[Milton-L] Apostasy - an unusual PL adaptation
cbartonphd1 at verizon.net
Sat Dec 29 19:57:49 EST 2007
I understand, Father Mike, and I hope you know I meant no disrespect. I
think, though, that the "all or none" dogma of Catholicism has driven many
people away from the church, as the world has become more and more educated,
and more and more literate. We teach our students that all declarations are
subject to scrutiny, to challenge, and that people who hold blindly to
something they identify as "Truth" are fanatics, not devout. I think Jesus
would have listened patiently to Bp. Spong, then pointed out where he erred
(if indeed he did), and why. I don't understand why I have to accept
everything I'm told without question to be a "Christian"--I wouldn't and
don't do it as a scholar, so why would I do it in any other aspect of my
life? Forgive me, because this will sound insulting to the church, though it
isn't meant to be: I am suspicious of anything anyone tells me I "must"
believe without question (or burn in hell), since experience says that's
something the proponent is hard pressed to defend. One thing I respect about
Judaism is its encouragement of debate, its non-judgmental toleration of
alternative points of view.
As I've already argued elsewhere and long ago, Milton's "subordinationism"
is a dramatic necessity: if the Son knows all that the Father knows (and is
in fact an aspect of the Father's being, co-omniscient), his sacrifice (as
Empson pointed out) is a sham, and God is playing with a "stacked deck"
(Empson's term, if I recall correctly) when he asks who will be mortal to
I can say without embarrassment that I converted from a Shakespearean to a
Miltonist as a long-ago undergraduate because Milton explained theology to
me better than any catechism or priest or Sunday sermon ever had. To me, he
is far more "Christian" than all the dogma-spouting proponents of the "party
When I was a young girl, I had a Catholic friend who bemoaned the fact that
she "hadda" go to church, or she'd go to hell. I told her--and meant
it--that if anyone came to visit me with that attitude, I'd rather they
stayed away, and I didn't think that was the kind of assembly God was
looking for, either. It fills pews--but the hearts are elsewhere.
Forgive me, Mike: I respect you and your point of view, too. I just can't
subscribe to it.
With all good wishes for a safe, happy, healthy, and PEACEFUL New Year to
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