July 4, 2021 by lucieromarin
I pursued a line of thought into, it seemed, a dead end. It went as follows:
The foundational mysteries of the Christian faith (or that Christian faith which is loosely designated ‘mainstream’) are the Trinity and the Incarnation. If you accept that there is a Trinitarian, Incarnate God, and if you accept that the Trinitarian, Incarnate God has an enemy, you can then expect the enemy to have it in for the foundational mysteries of God. That is, you would expect the enemy of the Trinitarian God to hate God’s Trinity-ness more than His decision to create dandelions.
This being so, you would expect to see opposition to the foundational mysteries pop up in as many places as possible – even in apparently contradictory places – as the enemy roams about on perpetual mission. After all, the enemy of the Trinity can quite comfortably establish one false monotheistic religion and one false polytheistic religion, as long as both agree that the Trinity does not exist.
A Trinitarian, Incarnate, (and crucified) God cannot do this. A Trinitarian, Incarnate and crucified God cannot establish a multiplicity of religions which explicitly deny the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Crucifixion, and then say to Himself, “Oh, well, at least I got the bit about almsgiving right each time.” The devil, however, can live with almsgiving in any number of contexts, as long as his casualties get the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Crucifixion wrong.
So, for example, the explicit commitment to the denial of the Trinity and the Crucifixion as found in the doctrines of Islam and the Jehovah’s Witnesses seems less a co-incidence and more a pattern; the enemy does not care whether you read the Qu’ran or the Watchtower, as long as you conclude that Son was not the equal of the Father, and the Crucifixion never happened. Religions as diverse as Puritanism, Islam, neo-paganism, and the JWs share an opposition to mainstream Christmas, because the enemy doesn’t care what the reason for opposition is, as long as you don’t enter a church to adore the Christ-Child on Christmas Day.
Here, my experiment ran into its little cul-de-sac. The thought occurred to me that the JW prohibition of blood transfusions – given on the ground that transfusions constitute eating blood – also falls into this pattern. I hadn’t seen this previously, because I’d thought of the prohibition in relation to medicine, rather than in relation to eating. But the theme is there. JWs and Muslims can only consume meat from which the blood has been drained; the Latter-Day Saints are advised to eat meat only sparingly, and the Seventh Day Adventists are largely vegetarian. Why? Of all the themes to recur in post-Pentecost variations of monotheism, why would this be it?
I think the prohibition could viewed in tandem with other recurring themes, bundled together in a subcategory labelled something like ‘Rejection of the Signs of the of the New Covenant.’ (Thus, SDA, Muslim and JW alike reject Sunday as the Sabbath, either by retaining Saturday, moving it to Friday, or abolishing the Sabbath altogether). The Old Covenant prohibition against consumption of blood and unclean meats ended with Peter’s vision in Acts 10; the vision also led him to the conclusion that no people could be considered unclean. The introduction of formerly-unclean meat into the Jewish diet was the prelude to the introduction of Gentiles into the Church. So, the retention or restoration of this aspect of Old Covenant law signifies resistance to the New Covenant, and to apostolic authority; it’s not really about the pork; it’s about Peter. It also has the potential to perpetuate the ongoing division of peoples or classes into ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’.
Now, I’m not saying that the world is full of judgemental vegetarian Adventists and saintly Catholic carnivores. It isn’t. Sin abounds, and grace superabounds, with more intricacy of narrative than this, and we’re perfectly capable of finding our own ways to be horrible, with or without assistance from the Evil One. My point is only that I used to think that the JW objection to blood transfusions was a random quirk. Then I thought it was not a random quirk but was part of a pattern. Then I thought the pattern was odd, compared to more intelligible patterns such as resistance to the Trinity or to the Incarnation. Then I thought that resistance to the New Covenant is also a Thing, and that, if you wished to stir up resistance to the New Covenant, you would do this by stirring up attachments to the signs of the Old Covenant. You would be especially interested in that sign which relates to racial, religious and cultural separateness, for that sign is the opposite of the new unity first demonstrated at Pentecost and then in Peter’s vision.
Well, the world is full of people opposing each other, and I’m not sure anyone really has a monopoly on persecution-status. Even so, another thought occurred to me. Despite the many varieties of opposition in the world, there is one that’s consistently shared. Lock an evangelical Protestant, a Satanist, a Jehovah’s Witness, a Wiccan, a Seventh Day Adventist, a militant Islamic terrorist, a Russian Orthodox priest, an Hasidic Jew, an atheist, a Hindu nationalist, a neo-pagan, a woke feminist academic, and a Communist in a room and tell them that they cannot leave until they’ve found one religious point of agreement. Will they ever get out? They will – when they realise that they all think Catholicism is evil and must be stopped. What a co-incidence.