Tag Archives: religion

An Experiment in Knowing: Qanon

I have thought a lot about how people in the modern world can separate fact from fiction, how to determine who is lying, and get at some semblance of the truth. Since Qanon suddenly became the massive story (as predicted…by Q… maybe that wasn’t a hard prediction to make, but it is a data point), and I have been tracking the Q story for a while I thought it would make a great test case in Internet Epistemology… Mostly because if it is true, it is the biggest thing happening today, and if false, is an amazing example of narrative building.

But first, a couple of points.

  1. A conspiracy theory is just the derogatory term for the idea that a large number of people make plans in private. This idea is not actually false: see the Bolsheviks, the Borgias, political campaigns, business deals… calling it a ‘conspiracy theory’ is just the modern way to make it so that people don’t have to think, they can just dismiss something as ‘tin foil hat’.
  2. There are pedophiles and evil people do evil things. Rich, powerful, evil people almost certainly have the means to get away with an amount of evil that most Christians cannot imagine.
  3. The Hollywood gossip blog Crazy Days and Nights (CDAN) has accurately called a number of ‘surprise’ sex scandals long before the news broke, including Weinstein.
  4. That CDAN has for a long time been posting about large scale procurement and delivery methods for pedophiles is a data point not easily dismissed, especially in light of the NXIVM cult. A demand for something produces a market and logistics…
  5. So, that Qanon spends a decent amount of time talking about cracking down on pedophiles does not disqualify the group.

So first, who is Qanon? Somebody is posting in places like 8chan somewhat cryptic posts. You can see all of them archived here: Q posts. Here is an example:

I won’t try to unpack it. The idea is that Q is someone, probably military intelligence, who is close to President Trump. This person, or team, is using the obsessive types who spend time on sites like 4chan and 8chan to process hints into real intel that the wider public could digest in order to prepare the country for what it actually means to ‘drain the swamp’.

If you think these internet types are useless… check out this…

So, if these obsessive types could be pointed at the right targets, they could become a kind of minuteman intelligence agency. Not really for gathering intelligence for the government, but taking hints about what the Military types and Trump know and running it down so that people know. These are the same types who brought down James Gunn…

That guy is a creeper… a very wealthy powerful creep… at minimum.

Qanon basically states that the powerful swamp types are often pedophiles and the frequently members of  (or associated with) a kind of loosely-knit satanic movement that at least occasionally also indulges in human sacrifice. (I know, most readers are now busting out their tin-foil to mock Q, but wait, for now, until at least the end of our Internet Epistemology.) And that Trump is moving through a massive, tedious, and tricky process to root out as much as possible i.e. ‘Drain the Swamp’. The role of Qanon is 1) keep the Trump supporters engaged and motivated 2) help prepare people to come to terms with the evil that is just out of sight around every corner (would make the Catholic Priest scandal seem little in comparison) and 3) spread some disinformation to the ‘black hats’ when necessary.

Is this impossible? Well, the Devil whishes to be worshipped and has always really enjoyed pedophilia and child sacrifice. Over at ‘The Other McCain’ (a site you should read often…) McCain writes:

Just yesterday, I wrote about a CIA leaker busted for child pornography. It is very easy to write a phrase like “obviously unhinged” to dismiss suspicions about “child sex rings” as a way to imply that (a) such things don’t exist, (b) no Democrats or celebrities could be involved, and (c) Trump couldn’t actually be working to bust “child sex rings.” Isn’t it a curious coincidence, however, that celebrities were involved the NXIVM sex cult, which didn’t get busted until Trump became president? And let me remind you of a few headlines:

President of NYC Young Democrats Arrested
on Child Pornography Charges

May 27, 2017

Child Pornography Arrest Exposes
Australian TV Reporter’s Sordid Gay Life

April 18, 2017

Canadian Gay Child Pornography Merchant
Reportedly Made $4 Million

Aug. 9, 2016

Australian Gay-Marriage Crusader Was
Fugitive Wanted on Kiddie Porn Charge

May 14, 2016

Gay Pedophiles Used ‘Multiple Fake
Female Personas’ in Child Porn Ring

March 18, 2014

Famous Gay Rights Activist Now Also
Famous for Child Pornography Habits

Jan. 25, 2014

University of Toronto Education Professor
Arrested on Child Pornography Charges

July 8, 2013

Two Gay Men Used Russian Surrogate Mother
to Create Boy for Sex Abuse Ring

July 1, 2013

That’s just a small sample of creeps who’ve been busted the past few years, and don’t forget about this story from 2014:

