BENEDICTINE DECONSTRUCTION

. Self reconstruction of Greek Memory by Darwin Leon www.darwinleon.com

LOGOS X BENEDICTINE DECONSTRUCTION BY DAVID ARTHUR WATLERS

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PRIMEVAL FOREPLAY

Incest is a common practice in this sorry world of ours, but for the Lord‟s sake it should be officially abhorred outside of the first family, particularly between mother and son. In ancient Egypt and other lands incest was the publicly acknowledged privilege of the royal family alone, usually between brother and sister. Myth has it that the nuclear family itself, the primeval Trinity of Father, Son, and Mother, originated with the Virgin Mother or Holy Ghost, who, out of Nothing, bore the Son, who was at once the Father, and he, by virtuous intercourse with her, produced the human race. Thus was humankind blessed in the Name of the Mother, the Father and the Son, As One. “Who then is the Mother of the Gods?” asked Emperor Julian the Philosopher in Neo-Platonic terms. “She is the Source of the Intelligible and Creative Powers, which direct the visible ones; she that gave birth to and copulated with the mighty Jupiter.” Genesis would be simpler if only the Father Almighty were capable of giving virgin birth to all of creation himself, say, off the top of his head, just by giving the word as world and naming the things he wanted in it. Was not that the way it was in the beginning? Why not then leave well enough alone? Does not the world have enough words to decipher to begin with? Why erect a totem pole, make of the wordin-itself a totem named Logos? Odd as this might seem, certain men, who were once male-female in the womb, have a way of becoming metaphorical mothers after birth. They are anxious to give virgin birth to all sorts of things, including fully manned metaphysical dirigibles upheld by fuzzy logic. Or at least they believe their metaphorical conceptions are immaculate, and would fain crowd out all other gods with their cosmic inflations. Eventually the universe itself might be copyrighted and the author‟s originality, heretofore obscured by space-time, shall be proven to be identical with the one and only Origin.

THE EROTIC CABAL

The medieval Judaic theology of the Cabalists utilizes explicitly erotic images to convey the relationship between humans and their father-god, whose divine presence among Jews – called Shekhinah, a term derived from a root word meaning to dwell or

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to abide, and connoting the glorious presence of the deity – took female form in such images as the community of Israel, earth, moon, sea, bride, mother, daughter, sister, tabernacle and throne. Jewish feminists are inclined to refer to the deity in the feminine case, as Shekhinah, which in its lower case is the tenth and bottommost luminous sefirot on the Tree of Life, its upper case being the third light-vessel of the sefirot‟s Supernal Triad; namely, Binah, or Understanding, aka Imma, “the mother.” The Radiance (Zohar) informs us that the divine womb emanating from the “unknown concealed one,” the hidden source of emanation, the Beginning Point or Infinitesimal Nothing called the Ein Sof, is a palace called Elohim, wherein is sown the seed of Hokhmah, the divine father. “Radiance! Sowing seed for its glory. Like the seed of fine purple silk wrapping itself within, weaving itself a palace, constituting its praise, availing all.” As Daniel K. Matt, translator and commentator for the Priztker Edition of The Zohar published by Stanford University in 2004, explains: “The purpose of emanation is to display the hidden God, which is achieved through a rhythm of revelation and concealment: only by concealing itself can the overwhelming light be revealed. The point expands into a circle, a palace.” In this case Elohim, the plural form of the deity denoting all those blessed with the Lord‟s Light, refers to the palatial estate of Binah or Understanding, the feminine Logos above, and Shekhinah, her presence below. Binah the Supernal Mother is naturally associated with goddesses such as Artemis, Isis, and the Virgin Mary, whose Hebrew nominal form is Miriam, the High Priestess whose biblical element is Water. The name Binah is rooted in a term meaning „between.‟ Binah distinguishes between things; that is, between the issue born forth from her waters through the birth canal; hence Binah, the “high Shekhinah” or divine glory, is the transcendental goddess of Wisdom, Our Lady of Conception, also referred to as Mistress of Seas and Goddess of Wide Waters. The presence of Shekhinah, Spirit-Mother of Israel and Lord‟s Glory, the mother country man takes with him when exiled from the womb, is felt as the “oceanic feeling” that Sigmund Freud ascribed to exalted religious sentiment. The nursing woman with her ocean of milk at the beginning of the world and the world itself are both “Mother,” the Unity that Gertrude Stein called Composition, composing the pulsing life of the living egg-cell, underlying every form of experience. Anthropologist and psychoanalyst Geza Roheim studied the dream-world myths and rituals of Australian aborigines. He noted that “each Aranda or Juritja native has an immortal part or spirit double, whose immortality consists in eternally rejoining the Mother in the sacred totemic cave. From time to time they reidentify themselves with the eternal in them.” The “oceanic feeling” of the “dual unity situation is something we all experience in our own lives; it is the bond that unites

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mother and child.” Further, “In totemic magic the destroyed mother is reanimated and in totemic sacrament, eternal union of the mother and child is effected…. The old and decrepit men of the tribe become young and glorious once more. Covered with birds‟ down, the life symbol, they are identified with the eternally youthful ancestors. Mankind, the eternal child, splendide mendax, rise above reality…. The path is Eros, the force that delays disintegration; and hence the promise held forth in the daydream and in its dramatization is no illusion after all. The tjuringa which symbolizes both male and female genital organ, the primal scene and combined parent concept, the father and the mother, separation and union…represent both the path and the goal.” The painful separation is then denied: “The eternal ones of the dream are those who have no mothers; they originated of themselves. Their immortality is a denial of the separation anxiety. Separation from mother is painful; the child represented in myth is fully formed, even before it enters the mother. The tjurunga from which it is born is both a phallic and a maternal symbol.” In terms of postmodern deconstruction, Binah the Supernal Mother, in abstract contrast to the presence of Shekhinah felt below, is Jacques Derrida‟s beloved Differánce, The Between that sheds splendid light on all differences and is that Nothing or virtual space from which all differences have their becoming; the primal origin of The Scheme. The meaning of something signified by the term we assign to it lies in the difference between it and the something else signified by its term; language aims at precision in expression of clear thought, but precisely what one thing and another thing have in common, the generic thing-in-itself, and exactly how they differ, we cannot think and say: We are never quite what we really are or the other we must ideally be. We never utter quite what we mean, nor do we mean quite what we say, wherefore the very purpose of language, to precisely express what we mean, forever eludes us. The difference between the meaning of one word and another can only be explained with other words, the meaning of which in turn depends upon others. Indeed there is always yet another meaningful word that must be brought into play, and still the meaning is not yet fully comprehended. In other words, the difference upon which meaning depends is always deferred, for there is always yet another word, for something else again, that by virtue of comparison things might be better known – the word, then, the messenger or messiah, reiterates the world to come. Nothing can be understood outside of its context, but given the dynamic nature of time and the fact that the sensation necessary to perception itself depends on change, the web we weave, the context itself, is in flux. Hence each time a text is read its meaning differs from the last reading, and the more sensitive a person is to change, the greater the difference. A book or play or movie might be seen in an entirely different light from time to time; indeed, a particular movie may not be recognized as seen before until more than half the film is viewed, leading the viewer to wonder who she or he is.

