Sunday 30 April 2023

The ultra-orthodox of the mainstream (self-identified) Christian churches are unrepentant sinners

It is clear to me that the real Christians who remain (so far as they themselves are concerned) faithful and loyal members of the mainstream Christian churches - I shall call them the ultra-orthodox; are actually Romantic Christians... 

But not only without knowing it, but often in denial of the fact

(And to be in denial of a truth is to be an unrepentant sinner.) 

Thus, the ultra-orthodox are extremely selective in their conceptualization of the True Church; having adopted a (sometimes) tiny-minority understanding of the identity and stance of what their church really is; while simultaneously asserting (often with aggressive dogmatism) that the tiny-minority stance they regard as True Church is objectively so. 

Well, no amount of aggressive dogmatism, bluff, bluster, or argument can conceal the fact that the ultra-orthodox are working on the basis of fundamental (i.e. metaphysical) assumptions concerning the nature and doctrines of their churches that they themselves have chosen - yet the core assertion of the ultra-orthodox is that the way they have reasoned to reach their position is the one and single truly objective mode of reasoning that is valid for their church

This kind of paradox is, indeed, the only way to be ultra-orthodox in the modern West. 

Traditional orthodoxy was possible only in a society in which a particular church dominated; and permeated the society such that all who were raised within the church would - unconsciously, and passively - absorb the same fundamental assumptions. 

Nobody in the modern West has had such an experience and upbringing for several generations; therefore, there is always a choice between rival conceptualizations of the real/ true/ good essential nature of the church...

And that choice cannot be made objectively, impartially, by necessity; without having-already-made a choice between assumptions. 

It is this initial act of choosing that the ultra-orthodox conceal from themselves - by their smokescreen of aggressive dogmatism.

The aggressive dogmatism of the ultra-orthodox is therefore a kind of emotional self-management - a self-deception; a kind of therapeutic confidence builder-and-sustainer - whereby doubt is buried beneath externalized anger at those who refuse to accept the falsehood that the process of becoming ultra-orthodox is merely a matter of accepting that which is objectively undeniable. 

Differently put: I infer that the ultra-orthodox are - self-deceptively - tapping the psychological energies generated by their own inner conflicts, in order to fuel their motivations. 

It is their suppressed knowledge of self-contradiction, that powers the surface-level of confrontational aggressive dogmatism. In a world where strong and long-term motivation is so hard to find, this kind of burning intensity is addictive - consequently hard to give-up on.   

Of course; once a closed cycle of reasoning has been-assumed; then 'everything makes sense' to one who is within that circle. Yet, anybody outside of the circles of assumption can perceive that the whole thing is rooted in a concealed and denied personal choice of assumptions.   

As I have said before; ultra-orthodox Christians are actually Romantic Christians in denial; and the problem is that this is dishonest - hence is rooted in unrepented sin

Ultra-orthodoxy of whatever church is, for these reasons, an unstable and transitional spiritual state

Unstable - because they are trying to avoid ultimate personal responsibility for what, in fact, they have personally decided; and instead claim to be merely obedient to the external and primary authority of their church. And - late or soon - they will be brought to decide between the two options. 

Therefore; to remain on the side of truth and Good - either the ultra-orthodox will eventually (perhaps after death) need to acknowledge the personal basis of their convictions: will need (in other words) to take individual responsibility for their faith. 

Or else they will (presumably) suffer the inevitable consequences of unrepented sin. 


Ranger said...

That was indeed my experience when conversing with Sedevacantists about Canon Law and the Roman Catholic Church. They've bound themselves to a perfect and inescapable circle, i.e, as Chesterton would put it, they are bound to the "moon", they're strict LUNAtics.

In some regards, I was reminded of Narnia's dwarves in "The Last Battle". "We won't be taken in" is their general response to attempt to make them confront their assumptions.

Bruce Charlton said...

@R - Indeed. I do not object to any kind of Christianity, and plenty of trad-type Catholics are fine Christians.

But it is important, from the POV of simple honesty and in order not to be subverted - that we acknowledge assumptions for what they are - and that means leaving the circle of 'evidence' and self-confirmation.

The idea of simply refusing to discuss primary assumptions has been tried and failed (I tried it myself, at first). This was, indeed across many denominations, and in many version, the main response to modernity. But it has failed.

Everyone nowadays just-is personally choosing their faith, denomination, church etc; no matter what he claims.

That acknowledgment, and to make the choice active and responsible, is all that we can ask of anyone; because we can go no deeper.