Wednesday, June 29, 2005

God Haters II

In the South particularly we find very few birthright Quakers. Most of us could be loosely described as refugees from a more conventional religion. Among them a relative few still have strongly emotional 'issues' with their former religious group.

More healthy minded Friends need to be very tender with these types.

Once a friend and Friend of mine told of becoming a Quaker in the fifties. But for 40 odd years he seemed compelled to review (often in meeting for worship) the despicable things he had been told by the terrible nuns.

It became tiresomely repetitive. Eventually someone proposed a healing service; we gathered around and everyone laid hands on him, and we actually had an exorcism. Our Friend seemed indeed to be freed from the need to give that message.

In outline (not just the 'exorcism', but the many weeks his trouble was patiently endured in the meeting) this seems the way to deal with the 'God-haters' in our midst.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud."
I Corinthians 13:4

As a dear old friend used to put it: love the hell out of 'em.

6 comments:

crystal said...

Hi Larry. Sometimes, after hearing about the bad experiences people have as Catholics, I wonder if you guys at David's scripture study blog are sorry you have a catholic like me in your midst. At one of the other sites I visit, there's been an on-going discussion of whether catholics are even christians :-(

Larry said...

On the contrary, Crystal, I and all the others (I believe) are delighted to have a Catholic in our group. I know many horror stories about Protestants, and only used my old friend because he's so close to my personal experience.

Incidentally my youngest son married a Catholic (a liberated one like you) and goes to mass with her. Last month we went to their son's christening (we call it baptizing).

My father was quite prejudiced against Catholics, but I believe I mercifully avoided his problem. I recall about 50 years ago meeting a Catholic who told me he didn't ask what church; he asked if you knew Christ; that's what I call a liberated Catholic.

This morning I prayed for Catholic patients in the hospital, the same prayer I pray for everyone else.

I respect you deeply, Chrystal for being broad enough to spend time with us.

As far as I'm concerned, we're all Christians together, and theological differences will melt away in God's good time.

crystal said...

Thank you, Larry. I was feeling that perhaps you guys might wish me gone after that insensitive William James quote I posted. Please forgive. I feel like you ... that the things we have in common are far greater than those we don't.

Larry said...

Crystal, The William James quote didn't bother me at all, but it really amazed me. I had given James more credit than that.

I tried unsuccessfully to locate the quote in the online file; I'm planning to get a hard copy at the library and see if maybe Fox is listed in the index.

In Fox's day the Quakers in general were considered odd, irregular, fanatic, and a few other complimentary terms.

In general today they seem to be held in high regard, although there's a 'jack-leg' preacher among the volunteer chaplains who informed me that Quaker girls were simply slaves and had to submit to the sexual attention of their fathers.

I called that severely in question, and probably soured my relationship with him.

So many of us have so far to go before we can recognize all men as brothers.

crystal said...

I can tell you where the quote is in the online version ... first go here to the book. If you scroll down, you'll come to a place that says "Lecture I". Under that is a subtitle called - Advantages of the psychopathic temperament when a superior intellect goes with it - link to it . If you then ask your computer to search for the word Fox, you should see the quote ... it's the eleventh paragraph down when viewed on my computer.

This book is actually a series of lectures James gave. He wasn't anti-Quaker at all - I think he had a lot of respect for the Quakers. If you keep reading, you'll see that he is saying that although the psychlogists of his time thought religious experience = insanity, the important thing was not the source of the religious info, but the lasting value of that info in society. Basically, James was a pragmatist and he respected what worked ... he thought Quakerism worked.

And he lets everybody have it, not just George Fox :-) ... here's another quote ...

Medical materialism seems indeed a good appellation for the too simple-minded system of thought which we are considering. Medical materialism finishes up Saint Paul by calling his vision on the road to Damascus a discharging lesion of the occipital cortex, he being an epileptic. It snuffs out Saint Teresa as an hysteric, Saint Francis of Assisi as an hereditary degenerate. George Fox's discontent with the shams of his age, and his pining for spiritual veracity, it treats as a symptom of a disordered colon. Carlyle's organ-tones of misery it accounts for by a gastro-duodenal catarrh. All such mental over-tensions, it says, are, when you come to the bottom of the matter, mere affairs of diathesis (auto-intoxications most probably), due to the perverted action of various glands which physiology will yet discover.

Larry said...

Thank you, Crystel. I think I understand: James used St. Theresa, Paul, and Fox as horrible examples of the attitude that 'medical science' in his day viewed religion. Pretty gross.

Unfortunately I've known some medical practitioners even today with similar attitudes.

And of course a 'sin-numero' of what I've been calling God-haters who put religion in the dust bin in the same way.

What is to be done?