, defenceless children.

Again, there may well now be outraged comments. But abortion is sin according to the Church. And thus I must hold that belief. The same applies to euthanasia, which Deo gratia, is not yet legal in this country.

Sex
Some of you flighty readers might be excited now. But I'll keep this brief: sex outside of marriage is sin. That is a biblical teaching, and largely ignored by society.

Divorce
This is a more sensitive issue, because there are arguable points even within the churches. I would, incidentally, hold to the Catholic view that all divorce is wrong. But to take re-marriage after divorce as an example, we see a much more clear-cut problem. It's sin. Any such legal 'marriage' is outside God's blessing.

Conclusion

This is an intermediary conclusion to sum up my seeming intolerant rant. Why did I include it all? To show you the force with which society and the Church are separating. I well imagine a time when the Church is persecuted for its rigid 'intolerance'. And sooner than many might think. It happens now.

The Inter-church conflicts

I would just like to make a small definition. Throughout my posts, and this one, I make a distinction between the 'Church' and 'church'. The Church - capitalised - signifies both the Roman Church and the church as a wider body of believers. A 'church' - lower case - is either a denomination (other than RC) or an individual fellowship of Christians, such as one might find in a place where one goes to worship.

Between the churches, there are also many disputes. My church allows remarriage after divorce, women to teach in church. The 'Episcopal Church' of the USA has 'consecrated' a gay bishop. The Anglican Church has paved the way for the episcopal 'consecration' of women.

As you might of guessed from my punctuation, I reject all of these moves. On biblical grounds. So I find myself increasingly in conflict with the more liberal movements in the Church. I wish they would return to the fold. To keep this brief, I shall simply leave you with a poem, by Rudyard Kipling, entitled, The Disciple:

He that hath a Gospel
To loose upon Mankind,
Though he serve it utterly—
Body, soul and mind—
Though he go to Calvary
Daily for its gain—
It is His Disciple
Shall make his labour vain.

He that hath a Gospel
For all earth to own—
Though he etch it on the steel,
Or carve it on the stone—
Not to be misdoubted
Through the after-days—
It is His Disciple
Shall read it many ways.

It is His Disciple
(Ere Those Bones are dust )
Who shall change the Charter,
Who shall split the Trust—
Amplify distinctions,
Rationalize the Claim;
Preaching that the Master
Would have done the same.

It is His Disciple
Who shall tell us how
Much the Master would have scrapped
Had he lived till now—
What he would have modified
Of what he said before.
It is His Disciple
Shall do this and more...

He that hath a Gospel
Whereby Heaven is won
(Carpenter, or cameleer,
Or Maya's dreaming son),
Many swords shall pierce Him,
Mingling blood with gall;
But His Own Disciple
Shall wound Him worst of all!

7 comments:

H said...

http://jcfrkuk.blogspot.com/2007/03/in-responce.html

Francis said...

I haven't had time to read all of this properly yet, but one thing caught my eye:

'Yet I firmly believe that I am right. And so should all other Christians.'

In my opinion, this isn't an acceptable thing to say. You don't hold any position of authority or moral superiority within the religion, so I would be interest to see how you can back-up this statement.

Would it be too provocative to suggest that it's a slight display of arrogance?

*prod*

Phil' said...

It might seem less extreme within the grand intolerance of the whole post... But I would suggest two things to consider.

(a) The point was phrased in a provocative manner deliberately. I believe it to be correct, but I did not tone it down as I usually would. Why not? Because that was the point.

(b) As to why I've linked homosexual clergy to the point is because I believe it to be wrong. Note I only mean practising homosexuals. Remember that relativism cannot have any place within Christian teaching. So we are left with the decision of whether the conservative or liberal wing is correct. It's not just me in the Conservative wing. The Africans of the Anglican Communion staunchly agree with me. The American right does also. What I consider more 'binding' [note the pun, Gavin] is the opinion of the Bishops of Rome on the matter. They too - with strength superceded only be statements made ex cathedra - have utterly rejected homosexuality. (Just to take that example) If any or all of these groups are taken to be correct, then all other Christians must be wrong.

You're quite correct. I don't hold any position of authority. But I would suggest that the Anglican Bishops do. And more importantly, so does the Bishop of Rome - whether Successor to St. Peter or not. So I quote their views. Because they have the authority to make them. I'll find the quotations themselves if you would like me to.

P

Gavin said...

Having this sort of vent for Christian belief is very healthy - you've got to let it all out once in a while, since we are in such stark conflict with Western society at large.

You are absolutely within your rights to say that you believe you are right. If you didn't you wouldn't have an opinion. It confuses me when people say "that's just an opinion", to which my reply would be "yes, I think it's right and others are wrong, that's why I think it".

Good to see that you equate the Church with the Roman Church and those who participate in its validity.

Francis said...

Just to clarify things, I wasn't objecting to people stating opinion at all, just the statement that other people are wrong if they don't believe what you do.

In principle.

For the record, I agree with your reply.

Gavin said...

If you think are right, those who disagree with you are wrong. QED.

Gavin said...

Sorry, that was pure illiteracy. You know what I meant.