A new lawsuit has revealed the extent of former President Clinton’s friendship with a fundraiser who was later jailed for having sex with an underage prostitute.
Bill Clinton’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, who served time in 2008 for his illegal sexual partners, included up multiple trips to the onetime billionaire’s private island in the Caribbean where underage girls were allegedly kept as sex slaves. . . .
Tales of orgies and young girls being shipped to the island, called Little St. James, have been revealed as part of an ongoing lawsuit between Epstein and his former lawyers Scott Rothstein and Bradley Edwards.

A billionaire friend of Bill Clinton had a private island with teenage sex slaves, but it’s “obviously unhinged” to suspect that other Democrats and celebrities may eventually be exposed as pedophiles? Is it far-fetched to think President Trump may be getting Justice Department briefings about ongoing investigations of child sex rings? Is it a crazy conspiracy theory to believe that some administration “insiders” might know who’s under investigation, and that they might anonymously post tips on Internet forums?

Also, that Jeffrey Epstein has this on his private island.

See the source image

That is a temple, as per admission… and well, its not anything good. Zoom in of the statues…

Alright, now that you know a tiny taste of what Qanon is about (For a further, very detailed, introduction see: Neon Revolt). We have now started our Internet Epistemology (IE). We must not dismiss something just because all the news outlets over the last 48 hours have called it crazy. We can check  background issues like the existence of NXIVM, Epstein, and the apparent increase in crackdown on pedophiles. And reasonably can conclude that more consideration is needed. We can continue with our IE experiment.

Let us investigate the claim that Q is close to President Trump. Sometimes, Q signs off as Q+ and that is intended to mean that Trump himself posted that post. That is how close we are talking. Lets take Q post #1776. Being an America First type, Q obviously had to commemorate that number somehow. He posted this picture.

The question is: is that or is it not, Donald Trump’s signature under the pen. (And why cover half the signature?) If you compare, it is reasonable to accept that the signature is Trump’s. Does that prove that Q could step over to Trump and say ‘Hey, I need to post #1776, could you sign it?’ No, it really doesn’t. With phenomenal planning, the President’s signature is not impossible to come by.

Next, we have a video of the presidents motorcade passing some supporters, one of whom has a sign asking Q to honk. and… listen, it is towards the end of the 1 min clip.

Many Q followers point out that the Morse code for ‘Q’ is dash – dash – dot -dash… what the white van at the back of the motorcade beeped… Does that mean that Q is real?

.

.

.

Not really, but it probably does prove that someone travelling with the president knows about Q, at least.

How about Trump recognizing a Q shirt?

Or… or… or… if you believe Q, the evidence is everywhere (there are many, so called ‘Q confirmations’). It could be brilliantly engineered confirmation bias, or it could be real. If you don’t believe it, every proof has deniability. And then again  Q would say that was on purpose so that the plan could be followed. Q often reminds people to ‘Trust the Plan’

How can we know? What is real? Every Christian epistemology must start with what we know from what scripture teaches us. We know that throughout the old testament the Israelites bounced between sacrificing their children and fornicating by the Ashtaroth poles and begging God not to destroy them utterly. We know that the Prince of this world is powerful and real. We also can infer some of his favorite things: such as Child Sacrifice. Why would he give that up now, knowing the depravity and wickedness of the current generation? We also know that God raises up men from time to time to punish the wicked and bring comfort to His people. Is that Donald Trump? Maybe, maybe not. But I can say this: the narrative that has been masterfully built by Qanon fits reality far better than the narrative built by the MSM.

I think this is summed up best by McCain again

OK, maybe that’s all tinfoil-hat stuff, but you can’t just call it “baseless claims” and pretend you’ve proven that everything about #QAnon is false. Because for all you know, next week’s headlines will be a new scandal you never imagined in your wildest dreams, and the #QAnon guys will point to a previous tip and say, “See? We told you so!”

