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Something about Mary
May 23, 2005 6:00 PM   Subscribe

Mary, quite contrary The Christianity Today weblog offers a fabulously dense post (pegged to this recent UK news story) about the Protestant embrace of Mary. Lots of fascinating links - including one from the blog of the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - will bring you up to speed on "the 'Protestants and Mary' deluge of the last three years." Hours of provocative reading for anyone interested in Christian sects.
posted by mediareport (25 comments total)

 
This gem from the SBTS president's blog says it best for why self-proclaimed evangelicals might/should have a problem with veneration of (praying to) Mary:

In the final analysis, evangelical Christians should gladly affirm every truth about Mary revealed in the Scripture, gladly receiving her as a model of piety, devotion, and faithfulness. Nevertheless, Mary is not presented as sinless, and her faith at times is clearly tested by the circumstances of Jesus' life and the content of his teaching. Yet, it is Mary who was the obedient young virgin in whom Jesus Christ was conceived, and it is she who was the faithful mother who stood at the foot of the cross until the end. But, affirming all that the Scripture reveals about Mary, we must take care to go not even one step further.

This is one of the main reasons that many evangelicals regard Catholicism as a cult. The elevation of Mary to one who hears and answers prayer, and is without sin, sounds a lot like deification to evangelicals.
posted by bugmuncher at 6:21 PM on May 23, 2005


Hours of provocative reading for anyone interested in Christian sects.

Good Christians only have sects when they want to procreate.
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:40 PM on May 23, 2005


Is that 'missionary' sects?
posted by UseyurBrain at 6:47 PM on May 23, 2005


I liked the snarkiness aimed at both sides in this bit from the CT weblog:

From "repugnant to the Word of God" to "provable by Scripture." Seems the Anglicans just spit on their history and doctrine...The Roman Catholics, meanwhile, simply reaffirmed the dogmas their church has proclaimed since the ancient days of 1854 and 1950.

Ouch. Am I the only one who laughed at the sarcastic tone there?
posted by mediareport at 9:00 PM on May 23, 2005


Praying to Mary, like worshipping Jesus, is inconsistent with monotheism. Thus you know the "'regular' Christians" are mushrikun.
posted by davy at 9:32 PM on May 23, 2005


Well, bugmuncher, not just evangelicals, but protesants generally, at least back in the day. The near-deification of Mary was, in my case anyway as a kid brought up Lutheran (non-Evangelical branch), held up as the most obvious example of how we had different beliefs from the Catholics.

Seemed like a pretty big deal at the time. Now I think not so much.
posted by hackly_fracture at 9:32 PM on May 23, 2005


I wouldn't be surprised if this veneration of Mary by Protestants might have to do with anti-abortion sentiment. For some pro-lifers, anyone who has an abortion is potentially someone who could abort Christ. As long as the Virgin Mary is the standard, every pregnancy becomes the equivalent of the Annunciation.
posted by jonp72 at 9:34 PM on May 23, 2005


They don't like the Catholics, yeah, but a cult? I mean they are just as much a cult. Heretics maybe but they've been yelling that at each other forever, I don't understand how Marian doctrine makes one more a cult than the other.

Catholics think that anybody in heaven can hear appeals, and they keep a big list of those ppl who they have officially decided did get to heaven, i.e. saints. Those people can talk directly to God and in theory persuade him to do stuff.

Mary might be the "big" saint, but she's not the only one. You can, (I think), venerate anybody who is in heaven. Everybody up there is a saint, there are however only some that are officially recognized as known saints on earth.

In fact I'm pretty sure that becoming a saint has less to do with how you lived in life, and more to do with how many miracles you have performed after you died, which would prove you are in fact in heaven. (I'm not saying that a rash of Hitler-related miracles would result in his elevation to recognized sainthood, but living well isn't sufficient).

Like if some relic (relic can mean, like, your severed finger) you left behind miraculously cured a dying person, or if somebody asked you to ask God for some miracle and it was granted, that is actual evidence of sainthood, I'm pretty sure.

So if ya want people to pray to you, have some lock of hair saved after you die and instruct people in your will to try and cause a miracle with it.
posted by SomeOneElse at 9:46 PM on May 23, 2005


Yep. Catholics are cult. Back in the 60s as a young lad I stayed with my right-wing nut-case religious freak cousins. They were big on tracts, and pamphlets. One monthly pub always had a story on the "Cult of the Month."

One hot July it was indeed the Catholics.

It bothered them out that Catholics had statues (or, as they called them, "graven images," in their churches.

Wild, huh?
posted by cccorlew at 9:55 PM on May 23, 2005


Catholics invoke saints as intermediaries. No Catholic with any wits thinks Mary or any other saint is divine and capable of answering prayers. For goodness sake! Statues = idol worship? That is laughable indeed. Do the poor souls who say such things have no pictures of friends and family? Not even a bobble head doll or Barbie?
posted by Cranberry at 10:09 PM on May 23, 2005


Hey, anybody who fucked god must have some interesting stories to tell. Wonder why Mary's were ignored?

Cool t-shirt: I aborted christ.
posted by telstar at 10:13 PM on May 23, 2005


I once had an ... enlightening conversation with my Southern Baptist friend, one who was astonished that I would call Catholics "Christians". From her point of view, Catholicism was as much a deviation from the Bible as Mormonism.

Of course, it was an evangelical sect that I knew which had a schism between the snake-handlers and the speakers-in-tongues.
posted by dhartung at 10:14 PM on May 23, 2005


Somehow anyone that follows a group with less than 600 years of history behind it calling a group with 2000ish years of history a cult is a bit much for me.