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In a state of flux everything is deferred by Differánce: The meaning of the Messiah or Logos, for example, shall not be fully comprehended until the advent of the messiah, which is deferred until the final moment, which is the perfect reiteration of the original moment, but there was no such perfect moment from which all things spring hence there shall be no such final settlement; our language is merely a figurative trace of what we would express; our speech is smoke blowing in the wind; our language scarcely scratches the surface of the reality we would fain identify. The world plays a game with us and we build houses of cards to save ourselves. Salvation on the whole is postponed until the final moment, that of perfect being. Adam and Eve, for instance, so violently divorced (diremption) shall in that moment, when heaven and earth are one, be reconciled (redeemed), or so we pray in the Name of the Past, the Present, and the Future as One. The difference between twain changes over time. Derrida perceived the social differences between male and female, master and slave, citizen and alien, as centres of violence, violent hierarchies that must be deconstructed or analyzed; in the final analysis he found the nothing-in-itself seeming responsible for being and becoming, the differential he called Differánce. So by Differánce Derrida meant difference and deferral, and yet he insisted that Differánce is not itself a word or concept denoting a thing. The Between is Nothing, really, yet implies everything. Differánce is the all-wise one, without whom nothing can be traced, figuratively speaking, yet we find her lacking everything and ourselves in want of a suitable metaphor. Binah, the “understanding” rooted in “between,” is comparable to the feminine case of Logos; i.e., Wisdom of Judeo-Christian lore, female consort of the male Messiah. The Hebrew rulers dwelt on their females or “thrones” at the highest level, as did the pharaoh whose throne was Isis – her hieroglyph depicts a throne – but the Hebrew goddess, African wife to El, was duly concealed by the patriarchal purdah. The Holy Ghost is sometimes referred to in the feminine context of Shekhinah: Origen himself quoted the apocryphal gospel of the Hebrews: “My mother the Holy Ghost took me a moment ago by one of my hairs, and carried me away to the great Mount Tabor.” The Ophites among others referred to the Holy Ghost as the “first woman” and the “mother of all living” who was beloved by the “first man.” The Holy Ghost of the Trinity is the missing link, the mother of the nuclear family. Nonetheless, lest misanthropic lesbian Cabalists render a one-sided misconstruction of the feminine nominative case of Shekhinah, they should be remember that one of the tablets of Moses is male, and that anthropomorphic Shekhinah is only fe-male when on the receiving end of emanations from above; s/he is masculine in regard to those below, to whom she conveys the divine efflux in her Ark. Shekhinah houses the Covenant or Phallus of Joseph, the sefirah named Yesod, the Foundation Seed; to wit, the Name: Shekhinah is the feminine form of the Name;

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that is to say, of the Word dilated – Memra or Logos – the Wisdom or Divine Dwelling subordinated by the arbitrary patriarchal prejudice of the Arbiter. “But you shall seek the Lord at the place which the Lord your God shall choose from all your tribes, to establish his Name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come.” (Deuteronomy 12:5) As for the original Torah, eventually writ large on two stone tablets, the stone is embrace by the logos of Binah above and Shekhinah below, the two feminine houses: “Rabbi Shim‟on said: Similarly, Torah stands between two houses, as is written: for the two houses of Israel (Isaiah 8:14), one concealed on high, the other more revealed. The concealed one on high is the mighty voice…. This voice is inward, inaudible, and unrevealed…. From here emerges Torah, voice of Jacob, audible issuing from inaudible. After speech merges in it, resounding its potency. The voice of Jacob, Torah, is embraced by two females: this inner, inaudible one, and this outer, audible one. Two are inaudible, two audible. Of the two inaudible, this is supernal, concealed Wisdom abiding in Thought, unrevealed, unheard. After it emerges, revealing itself slightly in a whisper unheard, called mighty voice, tenuous whispering. Two who are audible issue from here: voice of Jacob and speech merging in it. The mighty voice in a whisper unheard is bayit, a house, for supernal Wisdom – every female is called „house‟ – while final speech is a house for the voice of Jacob, mystery of Torah.” Each sefirot on the evergreen Tree of Life – the Transcendental Man - gives and receives, is male and female. The Zohar reads, “Mystery of the matter: Supernal Mother (Binah) appears with the male only when the house is arrayed, when male and female join. She then pours blessings upon them. Similarly, Lower Mother (Shekhinah) appears with the male only when the house is arrayed, when the male approaches the female and they join as one. She then pours blessings upon them. So a man at home is adorned with two females.” Given what is handed down or deduced from above, the Cabalist has an inductive or bottom-up duty to recreate the Creator by coupling male and female, allegorically representing judgment and love, order and energy, and so on: “For every human being should be manifest as male and female to fortify faith,” states the Zohar. “Then Shekhinah never separates from him. You might say: „If one sets out on the road and is on longer male and female, Shekhinah separates from him.‟ Come and see: Whoever sets out on the road should offer his prayer to the blessed Holy One to draw upon himself Shekhinah of his Lord before he leaves. Once he has offered his prayer and Shekhinah rests upon him, he can leave, for Shekhinah has coupled with him so that he will be male and female.” The Godhead is itself androgynous; let there be no mistake when speaking figuratively: the androgynous Judeo-Christian god has an x-chromosome, but is,

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nevertheless, for all patriarchal intents and traditional purposes, a man with a long beard and enormously potent, circumcised phallus. And he is duty bound and linked joyfully to the supernal coupling process: “He must guard his conduct, so that supernal coupling will not separate from him, leaving him defective, lacking male and female. In town he must, when his female is with him; how much more so here, for supernal coupling is linked with him! Further, this coupling protects him on the way, not parting from him until he returns home. Upon entering his house he should delight the lady of his house, for she engendered that supernal coupling! As soon as she reaches her he should delight her anew for two nuances. First, because the joy of this coupling is joy of mitzvah, and joy of mitzvah is joy of Shekhinah. Further, he increase peace below, as it is written: „You will know that your tent is at peace, attend to your abode and not sin (Job 5:24). Is it a sin if one does not attend to his wife? Certainly so, for he diminishes the splendor of supernal coupling coupled with him, engendered by the lady of his house. Second, if his wife conceives, supernal coupling pours into it a holy soul, for this covenant is called Covenant of the Blessed Holy One.”

