Friday, February 20, 2015

FRIDAY POTPOURRI: IFEELISTS AND THE MORALISTIC THERAPEUDIC DEISM


I” and “feel” are two of the most damaging words toward the faith in the world today.  I think it should be its own heresy.  The “Ifeelists – Ifeelism.)   You’ll be having a perfectly good conversation about something faith related and somebody will say, “Well I feel . . .”  There are two problems with this.  The first is that it is an inherently selfish statement.  Who can say anything to you?  You are simply stating how you feel.  It’s like saying, “I feel satisfied.”  What can I say to that?  “No you don’t.” 

 


The second problem is that whatever is stated after “I feel” often has no connection to the lived faith of two thousand years of Christianity, the early Church Fathers, the writings and lives of the saints, the logic of the greatest minds of mankind, a children’s catechism, or even a casual conversation with someone remotely connected with any orthodox faith.  “I feel” is a cloud.  You can’t punch it, defend it, or debate it.  It is simply a thought someone has that makes them feel good.  The full consequences need not be thought through, possible blow back, inconsistencies, or the fact that it may have been held in the past and rejected due to its ill consequence.  Any debate is likely to be answered, “Well, I don’t agree.”
 
One author calls this Moralistic, Therapeutic, Deism.  This is truly the opiate of the masses.  What you feel or think is of course truth – at least for you.  This is where relativism sneaks in.  “Well, that may be truth for you but . . .”
 
This is why the Church has always insisted on a formed conscience.  That means being in contact with Scripture and Tradition, it means having some training in the early Church Fathers, lives of the saints, and 2,000 years of Christian thought (which comes to us at least in part through the Catechism, Catholic schools, PSR, CCD, etc.)  All of which leads us to the third precept of the Church: to study and learn the faith in preparation for Confirmation, to be confirmed, and then to KEEP LEARNING.  I know that perhaps your particular parish is horrible at teaching the faith.  That doesn’t lift the responsibility of the individual from forming their conscience.  We are too rich of a nation with too much information at our disposal to say, “Nobody ever told me.”  At the click of a button on your computer (or at the library’s computer) there are all the Church documents, tweets by the pope, Church history, lives of the saints, writings of the Church Fathers, apologists, videos, podcasts, links, all floating around in the air just waiting for you to grab them and study them like angels surrounding us, just waiting for us to take advantage of them.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

mom is never wrong

Robert Sutula said...

The "I feel" is just an escape clause for "I think" when one does not want to commit

Anonymous said...

Father, this is so on target, you need to re-post it about every 3 months.

Anonymous said...

Relativism is a great danger. The idea that there are versions to the truth, mine and yours, is a logical fallacy. Thank you for posting. Concisely written, immensely important!
-MP

Pat said...

true: "in accordance with fact or reality"--

We need a new word for what people say is "true" or "the truth" (when what they mean by "true" is merely their subjective opinion), just as the English language could use several words for what is inaccurately covered by the word "love."

MaryofSharon said...

Bravo, Fr. V.!

Just in the last few days, I caught myself writing I "feel" in an e-mails a couple of times, and realized that I absolutely did not want to say what I had to say that way. I found better words immediately: I "think", I "believe", "it seems to me" (if I have to be noncommittal), or "it is" (if I'm confident about it), ANYTHING but "I feel", unless of course I actually do feel something, like sick, or sad, or annoyed that everyone keeps saying they feel things when they ought to be thinking, not feeling.

It's all Yoda's fault: "Feel...don't think."