Tag Archives: Arianism

The clash of religions

By Augustinus

We have all heard about the clash of civilizations but if you really study history you will see that it is religion that soaks the earth in blood. “Civilizations” are an abstraction–a fiction invented by historians searching for a clue as to how to understand historical change. The things that move the earth and cause historical change are the things that people are willing to die for-family, tribe and religion. Actually, all we need to say is religion as religion is the thing that makes the other two values, family and tribe, possible.

If you were a seasoned diplomat, surveying the balance of forces today in the world you would of course look at nation states and the economic and military forces associated with each nation state. But nation states can crumble overnight and then tribal and religious loyalities remain and take over. So a seasoned diplomat has to look at the religious forces within each nation to really understand its stability and ability to project force.

What then is the balance of power within the world today? What ideas command men’s loyalities around the world today? The religion called neoliberalism or secularism has largely captured the world’s elites and it therefore rules the world today. It is the bithchild of internationalist Marxist-Leninist communism and what was left of Protestant Christianity in Europe and the Americas. Like all new religious movements the neoliberals cherish their new gods and rituals and they look with disdain on traditional religions. They are allied with the remaining communist regimes like China and Vietnam and they attempt to stamp out the old religions in every nation state where they hold power which includes most of western Europe, most of the America’s and most of Asia and the south Pacific. In the past 20 years neoliberalism has attempted to make inroads into the middle east. It has failed for the most part… with most of the Shia states rejecting the religion. The Sunni states partially embraced the heresy as it was in their economic interests to do so being the world’s largest oil producers. But because the Shia states rejected the religion they needed to be destroyed, thus the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Afghanistan and Libya were special cases. The Afghans sided with the rejectionist camp within Islam and therefore had to be destroyed and  Gaddafi was not a reliable ally to the neoliberals so Libya had to be destroyed. Israel was created after WWII under the influence of the neoliberal ideology calling itself a socialist state but the inherent contradictions between neoliberal ideals and the ethnocentrism of Judaism made it impossible to maintain the illusion forever and in recent years Israel has rejected the ideology of neoliberalism–especially its central religious tenet “diversity”.

Other opponents to neoliberalism include the Orthodox communions in eastern Europe and Russia.  Large swaths of the Muslim world (e.g. Pakistan), and the traditional Hindus in India vacillate back and forth between embracing the neoliberal ideology and rejecting it outright.

Within the belly of the beast in North America and Europe the protestant communities have largely embraced the heresy wholesale and therefore these communities are disappearing altogether. The Roman Catholic church is divided. Its official doctrine is in obvious contradiction to all of the neoliberal doctrines so the catholic church has been under constant attack from the neoliberals for decades.

The crisis in the Church is due to the embrace of neoliberalism by many in the Church in obvious and flagrant contradiction to settled dogma and doctrine. So what is to be done?

The first step in any war is to identify the enemy. The main enemy today is the heresy neoliberalism. But there are signs that it is crumbling. The brexit vote and the awakening of many in Europe concerning the dangers of Islam are signs of life yet in Europe. The situation is more bleak in America as even the most conservative Christian groups embrace many of the tenets of the neoliberal ideology.

But all is not lost. Recall the global dominance of the Arian heresy in the early years of the Church. The Arianists had captured all of the elite among the the remaining Roman aristocracy including several Emperors and their families. It also commanded the loyalty of the most powerful military nations at that time the Germanic tribes. it also commanded the loyalty of most of the magisterium of the Church, all of Northern Europe, Spain and northern Africa and most of the middle east and Arabia. Yet it took only a handful of Church Fathers to defeat the heresy in Councils and then in publications and then in the pews. Arianism temporarily faded from Europe but never from the middle east and Arabia. It was revived in the form of Islam and then implicitly in the form of reformation Protestantism in Northern Europe in the modern age. The neoliberals, and the liberal protestant congregations. the Jews, and Islam all share the Arian ideology concerning Christ. He was a great guy but he was not divine –he was not God….

So the battle over the nature and person of Jesus is once again the pivot of world history.