One of the best parts about the Qanon is that predictions are made, and sometimes seem to come true. Also, Qanon has an expiration date of November of this year. We will know one way or another. Either a lot of powerful (whether you know their names or not, like Tony Podesta) people go to jail or they don’t.

I think that Qanon is near the president and is at least a counter narrative. Maybe some or many things are not true, but the narrative is truer than that found in the MSM. I think Qanon works to build a back-channel between Trump and the American people so that the conspiratorial monopoly of the MSM cannot destroy the country. (If you think they are not in a conspiracy, look up Journ0list)

I think that Qanon is part of the show that our realty TV president is putting on, all while working for peace in Korea and 4.1% GDP growth and high employment. Whether it is more than that remains to be seen. Internet Epistemology at his point is at least well begun. And as they say, well begun is half done.

Either way, as Q would say, ‘Enjoy the show’.

Update: Q has been posting “Something BIG is about to drop. Q” on and off for a couple of days… so maybe the timeline for knowing the truth is sooner than November…

Immaturity

This is certainly the most difficult thing for me to write. If I say that someone needs humility, that sounds awfully proud doesn’t it?  If I say that someone has immature faith that sounds even worse. After all, I’m young yet; I shouldn’t lecture anyone on anything other than Chemistry, the thing I know best. Perhaps that would be good advice for writers, movie stars, and celebrities of every sort. When these people are new Christians whose time and energy is spent on their primary work, I think we can forgive a little Spiritual immaturity. However, there is one type of spiritual immaturity that I must comment on. I am reminded of it every time I read Andrew Klavan talking about homosexuality. He is an author I admire, and he deserves it; he tells gripping stories with real insight into the nature of man. But there seems to be a disconnect on this topic. He argues quite persuasively that Christians should not participate in censorship, using persuasion instead, and here I couldn’t agree more. However, he displays his lack of discernment, or his lack of understanding in articles like this one:  Is Jesus Against Kooky Gay Guys?

It seems in this case that Klavan is demanding that Christians who think homosexuality is a sin shut up. He wants us to censor ourselves because (if I gather correctly over several articles like the one linked, where this exact topic is slightly tangential.): ‘From my reading and studying of the Bible, Jesus is concerned with re-directing your soul through him back toward its creator. Your soul, not someone else’s. He’s very specific about that. If you’re passing judgment on another guy’s soul, you’re thinking about the wrong thing.’ And because he has nice gay friends who are really happy together and he doesn’t think God forbids it, or at least, it isn’t that bad.

For the first, immature Christians are very obsessed by the ‘Do not judge’ passages. (In the article above, Klavan refers to the parable about the speck in your neighbor’s eye.) I find this also fairly prevalent in the Christian Novel Contest I help judge … 🙂 … Here is the problem. If we ‘do not judge’ as Mr. Klavan seems to mean, then are we to never say something is a sin? Are we never to say to someone: This or That is a sin? I certainly don’t suggest that we incessantly tell non-Christians that this specific thing is a sin. They must be first convinced that sin is real and that it is a threat to their eternity before they can even care what specific things might also be sins. But if, as Christians, we cannot point to behaviors, actions, or thoughts of our own, or of others, and say ‘This is certainly a sin.’ Then how, should sanctification proceed? If a Christian who through study of scripture and consultation with those who know more than himself becomes convinced that God abhors homosexual behavior then should he  censor himself? Or should he speak up?

And here is where a level of maturity is required. Simply because I believe that homosexuality is sinful does NOT imply that I find it the only sin, or the worst sin. Strangely enough, I hold to the traditional merciful Lutheran teaching that homosexuality is no worse a sin than adultery. They are both sexual perversions, and, without repentance and faith in Christ, they both lead to damnation. It is harder to have one sin be worse than another when they both lead the soul to damnation. But guess what: other sins known to lead to damnation include pride, avarice, sloth… the 7 deadly sins certainly. And since I am not a Catholic, I do not see anywhere any distinction between mortal and venial sins. I see it nowhere in Scripture, so I do believe that gossiping and the desire to commit a sin, even if never acted upon is worthy of damnation. (If those aren’t venial sins, my Catholic friends will correct me, but the point remains the same.)

