Three Secret Strategies
Three Secret Strategies of Satan to Destroy our Children, our Families, our Culture, and our Churchby Bro. Ignatius Mary(a Hermit of St. Michael)
(The first of several essays on the motifs and nature of the post-modern worldview)
Satan has a secret. It is the secret about his three primary strategies to destroy us. If Satan can convince our culture to adopt the philosophy precipitated by these secret strategies he can brainwash our children, disrupt our families, manipulate our culture, and bring apostasy within the Church.
All the problems that we see today in society and in our church can be traced to these three fundamental strategies. It is the basis of the politically correct movement and of the heresy of individualism. These strategies are the fuel that powers feminism, the engine that drives liberalism, and the vehicle of the post-modern worldview that predominates our world today and that contaminates the Church.
These three secret strategies are:
All opinions are equal
Never judge anyone
Never step on toes
No one escapes the sinister tentacles of these devilish doctrines; we are all contaminated by these strategies—every one of us. The question is not whether we are immune from these strategies, for we are not; it is not whether we are indeed contaminated by them, because we are; the only question is what are we going to do about it? How are we to exorcise the contamination of this pervasive worldview from our minds?
This essay will present the first step, which is to recognize the strategies for what they are.
All Opinions are Equal
The modus operandi of today’s mores is to believe that all opinions are equal. Each person’s opinion has the same dignity, deserves the same respect, and is equally as valid as any other opinion.
This is a demonic lie.
It is a demonic lie because genuine opinion is necessarily related to the virtue of Truth. Objective and fundamental truths are either true or they are not; they cannot be both true and untrue at the same time. Since those issues of faith and morals relate to objective Truth, varying opinions about such issues cannot be equal. In fact, some opinions are silly, some are better than others, and some are just plain wrong.
Honest opinion seeks to know the truth and to express it. To know the truth we must know the One who is the Truth: I am the way, and the truth, and the life declares Jesus, and through this Truth we shall find freedom—freedom from sin and freedom from the slavery of our limited understandings.
As the Scripture says in 1 Corinthians 13:12: For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then [in heaven] face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully.
Thus we must rely not upon our own understanding, but upon God who understands all:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight [understanding]. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eye. —Proverbs 3:5-7
To rely upon God for understanding is to submit our will and our opinions to the wisdom and understanding of God. Our opinion can never be equal with God and thus our notion of truth cannot be discerned except through God. To fool ourselves into thinking otherwise, into thinking we can assert an opinion contrary to God’s opinion is utter arrogance and foolishness. The Bible informs us:
Therefore men fear him [God]; he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit. Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements – surely you know! Have the gates of death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Declare, if you know all this.… Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth? … Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars, and spreads his wings toward the south.—Job 37:24; 38:1-5a, 17-18; 38:33; 39:26Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? … For the foolishness of God is wiser than men…—1 Corinthians 1:20, 25aO Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards the faith —1 Timothy 6:20-21
God is the only true reality and the only genuine Truth. Because of this we learn…
Our opinion has dignity only to the measure it conforms to the opinion of God.
Opinion has value only as it is consistent with Truth. Since God is Truth that means we must submit to and obey God’s Truth, God’s opinion, and not our own understanding.
Opinion has value only as it serves to reveal Truth.
Therefore, if two opinions are in competition, the opinion more closely aligned with Truth is the better opinion, and the opinion that conforms to God’s opinion is the only right opinion.
How do we know God’s opinion? Christ made Peter his vicar with the authority to infallibly declare upon issues of faith and morals. Thus the Holy Spirit protects us, through the Magisterium of His Church and the successor of Peter, from the capriciousness and enslavement of personal opinion asserted independently and without obedience to God and His Church.
Why submit our opinion to the Church when God is Truth? Can we not discern for ourselves what God’s opinion might be?
We must submit our opinion to the Church because Christ gave the Church the authority to guard His Truth. The Church by this appointment is the pillar and bulwark [foundation] of truth as St. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 3:15. Thus if opinion is to submit to truth, that is, if it is to submit to God, then opinion must submit to the guardian and pillar of that truth—the Church and God’s Vicar, the Pope.