To save the West

By Augustinus

As Europe, North America and South America breezily jettison the Christian foundations of their political orders the “west” such as it is, spirals into further decline. To save the West you need to look to the Church for a rennaissance …but the Church itself, as in past epochs, is in crisis. What therefore is to be done?

Renew the church and you will save the West. So how do we renew the Church? As everyone knows, everyone has an opinion about how to do that. Some want to continue down the route of Vatican II and “liberalize” the Church even further (e.g. Gary Wills and Hans Kung, Richard Rohr and the National catholic Reporter folks etc). Some want to reverse Vatican II’s “reforms” (the traditionalists).  Some want to accept Vatican II’s reforms but then stabilize the ship by interpreting Vatican II documents conservatively (Popes John Paul and Benedict and some prominent “theocons” like George Weigel and the folks at First Things etc).

I do not agree with any of these positions.

Its not about Vatican II. like every other ecumenical council down through the ages this council did some bad things and some good things. I have posted on Vatican II previously so won’t go into that issue here. There is always going to be debate about development of practices, doctrine and church. There always has been such debate and always will be. The cause of the crisis in the church today is not about Vatican II or development of doctrine (understanding the so-called “sexual revolution” including feminism, gay marriage and so forth) or development of practices (such as Latin vs Novus Ordo rite etc)….though, of course, these issues are important. My point is that these issues are NOT the source of the crisis in the Church–they are symptoms.

What then is the source of the crisis in the Church today? If we could pinpoint that source we would also gain a deeper understanding of the crisis of the West more generally. In my opinion the source of the crisis is partially found in what the 19th century Popes called “modernism”. It is a heresy much like the ancient heresy of Arius. The Arian heresy claimed whole countries, most of the eastern Church, most of Northern Europe, most political leaders. It took centuries to defeat.

While the 19th century Popes were onto something when they decried modernism they left out the most crucial task for the Church then and NOW: How do come to grips with the rise of science. Modernism is so potent a force because it claims that it is allied with science. To solve the modernist crisis the church needs to embrace science and become a leader in the scientific enterprise–just as it was in the days of the Church Father and in the middle ages.

Reflections On the Much Discussed “Benedict Option”

By Augustinus

The crisis in the Roman Catholic church is occurring within the larger context of the collapse of Christian civilization in Europe and North America and indeed in large parts of the world in general. What can we Christians do to reverse the collapse of Christianity? Rod Dreher has suggested that the first step in responding to the crisis is to wake up and realize just how serious the crisis is. Not only is Christianity no longer the background moral and cultural ethos in Europe and North America -it is in active retreat and very likely going to see a coming persecution. So what can we and what should we do? the “Benedict option” would have us focus on preserving what we can within our own communities while not retreating from the battle in the world at large. like St Benedict who created monastic communities while the Christian Roman Imperium was collapsing all around him, so too should we create vibrant local Christian communities where the faith is preserved while still somehow continuing the fight in the public arena. Critics of the Benedict option have pointed out that the insular monastic model of tactical retreat and rebuild cannot address the pressing issue that the barbarians are at the gate or are actually in charge and imposing a kind of Arian heresy on orthodox christians everywhere….Arianism says Jesus was great but not God so there is no real presence, no real sacrifice at calvary, no real resurrection etc..these are now all the standard positions of many protestant sects and certainly the current media take on Jesus. It also happens to be the Islamic Koranic take on Jesus…

Over at TAC blogs Dreher has attempted to answer critics of his “Benedict Option” http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/critics-of-the-benedict-option/

Despite Dreher’s spirited response to critics I do not think the Benedict option is correct for us at this historical moment. The Benedict option would work if it weren’t the case that Arianism has already triumphed among ideological elites. If i am correct in my assessment that the Benedict option is not appropriate for these times then what is? I would call it the Augustinian option or the Athanasian option…We need less a modern St Benedict like Dreher or Alasdair McIntyre assert…instead we need a modern anti-heireasiach like Iraneaus, Augustine or Athanasius. In Dreher’s reply to his critics he quotes the personalist philosopher Claes Ryan whom I much admire who argues that we need to do battle at the level of culture and ideas and I agree wholeheartedly. We need to specifically develop a critique fo modern version of gnostic and Arian heresies in order to win back the culture.