Thursday, December 17, 2015

How poisonous Christianity can be identified - Collectivism and the Social Gospel

The collapse of the Marxist-inspired governments of Europe was for this theology of redeeming political practice a kind of twilight of the gods: precisely there where the Marxist ideology of liberation had been consistently applied, a total lack of freedom had developed, whose horrors were now laid bare before the eyes of the entire world. Wherever politics tries to be redemptive, it is promising too much. Where it wishes to do the work of God, it becomes not divine, but demonic. - Pope Benedict XVI, Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions, page 116

Pope Benedict warned us that collectivism is the root of all evil, that when the body of Christ finds itself turned upside down, sheds its individualism and promises to be all for all people, it ceases to be useful. The foundation of Liberation Theology is no different than any other socialist or marxist dogma: collectivism.

Much was made of Obama's "collective salvation" commentary in the first few years of his presidency. He said:

I believe you do have that obligation; not because you have a debt to all those who helped you get to where you are today, although I do believe you have that debt to pay. It’s because you have an obligation to yourself. Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation.

Poisonous collectivism has quite a long history of perverting the good will of believers around the world, but the focus here is on its roots in the American context. That being the Social Gospel movement in the early 20th century, and one of it's most well known and high profile leaders: the Reverend Walter Rauschenbusch. In 1894, Rauschenbusch published a one page article titled "The Brotherhood of the Kingdom", which is an introduction for a group he and a few like-minded others put together. While it is true that Rauschenbusch is a long way from the 151 proof poison that Obama is drinking, you can still read this article and easily spot his 40 or 50 proof nonsense.

This is a great article to see how progressives rope people in. He starts out making a point about inter-faith denominational disagreements, but the language he uses is classic ideology:

As we exchanged our thoughts about the Kingdom of our Master, our views grew more definite and more united. We saw the church of Christ divided by selfishness; every denomination intent on its own progress, often at the expense of the progress of the Kingdom; churches and pastors absorbed in their own affairs and jealous of one another; external forms of worship and church polity magnified and the spirit neglected; the people estranged from the church and the church indifferent to the movements of the people; aberrations from creeds severely censured, and aberrations from the Christian spirit of self-sacrifice tolerated.

That's not really too bad. There may be a case to be made that denominational disagreements are based on selfish views or goals. Depends on who you ask. I reject this in total, but that's because I know what Rauschenbusch was really selling here. He continues:

As we contemplated these blemishes of the body of Christ, and sorrowed over them in common with all earnest lovers of the church of Jesus, it grew clear to us that many of these evils have their root in the wrongful abandonment or the perversion of the great aim of Christ: the Kingdom of God

See, again, we should all rally around Jesus Christ, we should all take part in the great aim of Christ and help build the Kingdom of Christ. Again, nothing on the surface here that would raise any red flags among anyone who trusts their reverend, or trusts reverends in general. We should be able to trust our church leaders without worry that some social justice work is afoot. In any case, he continues:

As the idea of the Kingdom is the key to the teachings and work of Christ, so its abandonment or misconstruction is the key to the false or one-sided conception of Christianity and our halting realization of it.

Alright, there's a true Kingdom of Jesus Christ, and a false Kingdom. I can go along with that.

Because the Kingdom of God has been dropped as the primary and comprehensive aim of Christianity, and personal salvation has been substituted for it, therefore men seek to save their own souls and are selfishly indifferent to the evangelization of the world.

You see that? So if you seek to have an individual, personal relationship with your lord and savior, Jesus Christ, that makes you selfish. You're greedy. You're greedy if you want a personal relationship with God. You've given up on the Kingdom of God.

So then what does Rauschenbusch really mean when he uses this phrase "Kingdom of God"? He does not mean a meeting, or group, or tabernacle, or pick what word you would like - of individuals who get together to do good works in the name of God. He means shedding your individual greed and recognizing that your individual salvation depends on collective salvation. He is using this phrase "Kingdom of God" as a euphemism for a full throated collective not all that different from what you might imagine with the Paris commune or some other commune.

A group of individuals getting together, that's not good enough. What he wants is for each church, your church, to become a collective where everybody sings the same tune and nobody has any of these dirty individualistic thoughts. Here's what he says next. I have not overstated this:

Because the individualistic conception of personal salvation has pushed out of sight the collective idea of a Kingdom of God on earth, Christian men seek for the salvation of individuals and are comparatively indifferent to the spread of the Spirit of Christ in the political, industrial, social, scientific and artistic life of humanity, and have left these as the undisturbed possession of the spirit of the world.

You see. That's everything that Pope Benedict said in his book. Politics, and whatever else, should be made redemptive.

Now haven't you had the feeling that progressive ideologues such as Obama view everything as if it's political? What did Rauschenbusch just write in that which I just quoted? Just reverse what he is saying to see how wrong it is: You're not supposed to have a personal relationship with Jesus, and let others live their lives as they would see fit. You're supposed to push out personal salvation and spread the collective idea of God in politics, at work, and wherever else. That's how you can make everybody the same. Leave no stones unturned. Sameness is an important goal for progressives, and the Christian Left is no different.

There's probably a lot to be said that Christian individuals should be more active in art, more active in politics, industry, and the other aspects aforementioned; which is just as true today(perhaps even moreso today) than 100 years ago, but he's not proclaiming the virtue of individuals. This is again yet another line designed to rope people in and overlook the collectivist message threaded throughout the writing.

All roads lead back to the early 20th century. Progressives politicize everything, why should Christianity be spared? It wasn't spared.

The collectivist Social Gospel and the more radicalized Christian Socialist movement were crucial parts of what became the original progressive movement of 100 years ago. While it can't be claimed that all progressives are socialist, they are in fact all collectivist. Which is actually worse. A group of individuals doing good things is a great thing. A collective is dangerous, because collectivism is the root of all evil.

No comments:

Post a Comment