Thursday, January 9, 2014

The acid of true religion

Bl. John Henry Newman said the most corrosive acid for true religion was sentimentality (not sentiment, which is a different thing.) Our emotions are part of us and we can't escape them, but we must not ever allow them to take us over. Religious doubt fixed in the emotions is painful but when we subject them to the light of reason and the dogmas of Christianity, they often evaporate. If our emotional doubts become fixed in the will, then we are in a dangerous spot and only a miracle of grace will change us. From Wintery Knight we get the sad tale of Katy Perry's apostasy:
“I don’t believe in a heaven or a hell, or an old man sitting on a throne. I believe in a higher power bigger than me because that keeps me accountable,” she told Marie Claire magazine recently. “Accountability is rare to find, especially with people like myself, because nobody wants to tell you something you don’t want to hear.”
Perry, who took the Billboard charts by storm with her hit song “I Kissed a Girl” in 2008, told Marie Claire that she no longer considers herself a Christian despite being raised by Christian ministers.
“I’m not Buddhist, I’m not Hindu, I’m not Christian, but I still feel like I have a deep connection with God. I pray all the time – for self-control, for humility,” she told Marie Claire. “There’s a lot of gratitude in it. Just saying ‘thank you’ sometimes is better than asking for things.”
Despite her decision to perform music that may seem controversial to the Christian community, the chart-topping singer has never shied away from crediting the Christian church for giving her a start as a performer.
“The atmosphere I grew up in was 100 percent Christian,” Perry said her “Part of Me: 3D” movie which was released last year. “I started singing in the church, I never really had another plan.”
Perry's mother called her daughter's divorce after one year of marriage a gift from God. Not even the laws of God Almighty can stand against the power of the hamster.

Heathen polemicists define faith as "believing in something for no good reason at all." That definition has so thoroughly saturated our culture that many Christians have bought into it. Most Catholics are unaware that the First Vatican Council anathematized the proposition that God's existence cannot be proven by unaided human reason; that is, Catholics are solemnly bound to believe that God's existence is knowable through the light of unaided human reason alone. Faith is the virtue that resides in the intellect. Faith is a kind of knowledge which means believing a trustworthy source. Most of what we know is through faith then. We believe that God is a trinity because God has said so.

Personal testimony has its place, but even after baptism we are still susceptible to concupiscence. When the Christian inevitably sins, his testimony becomes suspect. We Christians are never to hold ourselves up as examples of a Christian life; we profess Jesus Christ as the example of the perfect man. We follow him, not Pastor Jones or Father McGillicutty. Faith - that is, fidelity to the person of Christ - is what keeps us going even if we don't feel his presence or feel like he's abandoned us. Bl. Teresa of Calcutta famously endured an interior darkness for decades, where she felt like God had turned his back on her. But she kept going.

It is imperative that Christian parents instill in their children that kind of faith. They must show them that Christianity is more than phony-baloney, plastic banana, good time rock and roll feelings. Otherwise their daughters will grow up to be like Perry: they'll marry the left-wing heathen who gives them the tingles, divorce after a few years, and settle into Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

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