The Protestant Question

In all probability, all that is best in Protestantism will only survive in Catholicism; and in that sense all Catholics will still be Puritans when all Puritans are Pagans.

G.K. Chesterton

This is not meant to be a triumphalist piece, rather an analysis of the link between Progressivism and Protestantism. Whilst many people on the right are concerned (nay obsessed) about the Jews, it is my opinion that this is a distraction. A far more serious matter in my opinion, is the relationship between Protestantism and Progressivism.

One of the best short essays written last year in the sphere was, Does Progressivism Grow Out of Protestantism. It was a very good essay, and I was saddened that it didn’t get more responses since I felt it was a serious intellectual piece. Todd Lewis, in my opinion, put up a good fight, showing that many of intellectual underpinnings of we would consider modern Liberalism were present in both religions and that Catholicism itself has planted the seeds of modern error.

I substantially agree with his thesis and yet, there is the empirical observation that countries which have embraced Protestantism as their religion are also the hot beds of liberalism in the modern world. Furthermore, and perhaps most regrettably, the collapse of religion in the West has been greatest in these countries as well. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been a decline in religious observance in Catholic countries, it’s just that the Protestant countries seem to be leading the way both in the process DeChristianisation and also in theological revisionism. Gay marriage and female ordination being particular instances.

From the essay;

There is a general trend in certain circles, such as neoreaction or traditional Catholicism, to blame progressivism and all its ills on the Protestant Reformation. The best example of this is Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn Liberty Or Equality, followed by E. Michael Jones’ Libido Dominandi. The general claims that after Protestantism decoupled itself from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and adopted Puritanism, it gradually morphed into the Modernism we have today.

In Liberty Or Equality, Leddihn makes the audacious claim that Jan Hus and Martin Luther led to progressivism and Adolf Hitler. In the chapter entitled Liberty Or Equality (Hus, Luther and National Socialism) 209, he seeks to draw a line from Wycliffe and Hus to Luther to Calvin to Hitler, a rather difficult and ultimately unsuccessful task.

To be fair, I think it is a bit of a stretch to directly link the Munster Rebellion with the rise of Hitler, however, I do think that there is a strong case for claiming that the intellectual milieu which Protestantism fostered strongly enabled these radical elements to arise.

For me, the fundamental problem of any religion is its relationship with reality. How do we know if proposition X is true? As I’ve argued previously in another post, empiricism does not help us directly with determining the truth of a religious proposition, rather it is the faculty of Faith which helps us sense the truth or falsity of any religious statement. In another post, I also argued that faith is not some form of cognitive choice; rather, it is a weak perceptual faculty akin to a bad sense of sight by which we perceive the rightness and wrongness of a religious proposition.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

1 Corinthians 13:12

It’s a very rough sense of poor acuity.

The question here is not what particular beliefs the Protestants have, but how do they come to know their beliefs and how do they know that they are right?

Clearly the doctrine Sola Scritpura places the Bible as the foundational text of Protestantism,  but as a guide, it needs to be interpreted in the light of life’s various exigencies. The question then shifts to: how to interpret it accurately and truthfully? Protestant epistemological theory holds that sincere belief (faith) by the believer combined with the guidance of the Holy Spirit will produce an interpretation which is congruent with the Will of God.

So how has it worked out? Some estimates currently place the number of Protestant denominations at around 30,000 divided into six major theological branches, each one claiming to be the truthful and correct version. Clearly, an objective observer would conclude that there is something wrong.

As I see it, the fundamental errors at play are intrinsic to the foundational principle of the Protestant vision.  Firstly, there was the overly optimistic assumption of the rationality of the average man and secondly with regard to the nature of Faith. The Protestant fathers assumed that a strong faith of poor acuity could overcome a intuitive mind of boundless stupidity. In essence, the Protestant assumption was that that the cognitive assessment of the Bible by the mechanism of faith was always and everywhere inerrant. The error was in asserting that Faith conferred high acuity whereas scripture stated the near exact opposite.

