And to illustrate this let me revisit - maybe for the last time - something I've been hammering into the ground for the past few weeks.
I begin with an end, or a summation. Here Dawn Eden mirrors Kevin Tierney's Common Sense Catholicism article in which he tries to sum up what's been wrong with Matt McGuiness' three-part series on Pornography at CNA. I think we're all a bit tired of dealing with this, and you're probably tired of reading about it. And Tierney does a solid job of summing up what he thinks is wrong - and what many of us have been saying is wrong - with the Christopher West inspired approach of McGuiness to sex.
But this whole controversy has taught me the most amazing things about the difference between Christ and the world.
And that difference is this: the world is all about desire, or getting what we want.
Christ is all about sacrifice, or about giving others what they need. For Christ desire is fulfilled only when its selfish element is frustrated; satisfaction is found in self-sacrifice and our climax is our defeat.
It seems to me that, even from an entirely natural point of view, the Bible is the most profound book ever written on psychology, on the human soul, the nature of the human mind and heart. Scripture teaches us the most amazing truths about who we are, truths it has taken thousands of years for us to understand. This is true whether you buy into the supernatural revelation or not. For instance from Scripture we learn ...
- Man is a glorious creature, but there's something wrong with him, and he's not exactly what he ought to be - from Genesis 3 on down. If left to himself he will make himself more miserable than not. This is because he won't listen to God (or even plain reason), and he wants to run things his way. The Jews called this sin. There is no better word for it. It is the most constant element in human nature.
- Man prefers a god of his own making to the God of reality. The unreal will never satisfy us, but we always seek it and we always put our faith in it, even though it always lets us down.
- If we ever met the perfect man, we would kill him.
- He who loses his life will find it. Only sacrifice will make us content. But Christopher West and Matt McGuiness talk incessantly about desire, about what we want. Love is not about wanting and taking, but about renouncing and giving. That is the essence of love, and we see that stamped for all eternity by a cross on a hill.
These insights are psychological only - they might mention "God", but "God" could be the "god of your understanding". These insights say nothing of atonement, redemption, resurrection, etc. There is nothing particularly supernatural in these insights, some of which are four thousand years old, and none of which has been surpassed by any literature, art or psychology since.
The fact is that even if you go only so far as natural psychology and stop there, the Bible gets it more right than anything else, except for those works that are inspired by the Bible and build on it. This alone is a strong indication of the supernatural origin of Scripture.
But my point is simply this: if you follow the Westians to their wild wild West, you'll find plenty of desire, but never any sacrifice; plenty of sex but very little love; a world full of wants, but never the wife and kids, the hearth and home.
West is pop-Catholicism, but it's a hollow pop and like soda-pop it's hardly very filling.