THE CARDINAL TRUTH

Pope Benedict XVI confessed in his seminal papal encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, that “the Prophets, particularly Hosea and Ezekiel, described God‟s passion for his people using boldly erotic images. God‟s relationship with Israel is described using the metaphors of betrothal and marriage: idolatry is thus adultery and prostitution.” It seems that mankind is on the receiving end of the Lord‟s Stick and is therefore, at least metaphorically, female: Man, then, no matter how homophobic he might be, is the Bride of the Lord. “Man” is he who is drawn out from Ma: since his exile from the cradle he carries a female piece of the divine presence with him: Wisdom, from which his conceptions are drawn. Let us be chaste, then, for the Lord is a jealous and wrathful god who will resort even to killing innocent babies when angered by infidelity. If only aspiring men could have children on their own, and not have their snakes diverted by temptresses! They would lay an omphalos or stone egg where two birds, winging from opposite directions, meet, by the dragonessa‟s cave in the fundament, and use that as their foundational bed or domed womb, upon which a ladder or tower might be erected to heaven for their ascent and return with divine ejaculations. And then this virginal church or bridal chamber would give birth to their seminal works that all mankind and hopefully womankind too would be enlightened by the word. Forsooth, erotic love has become sublimated or disciplined to such an

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extent that religion has become a massive virtual suicide instead of an orgiastic cult. After all, God so loved the world that he actually killed himself: we know God and the Son are one: “Hear, O Israel, our Lord our God is one Lord.” Moreover, said Pope Benedict after quoting Israel‟s fundamental prayer, such mysteries as the Passionate Crucifixion are perfectly reasonable – providing that one is steeped in the Platonic sort of Greek philosophy that fashioned ideal Christianity out of material Jewry. “The philosophical dimension to be noted in this biblical vision,” noted the Pope, “and its importance from the standpoint of the history of religions, lies in the fact that on the one hand we find ourselves before a strictly metaphysical image of God: God is the absolute source of all being; but this principle of creation – the Logos, primordial reason – is at the same time a lover with all the passions of a true love. Eros is thus supremely ennobled, yet at the same time it is so purified as to become agape.” Nevertheless, the reasonableness of the primordial reason is not as Western as the Pope deemed it to be in his later, notorious speech at Regensburg University; indeed, the myth of Greek Reason rolling over the world smacks of Eastern dynamism – at least Joseph Alois Ratzinger‟s dialectical fellow German, Goerg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, knew the Sun was mothered by the Holy Spirit in the East. Church and World depend on the regulation of sexual intercourse, at least according to a letter Pope Benedict presented when he was Cardinal Ratzinger – „Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and World,‟ approved by Pope John Paul II in 2004. First of all, the Letter identifies the Church as “expert in humanity,” wherefore it “has a perennial interest in whatever concerns men and women,” one concern being, in recent years, “new approaches to women‟s issues. A first tendency is to emphasize strongly conditions of subordination in order to give rise to antagonism: women, in order to be themselves, must make themselves the adversaries of men. Faced with the abuse of power, the answer for women is to seek power.” And this new approach has led to “harmful confusion regarding the human person, which has its most immediate and lethal effects in the structure of the family.” Hence the second tendency: an attempt to avoid the domination by denying the difference between the sexes by viewing them as the “mere effects of historical and cultural conditioning.” Ideologies thus inspired question the heterosexual two-parent nuclear family, equating homosexuality and heterosexuality in a “new model of polymorphous sexuality.” Heaven forbid! We may find the cause and remedy for this new and lethal disease, which “strengthens the idea that the liberation of women entails criticism of Sacred Scripture” for its patriarchal prejudice, in the creation myth recorded at the outset of the Old Testament.

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The cardinal truth of the matter is that God articulated humanity as a malefemale relationship in the very beginning: “male and female he created them” in his own image. Cardinal Ratzinger did not say so, but from this beginning we might presume that despite the masculine pronoun preferred as a matter of course over the feminine “she,” God is inherently a hermaphrodite, to wit a “s/he.” Adam, the generic man, must have been inherently bisexual, but s/he, like God, was lonely for self-recognition through objective intercourse, hence from the very beginning they appeared outwardly, in the world, as a “unity of two.” Somehow this unity-of-two was not externally a two at the beginning of the world, for Adam is first of all described as a man alone in the world, a man for whom intercourse with animals could provide insufficient solace for solitude, not to mention the survival of the race, which would of course require a helpmate of the same bone and flesh. Exactly how the sexual division occurred must remain a mystery lest we contradict ourselves: the Cardinal‟s letter, perhaps to avoid the implication that Church logic is ridiculous, does not mention that Eve was once merely one of Adam‟s ribs. Now male and female are equal in the sense that they are both persons, but they are different kinds of persons: Their different sexuality is a fundamental component of their personalities; as John Paul II once said, they differ in their sexuality, a sexuality that “characterizes man woman not only on the physical level, but also on the psychological and spiritual.” The future of man requires a wife-of-man or wo-man, another “I” or companion with whom he may unite. The vital difference between them “is oriented toward communion and was lived in peace, expressed by their nakedness: „And the man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame.‟ (Genesis 2:25)” Of course the obvious physical signs of their difference were their genitals, the “nuptial attribute” or “the capacity of expressing love,” a “gift” by which a person “fulfils the meaning of his being and his existence.” (emphasis added). And it is in this “spousal perspective” that Genesis “allows us to understand how woman, in her deepest and original being, exists for the other (1 Corinthians 11:9): this is a statement which, far from any sense of alienation, expresses a fundamental aspect of the similarity with the Triune God.” Furthermore, “The whole of human history unfolds within the context of this call,” God‟s call for interpersonal communion, the “integration of what is masculine and what is feminine.” Cardinal Ratzinger further informs the bishops of the Catholic Church and the world-at-large that “the human dimension of sexuality is inseparable from the theological dimension.” And thus did he unwittingly bless Ludwig Fuerbach‟s personal proposition, that theology is anthropology, for Theo is Man projected on the Cosmic Screen. So far so good: even Sigmund Freud might agree with these profound truths about carnal knowledge, which we would not know as truths if our forebears had not eaten of the Tree of Knowledge. The future Pope Benedict does not explicitly say

