Adelaide Southern Cross in Adelaide, South-Australia 6 Jun 1947
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Adelaide Southern Cross (Newspaper) - June 6, 1947, Adelaide, South Australia
National Library of Australia radio replies More about prof. Murdoch s Catholic Church if pro. My Binai s Church Engineer Sydney replying in the Sydney morning Hera i to the question is a Church essential to a nation s Well being professor Murdoch said the. Holy Catholic Church is the embodiment of the religion of the that happens to be True though professor Murdoch does not for a moment intend the sense in which it is True. He advocates a religion of the spirit which is in reality the disembodied spirit of religion divorced from any association with a Church. And it is this ethereal abstraction that he wishes to Call the holy Catholic Church without any regard for the proper meaning of those words. \ infinite history its history he declares goes Back into the infinite azure of the past a tale of saints and martyrs beyond the history of the holy Catholic Church does not go Baek into the infinite azure of the it goes Back to Christ and the apostles at a very definite epoch in history not infinitely Remote. It is a history of saints and martyrs beyond number ing though professor Murdoch s list of those who should be included amongst them must be rejected As utterly fantastic. Saint mixture among the members of that glorious Fellowship he says Are Socrates and Spinoza Plato and St. Paul Marcus Aurelius and Abraham Lin Coln Francis of Assisi and Flor ence Nightingale St. Catherine of Siena and Voltaire Emerson and John Stuart that list of the saints and martyrs of the holy Catholic Church overlooks the fact that Socrates Spinoza Plato Marcus Aurelius Abraham Lincoln Florence Nightingale Emerson and John Stuart Mill were not catholics and never even professed to be catholics. And Voltaire though a Catholic was neither a Saint nor a Martyr. Professor Murdoch might say but they All fit in with what i choose to Call saints and martyrs and i regard them All As belonging to what i choose to Call the holy Catholic Church " but anyone can do that kind of thing if he is pre pared to make words mean what they Don t mean and attach a sense to them nobody else accepts. Battle of Hie Blind men and women of Many races and diverse creeds continues professor Murdoch s rhapsody soldiers in the eternal warfare of Good and evil spending their lives in the cause of the right As they saw so they spent their lives in the cause of the right As they saw it. It apparently does t matter whether they saw it rightly or not so Long As they were sincere. One would think that in the warfare of Good and evil one of the first things Neces sary would be to know what is the Good and what is the evil. But no. If a Man mistakes evil for Good and fights for the evil thinking it Good that s All right. He is fighting for the right As he sees it. So a struggling writhing mass of human beings of Many races and diverse creeds even though they Are pagans and reject Christ altogether provided they Are sincere Are the one holy Catholic Church holy because they mean Well Catholic because Al though they Are divided in belief they Don t know who is right and a Church to which most of them Don t even profess to belong. Who can regard that As anything but fantastic nonsense h. G. Wells a. G. Wells when he wrote the outline of history continues pro Fessor Murdoch was still am. Optimist and saw a possible rebirth of this truly Catholic Church i speak of he would have been an Optimist in deed if he Ever thought such a queer concern As professor Murdoch has in mind could Ever have been born at All let alone re born. Out of the trouble and tragedy of this present time wrote or. H. G. Wells there May emerge a moral and intellectual revival _ a religious revivals of a simplicity and scope to draw together my of alien rates and now discrete traditions into one world s selections from the question Box session conducted by Rev. Or. Rumble broadcast from station 2sm every sunday night religion is primarily the service of god not the service of the world. The welfare of the world is a by product of the service of god. H. G. Wells was the apostle of & materialistic Liberal civilisation which affirms that Man is Only a highly evolved animal that evil is due Only to ignorance and can be cured by education and that the primary purpose of life is Comfort and Prosperity on Earth. Wells openly professed to be an anti Christian and to suggest that his principles could Ever be productive of a holy Catholic Church of any kind is ludicrous. From bad to worse the trouble and tragedy of to Day _ added professor Murdoch Are More evident to us All than when Wells wrote of course they Are. And they Are the logical outcome of the material ism advocated by Wells and other Popula risers of his kind. And the trouble and tragedy will grow worse unless there is a widespread return to the christianity on which these men have poured their contempt. Addressing the University of Penn Sylvania Walter Lippman said modern educators deny the