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On Pentecostalism

Emotions galore: Pentecostalism.

I have received some time ago from the Catholic Truth Society some of their newest booklets. Among these one has caught my attention: “Pentecostalism”.

The booklet is very interesting because it explain to a Catholic in simple words and in rather concise form what Pentecostalism is, why it has so much success and where the danger of the approach lie. In particular, the aspect of the direct relationship with God attracted my attention.

You see, for us Europeans (let alone: Italians) people saying things like “The Lord directed me to do so and so” really sound arrogant to the point of blasphemy and therefore such expressions are, in the Old Continent, unheard of. One is tempted to ask whether the Lord has sent an email, or perhaps a text message, and whether the broadband connection is rather expensive.

It turns out that such expressions derive from a sincere, if naive, desire to really have a “direct line” with God. Not one in the Catholic sense (the relationship with God developed through faithful prayer, Mass attendance, submission to the rules of Holy Mother Church and prayerful carrying of the crosses God decides to give us), but one in the literal one: do this, don’t do that. Therefore it can happen that when one questions some decisions which to one appears rush, but which to the person in question have clearly come via Divine Broadband (say: a man marries a woman he has known only for two weeks because “the Lord directed him to do it”) the reaction can be rather harsh and unable to comprehend how a third party may put in question what the Holy Ghost himself has clearly directed him to do. By reading the booklet I suddenly understood the logic behind the assassination of Marvin Gay from his preaching father: no idea whether he was a Pentecostals but hey, if the Holy Ghost has directed him to do so….

I am frankly glad never to have met a Pentecostal, because by all my admiration for religiously fervent people (even if, alas, heretics) I can’t imagine a discussion with them being anything else than a ridiculous barrage of “the Holy Ghost Himself has given me the Truth, so shut up”. I can also easily imagine what consequences such mentality may engender; the Lord has directed me to ask from you for so and so much money, might the pastor say; the Lord has directed me to file for divorce, will the bored husband (in perfect good faith, probably) soon declare, and so on.

And in fact, the entire exercise seems to be strongly based on a personal relationship with God which is – and cannot but be – highly emotionally charged. Now, emotions can play very dirty tricks to us. Particularly when we proceed to brainwashing ourselves every day; particularly when we ardently desire to be “directed” in some way; particularly when all this happens in religious matters, with their explosive emotional potential.

Emotions are like a faithful dog. If we train them every day they’ll do exactly what we want them to. Nazis, commies and all other nut cases have successfully manipulated themselves to utter stupidity by just picking highly emotional themes and fully delivering themselves to them. Che Guevara could kill in cold blood a couple of dozen prisoners at a time without any big perturbation. Dr. Goebbels understood the power of emotional self-suggestion with great lucidity, it is surprising that the devastating potential of such purely emotion-driven approach is not yet fully recognised.

Please compare this with Catholicism. A rigid, coherent system of rules valid in all situations and at all times. A complicated, but universally applicable system of criteria to resolve moral dilemmas and difficult situations (think of the doctrine of war; or of the “double effect”). A link to the Lord which doesn’t need (though it may have) an “emotional relationship” at all, but on the contrary asks for worship and submission even from those not graced with mystical experiences or with a strong feeling of God’s presence. A closely knit system of moral rules to which even the Pope is bound and which are therefore guaranteed not to be abused under the pretence of an “inspiration from the Holy Ghost”. The resulting impossibility of the absurd consequences of such “direct line” mentality (husband says that the Holy Ghost has directed him to move to California; wife thinks that the Holy Ghost has directed her to keep her husband in Arizona; I wouldn’t want to be in that kitchen….).

The desire of a direct line with Heaven, of an intimate contact with God is an understandable one and I do not doubt that many of these Christians are sincerely devout.
But between desiring something and being let free to believe that our conviction is the fruit of Divine inspiration the step is very short, and very dangerous. It is the deification of whatever we feel strongly enough about, a life spent listening to gut feelings rather than solid common sense; the constant danger of having solid moral rules polluted by individual preferences and the constant abuse of the Holy Ghost, forcibly hijacked as the inspiring force behind – say – both the marriage and the divorce.

