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Sunday, October 23, 2011

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Dreher seems to have forgotten that we are saved by grace freely given to us miserable and undeserving sinners by a Loving and merciful God. We cannot earn our salvation no matter how many good works we may try to please Him and make a Good Name for ourselves with. Salvation is a gift.

I agree that he misunderstands what therapy is all about (just as many conservative commenters appear to when trashing "da yout today" or anyone else they consider spineless, or lazy or too liberal. Perhaps Hollywood therapists and 1960s ones were liberal flakenoids into feelings and doing your own thing and getting in touch with yourself, blah blah blah but most of the therapist worth their salt that I know are likelier to spout some version of the AA mantra "feelings aren't facts" to patients trying to rationalize bad and impulsive behavior because it makes them "feel good."

I think the fear of Hell was and is a cruel and hateful method of bullying people into temporary good behavior, like corporal punishment, and state troopers lurking to catch one speeding.

However, I certainly believe in the existence of the Devil. And I think that people can and do choose to keep themselves in hell now, and sometimes forever by living in ways that separate themselves from God and their fellow human beings and lead them to despair of redemption and love and a fresh start. I think the Devil isn't so much a critter in red tights as a dark force that gains strength as people lose theirs, that is wickedly glad when we despair, when we rend each other, when we push each other away. I think of that vile androgynous version of Satan in "The Passion of the Christ", passing almost unnoticed thru the crowd, heard only by its intended victim. Like any other bully, knowing its target intimately, and wanting them to give up hope and destroy themself. I think we should fear such an adversary.

I do agree on one level with Dreher. I think that much of mainstream religion has become too psychobabbly, and presents a kind of religion lite, with a very limited picture of God as if he were what C.S. Lewis emphatically taught us He is NOT: a tame lion. Cuddly, friendly, available at our summons, our constant buddy. And the life of faith something that makes life better, richer, happier, more comfortable. There used to be a heretical version of this comfy religious materialism called Dallas Dispensationalism, I think...

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