The practical consequence of this was that the resultant “Protestant-cognitive-space” gave the believer virtually no error correction mechanism, save some reference to the Bible, and even that could, with modern textual analysis, have its semantic meaning altered.

Protestants reading the Bible could, in theory, derive any conclusion they wanted and claim it was divinely inspired. Initially, these errors did not make themselves known since theology was practiced by the relatively few or good cognitive power, and the social order meant that those that were untrained listened to those who were. But as theology became more democratised and the rights of the ignorant were asserted over the learned, increasingly erroneous interpretations of the Bible were given legitimacy by the foundational principles. Protestantism began to fissure.

I do not wish to be uncharitable to my Protestant colleagues, but it is a sad fact that there are mainline denominations in Protestantism that now allow abortion, homosexuality, fornication female ordination,Gay marriage and all sorts of aberrations which would have horrified Luther himself. Some of the more fringe elements of Protestantism even encouraged religious prostitution (all supported by selective Biblical texts).

Recent insights in cognitive science support the Dual Process theory of cognition. This theory has shown that most men are System 1, intuitive thinkers.  This type of thinking is particularly prone to cognitive biases which are mood congruent and in Protestant Cognitive Space, System 1 thinking resulted in interpretations of the Bible which were consistent with this, especially with regard to temporal exigencies. Protestantism was thus rendered particularly susceptible to Zeitgeist-ism, i.e being interpreted along the spirit of the times.

In essence, Protestant epistemological theory enabled and justified the religious rationalization hamster. The left-wing drift of the modern mainline Protestantism is a feature, not a bug of the system. I don’t want to give the impression that Protestantism is inherently left-wing–Protestantism can be any wing with its particular orientation being determined by the nature of the society of the times. Perhaps the most striking illustration of this was with regard to German voting patterns post-WWI, where the the traditional Protestant support for the German Conservative Parties collapsed with the decline of Wilhelmine Germany, and morphed into support for both the Nazis and the Socialists, in response to the social crisis in Germany at the time and the political forces prevalent.

Contrast this with Catholic Cognitive Space, which was characterized by its absence in the near majority of the faithful. The good Catholic was not meant to think about the faith as much as he was meant to be faithful to the teachings of the Church, which did his thinking for him. The only Catholics who were meant to think were those who were theologically trained, and even then, their deliberations were vetted by the “chain of command” in the Vatican.  Catholic Cognitive Space was marked both limited freedom whose boundary’s were frequently marked by, a worship veneration of tradition, logic and a principle of non-contradiction. Finally, when conflicting opinions could not be resolved by argument, the issue was settled by the Pope, who was inerrant (only within certain limits) not because of his faith, rather, due to the peculiar property of the office that he held. Catholic thinking thus became very resistant to change due to the environment in which theological thinking and decision making took place and thus relatively immune to Zeitgeit-ism.

Furthermore, System 1 thinkers have always been present in the Catholic Church and same theologically idiotic ideas arise there as well. However, the Church’s decision making structure ensured that the really stupid ideas got weeded out. In Protestantism, they were justified by the believers’ faith.

It would, however,  be a mistake to view Protestantism entirely in the negative and Catholicism in the positive.

In free-for-all that was Protestant Cognitive Space, serious thinkers, and men of profound Faith were given liberty to develop Christian doctrine further in a way not possible in the Catholic Church, which was in many ways hamstrung by the worshiping of tradition and institutional/reactionary dynamics.  And whilst a lot of the development in Protestantism was erroneous (from a Catholic perspective) it appears that in some instances Protestants were capable of profound theological insights and doctrinal developments which would appear to be congruent with the Will of God. Good Protestantism seemed to have an intellectual flexibility and dynamism which institutionalised Catholicism lacked.

The the concept of religious tolerance, the rights of conscience, the work ethic, personal uprightness (instead of leaning on the confessional), were all Protestant strengths, many of which have diffused their way into contemporary Catholic theology.

