Archive for the ‘Cult’ Category

Catholicism in Mexico Survives Only as a Cult?

June 28, 2009

I should point out a caveat about articles on religion in the popular media. I’ve noticed, from time to time, that not every article on religion is highly accurate. The following article, to which I was somewhat recently directed, provides an example with the headline: “Catholicism in Mexico Survives Only as a Cult, Priest Claims.” This headline was, as far as I can tell, due to the failure of the editor to understand that the “cult of Mary” is the worship of Mary (hyper-dulia, to be specific in Roman Catholic terms) and not “a cult” in the sense that we use that term in English.

I understand how the editor might be confused. The worship of Mary in Catholicism in most English-speaking countries is downplayed significantly – seemingly to lure Protestants. The result is that some lay apologists seem unaware of the difference between worship (cultus or as we would tend to describe it, “religious veneration”) and the sort of everyday respect we have for one another (“secular veneration” might be a way to distinguish it from the religious veneration discussed above).

And I know – I know – Roman Catholics in English-speaking countries are quick to say, “We don’t worship Mary,” by which they mean that they don’t worship Mary as God. That’s all very nice, but check out the photo of the church that accompanied this horribly badly headlined article (link to articledirect link to photoanother view of idola third viewa fourth view).

The choice of idols for this particular church shows a distinct emphasis – and that emphasis is on Mary. Of course, one’s idols may be an inaccurate guide as to one’s interest, but the idols in this particular church suggest that the reverence for Mary is primary, despite her never being called “God.” One also sees the same thing in the shocked looks that were given when the American Secretary of State asked the absurd question, “Who painted this?” (link to photo of event)

Of course, this just showed Mrs. Clinton’s ignorance of the local superstitions:

In 1531 a “Lady from Heaven” appeared to a humble Native American at Tepeyac, a hill northwest of what is now Mexico City.
She identified herself as the ever virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the True God for whom we live, of the Creator of all things, Lord of heaven and the earth.
She made a request for a church to be built on the site, and submitted her wish to the local Bishop. When the Bishop hesitated, and requested her for a sign, the Mother of God obeyed without delay or question to the Church’s local Bishop, and sent her native messenger to the top of the hill in mid-December to gather an assorment [sic – assortment, I think, is meant] of roses for the Bishop.
After complying to the Bishop’s request for a sign, She also left for us an image of herself imprinted miraculously on the native’s tilma, a poor quality cactus-cloth, which should have deteriorated in 20 years but shows no sign of decay 477 years later and still defies all scientific explanations of its origin.

(source – as you’ll see in the clearer image there, Jesus isn’t completely missing, he’s just hiding down at the bottom of the picture – direct link to picture – UPDATE: Someone complained to me that the guy at the bottom of the picture is not supposed to be Jesus but Juan Diego (technically he just complained that it wasn’t supposed to be Jesus). Although there is no heaven-fallen-down guidebook for the idol, that seems to be reasonable – and my comment was in error – Jesus is entirely left out of the picture – although some have argued that Mary is supposed to be pregnant in the picture, in which case Jesus is sort of present as a baby bulge. FURTHER UPDATE – see below)

If this reminds you of Scripture – it should:

Acts 19:23-41

And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: so that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. [Note that Paul was not preaching that instead of Diana, statues of Mary should be made – a natural response if the Apostolic church were idolatrous.]
And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.
And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.
Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together. And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people.
But when they knew that he was a Jew [this was significant, because people knew that Jews did not have idols], all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.
And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter? [Note that the Ephesians distinguished between Diana and Jupiter.] Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess. Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another. But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly. For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.

So, yes – Catholicism survives in Mexico as (to a large extent) the cult of Mary – as the veneration of an image that (like the image of Diana) is alleged to be of miraculous origin. It would be unfair to suggest that there is nothing more to it than that, but it is a significant aspect – despite the journalistic confusion such comments can create.

-TurretinFan

FURTHER UPDATE: Mr. Bellisario, seemingly unaware of the first update above (or perhaps he posted it before the update? Who knows!) has also complained that according to the divinely inspired legend that he obtained (from a Geocities web page that was so scholarly that it wasn’t sure of the correct spelling of Mayan) the dude at the bottom of the idols is an angel (though no mention is made that this is supposed to be an angelic representation Juan Diego).

Advertisements

Not Because of Sola Scriptura

November 20, 2008

This ultra-traditional (not a technical term) sect of Catholicism is effectively its own denomination (link). They would claim, I believe, to be “Catholic” and they claim that the real pope is locked up in a Vatican dungeon, so they cannot really be called Sedavacantists.

The folks out there who have been trying to wield the “Sola Scriptura causes disunity” claim have trouble dealing with this kind of data. Rationally, though, if cultic groups of this sort can crop up without any reference to Sola Scriptura, why besides blatant exercise of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy would one blame the large number of denominations on Sola Scriptura? To put it a different way, don’t groups like this demonstrate that people tend to form their own groups regardless of Sola Scriptura?

-TurretinFan

Clear Example of False Prophet

June 15, 2008

Here is a clear example of a false prophet: (link). He has now twice predicted a nuclear doomsday. That his prophecies have failed to come to pass is self-evident. The just and appropriate punishment for this crime against God is death:

Deuteronomy 18:20-22

20But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. 21And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? 22When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

Although Texas does not punish false prophecy with death, it does punish fraud – and should use that mechanism to punish this con artist. I have no idea whether it will.

I wonder what other mechanism than the law is available to bring this group, and particularly its false prophet to a recognition of their sin, repentance of it, and faith in Christ.

Lest you think that I am relying solely on the secular media in this regard consider this, taken from the group’s own web site (here):
“By June 12, 2007 the nine-month nuclear baby will have been born, causing a third part of man to be killed over a fourth part of the earth in and around the great River Euphrates with nuclear wars.”

But this man is brazen … he now claims: “It’s plain to see that all these Prophecies of this nuclear war that will kill a third part of man over a fourth part of the earth in and around the great River Euphrates would have been fulfilled already had it not been for another Prophecy showing the Plan of Yahweh.”

It should be pointed out that the Texas authorities have been after this guy on other grounds, alleging that he is a polygamist and has been violating child labor laws. Ultimately, those are unsatisfying conclusions to the matter, though perhaps it is all we can hope for.

-TurretinFan


%d bloggers like this: