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Location: Montgomery Area, Alabama, United States

Former BUFF driver; self-styled military historian; paid (a lot) to write about beating plowshares into swords; NOT Foamy the Squirrel, contrary to all appearances. Wesleyan Jihadi Name: Sibling Railgun of Reasoned Discourse

Thursday, April 21, 2005

BXVI -- "Left" Behind?

A new voice wieghs into the Great Pope Debate:

I have a slight problem with this post. I agree with Monk's truncated dissertation on moral Relativism, on the idea that Relativism is a form of religion - a growing one at that - and that as such it is dangerous. In fact, not only do I agree, I have mulled over the idea for many months and have continuing concerns about it.

My problem is Monk linking it to the "Left." There are moral relativists everywhere among us. There are people at my church who call themselves Christian - and republican - but who practice moral relativism. The fact that they don't recognize it and/or admit, and hence blog about, doesn't make them any less dangerous as an agent of the destructive practice than a leftist democrat or atheist who openly discusses and/or promotes the practice. In fact, they're probably more dangerous (I prefer a hood wearing Klan member to a suit wearing "nice guy" with swastikas tattoed on his chest, underneath his suit, anyday of the week).

And as for Pope Benedict the XVI, it is not just Lefties who don't like him. He was a controversial choice even before the voting began; controversial among Catholics of all political and factional persuasion, not just left-leaning folks. And as to the "prediction" that there would be "whining" - oh please, there is always a group of whiners that quickly emerge in any change in circumstances in political and religious events of such magnitude. Heck, if you institute a change in pastoral standing at my church, within hours there will be a group of whining dissenters. Does that make them Leftie pinko-commie bastards? Of course not. (Well, maybe in a couple of cases......)

Anyway, the bottom line is that in a time where Monk's message on Relativism - what it is and the concerns we should have about it -is important and should be given due attention, encasing it in language that suggests it is a "Left" phenomena - besides being less than fully accurate - is entirely unhelpful.

Chefjef, I concede your point ... to a degree. There are certainly moral relativists of all political stripes. Izmud provides a succint description of his own modernist brand of secular humanism in correspondence that I will post shortly, and he's pretty conservative politically. (The words "Atilla the Hun" come to mind...)

If we had started this debate in, say, 1890 or 1935, I would have said that the threat from reltivism stemmed mainly from the right--from social darwinists, Nietzcheans, eugenicists, and those alike in 1890; from a world full of fascists in 1935. I would still feel bound to warn of socialists-bolsheviki-spartacists-communists in both periods, but the main threat came from the right.

Today, however, the vast majority of a$$-hattery of the type I excerpted in my last post comes from the left. This doesn't likely represent an absolute majority in numbers. There are probably as many neo-nazis, skinheads, etc., in this country today as there are leftie-pinko-commies, but the former are marginalized in public life. This is a very Good Thing. The morally-relativistic equivalent of neo-fascism is the kind of stuff we see all over the left of the blogosphere and elsewhere in the public domain every day, due to left-leaning dominance of the media (18 to 2, after all) and academe--the chattering classes. Stuff that is as far to the left as Westboro Baptist "Church" is to the right (and no, I won't link to them again--why encourage blasphemy and hate?) gets considerable public visibility today. This is a Bad Thing. And this is central to my concern that even the moderate left has become unhinged of late.

Whinging? It knows no bounds--is not owned by right or left, as you say. And our church is a prime example, as you point out. Most of our whiners are "old church" and hence "conservative" (regardless of politics)--those who found our congregation to be a comfortable social club and who resist anything that will change that status. The Lord, however, is always radical and that most often means change--He "came to bring a sword," to pronounce woe unto the Pharisees and overturn the tables of the moneychangers. Mike Yakonelli put it well:

What characterized Jesus and His disciples was unpredictability. Jesus was always surprising the disciples by eating at the wrong houses (those of sinners), hanging around the wrong people (tax collectors, adulterers, prostitutes, lepers), and healing people on the wrong day (the Sabbath).
I agree--also to a degree--that those who are secret adherents can be more dangerous than those who openly profess evil. But all of us have this in our hearts to some extent. Relativism is just another variation on a theme we all play--"I am the center of the universe and thus get to make the rules!" This is at the core of all sin and is what made both angels and man fall. A compassionate, Christian approach to people should recognize and allow for this. All we can judge is behavior, not the condition of hearts. But it is not unreasonable to infer greater internal disorder from unhinged outward behavior. This makes intuitive sense, doesn't it? I mean, it's not unreasonable for me to assume greater danger, as well as less mental balance, from a Ward Churhill or a "Reverend" Fred W. Phelps (of Westboro "God hates fags" fame) shouting obscenities at me at the top of their lungs than from a fellow who just looks at me funny, is it?

I know that what you say is true--there are relativists within our own congregation. Of course their are. In fact, I have reason to suspect that every one of our fellow congregants is a .... [check right; check left] a SINNER!! Shhhhh ..... [Don't tell anybody!] For instance, I must constantly be on guard against my own "inner German." After all, my favorite piece of furniture is Thomasville's wonderful (but hideously expensive) Fascist Bed. I love this thing, even if I can't afford it. I recently made a pilgrimage to Birmingham to see one in person. It was like turtle soup and venison served on gold utensils! Like Barbarella in the Excessive Machine (where she belongs, dammit!) As good as riding to hounds and laughingly brushing peasants off the road as I go! Look at the fascines! It appeals to everything darkly right-wing in my soul. I imagine sleeping on it and dreaming of a boot smashing a human face--forever. But ... I am a Christian! Must ... not ... succumb to such temptation! Must .... not ..... think..... about ......... BED!

....There. That's better. Surely you awake some nights in a sweat, having dreamt of flowing red banners and bright-eyed proles looking hopefully into the Bright New Dawn of socialism, no?*

As to the Pope--among believing Catholics I think he was probably the least controversial choice. He was JPII's closest intellectual ally and frequently his insipration. B16 is only controversial to that peculiarly modern, peculiarly developed-world, and--yes--usually left-wing "Catholic" who believes that the denomination should be remade in his or her own image or should conform itself to the world's current fancy. For my part, if I were Catholic, I would want someone rock-like (or at least little-rock-like), not like shifting sand or a banner blown by the wind, as the base of my denomination. As a reformed Protestant, I can respect that sentiment, even if, to me, he is just another Bishop--leader of a (doctrinally deviant but still Christian) flock.

Finally, I am The Monkster--the collosus standing adamantine astride all leftism and yelling "STOP!"** It is your job (and I address all my readers (both of you!), not just Chefjef) to provide balance. Find me examples of similarly unhinged right-wing reactions to the Pope and I will post them. I will take silence as mute, if anecdotal, evidence that there ain't none. Which will prove my point...


* I know, I know--"no I haven't and stop calling me Shirley!"

** That's right--I'M really the center of the universe! And all this time you thought you were! Lord, I apologize fer that ... and be with them starvin' pygmies down in New Guinea...amen.

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