As a Catholic, I sometimes wonder whether the Reformation was an act of Divine Providence, allowing men to develop the faith in a way that would have not been possible given the institutional nature of the Catholic Church.  The Church seems to be very good at suppressing the errors it recognizes, though very bad at developing the truths it should. Institutional inertia rules.

Although it pains me, a similar parallel is present today.  The sexual-abuse scandal currently engulfing the Catholic Church is evidence of a clear institutional failure,and it is a failure that is being addressed by the pressure of forces extrinsic to the Church.  It really has a hard time with necessary internal reform. Likewise, sometimes I wonder whether the Protestant reformation did the same thing for Catholic religious doctrine.

Kuehnelt-Leddihn saw the clear link between the rise of Progressivism its association with Protestantism but it needs to be emphasised that he did not see it as an inevitable feature of it.  Rather, he fully recognised that sound Protestantism was also capable of fighting against it. It’s a position that I agree with.

The idea that Protestantism leads to Progressivism is simplistic. Protestantism is not inherently progressive, rather, it provides a cognitive space in in which Progressivism can easily be given Biblical justification by “cognitively weak” interpretations of the Bible. The theologically democratic nature of Protestantism, i.e. each man interprets according to his own faith, results in a bias toward System 1 (Mass-man) interpretations and results in structural weakness, which pushes it toward erroneous interpretations of the faith. On a cultural level, Protestantism isn’t a religion of the shepherds, it is a religion of the sheep, and like sheep, it is easily led.

Around the corner from where I live is an old Protestant Church which has been converted to apartments. It saddens me as I pass it because I remember the sacrifices that the believers of old must of made to make it a house worthy of God.  Even though I’m fully aware of the sectarianism of the past, I recognize that I have more in common with them than today’s liberal, and while we may have been playing for different teams, we were playing the same game. The secular invasion of Protestantism is killing it.  The rise of Evangelicals is not offsetting the decline in the mainline religions. Furthermore, the theological underpinnings of Evangelism means that sooner or later they will make the liberal embrace and shoot themselves in the head. I don’t say this triumphantly, I say this with sorrow because it is an inherent flaw of the system.

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15 Comments

  1. If you follow this link: http://drjamesthompson.blogspot.com/2015/04/in-beginning-was-word.html
    you can find Woodley’s latest on the IQ decline that has been happening since the 1800s.
    I think the proliferation of doctrine has much to do with this decline. People just make new doctrine as the old becomes incomprehensible to them.
    Unfortunately, Catholicism is probably not the answer, especially not the Americanist version. Eastern Orthodox doctrine is much clearer on certain points, though obviously, in their case, you have to pick and choose. I am afraid the Russians are making a big mistake by putting together a catechism.
    The Vatican is a big flame under which all the progressive moths gather, and a progressive change by a pope is usually received by unsophisticated traditionalists as tradition. Compare liturgies, for instance. The Eastern Orthodox still have something that can be called traditional; our traditionalists have books that date from 1962. And then most of us have to put up with the happy, happy, joy, joy, cult until we get sick of it and leave. When the priests can’t mention basics necessary for decent human living for fear of the women leaving the pews, well, all they have left are feelgood messages.

    1. I really liked this passage from the article here (https://cjshayward.com/orthodoxy/):

      Scripture is the crowning jewel of Tradition. Scripture is not something understood apart from Tradition; Scripture is something alive, something dynamically maintained by Tradition and something inspired not only in that the Spirit inspired ancient words but in that he speaks today to people who can listen to him. And Scripture is at its fullest, not read privately, but when proclaimed in Church.

      One Orthodox priest tells people, “Reading Scripture privately is the second most spiritually dangerous thing you can do. All sorts of temptations will flare up, you’ll be assailed by doubts, and the Devil will whisper into your ear all these heretical ‘insights’ about the text. It is an extraordinarily dangerous thing to do.”

      Some people are intimidated, wonder if they should really be reading the Bible privately, and ask timidly, “Well, I should reconsider reading the Bible privately. But one question. What’s the most dangerous thing you can do spiritually?”

      “Not reading the Bible privately.”