But here is the thing, if all sins lead to damnation, then when a Christian points out that homosexuals are sinning, especially ones who are open to the message of Christ and Him crucified, showing someone their sin is the first step to sharing the Gospel. As for the people who speak specifically stridently about homosexuality, (Some of them are obviously, horrifically wrong: Westboro Baptist jumps into the mind). many people single out this sin since it is currently the one that is on a campaign to be normalized as ‘acceptable’ not just throughout  the secular culture, but in the church as well. And on this front, Mr. Klavan is on the wrong side. Jesus does stand against normalized sin in his Church.

And this brings up the other immaturity so rampant among the newly Christian, and the denominations that have deserted their heritage; forgetting to hate the sin. Being a follower of Christ, an imitator of Christ, means to do your very best to love what Christ loves and reject what He rejects. Christ certainly loves the sinner, but you cannot love the sinner without rejecting the sin. Christ, the only one who was qualified to cast the first stone and does not, certainly loves the sinner. Then what happens?

Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

He doesn’t just stop at ‘Neither do I condemn you.’ He also commands her to go and sin no more. He never says that her adultery was acceptable, or not that bad. He forgives her sin, and tells her not to do it again.

And that, that is the other side of the coin. We must search out what God himself despises as sinful behavior, and recognize it as such. And if we find ourselves in disagreement with God, well, that too is sinful and we must repent and learn to submit our opinions to the knowledge of God. So, for the many Christians who find themselves in disagreement with traditional church teaching about what constitutes a sin should do something about it. I do not suggest that they must automatically accept the traditional teaching, (again, I’m not a Catholic) but they absolutely must take it into consideration. This is especially true if for almost two thousand years, every Christian group taught something was sinful. This includes those that are schismatic, even those considered to be heretical amongst each other. In this case, the weight of that consensus should demand a careful, prayerful consideration of what the Scriptures do indeed say on the topic. And if you find that you disagree with the Scriptures, remember that you are the one that is wrong.

The belief that God permits homosexuality, so popular in many modern denominations, is a few decades old aberration out of almost two hundred decades of Church history. It also happens to be most popular in denominations that have just as recently abandoned the teaching or doctrine that the Scripture is the inerrant Word of God, and also, frequently the teaching or doctrine that there is only one path to God. It seems from my point of view that these churches are confounded by heresy, and their acceptance of homosexuality is perhaps the least of their problems.

There, I hope that I don’t come across as prideful, but the scriptures say that:

 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’

So just between you, reader, and me  🙂

Independence Day

On this July 4th, there ought to be a lot of somber reflection, on the state of or liberty, on the condition of our morals, on whether or not we remain actually independent.

1stnavyjack-01

Our president behaves like a king, a petty king at that. He truly believes he has the authority to  alter and enforce laws passed however he pleases. This clear capricious behavior is most apparent in his making up the ability to give just about any group he likes wavers to his health care act, and now, his belief that he has the authority to decide, in contradiction to the terms of the bill, when which parts are enforced. This style of actions clearly demonstrates that Obamacare and many other acts like it are merely tools with which out tyrannous president punishes his political and cultural enemies. I am very much afraid that we have already slipped so far down the slope into despotism that the options to clamber back out as a nation are grim and few. We are passing, what I wish to dub the Tocqueville critical mass… (This is lifted from Breitbart, but the quote is Tocqueville.)

Subjection in minor affairs breaks out every day, and is felt by the whole community indiscriminately. It does not drive men to resistance, but it crosses them at every turn, till they are led to surrender the exercise of their own will. Thus their spirit is gradually broken and their character enervated; whereas that obedience which is exacted on a few important but rare occasions, only exhibits servitude at certain intervals, and throws the burden of it upon a small number of men. It is vain to summon a people, who have been rendered so dependent on the central power, to choose from time to time the representatives of that power; this rare and brief exercise of their free choice, however important it may be, will not prevent them from gradually losing the faculties of thinking, feeling, and acting for themselves, and thus gradually falling below the level of humanity.

We also, as many probably have pointed out, are not living in a Christian nation, if that is defined by the majority of people and culture thinking and working under a Christian belief or at least a Christian Worldview. However,

… God did not need the U.S. Constitution to build His church. It began in the wicked Roman Empire and spread across the known world at the time, despite the severe persecution of Christians.

