Faith bashing, or just a whole bunch of whining?

Okay, so Bobby Jindal, a Republican congressman from Louisiana, is running for governor. As an aside, anybody‘s better than the kook still in the gubernatorial mansion in Baton Rouge. Anyway, it seems the Democratic party is tired of getting its collective behind handed to it down there, so they trotted out an ad against the guy that brings up some old dirt on him that really has little bearing on the issues driving the election. Is anyone really surprised that people will scrape the bottom of the gossip barrel in politics?

Are the ads anything more than an example of mud-slinging? Not really. But I take a bit of umbrage at assertions that this is an attack on the guy’s faith. Seems to me that it’s quoting his own words in an attempt to wrap them around his neck in the spirit of the proverbial albatross…whether its out of context or not will, I imagine, wind up being tested in the court of public opinion and, potentially, a court of law.

Well, I’ve flipped through one of the articles in question, and I fail to see how is it “faith bashing” when the words the ad mention are reflecting certain stated beliefs of that faith, namely, Catholicism, rather accurately? And how, exactly (if at all), are those words being taken out of context?

You see, Catholicism does not recognize anything other than itself as a valid expression of Christianity. It has said so and maintained such for hundreds of years. The clearest example is how the Council of Trent denounces, excommunicates, and effectively condemns those who hold to beliefs consistent with the Reformation…the canons of which are still upheld by the Vatican.

I can’t say I blame the Roman Catholic church for this. If they didn’t think they were right, the whole thing would be a massive joke (a reason today’s ecumenistic evangelicals and emerging church people are so pathetic). In defending his church, Jindal brought up five key beliefs abandoned by the Reformers that Catholicism upholds: 1) the upholding of scripture along with tradition, 2) the principle of apostolic succession, 3) the succession of the pope from the apostle Peter, 4) the dissemination of grace through administration of sacraments, and 5) the receiving of salvation through the office of the church.

I’d like to fully address these point for point, but I would just be retreading old ground that been well-trampled by better people than myself. And, to be honest, such stuff is intensely boring to both write and read. So, I’ll briefly comment on each.

1) It is sufficient to say that tradition falls short of special revelation because it has changed over time, contradictory to itself and scripture, and is mostly derived from non-Christian sources (namely the pagan Roman religion of the day merged with Christian themes by Constantine). Jesus directly addresses the upholding of religious traditions along with (and usually at the expense of) scripture: “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” (Matthew 15:3 KJV) The fact that Catholicism upholds such rather than relegate them to their proper place (IMO, the trash heap to which most such meretricious behavior descends following a genuine act of repentance) is in itself a condemnation.

2 & 3) The Catholic concept of apostolic succession implies that it carries on not only the tradition of the original Church but is in fact the official version straight from the apostles. Anyone who compares this church’s system of belief and the practice thereof with the original Church as found in Acts and the Epistles will find a huge discontinuity in this argument. The whole concept is founded in the errant belief that Christ put Peter in charge of the Church in Matthew 16:18-19 (“thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church” was not a reference to Peter (Pevtroß ->Petros -> “small rock”) but a reference to Himself (pevtra -> petra -> “large rock”); “whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven? was repeated to the other disciples in Matthew 18:18-20, and the use of the keys was clearly seen in the book of Acts) and John 20:23 (“whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them…?, which was said to all the disciples). To say that the laundry list of crooked and downright evil popes continued the apostolic line is outrageous.

4 & 5) Any doctrine of works-based salvation is utterly destroyed by Ephesians 2:8-9, which says, “for by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” (KJV) Yes, I just defined Catholicism as a system of works-based salvation. What else do you call a system that requires its adherents to be in good standing with the church in order to escape hell, purgatory (hoo boy), and eventually enter heaven; and the means of attaining said good standing is to proclaim faith in Christ (the only requirement for Christianity) AND observe feasts AND partake in sacraments AND obey the church AND blah blah blah. Christ AND anything is another gospel entirely…it’s Christ AND NOTHING. Before He died on the cross, His last words were “Tetevlestai” -> “tetelestai”, usually translated into English as “it is finished”. It’s a Greek expression meaning “paid in full”, and I believe Jesus had reference to our sins’ atonement.

We read in 1 Timothy 2:5-6 how there is only “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave Himself a ransom for all…” We don’t need a church body to distribute blessings, much less what amounts to Make-Believe Mary, the agent through whom Catholicism holds that we incrementally receive those blessings. He didn’t require any rituals to receive specific His gifts, and nowhere in the New Testament nor in the records of the early Church do we find their “necessary” office.

In the end, he said what he said. But quoting his words in a political ad doesn’t bash his faith. His own religion bashes his faith.

Scott

This on-again, off-again, would-be commentator proves that attitudes are contagious, and that some can even kill. To this end, every written word is weighed carefully to ensure the precise delivery of the author's intent while inflicting blunt force trauma to the psyche of the reader.

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