      —-

      From experience, I get the sense that there are some Protestants who, if they read the Bible in a very literal way, are in a sense, Jewish. And there are others who, in neglecting the role of the Holy Spirit and community/Holy Tradition in understanding guidance from God, are essentially muslims. Scratch a teleological Protestant and you get a Jew; scratch a deontological Protestant and you get a Mohammedan.

      The article offers some very compelling insights into how rationalism and treating the Faith almost as a system or algorithm (in both Catholicism and Protestantism: i.e. Western Thought) that can be perfected by rational systems, we’ve arrived at an evolved thing that bears very little resemblance to what our ancestors would recognize as Christianity.

      I also found this talk about the hemisphere’s of the brain, and how they approach and attend to the world in very different ways quite helpful in considering the nature of the Faith. Like the left hemisphere, Protestantism is less concerned with mystery or context, but rather cuts off any part of a argument that doesn’t fit its rational model; this process self-referentially makes the system of proofs valid; you get trapped in a hall of mirrors (philosemitism being one of many, I’d assert): http://www.ted.com/talks/iain_mcgilchrist_the_divided_brain

      Thoughts?

  2. ‘Pick and choose’ is not the best choice of words. What I was thinking is that someone like Gregory Palamas is very good. It is not a phenomenon limited to Eastern Orthodoxy, that there are very good writers and then there are the strange ones.

  3. The biggest problem with attributing progressivism to Protestantism concerns millenialism. Modern liberalism is essentially materialistic and not transcendent. This is why progressives believe they are on the “right side of history.” It is the love of knowledge being replaced by a system of knowledge and immanentism.

    The general sense is of being cast out. The world is evil, or western culture is, and must be remade in order to bring about something better. Or they pretend to believe this. Anyway, progressives stopped believing in a divine order no matter if they attend church or not.

    It’s derived from Hegel’s “phenomenologie” as magic. “The death of God is not an event but a feat of a dialectician” – Eric Voegelin, Science, Politics & Gnosticism. Reality becomes outmoded, a function of a system which is immanent and not transcendent. This is why we have the prohibition of questions. ” . . . all so-called world history is nothing but the production of man by human labor.” – Karl Marx, Economic and Philisophical Manuscripts of 1844. If you say this is wrong, well, you are a bigot, hater, racist, xenophobe, etc.

    Now, if you tie all this in with the scapegoat mechanism you get our modern, nihilistic culture and its ritual lashing of white males and Christians, Catholic or Protestant.

  4. Very profound work here, and I hope to see more of it.

    Protestantism began as a critique of a palpable decline in asceticism with regard to priestly authorities during the reign of the Medici Popes. As such, this criticism was valid not only in the personal sense (people were being consistently ripped off by frauds) and the religious sense (fraud and greed were justified by extra-biblical means), but also in the sense that this abdication of the priestly class from their Traditional duty of high asceticism was destructive to the church as both a political and religious institution.

    However, Protestantism ended up not reforming anything, instead they destroyed what was there entirely. The Catholic Church’s political authority was now up for debate and question, and exacerbated by tensions between the new schismatic belief systems, the concept of secularism got its legs. People began to wonder why the church had any political authority at all, and looked to cherry-picked and poorly interpreted Scripture to justify this ‘separation of church and state’. It’s no surprise that monarchy and aristocracy didn’t last long after this happened.

    I think you are correct in your critique of some institutional failure on the Catholic Church’s part to develop doctrine, and I can attest that in Orthodoxy I think the same problem is present. After reading Bonald’s work, I can’t really defend Orthodoxy’s treatment of divorce. It just seems Biblically unsound. Tradition is important, but only in the way it reflects underlying truths.

    All this being said, I don’t fully understand why there is such a large Liberal contingent in the Catholic Church, not just in the laity but the priesthood as well. I’ve read some histories on how it started, but they were somewhat confusing. I might put it down to priests not being willing to delve into where the culture is going horrifically wrong. It’s easier to go through the tradition and leave it at that, but the Church has not been forceful, from the pulpit, when it comes to attacking Modern culture and turning congregations against it.

