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Saturday, July 30, 2011

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Brad

He was a freemason, which, contrary to the squawks of many within the Church, still incurs latæ sententiæ excommunication, whether the excommunicant likes it or not, believes it or not, presents himself for the Sacraments or not. The reason freemasonry is absolutely incompatible with the gospel is because the former embraces multiple mortal heresies: Indifferentism being foremost, which is the sin against the first Mosaic commandment and against Christ's NT first commandment. What most freemasons do not know, yet, and what advanced freemasons will not discuss, is that at the end of their degenerate journey, they swear allegiance to a hybrid god of all the ancient near-eastern cultures. This hybrid god is a satanic idol that the first apostles would have toppled and crushed, and would have heard demons screaming as they were forced to evacuate. The soul entrapped in freemasonry is living with no sanctifying grace. But, the darnel is allowed, we know, to blend with the wheat. We pray for the darnel and place our hope, in Christ, that justice will be quickly satisfied and then mercy will flow. Souls must be saved. Our Mother is the destroyer of heresy. She will destroy this one and will ensure that the souls entrapped by it are saved by her Son's endless merit.

Sharon

Brad, I am probably being dumb here but who was a freemason and what is your source for this info?

Charles E Flynn

Hint: The term "was" implies that the Freemason left that organization, or is deceased. Aside from that, I am no less puzzled than Sharon, who has a deep understanding of the concept of unreferenced pronouns.

Angling Saxon

So instead of continuing to attempt to alleviate material deprivations we should be concentrating on devotion to a sky-god? I guess people in Europe were better off in the Middle Ages when they were pious and died at 30 of infections or influenza because, hey, at least they had "divine" purpose in life, eh?

Fascinating. And heartening that this floundering is all very descriptive, and not prescriptive. Because, really...do you actually expect secular people to buy this stuff? Why on earth are you so convinced that we are leading empty, meaningless lives that only prostration before a sky-god from a fairy tale will assuage? One loony (and far right Christian, don't forget!) shoots up Norway and all of a sudden society is falling?

Really? This would be funny if it wasn't so sad. Think about it: the greatest horrors of the 20th century were unleashed by and between Christian nations, but did that elicit much "soul"-searching by those in churches Catholic or otherwise? No, just obfuscation and lies. Germans couldn't be "true" Christians...

What's interesting is that other horrors in the Soviet Union and China did in fact eventually produce debate and introspection, though not always by those in power. But even so, those systems of thought were mostly, if not thoroughly in those two countries, discredited.

You sincerely believe that life without your particular brand of sky-god is meaningless. Well...terrific! Bully for you! As much as I do not respect that, I can understand it, and am pleased that you are completely free to continue in your belief. So why can't you understand that atheists find meaning in existence without sky-gods?

Carl E. Olson

Angling Saxon: I'm used to atheists/skeptics getting most everything wrong, but you've taken it to another level: you get everything wrong. A few specific responses:

So instead of continuing to attempt to alleviate material deprivations we should be concentrating on devotion to a sky-god?

Who said or wrote that? I certainly didn't. After all, I belong to the largest and oldest charitable organization in the world, which operates hospitals, charities, orphanages, soup kitchens, etc., all over the world: the Catholic Church.

I know the term "sky-god" is meant to be some sort of clever insult, but it is actually laughably ignorant, as Christians do not worship a god "in the sky". God, in Christian and Jewish belief, is completely Other, the ground of all being who is, to draw upon ancient philosophical language, the Prime Mover and the First Cause.

I guess people in Europe were better off in the Middle Ages when they were pious and died at 30 of infections or influenza because, hey, at least they had "divine" purpose in life, eh?