We can now see what is really one of the greatest spiritual wars we wage. It is the war with ourselves, with individual self-determined opinion. This is why St. Paul declares:
For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. … But we will not boast beyond limit, but will keep to the limits God has apportioned us… 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, 13a
Notice what Paul identifies as this non-worldly weapon with divine power to destroy strongholds—OBEDIENCE (taking every thought and opinion captive under obedience to Christ).
Need we say more?
Let us put it this way. You are in a taxi and the taxi crashes breaking your leg. A bone is protruding from your leg. On the scene are the taxi driver who barely knows first aid and a passerby who happens to be an orthopedic surgeon. Whose opinion has precedence over how your leg will be treated? Does the taxi driver have an equal opinion to the orthopedic surgeon? Does the taxi driver even have a right to an opinion?
The taxi driver trying to assert a contrary opinion against the orthopedic surgeon’s professional expertise is utter arrogant foolishness; and to accept the taxi driver’s opinion over the surgeon’s risks losing your leg or even your life.
Yet even in obvious situations like the case of the taxi driver, or when discussing the equally obvious objective Truth taught by the Church, some in the midst of the argument will innocently say (usually to politely dismiss a heretic who will not listen), Well, let us agree to disagree. This writer never does that when the issue is an issue of fundamental truth. If we are talking about PC’s versus MACs we can agree to disagree, or preferences of apples over oranges we can agree to disagree, though I think the opinion in favor of MACs is misguided and I personally prefer apples. But if we are talking about dogma, about the definitive teaching of the Church, about objective truth, there can be no agree to disagree.
To agree to disagree with error is to grant to that error a false recognition that it is somehow on the same level of dignity as the Truth. Error is never on the same level of dignity with Truth. Error has no dignity except as a possible motivator to lead us to the Truth that we missed. But if we are not confronted in our error, how can we be motivated to move toward Truth?
St. Paul teaches us:
For there are many insubordinate men, empty talker and deceivers…they must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for base gain what they have no right to teach... therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, instead of giving heed to Jewish myths or to commands of men who reject the truth.—Titus 1:13I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead,… preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For a time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.—2 Timothy 4:2-4
Not all opinion is equal.
In these passages we have the clue as to why Satan wants us to believe that all opinion is equal. If we believe in this doctrine of demons we will then…
presume our opinions in arrogance above God (Job 37; 1 Corinthians 1)
miss the mark of our faith (1 Timothy 6)
fail to find obedience & thus allow Satan’s strongholds in our lives(2 Corinthians 10)
be a participant and accomplice to falsehood (Titus 1)
deceive ourselves by listening only to those who tell us what we want to hear(2 Timothy 4)
Those who tell the Truth love you. Those who tell you what you want to hear love themselves.—Mother Angelica
Never Judge Anyone
As just stated above, error has no dignity except as a possible motivator to lead us to truth. But if we are not confronted in our error, how can we be motivated to move toward truth?
St. Paul instructs us to judge:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead,… preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For a time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.—2 Timothy 4:2-4
We are to judge the teaching of teachers, the opinions of people, the attitudes and behaviors of people. If we don’t, then we allow sin and Satan to exploit the weak and ignorant and vulnerable with his lies.
We are to preach the Truth and rebuke those who assert error—not in an attitude of rock throwing or some sort of controlling self-righteousness, but in a loving attitude of helping the person return to God (2 Timothy 4:2). We are our brothers’ keepers (ref., Mark 12:31; Luke 10:25-37; Matthew 7:12; 18:23-35; Luke 6:31). We have a responsibility to warn and admonish our brethren in the faith, just as we have a responsibility to our blood-brothers to warn them when they go astray because we love them.
St. Paul to the Romans exhorted good Catholics to instruct one another (Romans 15:14). To instruct someone necessarily means to evaluate (another word for judge) the one to whom instruction is given.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states (No 1868): … we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them: by (among several actions on our part) not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so.
We cannot disclose a sin without first assessing (yet another word for judging) that the sin is in fact there in the first place.
In addition, one of the traditional seven Spiritual Works of Mercy is to Admonish the sinner.
Again, we cannot admonish that which we refuse to recognize in the sinner. We must make an assessment (judgment) that the person is sinning and thus needs admonishment.
All of this sometimes requires tough love.
