Tuesday, 16 December 2014

William Wilberforce 1779 : Ch III Sect I cont.


Objectors will reply that it is unfair to say they love so little it is obvious that they believe little.

They will say that they are just not hypocrites like those who put on an extravagant show of religious fervour. Objectors will say that these people are being over emotional. They may also say that different people express their religion differently.

They will also object that they don't want to be like the “Holy Spirit People” either the absolute fanatics of the past or the ones today who are less dangerous only because they are less successful.

Just look” I almost hear objectors say “how their leaders use all the old tricks of deception to make money out of the gullible”. “Just look at how they peddle the Holy Spirit as an easy path to being 'healthy, wealthy and wise'. We on the other hand are not shirking doing the hard yards to remove evil from our lives and grow in virtue.”

And talking about zeal”, the objector will say: “what about all the wars and persecutions that have come from religious zeal – is that the sort of behaviour you want!”

Objection Discussed

That the sacred name of Religion has been too often prostituted to the most detestable purposes; that the furious bigots and bloody persecutors and self-interested hypocrites of all qualities and dimensions ... have falsely called themselves Christians … none will more readily admit than they who best understand the nature and are most concerned for the honour of Christianity. We are ready to acknowledge also without dispute, that the religious affections, and the doctrine of divine assistances, have at all times been more or less disgraced by the false pretences and extravagant conduct of wild fanatics and brain-sick enthusiasts. All this however, is only as it happens in other instances, wherein the depravity of man perverts the bounty of God. Why is it only here to be made an argument … ? ”

As the saying goes: “The best things when corrupted become the worst”. Even science has been used for evil, do we then throw out all scientific achievement?

Look again at the French Revolution: they did throw out religion on these grounds. Look what they got instead: terrible crimes all in the name of “Liberty”. So do we ban liberty next? Then we will have to ban “patriotism” too because of the crimes done in its name. Then reason, speech and every other human faculty will have to be banned: they have all been put to evil use at some time.

Many bad people have pretended to be wise and /or honest. Do we then say there is no such thing as a wise or honest person? No. So why let the objector get away with claiming that because there are evil people who pretend be Christians that there is no such thing as a Christian? Remember what Jesus said in his parable of the weeds: “ 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field, where did the weeds come from?' 'An enemy did this' he replied”.

Also the objector to religious “enthusiasm” is often just being xenophobic – poking fun at people who speak with a particular religious jargon that sounds strange, or poking fun at their different or working class culture. Be careful of intellectual or social pride! Remember Jesus talked about his truth being hid from the wise and revealed to the simple. These people who are so easy to poke fun at because they are of a different social class or sub-culture in our society may be living more moral and godly lives than the objector. The objectors need to grow up and learn to see past cultural and class appearances to what lies beneath.

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