A rather bizarre "argument", as if the Catholic Church delights in sickness (which wouldn't makes sense of the many hospitals that she operated in the Middle Ages), or did nothing to alleviate illness, disease, and so forth. On the contrary, as many scholars (both secular and Christian) have shown in recent decades, what we now take for granted in terms of science, medicine, technology, etc., came directly from the philosophical and scientific advances brought about by Christianity. See my essay, "Dark Ages and Secularist Rages: A Response to Professor A.C. Grayling" for more. I also recommend the excellent book, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies (Yale, 2009), by David Bentley Hart.

Really? This would be funny if it wasn't so sad. Think about it: the greatest horrors of the 20th century were unleashed by and between Christian nations, but did that elicit much "soul"-searching by those in churches Catholic or otherwise?

Another weird "argument", which displays a breathtaking absence of any historical knowledge whatsoever. The fact is, almost every Western war from about the 16th century onward was based in political struggles, not religious conflicts. And, to be specific, how was the Nazi regime "Christian"? Especially when it openly stated and pursued the destruction of Christians and Jews? And how was Communism in the Soviet Union and China "Christian"? It is far more accurate to note that countries such as Germany and Russia had once been Christian to one degree or another, but that they had succumbed to dictatorships that were aggressively anti-Christian. And those dictatorship (Communist and Nazi) accounted for some 100+million murders in less than 70 years.

Why on earth are you so convinced that we are leading empty, meaningless lives that only prostration before a sky-god from a fairy tale will assuage? One loony (and far right Christian, don't forget!) shoots up Norway and all of a sudden society is falling?

A life based in a materialist philosophy and that denies transcendent truth and meaning is, if lived true to its premises and convictions, essentially nihilist and meaningless. It's simply logical. Of course, few skeptics/atheists are willing to live in complete and full accord with their basic beliefs; they will talk about "love" and "gratitude" and even being "spiritual", even while tacitly denying the metaphysical realities without which "love" and "gratitude" and "being spiritual" have any substantive meaning. For more, see my essay, "Love and the Skeptic" and my post, "Can atheists be grateful?"

What's interesting is that other horrors in the Soviet Union and China did in fact eventually produce debate and introspection, though not always by those in power. But even so, those systems of thought were mostly, if not thoroughly in those two countries, discredited.

Highly debatable, at the very least, especially since China continues to be run by a government that is Communist and atheistic, although its methods of control are often far more subtle than they once were. Europe has, at least on an official level, turned its back on theism in general and Christianity specifically. In fact, the West is deep in the throes of a materialist desert, both on a social/economic level and on a philosophical/cultural level.

You sincerely believe that life without your particular brand of sky-god is meaningless. Well...terrific! Bully for you! As much as I do not respect that, I can understand it...

Actually, I don't get the sense that you understand Christian belief, Western history, or basic philosophy very well at all. It is consistently the case (if not always the case) that Christians understand atheism far better than atheists understand Christianity; it has nothing to do with intellectual abilities, and quite a bit to do with intellectual integrity and honesty. I've studied atheism over the years (see my introductory essay, "A Short Introduction to Atheism"), and I can honestly say that I understand, on an intellectual/experiential level, the attraction of atheism, but that I do not find atheism to be intellectually fulfilling, logical, or appealing. In the words of Walker Percy, a former atheist: "This life is much too much trouble, far too strange, to arrive at the end of it and then be asked what you make of it and have to answer, ‘Scientific humanism.’ That won’t do. A poor show. Life is a mystery, love is a delight. Therefore, I take it as axiomatic that one should settle for nothing less than the infinite mystery and infinite delight; i.e., God." ("Questions They Never Asked Me," p. 417)

Angling Saxon

1. "Dr. Dalrymple argues that the welfare state, Europe's form of civic religion, deprives its citizens even of the "struggle for existence" as a possible purpose in life. One alternative, then, is "transcendent political purpose—and that's where what [Breivik's] done comes in." The obvious insinuation being that if Breivik were a "struggling" Christian he might have had a "purpose" and not done what he did.

