2012 has been the best year of my life. I hate to see it go. And why was 2012 so great for me? I met the most awesome woman I have ever known, and I married her. Maybe I am still in newlywed glow, but I am still excited about that. I only hope 2013 is just as good.
I don't have any resolutions at the moment except to complete the RCIA program. I may come up with others later, but self-improvement is a year round project. I can't think of any better self-improvement program than becoming Catholic. It creates a conscience in you.
I have had a lot going on lately in regards to my faith. My attempts to be a quiet Catholic have utterly failed. I finally kicked the atheist anthill on Facebook, and I have discovered that atheists truly are terrible people. In just a couple of days, I have experienced more hatred and abuse from atheists than I ever did in a decade from Christians. I even have atheists now denying that I was ever an atheist. It has been truly remarkable to witness.
I also recently visited with an old friend from my Calvinist/Presbyterian days, and that was about the most awful experience I have ever had in 2012. I am of the opinion that heresy corrodes the insides worse than atheism. I don't consider him my friend anymore. As bad as atheists can be, I would much rather deal with them than ever have that conversation again. I think Calvinists are the darkest and most miserable people I have ever known.
I recently watched a vid with Father Barron who said that evangelism should begin with joy. I agree. This joy is not a fake joy as you might find in some evangelical church. It is a real joy that comes from grace. It is a joy so remarkable that you want to laugh and cry at the same time.
Heresy is corrosive because it is essentially the heir to Old Testament idolatry. You don't find idolatry much of anywhere these days. Most Christian commentators analogize idolatry to mean any material object we place too much importance on like a house or a car or to criticize certain worship practices like the Calvinists decrying the images in Catholic Churches. But idolatry is fundamentally heresy. It isn't about the material object or an image. It is about substituting the real God with a god of our choosing.
Back in the early centuries of the church, the biggest heresy ever was Arianism. Basically, it was a denial of the divinity of Christ. I always wondered why Arianism was such a big deal and for so long, but it is obvious. Arianism reduced Christ to a mere prophet. Christianity would have become like Islam or today's Unitarian church. Only Protestantism outranks Arianism as a heresy, but Arianism lives on in many churches today such as the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons.
I think the Devil promotes these heresies. If people can be persuaded by them, they can be led astray and damned. The appeal of heresies is personal. The Israelites preferred their golden calf because it allowed them that massive orgy while Moses was up on the mountain. Likewise, if Jesus could be reduced to just a good teacher, He could be ignored, reinterpreted, or dismissed.
The Calvinist heresy is appealing because it lets you hate people. Anytime I detail the teachings of Calvinism to my Catholic peers, they all express horror and disgust at the teachings. Calvin himself was a very hateful person. He thought he was reforming the faith to its true biblical foundation, but he simply recreated Christianity in his image. The relationship with God is like a wife to an abusive husband, but the wife blames herself for his constant anger and grateful that she is not cast out to fend for herself. There is no joy in Calvinism. It is a joyless religion.
I remember my friend as being a joyful person. I expected to see that person again. Instead, I got the monster. And all he wanted to do was put me back in the trap I was in so long ago. I even know how the trick is done. Once you empty yourself of all your God given dignity, you will cling to anyone or anything that will give it back to you except of course that is controlled by someone else. Now you know how a Jonathan Edwards could have his entire congregation writhing in agony with a few words read from a piece of paper.
Calvinism is evil. I won't forget this. You know the true teachers from the false by their fruits. Even if you don't know theology or church history, you only have to look at the life and character of the teacher. Heretics have something wrong with them, and you feel it as soon as you meet them. It feels like nausea.