When you analyze them closely you soon come to realize that all of the seven deadly sins are called such because they are well, deadly. They bring violence and murder. Not just spiritual and eternal death in the next world, but they bring about death in this realm as well. If you want to think this through further check out this blog post.
It occurs to me that heresy also leads to violence and death. I wrote last week about my hatred for the modern form of Arianism–Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism–and when you push this sentimental, utilitarian form of subtle atheism you will soon see how it too, leads to violence and destruction. Instead of “Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism, MTD could easily stand for Murderous, Tyrannical Destruction.
Take the first of the terms: Moralism. You might not see how moralism leads to violence because moralism is teaching people to be good and kind, respectable and responsible right? Yes, well maybe. However, moralism has a way of turning nasty. Here’s why: The moralistic teacher is intent on bringing about a better world through moralism. He not only wants to do the “right thing” he wants you to do the “right thing” too–and guess who is the one who chooses what the “right thing” is? It is the moralistic teacher of course. Now this is all well and good if the “right thing” is a moral code that is greater than the moral teacher and which comes from an authority greater than the moral teacher. The moral teacher is therefore under obligation to check his own behaviors and attitudes first of all.
However, the present day moralists do not subscribe to a morality that has any higher authority than themselves. The current day moralists are mostly activists who assume their moral code is self evident. They may be sexual identity activists, activists against racism, ecological activists, theological or even liturgical activists, but whatever their campaign, they are on a campaign of their own devising motivated, not by a higher moral code, but by their own ideas of morality–ideas that they assume are self evident and that they assume originate from some higher authority. They have no proof for this or any rational argumentation. Their cause simply IS and it is just and it is obvious. From this come the violence for the activist must, ultimately wish to impose his morality on others.
In fact, he will consider himself righteous for doing so. Note the self righteousness of the rioters and looters in our streets. Note the self righteousness of the ecological campaigners, the sexual identity activist or any of the noisy moral campaigners. Their violence begins at the verbal level with lots of yelling and screaming and waving of placards, but it soon take more active forms of rioting, blocking traffic, trespassing, vandalism, death threats, sham lynchings and burning their enemies in effigy. This is only one short step from actual physical violence…and history shows that the physical violence–the lynchings, the persecution, the torture and the killing will also be carried out with heads held high as they hold the severed heads of their victims high.
For examples of the kind of self righteously imposed violence already active in our society check out these two examples from Rod Dreher:
So moralism leads to murder. What about “therapy”? Surely therapy does not lead to violence? After all, it’s purpose is to lead people to health and wholeness. Once again, I should stress that therapy, like moralism, is not a problem per se. We need both morality and therapy. The problem is thinking that morality and therapy alone are mankind’s solution.
How does therapy lead to violence? Simple. It is in the assumption that the therapy will work and the person needing therapy is chosen by the would be therapist. The well meaning therapist believes he has the cure and the cure really will work if the patient will only cooperate. “Therapy” is the sister of re-education and rehabilitation. Thus the therapist will ask for the authorities to impose therapy on the sick patient. Thus tender hearted tyranny will take place. Does this happen in our “free” society? Witness how many judges now sentence people to rehab and therapy rather than a prison sentence. CS Lewis in his famous essay on retributive justice points out how a prison sentence for rehabilitative purposes alone can lead to huge injustice and violence. What if the “patient” does not cooperate with the “therapy” shall he remain confined in the “hospital” until he is “cured”? This is why it was so chilling a few years ago when the owner of a cake shop who refused to make a gay wedding cake was sentenced to “re-education.”
Those who believe in therapy as a real solution will impose that “therapy” on others, and history shows that the “therapy” includes electric shocks, isolation, sense and sleep deprivation, indoctrination and a whole range of “therapies” we would otherwise call torture. The most radical believers in a therapeutic cure will eventually decide that society will be better served as a whole if those who resist re-education and rehabilitation are simply disposed of.
How does Deism lead to violence? It does not lead to violence directly as moralism and therapeutism might, but it lends weight to the other two because there is no ultimate judge to their actions. Deism proposes a do-nothing God, and if he does not interfere in this world, then don’t worry he’s not going to interfere with your plans to make the world a wonderful place through moralism and therapy either.
Do I believe we are at this end game now? I do not. But the danger of Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism at this stage is that it is so utterly pervasive in our society and in our mainstream religions that it is becoming a mindset–a worldview–an unquestioned verity, and when enough people accept it as simply, obviously true then we are in trouble because those who would impose their “morality” and “therapy” will have total freedom and authority to do as they wish–and they will not only do so with an air of unquestioned morality and superiority, they will also do their unutterable deeds wearing the vestments and titles of religious leaders. In other words–be prepared for you pastor and priests, your bishops and theologians and sweet little nuns to lead the moralists and therapists giving them religious justification and sanctifying their crusade.