    What needs to be realized is the war being waged on the Faith by the Enlightenment (the evidence from 250 years in bodies alone is overwhelming). The Church must be Modernity’s enemy, declared, open, and unflinching. Everywhere the Church has kowtowed to evil it has declined, and everywhere it has struggled and resisted it has strengthened by leaps and bounds.

  5. I just left a comment on the current Steve Sailer post where I did make the connection between Luther and Hitler. Not directly. I hadn’t thought back that far. Actually I made the connection between Hitler and Obama (I love writing that sentence). But I stated that some of the same sorts of persons intellectually were common to both that later 1800s-early 1900s epoch. And then they had the effect on controlling the culture and the percolation of ideas out into the greater masses.

    The beginnings of this idea of Wahlverwandtschaft began in the second half of the 19th century with Wagner and the circle that surrounded him in the form of the Bayreuth Festival and the social set that put it on. Think something like South by Southwest. The modern equivalent of Wahlverwandtschaft is Universalism. Under Wahlverwandtschaft, the Jews were the culprits that quite the perfect society from forming; under Universalism manifested an enforced via Diversity Uber Alles, White Straight Males (TM) are the culprits that are the Kulaks, the wreckers that must be eliminated for this grand universal vision to manifest itself.

    The Zeitgeist of the 19th Century, and I mean the whole century, was removal and replacement of government, of existing societal elites, of existing civil society, of economic order of that which was based on God And King, hereditary elites, with something else. It began with the revolution in France, dominated the first 20 years via Napoleon, with the rise of parlamentarianism in England and America, and with multiple forms of “revolutionary thought” from socialism to communism in the east. Any one who was anybody intellectually was involved in this line of thought. Even in the upper classes, there was sympathy. National Socialism which arose in the 20th century had its basis in some form from the stirrings against genetic monarchy in the 19th century. And you could probably draw a line from Lutheran thought, which was viewed as German, straight through to those that adhered to Wahlverwandtschaft as German. I know this is a bit of stretch to connect the reformation to Hitler. But something was gonna give.

    The theme I have is that where this driving idea in both epochs, and a lot of the same sorts of people, at least socially, bought into those ideas. You can imagine there were two competing schools in the universities, those who accepted Wahlverwandtschaft and those how accepted Marx. Throw in defeat in World War One and the idea, inseminated in the trenches, that it was the Emperors, the rich, and the bankers that put common men into these circumstances. This fuels the Russian Revolution yet in Germany it does differently. The bankers are Jews, and the driving force in socialist thought and writing are Jews. So then the Wahlverwandtschaft crowd in the Universities, in the government, in everyday man on the street German society get the upper hand.

    This link to Luther is sort of divulged in looking at the basis of the early German Works Party, the precursor to the National Socialists. The early members have a connection to the Thule Society which is sort of this early 20th version of some web forum, probably a bunch of smart not-rich moral guys like maybe NeoRX people. This group considers its base theme Wahlverwandtschaft and has roots in Freemasonry, an inherently protestant organization dating back to the mid 15th century in England.

    So then I propose sort of a mirror image to today’s progressives. The key to each group was that in its early days, the “who” that were adopters. In Wahlverwandtschaft, it was the attractive, upper and upper middle classes that bought into it. The blond cute girls from the better families were probably key. In Russia, those same, smart, hot girls, all bought into Socialism. In Russia, the masculine bad boys were socialists. In Germany they were freaking nerds, Jews, ugly bookish types, betas. In Germany, the hot alpha guys with cash, looks and position were over in Wahlverwandtschaft camp.

    In the modern progressives, the hot girls went with the liberal thing, those guys were the bad boys that pissed off parents, but mostly they were the guys that went to college, that gave off the right signals, and not some blue collar trash nor any boring church guy.