As someone who was raised Catholic, I never saw a problem in praying to Mary. Doing so wasn't making her an equal to God, just that from her heavenly position she might be able to intercede (ok, I never really put much thought into it until now).
posted by drezdn at 10:30 PM on May 23, 2005


The SBC: Making more and more people atheist everyday.
posted by Hands of Manos at 11:19 PM on May 23, 2005


Statues = idol worship? That is laughable indeed. Do the poor souls who say such things have no pictures of friends and family? Not even a bobble head doll or Barbie?

Is there an organized religion that prays to (or "through") statues of Barbie or bobble head dolls? It's not the "graven images" part, but the "worshipping" them that's the biggie. Whether you think of them, or saints they represent, as (semi-) divine beings or as wee ghosties who scamper up to whisper in your favor into YHWH's ear, you're still worshipping them when you invoke and pray to them. "O Saint Whatsit please help me get an A on my math test! " And if you don't think Catholics pray TO the saints you must not be Catholic.

And drezdn, the point of Protestantism is "going back to the original faith that was perverted by the Papists"; from their point of view it's the Catholics who are the
newbies.

But who are the Baptists kidding? They're Trinitarians, i.e. heretics, blasphemers, polytheists. "The Lord our God is One" -- not three!

(Thank God I'm an atheist.)
posted by davy at 11:45 PM on May 23, 2005


>Ouch. Am I the only one who laughed at the sarcastic tone there?

Probably.

In other news.
posted by gsb at 2:04 AM on May 24, 2005


Wow, GSB, they seem to have have such a multicultural presence to relate to today's ilk.

My favorite out of the lot is:


Buddy Davis
Author, dinosaur sculptor
Buddy Davis not only has numerous music CDs to his credit, but is also an acclaimed dinosaur sculptor (whose handiwork will be on display at AiG’s Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky) and writer. Buddy is the co-author of the book The Great Alaskan Dinosaur Adventure, which tells the thrilling story of how he and his team found and documented unfossilized dinosaur bones.
Buddy will be performing throughout the conference week.

what the fuck is he performing? Singing "dem bones" while polishing his own?
posted by Hands of Manos at 5:13 AM on May 24, 2005


I once dated a Baptist. She'd done some missionary work in South America, and she was proselytizing at the home of a "Catholic" woman. When she told the woman that Jesus was the Savior, the woman promptly kicked her out of the house, informing her that Mary was the Savior and God.

Purely anecdotal, I can't back that up, and I'm certainly not claiming that such a view is representative of Catholics in South America or in general. But I do think it shows how easy it is to come to radical conclusions once you start including doctrine that is so obviously non-Scriptural. Maybe they should focus on working out the inconsistencies that are IN the Bible before they start adding to them.
posted by solotoro at 6:28 AM on May 24, 2005


the point of Protestantism is "going back to the original faith that was perverted by the Papists"

So they're Jewish then?
posted by drezdn at 7:07 AM on May 24, 2005


Having grown up Roman Catholic in the Third World, I can attest to a trend towards Marian deification which would make even the Pope cringe, if he weren't in on it. Not so much with the Jesuits, though, among whom I was raised.

Look up "Hail, Holy Queen" and "Mediatrix of all graces."
posted by brownpau at 7:07 AM on May 24, 2005


The near-deification of Mary was, in my case anyway as a kid brought up Lutheran (non-Evangelical branch), held up as the most obvious example of how we had different beliefs from the Catholics.

Me too. And my father's side of the family was Southern Baptist, so I absorbed a good deal of suspicion of Papistry.

As for the "Marian deification" stuff, it's natural for people to make use of any plausible excuse in the official religion to give vent to their natural impulse to seek some divine or quasi-divine figure closer to them than the Big Guy Behind the Clouds; official Islam has a similar problem with Sufi "saints," and Judaism with false messiahs (there are plenty of Lubavitchers who still believe in the defunct Rebbe).
posted by languagehat at 10:22 AM on May 24, 2005


My observation is that fundy Protestant groups like the SBC have less "official" teaching on things like this but more de facto teaching. Most Southern Baptists would agree on things like the Catholic Church's over-emphasis on Mary, the truth of creationism over evolution, etc., but would be hard pressed to come up with their denomination's official teaching or reasoning on any of these issues.

Meanwhile, the RCC seems to have much more official teaching, but individual Catholics seem to have a much broader variety of practice than do individual Baptists.

The official teaching on Mary by the RCC seems clear, but that teaching seems to be expanded or ignored by most Catholics I know.
posted by marcusb at 12:02 PM on May 24, 2005


Somehow anyone that follows a group with less than 600 years of history behind it calling a group with 2000ish years of history a cult is a bit much for me.

Evangelicalism in America is an offshoot of fundamnetalism, and is realistically less than 100 years old, more likely something like 60 years old.
posted by eustacescrubb at 5:27 PM on May 24, 2005


Isn't the age of the various sects beside the point? If a cult (any cult will do) were to become institutionalized in a society, does that make it somehow less of a cult? And unless you're prepared to assert that one particular sect has The Truth while all the others are simply made-up, what the heck difference does it make that one set of made-up beliefs has lasted longer than another for various political/historical reasons?
posted by mediareport at 6:22 PM on May 24, 2005


Mediareport, my loose reasoning is along the lines of quality businesses tend to stay around longer. With a religion that's been around 2000 years, you can be reasonably certain that it's not a cult where the leader will suddenly order everyone to commit suicide.

Having said that, looking at the definition of cult, any religion which isn't "the one true one" would be a cult, by definition.

(under the first definition from dictionary.com).
posted by drezdn at 10:53 PM on May 24, 2005


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