Creeds 2

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader thanks those of you who have commented about, or written him privately about, creeds. He supposes that until you start thinking about it you take for granted these (sometimes grand, and sometimes common) statements of faith.

Your Maximum Leader was particularly pleased that the very delightful Mrs P passed along a link to the Athanasian Creed. (NB to Mrs P.: Your Maximum Leader is sure he’d love your cold shellfish salad any time.) Gosh… It has been a long time since your Maximum Leader had seen those words. Indeed, he thinks that he last read the creed attributed to St. Athanasius in a religious education class at church when he was about 14. For those of you too lazy to click through on the link from Mrs P. here is the English text of that creed:

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlasingly. And the Catholic Faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is all One, the Glory Equal, the Majesty Co-Eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father Uncreate, the Son Uncreate, and the Holy Ghost Uncreate. The Father Incomprehensible, the Son Incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost Incomprehensible. The Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, and the Holy Ghost Etneral and yet they are not Three Eternals but One Eternal. As also there are not Three Uncreated, nor Three Incomprehensibles, but One Uncreated, and One Uncomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not Three Almighties but One Almighty.

So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not Three Lords but One Lord. For, like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say, there be Three Gods or Three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father, and of the Son neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

So there is One Father, not Three Fathers; one Son, not Three Sons; One Holy Ghost, not Three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is afore or after Other, None is greater or less than Another, but the whole Three Persons are Co-eternal together, and Co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity is Trinity, and the Trinity is Unity is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, must thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting Salvation, that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man.

God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the substance of His mother, born into the world. Perfect God and Perfect Man, of a reasonable Soul and human Flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His Manhood. Who, although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but One Christ. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into Flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by Unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one Man, so God and Man is one Christ. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into Hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.

You know something minionly readers… Just when he feared that Western Christendom was getting all soft and squishy (like the Smallholder) he reads something like the Athanasian Creed and he gets warm tingly feelings all over. Compared to the creeds offered up by your Maximum Leader yesterday, this is a creed with an edge. Indeed, if your Maximum Leader was inclinded to start a religion and write a creed for it, he would more likely want something edgy - like the Athanasian Creed - versus the gentle embrace of the Massai Creed from yesterday’s post.

Your Maximum Leader will have to do a little digging to learn ore about the Athanasian Creed. He knows that the Apostle’s Creed was orginially written to clarify the Church’s position against the heresy of Arianism. The Nicene Creed was a statement of the official Church position against the heresies of Arianism and of Gnosticism. Your Maximum Leader states this from a historical, not theological, perspective. This tidbit was mentioned in the podcast which provided the genesis of this post; as well as being mentioned in Lord Norwich’s great 3 volume history of Byzantium. He will have to figure out which heresy the Athanasian Creed was meant to combat. (Alas, your Maximum Leader doesn’t remember his heresies as much as he might like.)

A few people have asked your Maximum Leader to tell them more about his religious views and his creed. Unfortunately, many of you would be greatly disappointed if you were to know where he stands with his own personal concept of the creed. (And St. Athanasius would easliy judge that your Maximum Leader would be going to everlasting fire.) There isn’t much to tell. Your Maximum Leader will let this matter go in saying that his personal beliefs are likely more in line with Judaism, at this point, than with mainstream Christianity. And he says this knowing that one or two readers will immediately start praying for your Maximum Leader to be born again and thereby saved.

For any prayers you care to offer for his soul, your Maximum Leader is most grateful.

Of course, not all creeds are religious. If your Maximum Leader may fall back on that old canard of using a dictionary definition… Another definition of a creed is a system of belief, principles, or opinions. We don’t seem to have clear and concise political creeds anymore. We have political party platforms. And let your Maximum Leader go on the record saying they are turgid, miserable documents. Here is the last GOP platform. Here is the last DNC platform. Here is the Green Party platform. And finally, here is the Libertarian Party platform. The Libertarians, to their credit, have a preamble to their platform that is a political creed.

Since he asked yesterday, he’ll ask again today - but in a different form. Do you have a political creed? Have you ever thought about it? Should you?

These questions are much easier for your Maximum Leader to answer than are the religious creed questions. He suspects that they might be easier for you to answer as well.

For example, your Maximum Leader believes that: the role of government ought to be to protect the life, liberty, and property of its citizens; representative democracy is the worst form of government - except for all the others; all citizens ought to have equal justice under the law in open courts; the nature and scope of government powers ought to be limited; citizens should be encouraged to participate in a free market economy; and citizens have a duty to be informed participants in their political life. That is pretty simple. Of course, those simple tenets can each be expounded upon greatly. But that is a clear starting point. In fact, that creed is somewhat off-the-cuff. Your Maximum Leader is sure that you could come up with a nice off-the-cuff political creed as well.

Perhaps we should think more about political creeds. We have lots of cognitive dissonance in our political life. We like cheap produce, but we don’t like illegal immigrants who help provide it for us. We like low taxes, but we expect government financial support. We like making the world a better place, butwe can’t stand the military-political costs of doing so.

Perhaps a political creed might be a guide that we could measure our actions against. It could help show us how we ought to behave - politically at least. Think about it.

Carry on.

2 Comments

I’ve forgotten which heresy it was penned for but Unitarian/Universalism works today. Hmmn. Judiasim huh? Interesting. Seriously. Who doesn’t have doubts? It’s how we entertain our doubts that matter. Basil would probably have something more apt to say. I’m about to tuck into Malcolm Muggeridge’s book on faith. How he came to it is a miracle and I’m looking for



Rachel said:

I’d have to say that your off-the-cuff political creed pretty much resembles mine. And I’ll take it without any further modifications. I like my creeds–like the Shema–to be short and snappy. Just a few basic principles. The rest, as Hillel said, is commentary.



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