    So then over time, the Wahlverwandtschaft crowd in later 19th and early 20th century Germany,because they have hot girls, and mostly have the hot guys with cash, sends of social signals that the German plebes dig vs the creepy betas of the Socialist especially the creepy Jewish guys. The country is ethnically homogenous and so idea of being “German” as the dominant political driver works for the rank and file. The think that keeps the “German” idea from succeeding in the capitalistic economy is the Jewish Spirit that corrupts commerce. If they could just cleanse society of their effect, then good things, German things were possible. You can assume that certainly that “other” didn’t work in government. And as Wahlverwandtschaft took hold in academia, then dept heads, tenure, budgets, academic content all were vetted through that lens.

    There is often this idea tossed around that the National Socialist were the best armed, best organized minority and imposed their beliefs on Germany. I would say something different. A slow transition of the fundamental ideas had been occurring since 1870, and gained social traction prior to 1914 with the ideas leaking out into the mainstream to the rank and file. But primarily it was control of social institutions by like minded people, all who vetted entrants, and excluded others. During the 20s, Hitler is Obama, he makes a speech, actually a debate in front of GWP members and gains prominence. He gets send to jail for a putsch to get street cred, writes a book, Dreams of My Father, were he lays claims to Wahlverwandtschaft street cred and his struggle to realize it. He becomes the wunderkind of the movement. After a decade of economic catastrophe and world wide recession, he puts up some posters “Hope”, “Change You Can Believe In”, wins a big election, becomes Chancellor, and then his party begins to put a choke hold on the culture, society, and the political organs to impose Wahlverwandtschaft or else. Anyone who, at first, doesn’t drink the kool aid gets exiled or whatever. Then later, the boogeyman identity is all that is necessary for the “Who Whom” nature of elimination.

    Control of the media, control of key academic spots, sympathetic bureaucrats, provided the real power. And even though the other guys, the bad guys had economic influence, position, real credentials, real accomplishment in chosen professions, so what. Slowly but surely they are pushed out, then rounded up, then done away with. Wahlverwandtschaft dictated that meritocracy or organic economic free market principles would not stand in the way of a utopia that was possible if those “others”, those “boogeymen” could be gotten out of the way.

    The parallels to progressives is obvious. For 50 years, really longer, it has owned academia and touted by the “better” class of people. It leaks out into the rank and file via those social signals. It is reinforced, first in academia, then in the professions, then in the highest levels of commercial organizations. Then it appeals to the proles, women and minorities because it offers to take things away from Straight White Males, the modern version of those Jews, who obviously got that privilege by exploiting the good people, and give them to those people that truly deserve it, those who would do the right thing with it. And so lock down point, the way to incorporate that political power is Diversity, Universalism. And anyone who doesn’t agree can be exiled, persecuted, sent to whatever camp or backwater that is necessary.

    I would say we have probably reached about 1934 by now, maybe 1936. Indiana just might have been some sort of KristalNicht, maybe U Va if it had worked out for them.

    So my question is, “Are you going to meekly sew that white star onto your sleeve when ordered? Will you pack your one suitcase and meekly go to the train for relocation when that time comes later?”

  6. Henry VIII Remained Catholick Until the Day He Died April 17, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    You would be no worse off questioning whether homosexual child molestation flows from Roman Catholicism. The Catholic capacity for blind obtusity is marked.

  7. pseudo-chrysostom April 17, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    >Whilst many people on the right are concerned (nay obsessed) about the Jews, it is my opinion that this is a distraction. A far more serious matter in my opinion, is the relationship between Protestantism and Progressivism.

    this kind of monocausalism is quite tiresome. it is entierly possible both for superficially distinct ideologies to be mere rationalizations of the same psychological vices and for jews to be opportunistic vituperative leeches who pathologically prey on such vices and whom we would certainly be better off without.

  8. pseudo-chrysostom April 17, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    in addendum, im certain it is not remiss to note that christianity as a whole itself is a semitic importation, that it acquired the more noble characteristics of the orthodox and catholic churches only through its exposure to greco-roman and northern european modes of thought, and that the various later protestantisms in fact quite resemble early christianity.

