- Jun 16, 2010
- MBTI Type
- Instinctual Variant
Well, if you consider it literally protestant then the thinking is nothing but a spirit of protest, righteous indignation, its pretty reductivist I know but I do think its accurate since there where and are schisms before and after the reformation from the RCC.
Hilaire Belloc wrote about this in his book on The Great Heresies and probably in his other books on the reformation but I've not read them all. I dont agree with him entirely and I just know from reading his books that there'd be a personality clash between myself and him if we'd ever met. On the other hand I kind of know what he's talking about when he characterises the protestant spirit as a sort of radical, unflinching, throwing the baby out with the bathwater contrarianism.
I didnt used to feel this way but reading Erasmus and Luther's Discourse on Free Will totally knocked me for six and I couldnt see anything good about the reformation from then on if I could judge what was happening at a popular, public level was in any way like what happened in that exchange at the level of theologians and scholars.
The pattern, which I associate with the Reformation, of overthrowing an authority but then erecting an equally authoritarian order in reaction to the unleashed chaos (Luther's attack on papish, then support for principalities contra the peasant war) or creation of an alternative polar power which then tries to out do the horrible actions of its opponent, real or imagined (Calvin's Geneva) is something which I think has been repeated in almost every single revolutionary upheaval since, almost regardless of context or epoch, with the exception of the US revolution, perhaps because it was a big country and was more of a seperatist struggle.
This is something I'm very wary of discussing because of the capacity for unintended offense to friends, I really hope I've not offended you.
First let me say that I take no offense. Although I identify much more with Protestantism than Catholicism, just because that's how I was raised, I don't think Protestants have it all right, nor Catholics all wrong. As for the contrarian nature of Protestant thought, I can certainly see how historically this was the case, but I don't think today's Protestants choose their specific beliefs just to be contrary. It's just a different set of beliefs, and frankly, I think both Protestants and Catholics believe some silly things. But also many good things.
I was mainly referring to the differences in philosophy between Catholicism and Protestantism - for instance, the idea of a personal relationship with God rather than needing the intermediary of a priest. I was raised Protestant, and while I have no problem with Catholicism (well.... at least no problems that I don't ALSO have with Protestantism!), I never understood the point of confessing to a priest. Does he have the power to absolve you? No, certainly not. I get that the idea of telling your misdeeds to a living, breathing person may be a better deterrent than confessing them only to a God you can't see, but I don't really like the idea of guilt and shame being used in this way. Of course, Protestants use guilt and shame too, just in different ways. But I still think a personal relationship with God is more meaningful. I also was always a bit offended when I went to church with my BFF (who was raised Catholic) and since I myself was not a Catholic, I was not allowed to take communion, even though I took communion at my own church. If my Catholic friend had come to church with me, she'd have been allowed to take communion with us.
I hope I haven't offended you, either. It is certainly not my intention.