If you really want to know why conservative Christians talk so much shit about "Pelagianism" today, it might help to know that Augustine specifically denounced him as a "Judaizer" and for most of history it was accused of being a "Judaizing heresy"
So-called "anti-Pelagianism" was explicitly and directly linked to antisemitism

Pelagius was set up by Christians as a figurehead for their strawman vision of Judaism, the "old religion of Law" that they imagined Judaism to be so they could define themselves against it
Christians were obsessed with rooting out suspected "Pelagian" heresy in their ranks for the same reason they were obsessed with keeping the Jews down

Keeping at bay the terrifying idea that it's possible to be a good person without Jesus, and by extension the Church
Again, do I think it matters that much what some British monk said 1600 years ago?

Of course not

The important thing about why we're still talking about Pelagius today is what Augustine's Pelagius Derangement Syndrome reveals about the Church's DNA
Nothing arouses the Church's rage and venom more than a "heresy" that even sort of kind of vaguely implies to the flock that "You don't need these people as much as they say you do"
See also the discourse over AA and 12-step recovery programs, which are really obviously just Christian practice with the explicit theology filed off

And the fucked-up doctrine that you have no control over your addiction and must surrender control to a Higher Power
Which is a restatement of Augustine's whole thesis

AA advocates talk about how this POV is both more compassionate and more realistic than the "Pelagian" idea that you are a free-willed person, drinking is a choice, and stopping drinking is a matter of choosing not to do it
And you can see that much as with Christianity itself, the 12-step mindset is a powerful idea that people are passionately attached to

To the point of calling this opposite of it they've set up - "just stop drinking already" - cruel, delusional, setting people up to fail, etc
The only problem, of course, is stopping drinking by giving over control of your life to the Program... doesn't work

There is no empirical evidence that AA works ANY BETTER, statistically, than anything else

It is exactly about as effective as just deciding to quit drinking
And it comes with its own costs

12-step has its own version of the clerical sexual abuse scandal

Having an AA sponsor abuse their position is common enough to be known by the slang term "13th stepping"
The 20th-century history of AA strikes me as just recapitulating the failures of Christianity in general

Acknowledging that stopping doing harmful shit is hard and most people who try it will fail

Setting up a system that offers to take the burden of all that off of you
Which, in the long run, does nothing to actually make Christians sin any less than non-Christians

Just gives them a system to *feel better* about being bad people

While also giving the people who uphold that system a ton of unearned and unaccountable power

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More from @arthur_affect

12 May
Letting regular people just buy gasoline is one of those things where, if we'd started with electric cars and they tried to introduce gas-burning cars now, no one could possibly justify making it legal
You wouldn't be able to fill up a container at the pump without filling out a bunch of paperwork and shit
You know how they always make a big thing about finding out where some wackjob got "bomb-making materials", well gasoline is by far one of the most effective and dangerous bomb-making materials

Excellent incendiary fuel, one of the best ever invented
Read 5 tweets
11 May
It's interesting how when you talk to people about the really big Christian "heresies", the heresy is usually the normal thing most naive outsiders would think the religion teaches and the orthodox doctrine is this complicated paradox most Christians don't actually understand
Like, the doctrine of the Trinity is defined only in negative space

Every single interpretation of what kind of relationship God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit have a normal person would come up with has been officially shot down as a "heresy"
"Arianism" is "the most enduring Christian heresy" because it's just... what a normal person would think you meant when you said Jesus was God's son

That they're two separate entities and God created Jesus

Most Christians who aren't particularly into theology still think that
Read 9 tweets
11 May
It's kind of funny to me just *how much* hate Pelagius gets when you hang out in brainy Christian circles

They will *not let it go* that this one dead British monk from 1600 years ago went around telling people "Maybe you should actually try not to do bad things"
I'm not saying "I stan Pelagius" or whatever, I seriously don't care what any Christian monks from 1600 years ago think about anything

But this meme is SO DEEPLY ROOTED in American Christian discourse it's honestly disturbing
Muppets on Sesame Street get yelled at by fundies for "preaching the heretical gospel of neo-Pelagianism"

The basic common sense moral intuitions that make up so-called "folk Christianity" the majority of normal self-IDed Christians live by is all "Pelagian" or "semi-Pelagian"
Read 9 tweets
10 May
Yeah it's this fantasy -- that transparently is an unrealistic fantasy, to be clear -- of parenting that actually is purely altruistic because the circumstances were completely accidental and the choice to continue as a parent freely chosen
The Grimdark Gun-Toting Dad Dude in these stories is someone who initially *did not want to be a father* (Joel used to be a father and then aimed to bury that part of his life and forget it forever)

Which means they *did not have* all the ugly, selfish motivations for dadhood
They didn't want someone to mold into an heir, they didn't want someone to carry on their legacy, they didn't intend to pin all their hopes and dreams for their own life onto another person

They explicitly chose a life that precluded all those things
Read 5 tweets
10 May
@tea__ess @Maryxus @XtianBaal @nberlat @mrocean__ @TheeNelDog Again, the refusal to embrace pessimism

"Because this thing is necessary, that means it cannot be bad"
@tea__ess @Maryxus @XtianBaal @nberlat @mrocean__ @TheeNelDog You could say "Then why even talk about it, if it can't be changed? Why spit in the face of a hurricane? Why not just accept the way things are?"

Well, because I'm ornery and complaining gives me pleasure
@tea__ess @Maryxus @XtianBaal @nberlat @mrocean__ @TheeNelDog But also because it's not black-and-white

Even if a bad thing can't be changed *fundamentally* it can be *mitigated*, but how hard you'll work at mitigating depends heavily you are to actually truly accept that it is bad
Read 11 tweets
10 May
I'm still thinking about this and how the specific scenario they're talking about -- parent spills about their regrets publicly under their real name with real details and lets the kids feel the full pain of being unwanted -- is so easy to avoid but no one cares about that
And I think this is sincere

They'd still be violently angry at the idea of collecting stories like this even if you worked as hard as possible to completely anonymize them, strip all IDing information, disguise all details, wait to publish until all the kids are dead
They're fucking furious even at the idea of just doing a study about this

Not even collecting stories, just counting a show of hands -- "Everyone close your eyes, no peeking, raise your hand if you regret having kids"
Read 7 tweets

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