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this, but we may say that his Catholic version of God did not want humankind to be all too human, or distinguished from other creatures by the very reasoning power that Pope Benedict pretends to admire in various speeches, hence God gave them liberty to eat from any tree in his garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil – its fruits are poisonous, and whosoever eats them shall surely die. But the Landlord‟s serpent showed up and enticed the dynamic duo to eat the poisonous fruit he had created to that end, that they be human and therefore suffer the difference between good and evil, a difference that the devious serpent said was a good and not an evil thing to know; and somehow that unknowing woman knew that the tree was good for fruit that would make one wise, so she ate of it and gave some poisonous fruit to her ignorant husband; neither of them dropped dead on the spot, but they were as good as dead from that day forward, and since that original day of humanity miserable men have had cause to blame women for their ills and to curse the day they were born guilty of that crime of disobedience to the brutal authority who stomped about in the bushes and evicted the dynamic duo from paradise to bear children – their nuclear family would be a facsimile of the Triune God: in the name of the father, the mother, and the child, as one. For the Landlord said, in response to the woman‟s fearful pleading, that she had been deceived by the serpent into disobeying him, that he would put enmity between man and woman, whose pain would be multiplied by childbirth, yet she would desire her husband nevertheless, and he would rule over her. The crude creator-god even cursed the ground they walked on, clothed their naked skin with garments made from skins, and off they went, God knows where.. The reliance of the Church, the self-recognized “expert in humanity,” on this primitive myth of the origin and continuous condemnation of our race has given many a man and woman good cause to believe that the Church is a forked-tongue serpent who paves the road to hell with good intentions. Or else it simply represents our ignorance as to what really happened, or even God‟s Socinian ignorance as to what would happen to his creation – the Socinian heretics believe that God is incapable of preventing evil because his power is limited, and not by a Satanic rival, as is believed by Manichean heretics, but by his own ignorance: God did not know that Adam would sin and that his progeny would be a miserable lot. However that might be, to succinctly say that we are born with a will to live but we die nevertheless, and that we place our eternally springing hope for survival in the offspring of our sexual congress, is not much of a story to pass the time with. All was not lost with the Fall, at least not according to the Church, despite the angelic guard God stationed by the tree of life – or is that Cerberus, the ThreeHeaded Hound of Hell? Mind you that the original curse might be lifted someday, when the “logic of sin” is broken, God‟s Rottweiler and Grand Inquisitor, the Church‟s cardinal apostle of religious reasoning, dutifully informed the Bishops of the

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Church, because “a way forward,” involving “woman” and her “offspring,” toward the fulfillment of “God‟s promise of a Savior,” can somehow be divined from the verses about the enmity between childbearing woman and her ruling man – Genesis 3:15 is confusing enough to present a mystery. The Landlord of Paradise was Hebrew; therefore a Jew is destined to save mankind. Good shall overcome evil in the long run, and we have early evidence of that victory in the story of Noah and the great flood. “But it is above all in God‟s choice of Abraham and his descendants that the hope of salvation is confirmed. God begins in this way to unveil his countenance so that, through the chosen people, humanity will learn the path of divine likeness, that is, the way of holiness, and thus the transformation of heart. Among the many ways in which God reveals himself to his people in keeping with a long and patient pedagogy, there is the recurring theme of the covenant between man and woman. This is paradoxical if we consider the drama recounted in Genesis…as well as the mixing of the sacred and sexual found in the religions which surrounded Israel. And yet this symbolism is indispensable for understanding the way in which God loves his people: God makes himself known as the Bridegroom who loves Israel his Bride.” In other words, the redemption of the violent diremption or divorce of the sexes and of corresponding heaven and earth, the substantial fusion of ideality and reality of the Kingdom of God, is at hand. Those who have put on Christ, as Paul said in a letter to the Galatians, are no longer male and female. Yet he allegedly said in a letter to the Ephesians: “Wives be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” Furthermore, Cardinal Ratzinger elaborates on “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself to her.” Of course the Cardinal‟s church is capitalized, just as husbands are the capitals of their wives, and is undoubtedly the Roman Catholic Church. For the sake of continuity, the foregoing prefigurations are fulfilled in the New Testament: “On the one hand, Mary, the chosen daughter of Zion, in her femininity, sums up and transfigures the condition of Israel/Bride waiting for the day of her salvation. On the other hand, the masculinity of the Son shows how Jesus assumes in his person all that the Old Testament symbolism had applied to the love of God for his people, described as the love of a bridegroom for his bride. The figures of Jesus and Mary not only assure the continuity of the New Testament with the Old, but go beyond it, since – as Saint Irenaeus wrote – with Jesus Christ „all newness‟ appears.”

THE NATURAL WORSHIP OF MAN

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The Virgin Mary, the Throne of Catholicism, is not hidden behind a partition or in a sack. Men have depicted the Mother of God as they thought best, according to the fashion of their time, just as they have projected upon a cloth or screen a vision of the Father made incarnate in her Son. In his Lectures on the Essence of Religion, Ludwig Feurbach remarked, “As object of his love, man chooses the woman who exerts the highest power over him, who in his eyes is the highest and best of women, who for this reason inspires him with a feeling of dependency, the feeling that he cannot live or be happy without her; at least and as long as he does not possess her, as long as she is merely an object of his desires and imaginings, he accords her the highest veneration and offers her the same sacrifices and tokens of devotion, as a religious man offers his God. The same holds good in religion – and love too is religion.” Feurbach summed up his doctrine thus: “Theology is anthropology; in other words, the object of religion, which in Greek we call theos and in our language God, expresses nothing other than the essence of man; man‟s God is nothing other than the deified essence of man, so that the history of religion or, what amounts to the same thing, of God – for the gods are as varied as the religion – is nothing other than the history of man.” An evangelist anxious for his security in greater numbers leers in our face and asks the loaded question, “Do you believe in God?” But what is a god? “A god is nothing other than man‟s striving for happiness fulfilled in his imagination,” Fuerbach responded. “I observed, however, that the gods are as varied as men and peoples, for although men wish to be happy, different men embody their idea of happiness in different objects.” In fact, the ideas of god change with the times, hence a thinker might be called an atheist in one century and a theist in the next –the terms atheism and theism mean nothing, really, for “Theos, God, is a mere name.” In truth it is “equally meaningless to say, „There is a God‟ or „I believe in a God,‟ and „There is no God‟ or „I do not believe in a God.‟ Whether we speak of theism or of atheism, what matters is the content, ground and spirit.” Fuerbach‟s true religion is grounded in nature. “The being which in my thinking presupposes, the being which is the cause or ground of man, to which he owes his origin and existence, is not God – a mystical, indeterminiate, ambiguous word – but nature, a clear, sensuous, unambiguous word.” The invisible universal god of the monotheists is simply a generic term for the various species of religion, and this genus has no independent existence of its own. As for the Christian god, he “is a mental image, the word, and that, accordingly, in order to know essence of the Christian god, one need only understand the essence of the word.” We observe, then, that the word Logos connotes nothing in general, but, at least for Christians, it denotes the historical Jesus that Christians, whose God is within, have adopted as their model – the voice of the people is the voice of God. Just as the polytheistic gods

