Thursday, October 27, 2005

Replies to Some Queries, Part One

Despite taking the email address down [] I still receive some queries every now and then from friend and foe, though I hardly have an overflowing mailbag. Without quoting directly from the queries, and paraphrasing them, I'll try to provide some honest answers.

(1) What do you have against Roman Catholicism?

I suppose the answer is the same as any other Evangelical student's answer would be: I think Rome teaches several things that are either contradictory to scripture, and Rome upholds as dogma things that have no evidentiary warrant in scripture. I also reject the idea that corporate interpretation of scripture is intrinsically superior to what is derisively referred to as "private interpretation."

This isn't personal, despite my occasional lapses of decorum online. I grew up around Roman Catholics. My mother was one. My childhood friends were RC's. My beloved thesis advisor is RC. My housemate for six years was RC. I've mentioned not a few times the assistant professor days at a large RC university. I even dated some RC's [and they seem to have, alas, the lion's share of the pretty women]. But none of these cordialities and relationships make unscriptural claims scriptural, and they don't produce evidence that heretofore does not exist for, say, the Marian dogmas.

In fact, the last paragraph sounds a bit like somebody telling a leftist "some of my best friends are [insert victim group here]." So, to counterbalance this seeming surge of effeminate sensitivity, let me say that on a certain level, I simply don't care what a bunch of fragile wilting flower Romanists think regarding my sensitivity to them or not. If they're offended at what I say or the arguments I produce, nobody is forcing them to read this blog. But, on another level, one doesn't try to go around picking fights either, hence I don't post at message boards or bother other people on their blogs. One tries [and fails from time to time] to stand firm without being contentious for its own sake.

Speaking anecdotally, I find that the RC's I have known are Biblically illiterate, pulling scripture out of context in a way that would make the Mormons or Watchtower crowd envious. Having other people doing your thinking and interpretation for you tends to dull your own critical faculties for those areas in which you've contracted your own careful judgement out. Consequently, you can have a background in a hard science and philosophy, and still have an intellectual capacity in religious matters that is not too far above popping bubble-wrap, despite being able to talk a good game and put forth the affectations of intellectual superiority.

[[What I'm about to say has close to zero believability given that many posts here at PP are about RCism, but I was originally going to use PP to poke at pomo's and progressives here. But, circumstances and the mood-of-the-day put things in another direction, though there is so much pomo stuff out there that requires lampooning, much of it coming from academics, and, sad to say, smooshy Protestants.]]

(2) Do you think RC's are saved?

Some are, some aren't. Same for Evangelicals. The question, asked in this form, is far too general to admit a simple answer.

(3) What are your eschatological views?

Unrepentant amillenialist who doesn't say "rapture" in mixed company.

I grew up Baptist, and went to a charismatic high school, which should shock people who see my unemotional taciturn demeanor. I'm no "high on Jesus!!" type, to be sure. A woman who dragged me to Willow Creek [ugh] was embarrassed and teased by her friends because of that unemotional Lutheran type who just didn't get into the skits and the drama of the ages 20-30 service. [But that would make another nice post someday].

Well, I got a bit off-topic there. The point was that, in a Baptist and AoG setting, I was exposed to all sorts of Rapture imagery. We saw those B-rate "after the rapture" flicks where the actors and actresses ran around with UPC codes or "666" tattooed on their foreheads. We saw everything interpreted as leading to "the end" and so on.

But then, and I say this with due respect to other Evangelicals who have different eschatological views, I noticed that there doesn't really seem to be strong evidence for the complicated end-times scenario and chronology. This isn't a make-or-break issue, and, if I'm raptured, I'll gladly admit error, but I do not see a rapture, then 3.5 years of plenty, the death and rise of Antichrist, 3.5 years of the Great Tribulation, the Second Coming, followed by a 1000-year reign of Christ on Earth, etc, for example.

This is what seems clear: at some unspecified and undeducible time in the future, perhaps before I hit "publish post" or perhaps in the year AD34275, God will say "game over." Stealing imagery from CS Lewis, the author of the play will walk onto the stage. Judgement will just happen. And then the saints will be with God forever, and the rest have their condemenations ratified. I hope of course to be in the former group.

Before moving, I had a humorous little collection of books, all with the theme "The world will end in year 19xx!" One could write a book on the exegetical fallacies that undergird those books.

Oh, and "This Vehicle Will Be Unmanned In Case of Rapture" bumper stickers really annoy me, almost as much as those "Hate is Not A Family Value" stickers I see on the granolamobiles putt-putting on the freeways out here in CA!

(4) Is Luther your hero?

Nope. Interesting, important guy, but not authoritative, not always right, and he said some kooky things from time to time. Plus, he was Saxon/German, and that is never a good thing. I say this for the sole [but eminently noble] purpose of getting a certain German's goat. They have goats that should be gotten on a regular basis.


For what it is worth, if indeed it is worth anything, I'll try to clear the minor backlog of queries in Part Two, coming tomorrow.


Anonymous 1843 said...

"We saw those B-rate "after the rapture" flicks where the actors and actresses ran around with UPC codes or "666" tattooed on their foreheads."

Unkind to B-rate flicks!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2005 5:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Inaugural Address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead, after I have raptured out billions!

My Inaugural Address (PDF File)
Main site: My Inaugural Address
Also: My Inaugural Address
Your jaw will drop!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006 10:56:00 AM  

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