We all knew the Reunion would have to come to an end someday. Soon the glorious buffets and shows at Caesar’s New Palace would be closed to us forever! Our grand Las Vegas adventure was about to end and this added an air of urgency to everything we did! An unwelcome gate crasher had showed up and even spoke against our most cherished traditions! We decided that an impassioned talk about the glory and beauty of our traditions was in order! We also wanted to make it known that anyone who did not honor our traditions would be in serious trouble!
People Create Religious Traditions!
The thing traditions have going for them (and why we like them so much) is because we make them ourselves! All you have to do is think of traditions as “do it yourself” religious projects and everything makes perfect sense. That’s why people react so violently when anyone questions their tradition because they take it as a personal attack! “Hey! That’s MY tradition you’re messing with!” And they are absolutely right… it IS their tradition. People create traditions and people keep them going. God doesn’t generally have much to do with it. Jesus said a lot of harsh things about traditions because they are usually so contrary to God’s ways!
Religious Traditions are Serious Business!
Religious customs are no laughing matter! Traditions are way too important to question. Sometimes traditions are even more important than scripture! No kidding! This is hard for some people to figure out and there are always some who just don’t get it! The question on everyone’s mind was, “What should we do about rebels who won’t treat our dogma with the proper respect?” Our first choice was to smite them with the jawbone of an ass like Samson did but finding a good jawbone from a suitable ass isn’t easy. Besides, most of the church fathers knew that talking an issue to death is nearly as effective. The next challenge was to figure out who was up to the job!
Jesus Didn’t Love the Traditions of Men
We thought about trying to book one of the Apostles but none of them were trinitarians so that idea fizzled out pretty quickly. No one even considered trying to get Jesus to show up to defend tradition. He wasn’t a trinitarian either and His stand against Jewish traditions had a lot to do with getting Him crucified.
Athanasius Was the Champion of Tradition!
Someone would have to speak up for tradition and the honor eventually fell to, who else but Athanasius! He once overturned three centuries of church teaching (ie. tradition) with his own radical ideas but he was still a perennial crowd favorite. Athanasius was one of the main architects of the trinitarian dogma that ultimately ruled Christianity for nearly two thousand years! He knew a thing or two about building and maintaining human traditions! Athanasius was eloquent and bold and not the least bit afraid to promote his own religious ideas in spite of the teachings of Jesus! The jawbone of everyone’s favorite Ath, Athanasius of Alexandria, won speaking honors by a landslide!
Athanasius Was the Defender of Trinitarian Dogma
Master of Ceremonies: Good evening everyone! We are in for a special treat again tonight! You all know we have had to cope with some unpleasant interruptions in the past few days. We don’t have a lot of time left and we certainly don’t want to spend it listening to things we disagree with! Here to silence the voices we don’t want to hear is our theological heavy hitter and defender of trinitarian dogma! Brethren I give you Athanasius! Let’s hear it for the Jawbone from Alexandria one more time!
Audience: Thunderous applause! Stomping of feet! Whistling and shouting aplenty!
Athanasius: Thank you, thank you! I know we don’t have a lot of time left at this fine Las Vegas Reunion and we all want to enjoy ourselves while we’re still here. I think we have heard enough unpleasantness from our critics and as far as I’m concerned it’s time to put an end to it!
Audience: Amen! Amen!
Take Your Pick! Scripture or Tradition
Athanasius: Brothers we live in two worlds! The first is the world of “it is written” in the holy scriptures. The other world and the one we wish to exalt tonight is the sphere of tradition which is no less important! We know that some people think Jesus condemned tradition saying “by your traditions you have made God’s laws of none effect…you worship God in vain, for the doctrines you teach are the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15). The Apostle Paul wrote, “See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you captive by philosophy and vain deceit (fine sounding arguments) according to the traditions of men.” (Colossians 2) We should just dispense with these scriptural objections right now since those verses clearly are not talking about us! They are about other people who are not as right about things as we are! There you have it!
Our Traditions Have a Seal of Approval!
You may be wondering; how can we know which traditions are legit and which are merely human? All you have to do is listen to the certified religious authorities we call the Magisterium! In other words, WE will tell you which traditions are humanly generated and which ones are approved by God. It’s just that simple! Fortunately, our traditions have all been approved by specially trained religious experts!
Our Traditions Are of the Highest Quality!
We have an official document called a Nihil Obstat that certifies in writing that our traditions are the best available anywhere! They have our own special Seal of Approval and are published and approved under our own Imprimatur (license)! This confirms we have official permission to publish these things! These very fine Latin words are your assurance that the traditions we want you to observe are of the highest quality. Our theology and creeds have passed all these rigorous requirements with flying colors!
We Only Use Violence When Necessary
Yes, we have used force at times to convince people who wouldn’t yield to us but that’s just how it is sometimes. Burning at the stake, massacres and torture may seem harsh to some but that’s just what it took for us to finally establish our authority. We mostly only killed adversaries who called themselves Christians. In hindsight we probably should have killed everyone who didn’t believe what we wanted them to! We tried to do just that for a long time but things didn’t work out as well as we hoped in spite of our best efforts. Sadly, the days when we could use lethal force are just a fond memory. Religious violence is frowned upon these days so we are inclined to be much more gentle!
The Trinity is Our Greatest Tradition!
Today I am here to assure you that our trinitarian tradition is undoubtedly the majority opinion. If you want to go with a winner you will go with us! Just consider our Magisterium, Imprimatur and Nihil Obstats. It is little wonder that our traditions are at least equal to, if not greater in importance than what is written in the scriptures. Traditions and scripture are both important but since our traditions give us the sole authority to interpret scripture we can confidently say that tradition has won! In spite of what some reckless heretics may say, highly qualified religious professionals like us are the only people who are able determine exactly what you should believe!
In closing I trust that this short explanation has answered all your questions, calmed all your doubts and settled this issue once and for all. Now let’s head to that great seafood buffet!
Pragmatticus was up in the rafters and although he didn’t start cussing he could not keep from laughing.
Copyright 2021 by Bob Shutes
Its a dark path we are on when men’s explanations become more important than Scripture itself. Read plainly and leave some mysteries to God.