Monday, April 02, 2018

Would Catholicism Save America? Discussing the Concept of Why America Will Perish Without Rome

I picked a bad time to try to start being consistent with my blog posts. Life has gotten super chaotic here at Casa BTEG, and I've neglected blogging as a result, especially since it's hard to even get to my personal computer at the moment. However, I think we're approaching the end of the current difficulties, and also, I found something that I really want to blog about! The subject today is two videos on YouTube from the channel of Milo Yiannopoulis, concerning a new book being released by his new printing company, Dangerous Books.

I've been reading and watching Milo's content since before he left Breitbart. I've never been an enormous fan, per se, but his take on conservative life and culture in America, as a Catholic gay man from the UK, comes from a very different place than other prominent conservatives, which makes him interesting reading and listening. Also, he's a lot of fun, which is refreshing.

Since I follow his YouTube channel, I saw two interviews Milo recently did with a man named Timothy Gordon. He is publishing a new book through Dangerous Books entitled Catholic Republic: Why America Will Perish Without Rome, to which Milo has written a forward. I'm definitely not going to touch on everything in the interviews, as the two videos together are almost an hour long total. If you want to watch them, they can be found on YouTube here and here. But there are a few points that I wanted to make, and hopefully discuss. I'll only be covering one today.

The most important issue I took from the videos was the idea that Protestants, from Luther on, do not believe in free will. Therefore, their thinking, Gordon argues, is antithetical to a country like the American republic, which was founded on the idea of Americans using their free will to make, for the most part, their own plans about how their lives should be arranged, with as little government coercion as possible. One of the most important values of the Founders was the right to individual liberty. Protestants therefore, who deny the existence of free will, cannot co-exist with a country of individual freedoms, or so Gordon posits.

From a theological standpoint, the concept of humanity and free will has been argued for centuries before me, and will probably continue to be a point of discussion until Christ's return. For Lutherans, our concept on free will, at least from the point of view of becoming one of God's redeemed creatures, can be found in our catechism: "I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength, believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to Him. But the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and keeps me in the one true faith." So in this sense, Luther certainly does not agree that Christians become so merely by personal free will. Rejection of God is another matter, and one on which I am not as well versed. I do know that we do not follow Calvin's doctrine of people being foreordained to go to either heaven or hell. Modern day Protestantism, however, certainly does seem to follow the idea of free will, with the idea of "making a decision for Jesus." For whatever reason, Gordon seems to discuss only the early Protestant leaders like Luther and Calvin. I would like to know what he would have to say about the current views of the many Protestant denominations that do emphasize making a personal decision.

However, is the eternal different from the temporal? Is being unable to use my free will to be redeemed by God, mean that I am unable to use my free will to decide who to marry, for whom to vote, what type of government I want, or even what I will eat for breakfast? I was going to develop this idea more today, but this post has already gotten longer than I intended it to be! Hopefully I'll get some comments to draw on for my next post, and if not, I'll still keep going with the idea of secular free will, for a Thursday post. Maybe I'll be able to find some reading about Luther's views on the role of free will in our earthly lives in the meantime. There are also a few more things from the interviews that I wanted to go over, so be looking for that as well.