Our model in this tough love is no less that Jesus Himself (who, contrary to popular opinion was not a 60’s flower child with flowers in his hair repeating a mantra of peace and love). Jesus preached a demanding love, a love so demanding that in some cases it would rip apart families:
Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man's enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.—Matthew 10:34-38
Truth cannot be compromised—even if it makes enemies of our relatives. Some people will not accept the truth and will hate those who preach it. Truth demands judgment; that is, truth demands we see things truthfully and to call things what they are. If we see sin or error, we must call it for what it is.
The Bible is filled with passages talking about how we are to judge others. Before listing some of those, first let us look at the kind of judgment we are not to do.
The most famous of the several do not judge passages are found at Matthew 7:1-3
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgement you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own…
In this passage we see three kinds of judgment we are not to do:
Judgment of Condemnation:Judgment in this passage is referring to condemning (pronouncing judgment on a person’s soul). We are not the Judge to pronounce condemnation on anyone (not even ourselves). Only God can do that. The Church, for example, never pronounces anyone in hell. And even in the assessment of a person declared a saint, it is done by special dispensation granted to the Church by her authority of the keys. But even with this authority, we need to note that it is never applied to judging a person in hell. If the Church, who has the authority of the keys will not judge a person to condemnation, how can we? We are never to judge a person’s state of soul. Jesus tells us that we will receive ourselves the judgment of soul that we place on others if we attempt this usurpation of God’s sovereignty.
Judgment from Double–Standards:When we use double–standards for judgment, apply one measure to others and a different measure to ourselves we commit a sin. Jesus says that we will not get by with that (a form of hypocrisy). The standards we apply to others will be applied to us as well.
Judgment from Self-Righteousness:The last sentence of the passage quoted refers to seeing sins in others but not in oneself. This is self-righteousness (another form of hypocrisy).
In this passage, Jesus does not say that we cannot judge. He says that we are not to judge in the manner of presuming condemnation on another or to make judgements borne from hypocrisy (double-standard & self-righteousness).
In verse 5 Jesus continues: You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Taking the speck out of our brother’s eye is not condemned in itself. Hypocritical judgment is what Jesus condemns.
We can immediately see this is the meaning of these passages by going on to the very next verse:
Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you.
Dogs? Swine? How are we to know who is a dog or a swine? We cannot take Jesus’ advice, which is advice for self-protection (e.g. when Jesus said the swine will turn to attack you), if we do not judge a person, that is, to identify a person as a metaphorical dog or swine.
Who are the dogs and swine? Verse 15 gives us one clue when it talks about false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing. Verse 21 Jesus talks about people calling to him, Lord, Lord yet some of these will not enter heaven. They will not enter heaven because despite their calling upon the name of the Lord, they are people who refuse to do God’s will.
Verse 26 tells us more about these people. They are people who do not just fail to follow God’s will, but who actively disobey the teachings of Jesus and thus they build their house on sand (and that includes disobeying the Church, who has been given authority to speak infallibly and definitively in Jesus’ name to the faithful—when the Church speaks, Jesus speaks).
Throughout Scripture we are given examples of these dogs and swine and are repeatedly told to shun them, to avoid them, and even to kick them out of our community as to give them up to Satan.
In Matthew 10:13-14 Jesus tells the disciples to shake the very dust off their clothes of any city that refuses to listen to them. That requires a judgment.
St. Paul in Titus 3:9-11 tells us to warn a heretic (divisive person) twice and then have nothing more to do with him because such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned. We don’t condemn him, he condemns himself, but we do judge him to be divisive beyond tolerance because we tried to admonish him (judge his behavior and warn him of his sin) twice but he would not repent.
St. Paul commands us in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 to not associate with people calling themselves Christians who are guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber—not even to eat with such a one.
Then Paul actually says and confirms in black and white language in verse 12 without any shades of gray that we are to judge our fellow Christians (but interestingly to not to judge those outside of the church): Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside.
We are our brother’s keeper and if we love, we will admonish a brother in sin or error.
St. Paul also tells us in 2 Timothy 3:1-9 that we are to avoid people who are holding to a form of religion but denying the power of it (e.g., liberals who strip our Church of its sacramental power). Other we are to avoid include those who are Lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God….