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of the pagans were human beings, “so likewise is the monotheistic god a human being, just as man, though he transcends the many particular varieties of human being – Jew, Greek, or Indian – is not for that reason superhuman. Accordingly, nothing can be more absurd than to say that the Christian God descended from heaven to earth, or to trace the origin of the Christian religion back to the revelation of a being distinct from man. Just like the pagan gods, the Christian God originated in man. If He differs from the pagan gods, it is only because Christian man is different from pagan man.” Yet theologians have denuded Jesus of his manhood by denying nature, the only ground where humankind can enjoy itself, on the one hand, and, necessarily, suffer on the other – but it would not suffer if it could get away with it, and would rid itself of nature, and would believe that unadulterated happiness is obtainable in a death it calls eternal life. “Christianity ignores nature; because Christianity is idealism, an edifice crowned by a natureless God, or spirit who makes the world by merely thinking and willing, and apart from whose thinking and willing the world has no existence…. precisely because Christianity does not worship the sun, moon, stars, fire, earth or air, but only the human essence as distinguished from the forces underlying nature; because it worships will, intelligence, consciousness as divine powers and beings.” In other words, God is Man. He worships his own nature or essence, which is of course quite natural and essential. Alas that this Essence is as mysterious as the Supreme Being, or we would have known ourselves long ago. We find nothing new in Fuerbach‟s philosophy, which was scandalous in its day and served Marx and Engels as their point of departure from Hegel‟s idealistic blathering. Fuerbach‟s mission: to save us from our ignorance: “My primary concern is and always has been to illumine the obscure essence of religion with the torch of reason, in order that man may at least cease to be the victim, the plaything, of all those hostile powers which from time immemorial have employed and are still employing the darkness of religion for the oppression of mankind. It was my purpose to demonstrate that the powers which man worships and fears in his religious life, which he seeks to propitiate even with bloody sacrifices, are merely creatures of his own unfree, fearful mind and of his ignorant uninformed intelligence.”

LAUGHING AT THE GODS

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Antisthenes the Cynic observed that there were many popular gods in his day, but there was only one god of nature. Not only educated persons but presumably ignorant folk as well grew disenchanted with the gods and enjoyed seeing them publicly ridiculed by comedians. The Stoics reiterated the notion that nature had an all-pervading soul – some Stoics thought the gods were simply its attributes. The prime objective of the ancient materialist philosophers was to disillusion people of their religious beliefs and save them from the machinations of men who made capital of their superstitions. Euhemerus the Sicilian explained that the gods were originally great human beings deified after their demise; he pretended to trace the gods genealogically back to kings. Varro held that “the soul of the world is God, and that its parts are true divinities,” and he said some religious truths are best not known by people, and some falsehoods they should believe in; the point being that religion should be convenient. Great truths are couched in platitudinous maxims: Love does not abhor a secret. Familiarity breeds contempt. The senses deceive. Variety is the spice of life. We tire of hearing the same thing over and over again, and would not hear even the truth again unless it be differently adorned, and the more vaguely veiled the better. What is in front of our own face is not good enough: Something else exists according to our metaphysical imagination, there is a clandestine side to things, some ineluctable meaning of life and incomprehensible whole, and we do not want to know what it is, for then there would be no mystery to that oceanic feeling of oneness that descends upon us like Shekhinah from time to time even after have disembarked to wander in exile upon dry land. Our own nature, which we are wont to define in contrast to nature-at-large howsoever Nature might be defined, stands in our way. We would persevere forever without impedance if only we could, but if we could realize that would we would not be. Death is the last definition. Nature outlasts us by far, yet we take our clue from things in nature that tend to persevere for millennia, such as the swearing stones called torah, and we imagine for ourselves permanent souls; and then we turn around and call nature ephemeral and vain, and think that the words we swore shall outlast it. We may proclaim our Christian religion to be a religion of life, but as long as ultimate salvation is marked by the millenarian apocalypse that all true believers psychologically long for, we really have death in mind, and the so-called Way perishes in death. Only God or Nothing is permanent. This planet shall not last; we set up idols upon it in vain – they shall all be broken by the emptiness or vanity of Nothing. Nothing is perfect in more ways than one. Nothing really works. Any alleged definition of the deity had better be indefinite, had better say nothing at all; let our Vanity of vanities be indefeasible, for only then may it suit our unruly race. The infinite may not be defined. If we are to have a semblance of divinity, let it be the

BENEDICTINE DECONSTRUCTION
irregular old natural Rock if not the Monolith of 2001 Space Odyssey. One account of the importation of the Great Mother of the Gods into Rome states that the Cybele shipped in was a misshapen stone – another account states she was carrying such a stone, which had fallen out of the sky. In any case, old women and children laughed at the pagan gods with impunity long before Christians followed suit and made a joke of them. Jupiter himself, whom Constantine, Christianity‟s political hero, continued to worship, was made the butt of some jokes – the bird droppings on his statues were hardly auspicious. Idols of the mind or ideals tended to displace the idols of stone: Seneca celebrated the supreme authority of Jupiter Maximus: “Jupiter the guardian and ruler of the universe, the soul and spirit, the lord and master of this mundane sphere...the cause of causes, upon whom all things hang… Whose wisdom oversees the world that it may move uncontrolled in its course…from whom all things proceed, by whose spirit we live, who comprises all we see.” Jupiter, or General God, might be further boiled down to an abstract term; say, Logos, or Word, which would be to say nothing in particular, yet Nothing is pregnant with the All, with whatever might be said in whatever order, for there is no one logic. Still, in a word, such mental idols mean Nothing; however constructed, they are houses of cards, chatterboxes. We want something more in this world, and even more than that more in the next. Fuerbach‟s abstract Essence of Man like Sartre‟s Existence provides us with small comfort, the cold comfort of knowing that we are alienated from the omnipotence we would recover. We want that good old oceanic feeling of our first voyage, the comfort that we felt in Mother‟s womb, or at least the comfort we felt when restored at her breast after the fall – the life of quiet desperation we now lead cries to be picked up, to be held, to be rocked again, as we were rocked in the ark before we reached Rome. In short we cry for the Great Mother of the Gods. But how can she appear, under what guise, without being impugned by her once omnipotent progeny, angered that she put them down time after time to fend for themselves, to learn the difference, often in the darkness, between good and evil? The rebellious sons of man, who are somewhere described in the old texts as sons of demonic gods, will require the best of women to sooth the savage beast; the more civilized they happen to be, the less will the model appear as an obese queen bee with pregnant belly draped by huge breasts, and the more shall she approach the standard we admire in today‟s slender movie stars, who never lose their eyeliner and lipstick when their plane crashes in the wild, perchance a paradise lost, now inhabited by aliens or demons or gods.

