If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone

 

Quietism - A Heresy Based on Prayer

A system that says that there is nothing good or godly or holy in the human will and in human effort is profoundly dangerous. It annihilates self-esteem and any joy we take in our achievements. One would need to be a Siamese twin to a counsellor to get through life if it became dominant in the world.
 
The system requires that in the effort to become right for God to make you passive and reach the state of passive mystical contemplation of God the dark night of the soul is a must. God will initially give you enjoyment of the prayer of quiet and then he will inflict a long and utterly terrible depression on you in which you feel you are getting nowhere and are and have been worthless and God has abandoned you. It is evil. Depression is the sense of worthless existence and cannot be of any use to God unless he is malignant. To make a person feel worthless is to imply that person is worth nothing and nobody would have the right to claim that the person is suffering for their good. That would be loathsome. God is a wholly evil concept. The only way out would be to claim that depressed people deliberately make themselves feel like that.
 
The religious experience of the Quietist is a symptom of mental disorder for it cannot be real.

QUIETISM EXPLICATED
 
The foremost promoter of the Quietist doctrine in the Roman Church was the Spanish Roman Catholic priest, Michael Molinos. He seems to have been born in Sargossa in 1627. He became a doctor of divinity – a trained theologian. He even converted his friend, Pope Innocent XI to his doctrine – albeit temporarily. Molinos was found guilty of heresy by the Inquisition and thrown into prison where he died in 1697.
 
Molinos held that God must be loved without even the slightest motive of concern for what is in it for you and loved like this all the time because he is worthy in himself and not because he is good to you. So far that is Catholic doctrine. Since you always have some desire to fulfil or satisfy when you use your free will meaning that you get some pleasure from it, Molinos said that you have to lose free will by meditation on the fact that God is inside you and attain complete passivity and become God’s puppet.
 
Catholic Encyclopaedia http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12608c.htm discusses Quietism and says that we should only help ourselves for God wills it and not because of ourselves and that Quietism is right in that but went too far in the application of this principle. Catholicism says that if you try to love God with disinterest in yourself and fail that is okay as long as you do your best with God’s help to match the ideal so self-interested love for God is tolerable. Quietists forbade this attitude and had an all or nothing approach. They considered any acceptance of self-interest to be dangerous and forbidden and supposed that no good would come of it.
 
Molinos said that the true Christian would go to Hell for all eternity if it were God’s will. They won’t hate God there for they have no free will to hate with so he is not saying the true Christian would hate God forever if that were God’s will because it wouldn’t be.
 
Quietism does not forbid happiness or sadness as long as you don’t intend to be happy or sad for you must intend nothing.
 
Quietism tells you if you have to will anything or act then do what is easiest so it can encourage sin. One might pretend to be an aspiring Quietist and get their sins excused for that reason.
 
Once God starts controlling you, you cannot sin or merit rewards for all that is left of you is awareness of God. The power to choose is gone. The Quietist’s passivity will take the form of being in a tranquil state no matter what happens to her or him be it suffering, pleasure or temptation. Her or his mind can think only of God’s presence meaning that she or he acts kind of absent-mindedly all the time. The Quietist is detached from everything except God.
 
Quietism need not become pantheism for the person controlled by God could still be a separate entity, as regards consciousness, from God. It is like what you experience if you can imagine being awareness and nothing else, you have no sight, taste, sound, touch or sense of smell. You have no free will or body. What is left is what we are talking about.
 
The doctrine teaches that catechisms, set prayers and sacraments are useful only for the beginner and are to be discarded as soon as God enables one to do so.
 
But Molinos only permitted external religious acts for deceptive purposes. They were a cover for his heretics. When the prayer of simple awareness of God kills free will obviously you start with it and not external actions. This prayer is an effort but God can make it give way to a passive awareness of the divine presence. It happens to you like a vision. It ceases to be you making yourself aware of God but God making you aware of himself.
 
When one turns to the gospels and sees Jesus recommending prayers like the “Our Father” and generally not behaving like a Quietist one must conclude that if Quietism is true then Jesus was not fit to be a Spiritual Director never mind the Son of God! The Devil must have written the gospels to keep people away from God. Quietists only go for asceticism when it is easer for them than indulgence and involves less use of free will.
 
