Saturday, February 23, 2013

Facebook Faith # 11 - Moral Desolation

I grew up in a Christian culture that valued the preaching of Leonard Ravenhill and men like him - so I have to comment on this poster I saw on Facebook.

Preachers like Ravenhill see the world as a decadent place that is getting worse all the time. The only solution available, from their perspective, is to make you like them. The world they see consists of Christians (who usually are not committed enough), enemies of the faith, and the yet to be converted.

This sour and depressing view of life is simply a carry-over of medieval religious masochism. They have exchanged whipping themselves with the lash, to whipping themselves and others with words and attitudes.

Leonard Ravenhill was born in 1907 and died in 1994. He saw amazing things. Aside from scientific advances, which would cause any person with awareness to whoop with joy, he lived through societal progression that had never been seen in human history. He saw women, children, minorities, and the poor go from being treated as property or second class humans, to becoming people with rights, desires, and freedoms they could rightfully claim. Moral desolation? I call that significant moral progression!

There are still many preachers like Leonard Ravenhill out there. They see Humanism, the desire for humanity to reach its best potential, as a threat to religious control. Religious control needs humanity to see itself as wounded, damaged, and unworthy.

I met Leonard Ravenhill once.  He was busy chastising some female classmates of mine (one to tears) for going out for ice cream together rather than attending his bible study.

I knew then, and believe more so now, that those girls spent their time more wisely by going out for ice cream.

5 comments:

Ma said...

I get tired of the "whole world is going to hell in a hand-basket" message,too. But maybe I'm not committed enough;)


Don said...

I think you stated it quite succinctly:
"There are still many preachers like Leonard Ravenhill out there. They see Humanism, the desire for humanity to reach its best potential, as a threat to religious control. Religious control needs humanity to see itself as wounded, damaged, and unworthy."

I used to think like Ravenhill. Thankfully, no more.

Jon Eastgate said...

That story about the icecream is so sad! There's a character in one of the Brother Cadfael books who's wryly described as having "all the Christian vitues except compassion". Perhaps in this case, humility. Still, we all know that icecream leads to sex so perhaps he was justified.

Andrew said...

Heh... Jon, I didn't recognize you for a second. You have a new profile situation. :)

I appreciated your CS Lewis piece. I actually had that Lewis line thrown at me recently... cause I did make the mistake of indicating that there are many of the teachings of Jesus I can still uphold... I like Lewis too much to hold that one against him, but I am surprised he never went back later and dealt with that one.

Jon Eastgate said...

Thanks Andrew. Re-reading Lewis with what I like to imagine is greater maturity, I find him a lot less convincing generally than when I was younger. He's still the thinking person's evangelical of choice, though, in my mind.

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