  9. I’ve observed that the Protestantism’s Catholic critics almost always fail to recognize the marked distinction between the Radical Reformation and the Magisterial Reformation. Calvin et al, while they did believe, in principle, that every Christian had access to the truth via the Holy Scriptures, certainly rejected the idea that every man was entitled to his own subjective opinion regardless of its truth or falsity. “Tolerance”, as we think of it now, was not what the reformers had in mind when they spoke of liberty of conscience. What was meant was liberty in the objective sense, as in freedom from what they saw as erroneous religious impositions on the believers’ conscience, as well as freedom from being forced to assent to false doctrines.

    They still retained the idea of a religious establishment, and believed in a certain mutual interest of state and church, including the duty of the state to suppress heresy and idolatry.

    Yes, they did jettison the doctrine of an infallible magisterium, but still held to the necessity of a Confessional standard for what could and must be believed within the Church.

    As for tolerance as we now have it, in some places (historically) it can probably be chalked up to the eventual triumph of a more radical Protestantism, but in others I suspect it may have been more a failure of nerve. Also, don’t underestimate the influence of the secular Enlightenment on government policy, and that the liberal way of thinking it fostered has seeped into the church, subtly redefining doctrine by co-opting the language of “freedom”.

  10. This is what the Orthodox have been saying for centuries, but thank God Moldbug picked it up and slapped some folks faces with it.

    The story goes like this.

    1. Roman Catholicism has corruption issues
    2. Some Roman Catholics make moves to demand reformation
    3. Politics get involved; some political leaders see this as an opportunity to get more power, split off.
    4. Without the Magesterium, determination has to be made about interpreting the Bible
    5. In this process, Luther et al seem to have chosen the Masoretic over the Vulgate.
    6. This inadvertantly brings late Jewish influence into Protestantism, where Jewish authorities are trusted over Catholic ones. (Orthodox Authorities are contacted, but only to try to get them to confirm that the Lutherans are correct.)

    If ‘Jewish influence’ is to be blamed, we must ask who brought the Jewish influence in? It was the Protestant Reformation. You don’t get one without the other. Therefore, a critique of Progressivism that considers the Reformation the major factor in the development of the Left rather than the Jews is the stronger and more systematic critique.

    It is also worth noting that the Reform Jews, the most pernicious liberalizers and subversives, actually get the methods they arrive at their strange interpretation of Judaism FROM Protestants. Reform Judaism is the effect of Protestantism on Judaism, and it ain’t pretty.

    The spectacle however requires a good scapegoat and the dying society is not going to oust its demons. As long as it can focus on the subversive outsider and ignore the systematic corruption that allows him to cause havoc, it will feel like it might be able to win.

    It can’t.

    In this regard, the critique presented by neoreaction is not for this society, but for whatever society follows it; the mistake is to think that the ‘Protestant Question’ gives you a list of heads to bust.

    Both the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics in theory have a coherent way of understanding interpretation (as a tradition of a community going back, uninterrupted, to the apostles.) The magic necessary to make Protestantism not be just a blind rebellion from salvation itself, was done on history and it destroyed the West’s ability to understand it. Marx and Nietzsche are just footnotes to this willingness to create a fantasy history that the Protestants’ break necessitated. Nietzsche is the most honest practitioner of Lutheranism. Marx is a Millenarian whose new Jerusalem will Descend To Earth through dialectic.

    The mind virus of philo/antisemitism is terminal, I have never seen anyone recover from it.

    Note to Radical Right folks, America’s philosemitism is endemic and terminal, just like the antisemitism of some of your comrades. The Jew is what he is, a mere man. But the Idea Of The Jew is some kind of egregore; a long and hook-nosed shadow.

  11. Evola draws a link between Protestantism and Rationalism that I think is rather profound. Note that Evola had criticisms of both Catholicism and Protestantism, and with regard to the latter he did say that Protestantism had a good opportunity in its outset to overcome its shortcomings by taking an almost Buddhist approach to asceticism. Alas, instead it went down a route that inspired Rationalism.