The doctrine teaches a firm acceptance of predestination for God alone saves you and not your efforts. But perhaps you have to use the effort of your free will to get rid of your freedom enabling God alone to save you without your effort so salvation is your choice. That effort consists of simple concentration on the presence of God. It is not your choice in the end because only God can let the meditation destroy the will.
 
The doctrine recommends severe suffering and penance in the struggle to get God to save you for these break and help destroy the will. You have to suffer what you cannot bear. Quietism does not encourage wilful self-torture for those who have attained the state it labours for.
 
Quietism says that attachment to grace is attachment to the gift of God that makes you holy and not God. Christians reply, “But grace is not what is given by God but is God giving you himself as helper and friend.” But we experience grace as help and we do not experience this help as God personally. Even if God is his grace it is impossible to be attached to the help and not God. You can love the heat in the sun and not the sun though the two are the same. Molinos held that grace was given to be forsaken. The race that enabled one to become passive and to which one was not attached was all the grace he cared about.
 
If the Quietist God existed he would force us all to be passive and unfree when free will is useless.
 

QUIETISM REFUTED
 
If God wants us to give up our free will then he is saying he does not want to be loved for love can only be caused by a free agent according to the Christian view. Some Quietists say that for us to forsake free will is to love God and is an act of love even though it means we cannot love God anymore. It would be more love if you kept trying to get rid of free will and could not. Quietism runs down effort which is silly.
 
Anyway, if you choose to give up free will you want to give it up so how could you enter the passive state when you have a desire? Desire is supposed to block the state of love for God. It is not love for you want to do it. Presumably God himself removes desire for you for you cannot get rid of it yourself. Then why doesn’t he?
 
The Quietist says that if anybody is not in the passive state, it is because of sin and self. If your will is selfish then the closer it gets to the passive state the worse it is. Why? It is worse for a strong person to do wrong than for a weak one to do it. It’s excuses for being selfish are withering away meaning that the strength to resist evil has grown. One way that is true but the other way it is not true for it is not getting rid of all the sin. The better it seems to get the worse it gets so no improvement is made in reality. They just seem to be improved.
 
Why would God demand love or the annihilation of free will if he is able to accept the Quietist without it?
 
Conclusion
 
Quietism is a disturbing doctrine. But studying it shows how far the Church wishes people would go in avoiding any form of self-interest.
 
BOOKS CONSULTED
 
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BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER, Association for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, Dublin, 1960
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, Veritas, London, 1995
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CHRISTIANITY FOR THE TOUGH-MINDED, Edited by John Warwick Montgomery, Bethany Fellowship, Minnesota, 1973
CRISIS OF MORAL AUTHORITY, Don Cupitt, SCM Press, London, 1995
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ECUMENICAL JIHAD, Peter Kreeft, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1996
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HANDBOOK OF CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS, Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, Monarch, East Sussex, 1995
HONEST TO GOD, John AT Robinson, SCM, London, 1963
HOW DOES GOD LOVE ME? Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1986
IN DEFENCE OF THE FAITH, Dave Hunt, Harvest House, Eugene, Oregon, 1996
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RADIO REPLIES, 1, Frs Rumble & Carty, Radio Replies Press, St Paul, Minnesota, 1938
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REASON AND BELIEF, Brand Blanschard, George Allen and Unwin Ltd, 1974
REASONS FOR HOPE, Ed Jeffrey A Mirus, Christendom College Press, Virginia, 1982
THE BIBLE TELLS US SO, R B Kuiper, The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, 1978
THE BRIEF OF ST ANTHONY OF PADUA (Vol 44, No 4)
THE GREAT MEANS OF SALVATION AND OF PERFECTION, St Alphonsus De Ligouri, Redemptorist Fathers, Brooklyn, 1988
THE IMITATION OF CHRIST, Thomas A Kempis, Translated by Ronald Knox and Michael Oakley, Universe, Burns & Oates, London, 1963
THE LIFE OF ALL LIVING, Fulton J Sheen, Image Books, New York, 1979
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THE PUZZLE OF GOD, Peter Vardy, Collins, London, 1990
THE SATANIC BIBLE, Anton Szandor LaVey, Avon Books, New York, 1969
THE SPIRITUAL GUIDE, Michael Molinos, Christian Books, Gardiner Maine, 1982
THE STUDENT’S CATHOLIC DOCTRINE, Rev Charles Hart BA, Burns & Oates, London, 1961
UNBLIND FAITH, Michael J Langford, SCM, London, 1982