May 19, 2021 - Church Refrigerator
"He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, 'Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?'" (Isaiah 44:20)
Abraham Lincoln was in a debate, and as happens with politicians, the truth was beginning to be a bit murky.
Abraham Lincoln asked the gentlemen, "I wonder if I might ask you a simple question?"
"Of course," his opponent said.
"Okay. How many legs does a cow have?"
"Four," said the man.
"Now supposing," Lincoln mused, "you call its tail a leg. How many legs does it have now?"
"Five," he said confidently.
"And this is where the problem arises," said Lincoln. "Just because you want to call something by another name doesn't make it so. A cow will always have four legs no matter what you call it's tail."
Bits and Pieces, July, 1991 [Modified]
Since the time of President George Washington the adage, "You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to your own truth" has been a common political comeback. It works in every other arena of life as well, including religion and religious philosophy.
The prophet Isaiah was ridiculing those who were worshipping false gods made by their own hands. "It's interesting. You go out into the woods and cut down a tree. You use the wood to build a piece of furniture or a door or some type of tool or eating utensil, and the rest you use for firewood. But you have a little chunk of wood left over and so you carve it into an image, overlay it with gold or silver, decorate it with necklaces and earrings, and bow down to it calling it your 'god.'" You are delusional.
"Delusion" is a false belief that is resistant to confrontation with certain facts."
Disillusion vs Delusion - What's the difference? | WikiDiff. Cited 5-17-21
Fr. Alexander Schmemann, deceased professor and prolific author who taught at St. Vladimir's Seminary in New York, said that "an idol is a false absolutism." For example: Atheism says, "There is NO god." Secular Humanism: "Man is god. Science is god. What we will be is self-determined. There is NO God. We must save ourselves."
He goes on to say that people are so deluded in their thinking that they will resort to differing levels of violence to maintain it. Because if they do admit that they are clinging to false "gods" or "false absolutes," they will have to admit that there is a true God. And to that true God they will have to give account.
Why does this concern me so much? It concerns me because I find myself battling other "Christians" over tightly held idols of late - false constructs, false absolutes. I never truly understood why John said in his first epistle, "Keep yourselves from idols." (1 John 5:21) But I do now.
Perhaps I may be taking this a bit to the extreme, but I feel like certain believers have let go of Jesus' hand and grabbed Dr. Fauci's. And how dare we disagree with the CDC (Center for Disease Confusion). Wear a mask. Social distance. Get vaccinated. Except...that it has been scientifically proven that wearing a mask doesn't work (in fact it propagates respiratory illness), social distance does not work (in fact, suicide and depression rates are through the roof; far more dangerous than the one percent mortality rate if you get the disease), and...the verdict is still out on whether the vaccinations even work (or if they will be doing irreparable damage, especially to the young who don't even need it but are being socially forced into getting it by medical "professionals," educators, and even their own parents). But to say so...outloud...is to challenge the idol of science. You become the "them."
I am not an anti-masker, anti-distance, anti-vaccinator. I believe that people have to do their own research, come up with their own conclusions, and follow through with what they believe are the right actions. All I ask is that the same grace is afforded to those who do not agree. This is called Christian liberty. I am afraid, however, that this is becoming a deluded distraction away from our primary purpose, which is to share the good news of Jesus with people.
In the last days, the Bible says "as wickedness increases, the love of most will grow cold (Matthew 24:12). I fear the refrigerator door has been left open in the Church kitchen. Let's agree to close it.
Lord, grant us grace with each other.