Saturday, March 1, 2014

Francis: Spiritual But Not Religious

Antipope Francis has gone beyond heresy. He's the first leader of the Vatican II sect who espouses what sociologists call a viewpoint that is "spiritual but not religious." Abbreviated as "SBNR," it is the fastest growing worldview in the United States. In 2013, a rabbi had suggested the term "Spiritually Independent" to replace it, as it would sound like those in the political sphere who do not belong to a particular party. Characteristic of the SBNR is the universal disdain for "organized religion." They find the very idea of a "One True Religion" morally repugnant, which is a logical outgrowth of fifty years of Vatican II ecclesiology, that fosters egalitarianism amongst the world's religions. 

 Recently, Traditionalist priest Fr. Anthony Cekada has compared Francis to the late Fred Rogers of the famous (infamous?) Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. The soft spoken Protestant minister would teach children to be "nice" and "good" without any reference to God. But is goodness without God good enough? Apparently, for Modernists like Antipope Francis and the SBNR they inspire, it is more than enough. The SBNR are now ideologically mutating into something known as Moralistic Therapeutic Deism a term introduced in the book Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (2005) by sociologists Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton. The term (abbreviated MTD) is used to describe what they consider the common religious beliefs among American youth.

How does all this apply to Francis? It's downright scary when you analyse it. According to Smith and Denton, MTD is comprised of five major tenets:                                                                                                1. A God exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.         
   This "god" is not to be confused with the True God, but is rather one who created the universe and the moral order, but is not involved in our daily affairs--especially in those topics we'd rather not have Him around. So when it comes to birth control, abortion, or divorce and remarriage, don't sweat those "small minded rules," He doesn't care. Be nice to a poor person and donate to charity.

 2.     God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions                                                                                       
   Banished is any notion of repentance from sin, keeping Holy the Sabbath, being faithful to daily prayers, or any partisan dogma. "God" may be thought of as Allah, Yahweh, Christ, or anything else. There is no "one True Religion" so "proselytism is nonsense." (of course!)

3.     The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.                     
     The only mortal sin is low self-esteem. Help the poor and "don't worry, be happy" as the old 1980s song tells us. If you're not hurting anybody and it makes you feel good, it must be moral! So "who am I to judge?"

4.     God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem                                                
      God is viewed as a combination between a Divine Butler and a Cosmic Therapist. He's always on call, takes care of problems that arise, makes you feel good about yourself (can anyone sing "Kumbaya" at the Novus Bogus this week?) and never gets too personally involved where you might actually have to develop character through suffering, change your lifestyle, or (horrors!) choose one set of beliefs as True. "There is no Catholic God." 

5.     Good people go to Heaven when they die.                                  
      Who's good? Just about anyone except Traditionalists. Good here equals "nice." There is no Hell, and if there is, probably no one goes there anyway, except for "self-absorbed Neo-Pelagians." After all, doesn't Francis tell us atheists who are good go to Heaven?  

     So for the first time in history, there is a putative "pope" who espouses no particular religion. Antipope Francis is "spiritual but not religious" and espouses the tenets of moralistic therapeutic deism--the logical outgrowth of Vatican II's ecumenism. Sadly, there are hundreds of millions following this popular cult leader to Hell as they walk through the "nice, nice, sweet, sweet" streets of Mr. Bergoglio's Neighborhood  where they will find out too late that goodness without Christ and His One True Church will never be good enough.

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