Ideologies, Ideas and Idols

Is Christianity an ideology? First we have to ask, “What is an ideology?” An ideology is a good idea. But when the good idea is the only idea it becomes not only an ideology, but an idol. That is to say, it is a god that looks good, but it is a false god, and as we know, all false gods must be thrown down. False religion must be named and shamed, and not only named and shamed, but damned.

This idol appears when Christianity is twisted into an ideology. This happens when the “good idea” becomes more important than the Christian religion and the Christian religion is made to serve the “good idea.” How do we know when a “good idea” has become an ideology? It is when the “good idea” becomes the idea of the good. That is to say, the “good idea” becomes the only Good. When the “good idea” becomes such it is not a delightful ideal, but a destructive idol–an idol that will devour all that is offered at it’s altar–for that is what all idols do. They devour.

The worldling treats the Christian religion as simply another ideology. That is because so many Christians have turned their religion into an ideology. The difference between the Christian religion and an ideology is that the Christian religion is not a good idea. It is God’s idea. That is to day, it is divinely inspired. An ideology is just a good idea that somebody thought of. It is one good idea of many, and one need not be any better than another. Communism is a good idea. So is Capitalism. Monarchy is a good idea. So is Democracy.

The difference between the Christian religion and an ideology is that the Christian religion is more than a good idea. It is God’s idea. That is to say, it is revealed to man by God. It is divinely inspired. Furthermore, the Christian religion is not essentially about an idea, but about a person.

However, the reason so many people consider the Christian religion to be just another ideology is because so many Christian scholars have told them so. They have maintained that the Christian religion is merely a human construct–made up by human beings in a particular social and historical context.

In other words, Christianity is, after all, simply a good idea.  The problem is, they can’t decide which good idea Christianity really embodies. So they choose the good idea they like best and then claim Christ as the authority. Allow me to coin a portmanteau word for such people: they are Christologues.

You can always spot a Christologue because their agenda is of this world, not the next. The Christologue wants to make the world a better place and believes that is what the Christian religion is all about. If he doesn’t want to use the Christian religion to make the world a better place, he wants to use it to make his world a better place. The Christian religion will be used to make his church or school or family or parish or the person he sees in the mirror more agreeable and nice and more respectable and more successful.

 His “big idea” gives him an interpretative grid through which he filters Christianity. Here is one example: The big idea is the need for peace and justice. This good idea then becomes the ideology by which everything else is judged and which drives everything–Biblical interpretation, the liturgy, church governance, finance, education, social involvement and politics. The Christian faith itself becomes the servant of the ideology. This is but one ideology of the Christologue. It may be racial purity, the dominance of a particular country or political party, a feminist or homosexualist agenda. It may be the cause of “freedom”. It may be the driving force for a war of aggression. It may be the spark for terrorism.

Whatever the Christologue’s cause, he has hijacked the Christian religion for himself and made it after his own image. He does this because he believes in a hotch potch of modernistic ideas:

The Christologue is guilty of relativism–the idea that there is no such thing as Truth or if there is, you cannot state it in any dogmatic way. For him Truth is relative, and unknowable so what becomes important is how practical the religion is.

The Christologue is guilty of historicism–that aspect of modernism which says the Christian religion is determined by historical circumstances by people with a certain historical worldview in a particular social context. He argues that we are in a different historical context and different social structure and so all can be changed to adapt to present needs.

The Christologue is guilty of utilitarianism–that aspect of modernism which says the Christian religion is essentially practical. It is not there primarily to save souls for eternity, but to make the world a better place.

The Christologue is guilty of sentimentalism–that aspect of modernism which says the Christian religion is there to make people feel good and be happy.

The list could go one. Modern Christianity is totally infested with Christologues. This is because the smoke of Satan–which is modernism–has got into every corner of Christianity.

At the heart of this false religion is the denial that the Christian religion is of supernatural origin. It is the attempt to make the Christian religion socially relevant, personally useful, usually pleasant and always up to date.

Spot the Christologues. They are all around you. They don’t even know they are Christologues for they have simply swallowed the wisdom of the world that they were given by others.

Nevertheless, the threat of the Christologue should not be ignored. Their sincere work and their “good ideas” will destroy Christianity except for the promise that the gates of hell will not prevail.

About Fr. Dwight Longenecker
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01678341854029479678 Old Bob

    Thank you, Father! If I read you right, you're saying that some of the beneficial results of being Christian have become (in some minds) more important than the central truth: that Christianity is truth, because it came from Our Lord, who is Truth. He said so.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03983955289507752980 Victor

    While I agree with what you say, father, I am not sure I am happy with the coining of the word "christologue". As you know better than me, a Christologue is someone well versed in Christology, and Christology is the part of Theology dealing with the nature of Christ…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10997683380407192175 Capt. Morgan

    Very well stated Father. Thank you. Keep them coming!D. Morgan St. Anne ParishRock Hill, SC

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08395703772492059721 The Ubiquitous

    I'm with Victor, father. Maybe you mean Jesusist, or Jesusism. (That it sounds like Jesuit was unintentional.)

    • c matt

      Unintentionally accurate.


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