Princi Ples logic values and spirit of the Christian religion which produced our civilisation. Therefore they Are destroying it. They talk of the tragic follies of politicians lawyers business men of the press and of labor leaders. But they educated these people and arc themselves to and pro Fessor Murdoch s article can be ranked Only As one More Effort to offer people a Well Sian substitute for the Christian religion a substitute which can Only tend to increase rather than remedy the trouble and tragedy of to Day. Now i have covered practically the whole of professor Mur Doch s article. With the remaining Section i will Deal next week. Cicely Neill Dunedin . Would you kindly comment on the enclosed paragraph from the women s Section of the". Daily exporter of april 1? the cutting you Send consists of a letter written by a protestant woman under the Nom de plume Cricket and it is quite evident that she has Only the protestant churches in mind. Let us take her problem. Wonder she writes if you or somebody else could give any explanation of something that has puzzled me on Reading her letter i find it difficult to resist the conclusion that she has rather wanted to attack the churches than to secure information. My reason for saying that will be Clear As we go on. Protestant apathy one often hears quoted she de clares the deeply religious instincts of our grandparents Hen they read and knew their bibles and full at Tendance at Church every sunday was the understood thing. In those Days Church services were lengthy affairs not Quick and Bright As they mostly Are it is quite evident As i have said that she is speaking As a protestant with Only the protestant churches in mind. Yet in those Days she continues disgraceful conditions flourished and were condoned i refer to child labor m factories the building of wicked slum houses in the towns and the accepted idea of the Tvorik ing class being a lower order just a Shade better than those evils were the fruit of the Industrial movement which began in England in the 17th Century. The wave of industrialism with its congested towns came Well after the protestant reformation had swept away the traditional doctrines of Catholic social ethics and people were Little conscious of social duties. Poli tical changes had identified the Church of England with the ruling Aristo Cracy whilst the nonconformist churches taught a religious individualism of personal salvation in which one s own soul and god and nobody else really mattered. These things with Many other Complex ele ments of political and economic policy tended to divert attention from the general social welfare. Irreligious Progress now she writes people Are labelled irreligious and Many churches complain of half hearted member ship that again refers to the protes. Tant churches this lady has in mind. The Catholic Church certainly has to complain of dwindling congregations. Yet the general Outlook on life is far More Christian child Tabor has been abolished slum clearance is being carried out and it is realised that Given the Chance All human beings have the same Powers of a More humanitarian Outlook on life is not necessarily a More Chris Tian Outlook. To ignore the demands of social Justice and profess religion is not genuine christianity. But neither is it genuine christianity to ignore religion and devote oneself to social Reform. What of the Church ? is it that the Church As an Organ ised body was hypocritical a Hun dred years ago and merely behind the times now the protestant churches cannot be called an organised Between them they constitute hundreds of differently organised bodies. Those who belonged to those churches a Hundred years ago were not necessarily hypocrites because they failed to advert to their social obligations. The inadequate religious and ethical principles they had been taught were insufficient to Cope with the Rise and growth of Industrial capitalism. The abuses that inevitably developed led the workers themselves to organise and create a general social conscious Ness which has resulted in Many improvements. Meantime if protestant workers have largely drifted from their churches Catholic workers have not drifted from the Catholic Church comprising As they do by far the greater part of her full congregations. In the Brief time at my disposal of course i have been Able to do no More than touch the fringe of an exceedingly Complex problem. But i have said enough to show that the writer of the letter you submit for comment has very confused ideas and that she certainly oversimplifies things when she thinks All can be explained by saying that christians were hypocrites in the past and Are out of touch with social realities now. Ancient Mariner Ryde in his latest Book the Rise of christianity Bishop Barnes of Bir Mingham asserts that the miracles described in the gospels Are allegories and of awful possibilities evolved into accepted historical you rightly say that he asserts that. He cannot do More than assert it and he does so against the Evi Dence and against the very Princi Ples of the preconceived theory to which he is determined