A world of prophets

Any of us could be destroyed by a social media mob.  Someone takes a picture of you that, without context, gives the impression that you’re being mean or negligent.  They post it on twitter or facebook and a day later a hundred thousand people regard you as the quintessence of evil and want you dead.  When I was a kid, “it’s a free country” was still a common expression; now there are Stasi agents with smartphones everywhere.  How the hell did we let this happen to us?

When I was a kid, you could have an organization devoted just to hiking or wine tasting or space exploration.  Now everybody and everything has to have promoting designated victims as its primary goal.

Two types of religious figure:  the prophet and the priest.  The prophet proclaims God’s wrath, the priest God’s forgiveness.  The prophet condemns social order; the priest consecrates it.  The people admire the prophet who hates them just as they despise the priest who pities them.  For men know that they are wicked, that the whole world of men is wicked, and the priest who offers reconciliation so cheaply seems an agent of corruption.

A priest’s job is to mitigate the cruelty of the moral and religious impulses.

Was Jesus a prophet?  Certainly–rebukes and condemnations galore.  Impossible advice, such as equating lust with adultery and insults with murder, telling us to love our enemies and hate our parents.  He could have been the greatest of prophets but didn’t have the hatred for it.  Underneath, He was full of priestly pity.  Preached not just man’s repentance but God’s forgiveness–forgiveness not in some distant New Jerusalem, but for actual people right now.

One easily sees in Jesus Christ the prophetic critique turned against itself, for none did He condemn so vociferously as the moral preeners and those who presumed (like the prophets of old and the journalists and intellectuals of today) to gauge other men’s moral worth.

Most significantly of all, Jesus declared Himself to be the fulfillment of prophesy.  As hinted by Jesus Himself and stated explicitly by the early Church, this fulfillment was of a priestly, sacrificial nature.  So, if the prophesies are fulfilled, we have no more need for prophets, and the reign of those moralistic sadists is over.

Alas, it was not to be.  The Jews did not convert, and they lost the priestly influence along with their Temple, becoming a purely prophetic people.  In Muhammad, the Magian world found a prophet far more like the Messiah the prophets had in mind.  The West succumbed to social justice, which its ecclesial allies never fail to describe as “prophetic”.

The Church has proven too weak to resist.  For one thousand years, Catholicism has been driven largely by its deep-seated sense of inferiority.  This manifests itself in two ways.  One is reform.  The great reforming pope Gregory VII often remarked on the moral inferiority of Christians to Jews and Muslims.  The other manifestation is accommodation, “aggiornamento”.  Both are sterile and self-destructive.  What have we got to show for all of this reform?  What have we got to show for all of this accommodation?

Boldness and creativity flow from assurance of moral superiority.  Behold the Jews.

The only viable Catholic response would be to refuse to recognize in the prophets their precious moral superiority, to argue forthrightly the superiority of priestcraft over prophesy.

I read that some 40% of American Catholics are considering leaving the Church.  Good riddance, the filthy, worthless traitors.  Let them become Jews and enjoy their holiness.  Loyalty is the only virtue I care for.


6 Responses

  1. The prophets of old demanded repentance. The prophets of today demand cash. If we see reparations as a sort of sacrifice, then maybe we should see these people as priests, but I do not believe they are interested in reconciliation. I believe that they believe that our wickedness is incorrigible, and that reparations would only pay the wages of our sins.

    Reform and accommodation can be combined in the single word appeasement, also known as paying the Danegeld. This has become a terrible weakness in postmodern Christianity, perhaps because paying the Danegeld is mistaken for turning the other cheek and walking the extra mile.

  2. Just read one of your linked articles, “Cross post: one God, many peoples III,” and one line (well, the whole paragraph, really) stuck out to me:

    “It seems clear to me that the Mosaic books have a better sense of symbolism, of spiritual realities apprehended in images rather than intellectual abstractions”

    Julian Jaynes would explain that this is because the Hebrews of the 2nd millennium B.C., as well as the rest of mankind, had a wholly different kind of consciousness than what would develop in the 1st millennium B.C. They were far less capable, maybe incapable, of grasping abstractions.

    Bear in mind that Jaynes has his own detailed, specific definition of consciousness, and it may differ from others understanding of the word. As he defines it, he makes a very compelling case, and I saw his progression of self-consciousness throughout history all over the Old Testament.

    It also answered some nagging questions for me. For example, I’ve always wondered just why actual idols were such a temptation to Israelites? Seems silly to moderns, but we know that it was a severe temptation for them. Jaynes theory answered that for me. I won’t go into detail, because it would take too long, but you and your readers might find him fascinating. Here’s a link to the Julian Jaynes Society website:


    The book I’m referring to is “The Origin of Consciousness
    in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” Possibly the worst title in publishing history. Fascinating book, but they might as well have named it “We Don’t Give a Shit About Book Sales.”

  3. I agree, but would Pope Francis write anything like this? No. We get anarcho-tyranny in mercy too: only favored bio-Leninist groups get mercy; the rest get the shaft. Catholics need to deal with the 800 lb gorilla of how we got here before doing anything else.

  4. The notion of a people displeased with God’s mercy and desiring punishment instead sums up the Protestant Reformation rather well, actually. How good things must have looked at the turn of the 16th century, with the plague fading, the Papacy once again united, wealth and excess around every corner. European intellectuals longed for punishment like their grandfathers had received, so they split the Western Church down the middle and created a century of bloodletting.

    British Israelitism and the Eternal Anglo meme also seem to find a home here, as they remade Christianity after their own moralizing image and forthwith sought to conquer the whole world with it, rather like the Mohammedans.

  5. Arguably, the prophets of old had the authority to demand repentance. The prophets of today are universally false prophets and therefore have to demand an ersatz repentance – a tangible, quantifiable repentance, not just of cash, but other actions like scalp collecting.

  6. […] would point out that many of these things can be better understood in terms of my distinction between the priestly and prophetic religious types.  Catholics are more priestly; Protestants (and […]

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