Religions of God, priest and man

Jean-Henri Merle d’Aubigné (16 August 1794 – 21 October 1872) was a Swiss Protestant minister and historian of the Reformation. In the 1830s onwards he wrote his majestic “History of the Reformation in the 16th century.” (free ebook). He wrote:

“Whenever religion has been under discussion, there have been three points to which our attention has been directed. God, Man, and the Priest. There can only be three kinds of religion upon earth, according as God, Man, or the Priest, is its author and its head. I denominate that the religion of the priest, which is invented by the priest, for the glory of the priest, and in which a sacerdotal caste is dominant. By the religion of man, I mean those various systems and opinions which human reason has framed, and which, being the offspring of human infirmity, are consequently devoid of all healing power. The term divine religion I apply to the truth such as God gave it, — the end and aim of which are the glory of God and the salvation of man.”

Thus we have the Roman Catholicism (priest), the Reformation (God) and Humanism (man).


18 thoughts on “Religions of God, priest and man

    • One of the many differences between Roman Catholicism and Bible Christianity is this:

      Bible – “John 3:18

      He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

      Roman Catholicism (since Vatican 2, Circa 1962)

      Believe or disbelieve what you want; as long as you do acts of lovingkindness. Very Jewish as well. And humanism too.

      • Well then, give me Catholocism, Judaism or Humanism any day! You still quote the Bible for all your answers. The Bible was not written by God. It was written by people, with all the weaknesses and self-delusions that people generally have.

            • Karen, human beings in their natural state are (inwardly) determined by what they believe. Belief is more than an intellectual entity; it goes to the very heart. The Bible describes the human heart as at enmity with God (of the Bible). You are responsible for what goes on in your heart.

                    • Belief is not determined only by the heart (emotion), it’s also determined by need and by reason. Three things. Belief is rather complicated.

                    • Yes, Karen, belief involves more than heart. A few thoughts on heart and belief.


                      The “heart” in the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament) is the soul/spirit/mind of a person. Emotions were thought to be located in the kidneys (King James 1 English and French “reins”).

                      Here is the King James Version of the Bible.

                      Jeremiah 17:10
                      I the Lord search the heart (Hebrew “layv),” I try the reins (Hebrew “kilyah”), even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

                      “Heart” in the Bible as a whole (Old and New Testaments) refers to the “inner man” (no sexism implied), which involves the deep part of a human being, where the mind is an important part.

                      Ephesians 3

                      16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

                      Blaise Pascal, as do all moderns, equates the heart with feelings/emotions. You are possibly aware if his saying, “the heart has its reasons that reason doesn’t know.”

                      I wrote about Pascal here


                      If it’s ok with you, Karen, let us call “belief” faith. I agree that faith (belief) does not – at all – exclude the mind.

                      The Reformers of the 16th Century divided true saving faith into three parts: notitia, assensus and fiducia. Notitia comprises knowledge, such as belief in one God, in the humanity (1 John 4:3) and deity of Christ (John 8:24), his crucifixion for sinners (1 Cor. 15:3), and his bodily resurrection from the dead, and some understanding of God’s grace in salvation.

                      Assensus is belief. This belief hasn’t yet penetrated the heart; it is still on the mental level – a mental assent. “I believe it, that settles it.” Of course, when you say “I believe it, that settles it,” your mental assent is more of a mental descent. To understand why it is a mental descent, you need to ascend to the third level of faith: fiducia.

                      Fiducia is full trust and commitment, it’s the heart knowledge of Jesus’ prayer to His Father in John 17:

                      24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

                      Notitia (content) is related to our understanding. Without the regenerative life of fiducia (believe in, trust), one is no better off than the devils, who have enough notitia (and assensus) to open a shop. Credo ut intelligam “I believe (in Christ through regeneration) that I may understand” and fides quaerens intellectum “faith (in Christ through regeneration) seeking understanding?” (Anselm of Canterbury).

      • Yeah you are right…every time in the Gospel Peter is mentioned it was not because Jesus wanted to point anything to him or the rest of us…what a frivolous attitude for a book as slim and dense as the Gospel 🙂 but we have already covered this extensively and the heredity of Peter left directly by his and our Master/ Savior. . Are you calling me again on this to have a bit of more agitation around your website? 🙂 I think you are always pointing out Catholicism also because it gets the ball rolling but I am not so part of the game anymore and I don’t think anybody feels it’s the case at this point to keep repeating ourselves

        • Maria, talking about Peter, d’Aubigne, says:

          “Although we find no traces in the Gospel of Peter’s superiority over the other apostles; although the very idea of a primacy is opposed to the fraternal relations which united 80 the brethren, and even to the spirit of the Gospel dispensation, which on the contrary requires all the children of the Father to “minister one to another,” acknowledging only one teacher and one master; although Christ had strongly rebuked his disciples, whenever ambitious desires of preeminence were conceived in their carnal hearts the primacy of St. Peter was invented and supported by texts wrongly interpreted, and men next acknowledged in this apostle and in his self-styled successors at Rome, the visible representatives of visible unity — the heads of the universal Church.”

          By “priestly” religion is meant the “hierarchical” religion of the Roman Church.

  1. You said:

    Old Testament: The soul/spirit/mind is the heart. The emotions are the kidneys (!). I guess that means the emotions are in the guts. “I feel it in my guts.” But all these words–soul, spirit, mind, emotions–overlap and could be substituted for one another.

    Pascal: ‘the heart has its reasons that reason doesn’t know.’ That can be applied also and aptly to the madness of romantic love.

    To my secular mind, ‘faith’ and ‘belief’ are not the same. For instance, when I was young I believed that anything made in Germany was, by definition, something bad. Why did I believe this? Because I was born during the War and my parents had a horror of Germans and all things German. They conveyed this horror to me, even before I was told about the Holocaust. I BELIEVED that an object made in Germany was BAD. (Later, when my own reasoning took over, I realized that my childish ‘belief’ about German goods was not true; that, not only were many German products excellent. but that an object like a radio cannot be moral or immoral. Further, I learned through experience that Germans, like everybody else, were neither all bad nor all good.) Some people believe that black people are inferior to white people, etc, etc. You cannot use the word, ‘faith,’ in these contexts.

    As for faith . . . alas, I do not have it, not on any of the three levels.

    But I am not an atheist, I am an agnostic. Although you once said that for Christians (Calvinists?) agnostics are atheists, this is untrue. Atheists assume they KNOW the truth. Fundamentalists ‘know’ they know the truth. Agnostics acKNOWledge that they do not know the truth.


    • Karen, as I said in my previous comment:
      “Assensus is belief. This belief hasn’t yet penetrated the heart; it is still on the mental level – a mental assent. “I believe it, that settles it.” Of course, when you say “I believe it, that settles it,” your mental assent is more of a mental descent. To understand why it is a mental descent, you need to ascend to the third level of faith: fiducia.

      Fiducia is full trust and commitment, it’s the heart knowledge…”

      So, in the above scheme, “belief” (assensus – assent) is transformed, or – as the scheme puts it – matures into trust and commitment (fiducia).

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