to adjust his interpretation of the gospels. Take his theory. He starts off with the Assumption that there is an analogy Between religious development and biological theories of evolution. But the gospel accounts were written Al together too Early to allow sufficient time for Mere allegories and fanciful possibilities to evolve into accepted historical it is Bishop Barnes who is indulging in fanciful speculations. Again take the evidence. If there is one thing certain it is that the gospels Are essentially concerned with facts. They offer Plain and forthright statements about things done by god for the human race. The evangelists offer us not personal theories or creations of High poetic fancy but a factual description of a set of divine actions. And their one dread was lest they might be found false witnesses of god i Cor. Xiv 15. The anglican scholar Bishop Westcott in his introduction to the study of the gospels p. 404, rightly says christianity is essentially Mira Culous. This is a postulate of biblical criticism and it follows that miraculous circumstances Are in exactly the same position in the gos Pel history As natural circumstances in common but Bishop Barnes begins with the prejudice All rationalists have against the possibility of miracles. By Hook or by Crook he has to deny them and try to explain them away. And he sets out to foist upon simpletons in the name of science assured results which turn out to be nothing else than Guesswork based on most in scientific assumptions. Gospel accounts Bishop Barnes further declares that myth and Marvel steadily become More in evidence As the Story moves to the burial and resurrect the myth talk we can dismiss As merely an expression of Bishop Barnes cherished unbelief. That the miraculous is in the category of the marvellous is True. But that miracles become More and More in evidence As the gospel Story moves to the burial and resurrection is not True. Such a statement Only shows once More the theorist s contempt for facts. The gospels Are concerned chiefly with the Public life of Christ that is with the last three years he devoted to his Public ministry. His miracles Are very evenly interwoven with their account. Naturally our knowledge of them increases As we go on read ing the gospel accounts but they do not become More and More numer Ous in the gospel accounts themselves As those accounts move on towards their conclusion. The resurrection when we come to the resurrection Bishop Barnes tells us that we Are in the Domain of religious Romance not religious Bishop Barnes is himself taking Refuge in the Domain of irreligious Romance. Without any question the writers of the gospels and St. Paul intended their readers to understand that the Tomb was empty because Christ had actually risen from the dead. Both jews and romans could have nipped christianity in the Bud by showing that the Tomb was not empty. Likewise the writers of the gospels and St. Paul intended to describe real self manifestations of Jesus after his resurrection. To accuse them of romancing and of not talking historical facts does violence to their character ignores entirely the sudden and almost incredible change in the apostles from despair to enthusiasm and from timidity to courage and brands the first christians in a position to verify the Story As a pack of credulous fools. The new myth Bishop Barnes does insist of course that independently of whether Christ s body was reanimated the resurrection remains one of the essential truths of it is strange that a Man who pro fesses such a contempt for mythology should reduce the resurrection to a myth and then assert his own continued belief in that myth St. Paul said uncompromisingly if Christ be not risen again then is our preach ing vain and your Faith is also i Cor., Xiv 14. The position adopted by Bishop Barnes May satisfy him self but it will satisfy neither the unbelieving rationalist nor the Chris Tian. Whatever Joy the rationalist May find in this attack on the gospel miracles and the resurrection by an anglican Bishop he will be disgusted that Bishop Barnes should still pro fess to believe in religion. The Chris Tian on the other hand will resent the fact that a Man who still pro fesses to believe in it should offer the world such warped and distorted ideas As a substitute for genuine christianity. There i must Stop for the present. Next week i will Dis cuss the question of infant baptism. Shy Iii sum. Mrs. Clews Sydney As a student of the Bible i cannot see Amy justification for the Observance of sunday instead of Satur Day. Nor will you find any justification in the Bible for the idea that christians Are obliged to observe saturday. Our lord Jesus Christ always preached the gospel to the people on the jewish Sabbath or Satur he preached his doctrine on any Day and far More often on Days other than the Sabbath even As he taught far More often an the open air than in the synagogues. As a student of the Bible you seem to have been singularly inattentive to what is there described., continued top of neat column
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