    “The individualism intrinsic in the Protestant theory of private interpretation of Scripture was connected with another aspect of modern humanism: Rationalism. The single individual who got ride of the dogmatic tradition and the principle of spiritual authority, by claiming to have within himself the capability of right discernment gradually ended up promoting the cult of that which in him, as a human being, is the basis of all judgments, namely, the faculty of reason, thus turning it into the criterion of all certitudes, truths, and norms. […] Beginning with the Renaissance, however, Rationalism became differentiated and assumed, in one of its most important currents, a new character: from speculative in nature it became aggressive and generated the Enlightenment, Encyclopedism, and antireligious and revolutionary criticism”

    – Revolt Against the Modern World

  12. @Mark

    You are right, in the sense that corruption amongst the priestly class made them lose respect of the faithful. The Council of Trent essentially justified many of charges of the Protestants. Indeed, the whole episode illustrates how “Catholic institutional inertia” fueled the Reformation. In many ways it was a case of history repeating, with an institution failing to reform when it needed to, allowing externalities to impose themselves on it. A similar thing is now occurring in the context of the institutional blind eye with regard to child sexual abuse.

    With regard to the liberal contingent in the Church, that’s always going to be there in any large group of people. It’s my opinion that that liberalism is to a large degree influenced by genetics (with a learned component). Being Catholic doesn’t stop you from being stupid. However, until recently, there was a lot of respect for the authority of the priesthood and peopled toed the line but now that the Church is slowly pseudo-Protestantising, every man is “interpreting” doctrine for himself, with the predictable consequences. Religious liberty seems to be good for smart people of the faith, but its pretty bad for the proletariat. I reaffirm this again, smart and sincere Protestants have contributed mightily to Christian doctrine which seems to have been “osmosed” into the Church.

    The faith interpretation mechanism in the Catholic Church has an “aristocratic” structure with regard to the interpretation of the faith, with the king and his vassals doing the leading with the plebs following. The Protestants, on the other hand, have a democratic one. This theological view of man translated into political action with Catholic apostates and Protestants being the prime movers of the democratic process. This is a structural weakness of cultural Protestantism.

    As for the Enlightenment, I don’t see it as much of the enemy as I do Positivism, which is its militant interpretation. Rationalitiy is not the problem, knowing where its limits are is.

    @Lazarus

    From an epistemological perspective there is no real difference between the Radical and Magisterial Reformation. Each one claims to have the correct interpretation. A cynic could argue that the confessional Protestants are those who have made the same cognitive error. I’m not trying to be rude to the Protestants here, but even from the perspective of a Hindu, how do you determine which one is right? Each justifies itself by the same mechanism yet the answers are all different. Once again, how can the same mechanism produce different results, especially if the mechanism is meant to guarantee truth.

    For the Catholic, on the other hand, you’re either in or your out. For Protestants, you can hold wildly contradictory positions and still be Protestant. Protestant culture thus ends up being more plural, in itself not a bad thing provided prudent limits are set. It would have been a whole lot better if there were a Protestant Pope who could “draw the line” somewhere, but that would, of course, have undermined Protestantism itself.

  13. Protestantism, for all its faults, held a belief system that still recognized mystery. Do modernists believe this anymore? I doubt it. So, how did this happen? It doesn’t do any good blaming Protestants or Jews. By definition they are, or rather were, believers in divine mystery.

    I think this movement away from divine mystery began when men decided they didn’t need to feed the god inside themselves. So, Protestants were still nominally pagan, as were all Catholics. However, protestantism unleashed iconoclasm and images were destroyed (very similar to ISIS today and many other periods in Islam). Cromwell, I believe, banned theater for a while.

    To the iconoclast all art is a lie. God is outside. But, we need art to feed the god inside. The modernist, of course, believes in nothing at all.

  14. Haven Monahan I read your article. It was fair. mlr I think if protestants are to considered jewish so should the Church fathers how argued for a chiliastic millenium. I’ll stand with them.

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