BLONDES HAVE MORE FUN

BENEDICTINE DECONSTRUCTION

Anne Catherine Emmerich, the beatified nun whose account of the Passion was ransacked by Mel Gibson, dreamed of a plainly dressed Mary: “The friends of Jesus and Mary stood around the latter; they wore large veils, appeared overcome with grief and anxiety, and were weeping as if in the momentary expectation of death. The dress of Mary was blue; it was long, and partly covered by a cloak made of white wool, and her veil was of rather a yellow white.” Her natural form was undoubtedly even more beautiful than that of a modern movie star. Of course the natural grace of the humble Jewish woman – who was at the foot of the Cross and whom Jesus called “woman” instead of “mother” – may never be entirely unveiled by the Catholic Church. Her new clothes, not to mention her fashionable hair styles and cosmetics over the centuries, no matter how conservative by today‟s standards, certainly would not pass muster with today‟s Taliban. Indeed, That Woman at the foot of the cross has become That Painted Woman. When portrayed as Queen of Heaven, she is of course crowned with stars; the crescent moon of Isis might adorn her forehead, and her headdress, necklace, and luxuriant robes are the envy of every pretender to her exalted, cosmic station. The Queen of Heaven was once known as the Venus of Babylonia; her name was Istar or Astarte, on earth she was the goddess of fertility, love and sex – in Phoenicia she was in charge of sacred prostitution. Even when presented as That Painted Woman on Earth, the Virgin Mary‟s beauty is virtually unmatched, at least when her brows are plucked into high arches, her lashes lengthened, eyes slightly shadowed, lips ruby-reddened, ghostly cheeks rightly rouged, long hair wound into a single serpentine fall from beneath a finely woven scarf down around her slender alabaster neck. In other words, she is a painted sight for sore eyes – rightly applied cosmetic medicine for body and mind. “O, Maya, please deceive me!” But the times have not really changed much for conservative fundamentalists. Church Father Tertullian, objected to the feminine artifices in his seminal essay on the apparel of women: “They who rub their skin with medicaments, stain their cheeks with rouge, make their eyes prominent with antimony, sin against HIM. To them, I suppose, the plastic skill of God is displeasing! In their own persons, I suppose, they convict, they censure, the Artificer of all things! For censure they, do when they amend, when they add to, His work; taking these their additions, of course, from the adversary artificer. That adversary artificer is the devil. For who would show the way to change the body, but he who by wickedness transfigured man's spirit? He it is, undoubtedly, who adapted ingenious devices of this kind; that in your persons it may be apparent that you, in a certain sense, do violence to God. Whatever is born is the work of God.

BENEDICTINE DECONSTRUCTION
Whatever, then, is plastered on (that), is the devil's work. To superinduce on a divine work Satan's ingenuities, how criminal is it!” Tertullian was moved to rant at length against the time wasted on hairstyling; a hairdo would gain no woman entrance into heaven: “What service, again, does all the labor spent in arranging the hair render to salvation? Why is no rest allowed to your hair, which must now be bound, now loosed, now cultivated, now thinned out? Some are anxious to force their hair into curls, some to let it hang loose and flying; not with good simplicity: beside which, you affix I know not what enormities of subtle and textile perukes; now, after the manner of a helmet of undressed hide, as it were a sheath for the head and a covering for the crown; now, a mass drawn backward toward the neck. The wonder is, that there is no open contending against the Lord's prescripts! It has been pronounced that no one can add to his own stature. You, however, do add to your weight some kind of rolls, or shield-bosses, to be piled upon your necks! If you feel no shame at the enormity, feel some at the pollution; for fear you may be fitting on a holy and Christian head the slough of some one else's head, unclean perchance, guilty perchance and destined to hell. Nay, rather banish quite away from your "free" head all this slavery of ornamentation. In vain do you labor to seem adorned: in vain do you call in the aid of all the most skilful manufacturers of false hair. God bids you "be veiled." I believe He does so for fear the heads of some should be seen! And oh that in "that day" of Christian exultation, I, most miserable as I am, may elevate my head, even though below the level of your heels! I shall then see whether you will rise with your ceruse and rouge and saffron, and in all that parade of headgear: whether it will be women thus tricked out whom the angels carry up to meet Christ in the air If these decorations are now good, and of God, they will then also present themselves to the rising bodies, and will recognize their several places. But nothing can rise except flesh and spirit sole and pure. Whatever, therefore, does not rise in the form of spirit and flesh is condemned, because it is not of God. From things which are condemned abstain, even at the present day. At the present day let God see you such as He will see you then.” Tertullian was true not only to his god but to his god‟s country, whose women were evidently being corrupted by alien influences. Barbarian blondes must have had more fun, hence civilized women wanted to follow suit. For instance, the Romans used to import the reddish-blonde hair of scalped barbarians for their women‟s perukes. The use of saffron was a viable alternative: “I see some women turn the color of their hair with saffron. They are ashamed even of their own nation, ashamed that their procreation did not assign them to Germany and to Gaul: thus, as it is, they transfer their hair thither! Ill, ay, most ill, do they augur for themselves with their flame-colored head, and think that graceful which in fact they are polluting! Nay, moreover, the force of the cosmetics burns ruin into the hair; and the constant

BENEDICTINE DECONSTRUCTION
application of even any undrugged moisture, lays up a store of harm for the head; while the sun's warmth, too, so desirable for imparting to the hair at once growth and dryness, is hurtful. What "grace" is compatible with "injury?" What "beauty" with "impurities?" Shall a Christian woman heap saffron on her head, as upon an altar? For, whatever is wont to be burned to the honor of the unclean spirit – unless it is applied for honest, and necessary, and salutary uses, for which God's creature was provided – may seem to be a sacrifice. But, however, God saith, „Which of you can make a white hair black, or out of a black a white?‟ And so they refute the Lord! „Behold!‟ say they, „instead of white or black, we make it yellow, more winning in grace.‟ And yet such as repent of having lived to old age do attempt to change it even from white to black!” We know well one Madonna, a rock star, who dyed her hair blonde in order to have more fun; but despite the pagan predilection for blondes, we seldom see the Virgin Mary depicted as a blonde – her Orthodox descendents may wear a blonde peruke, or even an orange or purple wig, to abide by religious law. And notwithstanding the astounding decadence of our age, the great mother goddess is rarely depicted in the nude. Nonetheless, what can be seen of Mother Mary‟s flesh and its curvaceous from is enough to arouse the incestuous interest of imaginative males – the ensuing fear of the father and the resulting guilt that can only be averted by Platonic filial love is almost unbearable. Even pious fundamentalists have cursed Mary for being Eve the Temptress in disguise, or, if you please, That Woman, the representative of the fair sex: She is of course to blame for everything that goes wrongly, for all are born of That Woman. Let every women be veiled, then, from crown to toe, and let women hang their heads humbly, eyes lowered in shame made modest. “And do you not know that you are each an Eve?” preached Tertullian. “The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil's gateway: you are the unsealer of that forbidden tree: you are the first deserter of the divine law: you are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God's image, man. On account of your desert – that is, death – even the Son of God had to die.” Mary has been so erotically displayed that many men believe her virginity is verbal. Origen took pains to refute the claims of the anti-Christian polemicist Celsus that Jesus was the illegitimate child of the Roman centurion Panthera, and that his mother Mary had been discharged by her husband after being convicted of adultery. A similar account is mentioned in the Talmud; and the Acts of Pilate, a Christian apocryphal work, states that during Jesus‟ trial Jewish elders told Pilate that Jesus was conceived through fornication. But here is Origen‟s argument from Contra Celsus:

BENEDICTINE DECONSTRUCTION
“And since, in imitation of a rhetorician training a pupil (i.e. feigned dialogue), (Celsus) introduces a Jew, who enters into a personal discussion with Jesus, and speaks in a very childish manner, altogether unworthy of the grey hairs of a philosopher, let me endeavor, to the best of my ability, to examine his statements, and show that he does not maintain, throughout the discussion, the consistency due to the character of a Jew. For he represents him disputing with Jesus, and confuting Him, as he thinks, on many points; and in the first place, he accuses Him of having „invented his birth from a virgin,‟ and upbraids Him with being „born in a certain Jewish village, of a poor woman of the country, who gained her subsistence by spinning, and who was turned out of doors by her husband, a carpenter by trade, because she was convicted of adultery; that after being driven away by her husband, and wandering about for a time, she disgracefully gave birth to Jesus, an illegitimate child, who having hired himself out as a servant in Egypt on account of his poverty, and having there acquired some miraculous powers, on which the Egyptians greatly pride themselves, returned to his own country, highly elated on account of them, and by means of these proclaimed himself a God.‟ Now, as I cannot allow anything said by unbelievers to remain unexamined, but must investigate everything from the beginning, I give it as my opinion that all these things worthily harmonize with the predictions that Jesus is the Son of God…. But let us now return to where the Jew is introduced, speaking of the mother of Jesus, and saying that „when she was pregnant she was turned out of doors by the carpenter to whom she had been betrothed, as having been guilty of adultery, and that she bore a child to a certain soldier named Panthera;‟ and let us see whether those who have blindly concocted these fables about the adultery of the Virgin with Panthera, and her rejection by the carpenter, did not invent these stories to overturn His miraculous conception by the Holy Ghost: for they could have falsified the history in a different manner, on account of its extremely miraculous character, and not have admitted, as it were against their will, that Jesus was born of no ordinary human marriage. It was to be expected, indeed, that those who would not believe the miraculous birth of Jesus would invent some falsehood. And by not doing this in a credible manner, but their preserving the fact that it was not by Joseph that the Virgin conceived Jesus, rendered the falsehood very palpable to those who can understand and detect such inventions. Is it at all agreeable to reason, that he who dared to do so much for the human race, in order that, as far as in him lay, all the Greeks and Barbarians, who were looking for divine condemnation, might depart from evil, and regulate their entire conduct in a manner pleasing to the Creator of the world, should not have had a miraculous birth, but one the vilest and most disgraceful of all? And I will ask of them as Greeks, and particularly of Celsus, who either holds or not the sentiments of Plato, and at any rate quotes them, whether He who sends souls down into the bodies of men, degraded Him who was to dare such mighty acts, and to teach so many men, and to reform so many from the mass of wickedness in

BENEDICTINE DECONSTRUCTION
the world, to a birth more disgraceful than any other, and did not rather introduce Him into the world through a lawful marriage? Or is it not more in conformity with reason, that every soul, for certain mysterious reasons – I speak now according to the opinion of Pythagoras, and Plato, and Empedocles, whom Celsus frequently names – is introduced into a body, and introduced according to its deserts and former actions? It is probable, therefore, that this soul also, which conferred more benefit by its residence in the flesh than that of many men – to avoid prejudice, I do not say "all" – stood in need of a body not only superior to others, but invested with all excellent qualities.” The Virgin Mary‟s attractive appearance is resented by fundamentalist misogynists who think it is unbecoming to suffering Christianity, and who are inclined to call the Romantic Church that idolizes her the Seven-Breasted Whore of Rome. “The Scriptures suggest to us the reflection,” wrote Tertullian, “that meretricious attractivenesses of form are invariably conjoined with and appropriate to bodily prostitution. That powerful state which presides over the seven mountains and very many waters, has merited from the Lord the appellation of a prostitute. But what kind of garb is the instrumental mean of her comparison with that appellation? She sits, to be sure, „in purple, and scarlet, and gold, and precious stone.‟ How accursed are the things without the aid of which an accursed prostitute could not have been described! It was the fact that Thamar „had painted out and adorned herself‟ that led Judah to regard her as a harlot, and thus, because she was hidden beneath her „veil‟ - the quality of her garb belying her as if she had been a harlot - he judged her to be one, and addressed and bargained with her as such.” There is a saying amongst lawyers that not only should a lawyer do nothing improper, she should avoid even the mere appearance of impropriety. Likewise for the Christian woman: “Perhaps some woman will say: „To me it is not necessary to be approved by men; for I do not require the testimony of men: God is the inspector of the heart. That we all know; provided, however, we remember what the same God has said through the apostle: „Let your probity appear before men.‟ For what purpose, except that malice may have no access at all to you, or that you may be an example and testimony to the evil? Else, what is (that): „Let your works shine?‟ Why, moreover, does the Lord call us the light of the world; why has He compared us to a city built upon a mountain; if we do not shine in the midst of darkness, and stand eminent amid them who are sunk down? If you hide your lamp beneath a bushel, you must necessarily be left quite in darkness, and be run against by many. The things which make us luminaries of the world are these--our good works. What is good, moreover, provided it be true and full, loves not darkness: it joys in being seen, and exults over the very pointings which are made at it. To Christian modesty it is not enough to be so, but to seem so too. For so great ought its plenitude to be, that it may flow out