And finally, St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 that some people must be excommunicated—completely removed from fellowship and handed over to Satan. Paul specifically says, I have already pronounced judgment in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing… you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
This form of judgment (excommunication), by the way, is one reserved to the Church and is not a personal judgment exacted by the faithful.
Jesus, Himself, calls for this formal judgment on the part of the Church in Matthew 18:15-18.
As we have seen, the idea we are not to judge is a lie.
We cannot judge a person’s state of soul, of course. We cannot condemn him. We are also not to judge out of hypocrisy.
But we are to make proper judgments, borne out of love, to admonish a sinner in order to encourage him to repentance. That is the goal, to save the sinner’s soul, to lead him to repentance.
We are to make judgments of behavior, attitudes, and ideas in order to protect our loved-ones and ourselves from danger. People who practice such dangerous and sinful behaviors, or have such dangerous attitudes and ideas, we are to avoid. We cannot avoid them until and unless a judgment has been made that such people are of the type the Bible tells us to avoid.
The idea we are not to judge is a doctrine of demons.
Satan would love us to avoid making judgments. If he can convince us of this, sin can abound without criticism and we could continue in our sin without accountability and the philosophies of Satan can contaminate all of us with impunity unchecked and unchallenged.
Oh, how Satan loves those who think we are not to judge and those who think Jesus was a love-freak hippie from the 60’s.
Never Step on Toes
These strategies build upon one another. We began with the lie that all opinions are equal. This illogic leads to the idea that if all opinions are equal, then we cannot judge. What is there to judge if we all stand equally in our views and behaviors apart from an assessment of truth? Judgment requires distinguishing between things and determining relative validity between the distinctions; e.g., one right and the other wrong. If all is equal there can be no value distinctions, only different but equal assertions that have equal validity.
Now with the first two legs of this devilish worldview in place, we come to the third leg, the third secret strategy—Never Step on Toes.
This strategy is the police officer of the triad and the foundation for the other two. The job of this strategy is to protect the other two strategies from challenge, to keep anyone from exposing the lies. Insisting that we all be nice to each other does this. This niceness, of course, is a mask for obfuscating the truth.
It is interesting to examine the meaning of the word, nice.
Nice comes from the Latin, nescius, which comes from nescire. Nescire is formed from ne (meaning not) and scire (meaning to know). Thus the word, nice, means to not know, to not separate from another, to not discern.
This is interesting in that, for example, the standard liberal tactic of political correctness is to use the idea of niceness as a way to control people to keep them from discerning the truth, to keep from judging distinctions between that which is right and that which is wrong.
In Middle English the word nice referred to being foolish and without sense. By the 15th Century the word referred to being elegant in conduct and dress, but not in the sense of a compliment; it was an insult referring to people behaving with false civility.
The use of the word nice as a compliment was first recorded in 1769 when is came to mean agreeably delightful.
But in the post-modern times of today, this word, as used by those not wishing to admit to the truth of things, has come to be a negative weapon meant to cut off the knees of one’s opponent—You’re not being nice! No one wants to be thought of as being unkind, of course.
To be sure, a person who asserts a truth that the hearer doesn’t wish to admit to is, indeed, not being agreeably delightful. In fact the truth-sayer is being disagreeable by destroying the delight the erroneous person had in being free and unchallenged in their error.
But more than this, the way in which those asserting error use this concept of niceness strategically is to demand this false civility in order to control the situation, in order to ensure their lies are not exposed. It is a civility that demands agreeable demeanor even at the compromise of truth. It is better to be agreeable than it is to tell the truth. And with this value of agreeableness, error goes unchallenged and truth obfuscated.
What is often used against those who ignore this game of niceness, is to accuse the person of not acting in a way that Jesus would act. As mentioned in the previous discussion, Jesus is seen as a 60’s flower-child type person who is a mild mannered milquetoast, gentle as a lamb, always agreeable and never harsh.
This image of Jesus is a demonic lie.
It is a delusion. It is a delusion because the Scriptural evidence does not support this image as the exclusive way in which Jesus conducted himself, yet despite the clear record of Scripture, people insist upon the milquetoast image.
