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Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Charles E Flynn

I majored in physics, so I have never been able to understand how anyone could think that a church could be founded by an egomaniac who is also a serial wife murderer. I hope someone who has a nuanced understanding of history will be able to provide a suitable URL.


One of the most common, most irritating (I have heard it so often) and yet most interesting dodges these days is;
"I am spiritual but not religious."

That is essentially saying the same thing. At any cost we must rid ourselves of the dreaded dogmas. I like Chesterton's point. Everyone lives by dogmas, the question is only which ones they live by.

But the "spiritual" person (sans dogma) is really just hedging their bets on the uncomfortable conviction (dogma?) that there really is something after this life. That frees the person up to decide their own moral code which usually involves very few difficult choices. All reminiscent of what C.S Lewis described as the belief in the "tame" God, the impersonal one that doesn't require any moral code or dogmas.

I heard a really good point from Mark Hart this afternoon. Many people think that when Adam and Eve sinned they were free to choose what was moral and what was not. But that was not what their freedom gave them. It only gave them the choice between good and evil. God had already determined what those were.

David K. Monroe

Charles E Flynn:

Yeah, it's tempting to dismiss Anglicanism as "a church founded by an egomaniac and serial wife killer" but the truth is much more nuanced than that. Anglicanism during the life of Henry VIII was basically Catholicism outside of the Pope's jurisdiction, and after Henry there was a struggle to bring it more in line with European Protestantism, and eventually the struggle was resolved with the Anglican church being a sort of malleable liturgical Protestantism. And outside of the UK and the US, the Anglican movement is a powerful voice for doctrinal orthodoxy and a vigorous engine of charity. And conservative Anglicanism in the US is often the "halfway house" for evangelicals returning to Rome.

I'm not trying to ignore the truly awful episodes in Anglican history (the stripping of the altars and dissolution of monasteries still makes me ill to think of if), but I think that in Anglicanism, regardless of the depravity of its "founder", God has managed to preserve a powerful witness for catholic spirituality within the Protestant community.


I am mystified by what relationship a major in physics may have with ecclesiastical history, but if you think Anglicanism is a church "founded by an egomaniac who is also a serial wife murderer," you really don't sound very interested in nuance. If I am wrong, as a Catholic for starters you might want to check out Louis Bouyer's book on Anglican spirituality. Or read Maisie Ward on Hannah More. Or... you get the idea. There is actually a whole lot of material out there, but not in quick-fix URL format. Mr. Monroe has it right.

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