About a decade ago, I noticed a trend. Whenever I pointed out to liberal Mormons that some vastly silly proposal of theirs would wreck the Church, merely because it had wrecked all the other churches where it had been tried, I got two kinds of responses.
From the progressives in Mormon skins, the response was indifference. The Church was not their allegiance, progressivism was, so they did not care.
From the genuine Mormons who were merely colonized by progressivism–the ones where the infection had not killed off their faith yet–the response was more irenic. No, they assured me, this was God’s church so he would never let bad things happen to it.That same beautiful irenicism cropped up elsewhere. Perfectly ordinary Mormons–at various times, in various ways–seemed to think that as long as they were “doing the right thing”-usually pretty narrowly defined–God was sure to smooth the path before them.
Even otherwise conservative Mormons have expressed doubt that God expects celibacy from the homosexual–or rather, they have expressed confidence that He does not–because celibacy would be hard. When I point out that homosexuality clearly does not work within the family framework of reality that the gospel teaches, they smile sweetly. Oh, they say, God will figure something out.
Mutatis mutandi, I have had the same sort of conversation about media exposure. Sure, it seems like a bad thing to expose oneself and one’s kids to a diet of mockery from the Great and Spacious Building but . . . (hand wave) God . . .
There is a positive sense in which God is a God of the gaps. But too many of us have come to see God as a God of the gaps in a stupid way. When we see that our attempts to Medize with the world are bound to lead to disaster, we expect God to make up the difference. We believe that if we throw ourselves off the temple, He will catch us:
Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God
Where this failing comes from, I don’t know. Perhaps it is simply weakness.
Perhaps it comes from an incomplete account of God’s character. Our Loving Father is a Stern Father. He has something of the paterfamilias about Him.
Perhaps it comes from an incomplete understanding of what loving family relationships are. The children are not passive objects of the parents’ love. Love is always reciprocal. It requires something from and rewards both sides. God wants us to enter into a fuller, ever more loving relationship with Him. His immediate object is not our lotus-eating bliss.
Perhaps it comes from an incomplete understanding of evil.
To deny the existence of Satan and the reality of his evil power and influence is as foolish as ignoring the existence of electricity. We know electricity is real; we see and feel its power. We also know about war, hatred, backbiting, false witnesses, cheating, and the broken hearts and broken homes caused by the moral sins of modern Babylon. Do members of this church feel a lack of evidence in the reality of Satan and his power?
Orthodox Catholics, on the other hand, believe the Church is indestructible, in which case she may be confronted with sinners and heretics but never by a true existential enemy. They thus resemble in political ineptness the Gnostics, as described by Voegelin, who forget the contingency of their social order’s existence, retreat into an essentialist dream world, and respond to exterior threats with ineffectual virtue-signaling.