BENEDICTINE DECONSTRUCTION
from the mind to the garb, and burst out from the conscience to the outward appearance; so that even from the outside it may gaze, as it were, upon its own furniture, a furniture such as to be suited to retain faith as its inmate perpetually. For such delicacies as tend by their softness and effeminacy to unman the manliness of faith are to be discarded. Otherwise, I know not whether the wrist that has been wont to be surrounded with the palmleaf-like bracelet will endure till it grow into the numb hardness of its own chain! I know not whether the leg that has rejoiced in the anklet will suffer itself to be squeezed into the shackle! I fear the neck, beset with pearl and emerald nooses, will give no room to the broadsword! Wherefore, blessed (sisters), let us meditate on hardships, and we shall not feel them; let us abandon luxuries, and we shall not regret them. Let us stand ready to endure every violence, having nothing which we may fear to leave behind. It is these things which are the bonds which retard our hope. Let us cast away earthly ornaments if we desire heavenly. Love not gold, in which one substance are branded all the sins of the people of Israel. You ought to hate what mined your fathers; what was adored by them who were forsaking God. Even then we find gold is food for the fire. But Christians always, and now more than ever, pass their times not in gold but in iron: the stoles of martyrdom are now preparing: the angels who are to carry us are (now) being awaited! Do you go forth to meet them already arrayed in the cosmetics and ornaments of prophets and apostles; drawing your whiteness from simplicity, your ruddy hue from modesty; painting your eyes with bashfulness, and your mouth with silence; implanting in your ears the words of God; fitting on your necks the yoke of Christ. Submit your head to your husbands, and you will be enough adorned. Busy your hands with spinning; keep your feet at home; and you will "please" better than (by arraying yourselves) in gold. Clothe yourselves with the silk of uprightness, the fine linen of holiness, the purple of modesty. Thus painted, you will have God as your Lover!”

THE MATERNAL DOGMA OF CHRIST

Erich Fromm provides us with a Freudian-Marxist political psychoanalysis for the development of the Holy Nuclear Family including the exaltation of Mother Mary in his The Dogma of Christ. Early Christianity, says he, was hostile to the Father: “Early Christianity was hostile to authority and to the state. It satisfied in fantasy the revolution wishes of the lower classes hostile to the father…. The new Christianity came under the leadership of the ruling class. The new dogma of Jesus was created and formulated by this ruling group and its intellectual representatives, not by the masses. The decisive element was the change from the idea of man becoming God to

BENEDICTINE DECONSTRUCTION
that of God becoming man…. The new concept of the Son…avoided the concept that a man could become God. It eliminated from the formula the revolutionary character of the older doctrine, namely, hostility to the father….The father remained untouched…. Jesus could no long be a man raised to a god.” We note well that the early Christian authorities sold the sword of Jesus to the state in exchange for Caesar‟s protection, and it was Caesar that would not only defend the faith but would determine its development: his so called benevolent protection threatened to transform the mystical body of Christ into a political department. The Popes including Pope Benedict XVI enjoy bragging rights about the primacy of the Church, but Caesar made it what it is today. It was Caesar who intervened and called the councils to settle the crucial struggle over the vital point of the Christian religion – to what extent Jesus the Christ, the Church‟s founder, is divine. It is true that the most fundamental debate, that over the so-called Arian heresy – which held that Jesus, created out of nothing like all other things, was perfect as a man could get, yet was not of the divine substance to begin with and was merely adopted by God, not begotten of him, just as kings adopted successors when they placed them on the throne – was settled in the favor of the Church and contrary to the Arian interest of the emperor; for a Jesus identical to the Father of man elevated the Son‟s status above that of the emperor, who was merely a god of the state cult, a dynastic god who would be succeeded by another and another. The humanist heresy that made man the center of the faith was eventually rooted out of the Church, yet still it was Caesar who was the final court of appeal, and it was he who put down the heresy in the East, all to his political advantage. Arianism, the enormously popular doctrine actually formulated by Arius‟ teacher, St. Lucian of Antioch, was the product of the Greek mind expressly admired by Pope Benedict XVI in his speeches; witness this Arian rationale: “God is One, Eternal, Unbegotten. All other beings are His creatures, the Logos the first of them. Like other creatures, the Logos was created from nothing and not from the divine substance (Gk: ousia). There was a time when Logos did not exist. His creation was no necessary, but due to the will of the Father. The Logos, God‟s creature, is in turn the creator of all other creatures and his relationship to them is a kind of justification of his being called God. God adopted him as Son, foreseeing his merits, for the Logos is free, subject to change and determined to good by his own will. From this adopted sonship there does not result any real share in the divine nature, and true likeness to it. There cannot be anything like to God. The Holy Spirit is the first of the creatures created by the Logos, He is even less God than the Logos. The Logos became flesh in this sense that in Jesus Christ he took the place of the soul.”

BENEDICTINE DECONSTRUCTION
Early Christians of the rebellious sort wanted Jesus, a mortal man, to supplant the Father, to take the throne and overthrow His authorities on earth, but the Church fathers made sure that would not happen, and they did so by capitulating to the rich and powerful, hence Christianity was no longer the religion of rebels but that of slaves – the poor and powerless would now passively suffer their oppression by the rich and power, just as the Son had suffered, so that the justice that is unavailable now might come sometime in the future. Once the religion adopted the rulers, the rulers were relieved of their guilt – Christ‟s death was deemed a voluntary act or suicide on their behalf and not their fault at all – and Christianity was perforce the ruling religion. The salve applied to the wounds of the suffering masses was the exaltation of Mother Mary to goddess status. “Under the guise of the fatherly God of the Jews,” writes Fromm, “who in the struggle with the Near Eastern motherly divinities had gained dominance, the Great Mother emerges again, and becomes the dominating figure of medieval Christianity. The significance that the motherly divinity had for Catholic Christianity, from the fourth century on, becomes clear, first, in the role that the Church, as such, begins to play; and second, in the cult of Mary…. The Church mediates salvation, the believers are her children, she is the Great Mother through whom alone man can achieve security and blessedness…. Mary with the infant Jesus become the symbol of the Catholic Middle Ages.” You see, the Homoousian formula provided by the Church, that God and his Son are consubstantial or of the same substance, is really the Mother‟s milk that hungry babes cry for. The proposition that man and god are one, that one plus one equals one, seems absurd, yet, as Dr. Fromm points out, “There is one actual situation in which this formula makes sense, the situation of the child in its mother‟s womb. Mother and child are then two beings and at the same time are one.” In our quiet, adult desperation, we really long for our mothers to pick us up, to hold and feed us; once born, Madonna nurses the child; its fear of starvation is happily satisfied at her breast. The Church exchanges mother‟s milk for mother‟s words, and in effect becomes God‟s Teat. “The fantasy of the great pardoning mother is the optimal gratification which Catholic Christianity had to offer. The more the masses suffered, the more their real situation resembled that of the suffering Jesus, and the more the figure of the happy suckling babe could, and must, appear alongside the figure of the suffering Jesus. But this meant also that men had to regress to passive, infantile attitude. This position precluded active revolt; it was the psychic attitude corresponding to the man of hierarchically structured medieval society, a human being who found himself dependent on the rulers, who expected to secure from them his minimum sustenance, and for whom hunger was proof of his sins.”

BENEDICTINE DECONSTRUCTION

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