Many verses have already been quoted in this essay that show an image of Jesus that is not always so nice. Jesus never compromised truth for niceness and cordiality. He told us he did not come to bring peace but division, even the division of our families (Matthew 10), he told us to not throw pearls before swine (Matthew 7), to shake off the dust of places who would not listen (Matthew 10). Jesus himself called people names of great insult, like brood of vipers (Matthew 3:7; 12:34; 23:23) which was one of the greatest insults a person could heap on another in those days. Jesus also gave tongue-lashings such as this famous thou hypocrite speech in Matthew 23:1-38 (calling a person a hypocrite was also one of the major insults of the time).
In addition, His apostles preaching His teaching instructs us to not associate with those calling themselves Christian but living a life of sin (1 Corinthians 5). Also to avoid certain people who pretend to religion but who deny its power (2 Timothy 3), to shun heretics and divisive people (Titus 3), and even to hand unrepentant sinners over to Satan (1 Corinthians 5).
All these things require judgments to be made. When confronted with the situation that warrants it, the teachings of Jesus fly in the face of niceness. The teachings of Christ step on toes.
Jesus also gives us the image of the shepherd. Jesus is often depicted as the gentle shepherd who searches for his lost lamb and brings it home safely in his arms.
Well, Jesus does do that, and so should we. But Jesus does more than just this gentle image. He gave His apostles the image of a shepherd. This image, contrary to popular opinion, is not an image of mere gentleness.
When Jesus called His bishops and priests to be Shepherds what did that mean? The apostles knew exactly what that meant for they were intimately aware of the role and job of a shepherd. In today’s industrialized world, most people who don’t live on farms at least, have lost touch with the realities of raising livestock.
The real shepherd was a person who gently guided his sheep to pasture with his staff. He was a man who would search for the lost lamb and lovingly bring the lamb back in the safety of his arms. But that is not all he did.
The staff of the shepherd was also used to discipline loitering sheep. If a sheep refused to come back to the flock the shepherd was not so nice in convincing the rebellious sheep to return. In extreme circumstances, the rebellious sheep may even be killed if it refused to return to the flock (note: a rebellious sheep is not the lost lamb happy to be brought back to the flock in the loving arms of the shepherd, but one who stubbornly refuses to return).
In addition, the staff of the shepherd was a weapon of defense. If a feral dog or a wolf were to be among the flock, a shepherd would race through the flock to get to the dog or wolf to kill it before it killed any of his sheep. When racing through the flock to get to the intruder the shepherd would not politely hurry through the crowd of sheep saying, Oh please excuse me, I must get through here. The shepherd would race through the crowd knocking sheep to the ground, stepping on toes, knocking them left and right, whatever he had to do to get to the wolf in time to kill it before the wolf killed any of the flock.
This is the image of the shepherd. How many shepherds do we have in our Church today?
Now please do not misunderstand. It is not that we are to be deliberately nasty. Of course we are not to do that. We are to be gentle and cordial unless circumstances warrant a more tough love approach. But in whatever we do and in however we do it, we are never to compromise truth for the sake of civility or for the sake of popularity or to be accepted by our peers, or for fear of being made fun of or disliked.
Recently Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein, O.S.B., D.D., Archbishop of Indianapolis, in a speech called, Doctrinal Deficiencies Caused by Desire Not to Offend, Judge or Exclude, spoke about our postmodern culture’s desire to not offend anyone or exclude anyone.
The motive of plausibility, the motive not to offend or exclude is good and important in itself, but not at the expense of important truth. Authentic inculturation of truth cannot be achieved with plausibility as the presumed first principle.
He said that this motivation to not offend has caused serious deficiencies on catechesis, preaching, and liturgy. Indeed how can we expect our young people especially, but also the adults, to know their faith, to believe what the Church believes, to understand proper liturgy if we avoid the truth out of a misplaced sense of niceness, or plausibility as the Archbishop calls it.
The Archbishop defines plausibility, as reported by the Criterian (the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis), as something deserving applause or popular approval. For example, a plausible argument is one that is pleasing or acceptable to those who hear it, but it is not necessarily a rational argument or one that is consistent with the truth.
This is remarkably similar to the definition of nice. Nice, we remember, came to mean agreeably delightful —Plausibility is pleasing and acceptable.
The Archbishop is saying that truth cannot be sacrificed for niceness (plausibility):
I am convinced, the Archbishop said, that the doctrinal incomple