Orthodoxy - Study Guide Chapter VIII: The Romance of Orthodoxy Summary & Analysis

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Much of modern "thinking" is really used to allow people to avoid thinking at all. People dress up their speech with large, impressive words to disguise their lack of real thought. Since people do not truly understand what they are saying, one major difficulty that arises is when one of the words means two different things in different contexts. The term "liberal" is such an example, and many of these fake intellectuals insist that a truly liberal thinker ought to be for free thought, since a liberal ought to be for the liberation of all things. While a liberal is dedicated to freedom, so-called free thinkers are really people who just have dedicated themselves to a number of ideologies, like any other thinker, and, therefore, the liberal owes no special allegiance to him.

For example, free thinkers commonly insist that miracles do not and could not ever happen, and this idea is obviously not liberal. For, this idea is based upon the philosophy of materialism, which states that there is no freedom in things whatsoever, but precise, clockwork determinism. A true lover of freedom would at least hope for the possibility that, even if man does not have free will, at least God does, which is all one must believe to think that miracles are possible.

Other supposedly liberal thinkers argue that all religions are really the same, despite external differences; this argument is urged especially in the case of Buddhism and Christianity. While some meaningless similarities can be found (both Christ and Buddha heard God speak to them from the Heavens) the substances of the religions are totally opposed. For Buddhists, enlightenment is found by looking inwardly and finding the divinity within. Christians, on the other hand, seek God outside of themselves, because they recognize that they are not gods, but separate creations.

In fact, this emphasis on looking inwardly is another key doctrine of modern "liberal" theology, and it is often based upon a notion that there really are not separate beings; rather, everyone and everything, including God, is really the same thing. But such a philosophy is opposed to many of the ideals liberals ought to cherish—for example, it is impossible to love anything if everything is the same. Part of love is to act unselfishly, but if there are not other selves, then one has no choice but to act selfishly: Any nice act towards another, would really be a nice act for oneself, since everyone is the same being.

Another branch of modern "liberal" Christianity are the Unitarians, who deny the Trinity. The Trinity, though, embodies the natural instinct in man to live a social life; it recognizes that man cannot be happy on his own, but needs others. For the Trinity shows that God is a society of three persons. Those religions which deny the Trinity tend to be violent or at least dysfunctional because they lack this emphasis on the social nature of humanity.

Finally, the Divinity of Christ, whether true or not, must be acknowledged to be a definitely liberal idea, though modern liberals are quick to deny it. The doctrine shows, after all, a deep kinship between man and God—to the point that God not only suffered physically, but even, for a moment, had doubt. The cry on the cross, asking why God had forsaken him, is the same kind of doubt and "free thinking" embraced by modern liberals, and in the case of Christianity, this doubt is elevated to the status of the Divine. And, yet, for some reason, critics are quick to attack and attempt to refute Christianity, even if in so doing they compromise the very ideals of liberty and humanity that they supposedly set out to preserve.

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