2. Hospitals in Canada, where I live, were first run by either Protestants, Catholics or local governments, and were funded/subsidized by provincial governments so that anyone could go to them. They have always charged fees. They are now funded by our taxes. While the motivation for setting up Catholic (and other) hospitals was most certainly a charitable one informed by ideas of Christian charity, they have never been charities in any meaningful sense of the word.

3. There are kitchen gods, sun gods, moon gods, elephant gods, thunder gods and sky gods (maybe my hyphen wasn't needed). And numerous other types of gods, too. The Christian god is in heaven. Heaven is a synonym for sky. The Christian god is a sky god.

4. Via your link, you quote Christopher Dawson thusly: "The ultimate criterion by which we must judge the value of a religion is not its cultural fruits but its spiritual truth." I take it the advances you claim for Christianity are not quite as important as "ultimate" "spiritual truth." But "spiritual truth" is really just a byword for the claims you make for your particular religion in competition with the other thousands of religions that have ever existed. When you're outside the religious bubble it sounds like parochial babble. Christian civilization has no exalted place in the arena of the advancement of knowledge: it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Greeks and the Chinese. And in some ways we Christians (speaking culturally here) were even less religious than the Greeks: Aristotle was much concerned with the existence of the divine, but how much was the Baconian method specifically motivated by a love/worship of a sky god? That wasn't his field, granted, but still, it's remarkable that so many advances in the last 400 years were made without explicit reference to religion. You know...the Enlightenment.

5. The First and Second World Wars were between culturally Christian nations, save, obviously, for China and Japan. Ten million killed in the first one, seventy million in the second one. The notion that Nazi Germany was anything but Christian is patently a "no true Scotsman" fallacy (http://nobeliefs.com/nazis.htm). There's an argument to be made that Germany in 2011 is not wholly Christian, but between 1933 to 1945? You can't be serious.

6. China and Russia were also horrific during the 20th century. How many died? 80 million? 100 million? Okay, now we're comparing numbers. No point to that, really. Suffice it to say that Christians equally as murderous as communists.

7. Nothing meaningless about not having gods. We have only a short blip of consciousness, then we die, and consciousness is finished. Do you fret about the eons you didn't exist before your birth? Of course not. So why fret about the eons that will follow your death? It's beautifully symmetrical. We are tiny specks in the cosmos. We are bathed in eternity at every moment. What on earth does a sky god having sex with a virgin giving birth to a sacrificial lamb who monitors your every thought and deed have to do with my love for my family? Are you nuts?

8. The Soviet Union and China are not Marxist anymore. Indeed, what's most ironic about China is that only now does it finally fulfill all of the prerequisites Marx laid out for a Communist revolution! Naturally it won't happen (thank, erm...Buddha), as communism has been discredited. But what's most striking about the Soviet and Mao eras was the worship of the state, which mimicked the ethos of a theocracy like Iran. They were aggressively atheist, but they were not secular: secularism is the separation of state and religion. In those places the state was actually the religion.

9. Do you have a deep understanding of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and Islam, to pick just a few major religions? No? I'll bet your knowledge of them is very superficial. So how can you possibly reject them for Christianity?

10. Life is a mystery, therefore there must be a sky god up there monitoring my every word like Big Brother? What a ridiculous non-sequitur!

Kevin C.

One thought immediately comes to mind: "I need to read more Walker Percy." Hard to do since we're in between houses and all of my WP is boxed up right now...

Mary B


Sharon asked, "Brad, I am probably being dumb here but who was a freemason and what is your source for this info?"

I'm not Brad of course... Somewhere online I read that Breivik was a Freemason. Maybe Brad read that, too.

A quick search brings up blog posts not news sources.

I have not read Breivik's manifesto so I won't comment on it.

