While browsing at the Stanford bookstore I came across this book about Christian heresies and how to avoid them. Various mistaken beliefs are outlined, such as theopaschitism (a belief that God can suffer, I think), and Eutychianism (a form of monophysitism):
I wonder if the people who were into this stuff were the obsessional geeks of their day. Rather then spending long tedious hours arguing about which programming language is best or who would win if Spiderman fought Batman, they argue over obscure points of theology that nobody sensible could care about. And like today's geeks, their Asperger's-like focus on meaningless formalism had real-world conseqeuences.
The tenet "one nature" was common to all Monophysites and Eutychians, and they affected to call Catholics Diphysites or Dyophysites. The error took its rise in a reaction against Nestorianism, which taught that in Christ there is a human hypostasis or person as well as a Divine. This was interpreted to imply a want of reality in the union of the Word with the assumed Humanity, and even to result in two Christs, two Sons, though this was far from the intention of Nestorius himself in giving his incorrect explanation of the union. He was ready to admit one prosopon, but not one hypostasis, a "prosopic" union, though not a "hypostatic" union, which is the Catholic expression.
And today I see that our president-elect is being accused of heresy for an awkwardly-phrased response he gave in a 2004 interview. This is not happening in the fever-swamps of the batshit-insane right, but in the pages of respectable journals of opinion, including The Atlantic.
All I can say is, this sort of thing makes the baby Jesus cry. Did he really go through the trouble of incarnating and getting crucified so nerds could squabble over whether he is two natures in one person or vice versa? That some people would appoint themselves arbiters of who is a "real Christian"? I'm no kind of Christian at all and that kind of thing pisses me off.
Meanwhile for contrast here is a very good post about how to think about religious ritual and the sacred without having to adopt ridiculous metaphysical beliefs.
[[Update: Here's an accompanying soundtrack courtesy of Slim Gaillard]]