Thank God for Holy Mother Church, asking us to submit to rules which not only make a lot of sense, but are immutable and not at the mercy of the whim of religious leaders or, unavoidably, of our own fantasies of broadband connection with Heaven.

Mundabor

“Communism From The Inside”: a Vintage CTS Booklet.

Godless, cynical, loser bastards.

Absolutely brilliant Catholic Truth Society’s booklet, as always from the Lux Occulta blog.
This one, Communism from the inside is special, though, because it is not a pamphlet written by a priest to warn against communism, but written by a former Communist to explain to the (let us say it) gullible and naive what Communism really is, from one who really believed in it.

Firstly, he highlights that Communism and Communists aim at the destruction of the religious phenomenon. he makes very clear how this is not an accidental part of Communism, an aside to the demands of “social justice”, but part and parcel of the ideology itself, without which Communism couldn’t exist. He explains how this concepts, understandably difficult to digest for most people, is kept hidden at the beginning (where the “social instances” play the bigger part) and progressively disclosed to the unknowing (naive) disciple, who will soon lose his faith, or every attraction for Communism. This desire to “destroy the last vestige of belief in God from the face of the earth” is exactly the aim of the modern militant atheism.

Particularly interesting is the description of the fighting methods of the Communists, who remind one closely of the Muslim terrorists of our day. On the one hand, the complete rejection of every category of good and bad. What counts is the class struggle, what is the measure of good action is the triumph of Communism; every action is justified, if directed to that aim. Beautiful examples follow (most shockingly about the churches in Hungary). The communists ideology will lure whomever it needs, and will lie whenever necessary, whilst all the time preparing to get rid (which may mean: exterminate) of the former allied when not anymore needed. The parallel with indiscriminate killing of civilians in terrorist attacks is apparent and whilst Communist regimes haven’t pursued such practices, they have made worse, with mass genocides and mass displacements/deportations used every time it was considered fitting.

It goes on. The appalling cynicism of Communism does not stop at faith in God. Family itself, called by Engels “that compound of sentimentality and domestic strife”, must be destroyed; the children raised mainly by the State so that good communists may be made out of them; women sent to work rather than allowed to care for the nurturing and education of their children; abortion and divorce allowed, unless the need of cannon fodder to protect the “cause” suggests a different policy. The appalling cynicism of this thinking gives you the full measure of the inhumanity of the Communist ideology. Interestingly, the same ideology is found in modern aggressive atheism, for which neither divorce not abortion nor euthanasia not perversions of all sorts are taboo.

After a brief explanation of the fundamental incompatibility of Communist thinking with western democracies (a banal concept today; less so in 1948 when the pamphlet was written) the author examines the power winning strategies of the ideology. Communists will “embrace” democracy only as long as necessary, as a means to an end; they will not eve aim at gaining a majority (which they know is a very difficult task), but at the creation of a revolutionary elite able to prepare for the right moment, when power will be seized by force and all opposition crushed. Here too, we see a parallel with the Muslim ideology, allowing its members to lie about their aim and beliefs so long as it serves them.

This little pamphlet will require less than a quarter of an hour of your time. It is absolutely brilliant because coming, so to speak, from the belly of the Communist beast. It is well-explained, easy to read, cogently argued.

More than sixty years later, we can gratefully say that the Communist menace has been rejected. Still, this pamphlet is very actual because new dangers have appeared on the Western horizon, militant atheism and (through immigration) Islam. Some of the traits of the Communist menace are, as explained above, common to both of them. We see the failure of communism and see the failure of every alternative system aiming (at least officially) to create some paradise on earth. Make no mistake, militant atheism and muslim imperialism will fail in the same way, though the struggle will be much longer in their case.

Alternative societies don’t work. The attempt to create paradises on earth which do without the Truth create hell on earth instead. The world has seen mighty empires come and go, has seen Communism invade one half of the planet and being crushed in mere seventy years. Ideologies and false religion will all, in time, go. Only the Rock will stay.

Mundabor

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