Charles E Flynn

The agnostic philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell was considerably more intelligent than today's mass-produced atheists. One of his best lines was:

"I do not recognize my theory in your parody."

richT

Dear Mr. Angling,
let's be frank:
1-we can all hear your sneer by using the term sky god(what, no tomatoe sauce with that spaghetti?)
2-we aren't concerned with the eternity before our existence because we weren't there...we count on the next inning
3-hitler and his nazis were religious indeed...they were satanists
4-real Christianity is peaceful...men are not
5-stop saying 'Christianity' murdered so many people. Anyone can claim 'in the name of'...they maybe lying....
6- I have been employed by the Catholic Church, my own choice, for twentyfive years. When someone could not affrod the services, we gave.....Don't print here-or anywhere-that they are not charities in any meaningful sense of the word.
7-i suggest you really check it all out before you reject the church in one fell swoop...but thanks for the converssation

Carl E. Olson

Angling Saxon: A few quick points, in haste. Re:

#2: So you acknowledge, tacitly, that your criticism of the Church/Christians not caring about the ill and sick was incorrect, but now try to distract by complaining that hospitals require money? As for charities, the Catholic Church operates "the largest private network of social service organizations in the United States [that] works to support families, reduce poverty, and build communities." Just one of many possible examples.

#3: The Christian god is in heaven. Heaven is a synonym for sky. The Christian god is a sky god. Uh, no. Not even close. Let me introduce you to the first verse in the Bible: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). This isn't mere poetics, but a theological assertion by the author about the nature of Elohim over against Babylonian gods, namely, he is not part of creation, but is Creator. This is a continual theme, expressed in various ways, through the Old and New Testaments. For example: "For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it a chaos, he formed it to be inhabited!): "I am the LORD, and there is no other" (Isa. 45:18). And, in the New Testament: "Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for thou didst create all things, and by thy will they existed and were created" (Rev. 4:11). It is a basic, fundamental point, and if you wish to be taken seriously at all, you need to accurately present the Judeo-Christian understanding of God. Otherwise, you simply make a fool of yourself.

#6: Suffice it to say that Christians equally as murderous as communists. Say it all you wish, but where is the historical evidence? First you dismiss numbers as unimportant (as if they don't say something significant about actions, beliefs, intentions, etc.), and then you blithely suggest, without a shred of proof, that Christians have killed tens of millions. I suppose you can run to the Inquisitions, but keep in mind that over a 300-year-long period, the Spanish Inquisition was responsible for about 5,000 deaths, the vast majority executed by the civil government. And so forth. My claim is not that Christians are perfect (far from it!), but that the advent and growth of Christianity was the most revolutionary cultural, social, and religious movement of the past 2,000 years--and it has been overwhelmingly for the betterment of mankind.

#7: We have only a short blip of consciousness, then we die, and consciousness is finished. And yet you chafe at my description of your beliefs as expressing a nihilistic, meaningless existence. Wow.

We are bathed in eternity at every moment. Um...which one is it: we have "only a short blip of consciousness, then we die", or we are "bathed in eternity at every moment"? You do recognize an obvious contradiction when you see one, right?

What on earth does a sky god having sex with a virgin giving birth to a sacrificial lamb who monitors your every thought and deed have to do with my love for my family? Are you nuts? Your approach to "argument" over these big questions is both obvious and banal: 1) mischaracterize what Christians believe, 2) flippantly contradict yourself about when expressing what you believe, 3) fling weak and desperate insults at the Christian. Yaaawwwwn!

#8: I said that China is still Communist, which is not necessarily the same thing as Marxist. The fact that China is governed/ruled by the Chinese Communist Party seems ample enough evidence for my non-controversial statement.

#9: Do you have a deep understanding of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and Islam, to pick just a few major religions? No? I'll bet your knowledge of them is very superficial. So how can you possibly reject them for Christianity? Well, I do own over 80 books on Buddhism and am currently co-authoring a book on Catholicism and Buddhism with Dr. Anthony Clark, professor of Asian history at Whitworth. I have an entire bookcase of books on other Asian religions, Islam, Judaism, etc. I won't claim to be an expert on any, but I've likely read more books about each than 99% of population. Let's put it this way: I know far more about each of these religions than you do about Christianity.

CWD

Game set and match.

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