It is important to remember what our ancestors (ideological at least) did. This is from a speech from Rush Limbaugh’s father, and it is very good and you should go read it all.

The 56 signers of the Declaration Of Independence proved by their every deed that they made no idle boast when they composed the most magnificent curtain line in history. “And for the support of this Declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

Also, the battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg ended 150 years ago, yesterday and today respectively.

Finally, since one of the things I think this country (and the world) needs more of is poetry, here is a hymn I wrote (sadly I don’t have much time for anything other than slightly mediocre) for this Independence Day. Theoretically the tune is ‘Savior of the Nations Come’ I invite you all to do better…

A Hymn of Supplication upon this Independence Day

O,Triune God the Almighty
Please suffer me to hear a plea
My land is filled with darkness
And night surrounds with blackness;

Yet though our land is filled with sin
And full of dross without, within
Yet there remain a faithful few
With hearts and souls redeemed by You

O Lord I know not if to pray
For justice swift and soon today,
Or if like Abraham, I plead
For yet more time and grace indeed!

You put us in this little land
To do Your work, to be Your hand
You blest us with great liberty
That should be free of tyrrany.

To our fathers in the past
You gave the stregth to fight at last
Though many fell, that all be free
Thus, you ended slavery.

And now in these sad later days
Send your Spirit to our lives
To give us strength for wate’er befall
and lead us to you after all.

For though America we love,
A resting place upon our way,
Our only rest is up above
With Thou for light and for our Day.

451px-Star_Spangled_Banner_Flag_on_display_at_the_Smithsonian's_National_Museum_of_History_and_Technology,_around_1964

With all that glumness… still, Happy Independence Day! Go read the Declaration… make it a July 4th tradition.

Civilization Vs. Chaos

Sorry if this is a little rusty. It has been a while due to the all-consuming graduate school. 🙂

Without further ado, I wanted to write about the world crisis, because I am such a salient and insightful commentator. The world is in crisis, so they say. Many people who are not willfully avoiding the issues are calling this a clash of civilizations. Definitely worth reading in this class is the article by Ayaan Hirsi Ali in Newsweek, Muslim Rage & The Last Gasp of Islamic Hate.

However, I an not convinced that clash of civilizations is the right term for today’s crisis. For instance between 264 BC to 146 BC (Dates from the History channel, not a great source, but I think they can manage that.) there was a true clash of civilizations. This between Carthage and Rome in the three Punic wars. Another real clash of civilizations was during the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens. One might also count the clash between America and Japan in WWII. However, these clashes of civilizations have something in common that today’s world does not. They have two recognizable opponents. Today, we have a clash of chaos and civilization.

Everyone who calls the murderous attacks ‘protests’ are on the side of chaos. Everyone who rationalizes the murder of Theo Van Gogh, the recent attacks on American diplomats, and even the 9/11 mass murders are aiding and abetting chaos. Of course there are the most direct agents of chaos, Al Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Iran, Syria… All this makes me think of a section of ‘The Ballad of the White Horse’ about the fall of Rome. (Ok, I admit, this whole post was all a cover for me to quote my favorite poetry at length.)

For the end of the world was long ago,
And all we dwell to-day
As children of some second birth,
Like a strange people left on earth
After a judgment day.

For the end of the world was long ago,
When the ends of the world waxed free,
When Rome was sunk in a waste of slaves,
And the sun drowned in the sea.

When Caesar’s sun fell out of the sky
And whoso hearkened right
Could only hear the plunging
Of the nations in the night.

When the ends of the earth came marching in
To torch and cresset gleam.
And the roads of the world that lead to Rome
Were filled with faces that moved like foam,
Like faces in a dream.

And men rode out of the eastern lands,
Broad river and burning plain;
Trees that are Titan flowers to see,
And tiger skies, striped horribly,
With tints of tropic rain.

Where Ind’s enamelled peaks arise
Around that inmost one,
Where ancient eagles on its brink,
Vast as archangels, gather and drink
The sacrament of the sun.

And men brake out of the northern lands,
Enormous lands alone,
Where a spell is laid upon life and lust
And the rain is changed to a silver dust
And the sea to a great green stone.

And a Shape that moveth murkily
In mirrors of ice and night,
Hath blanched with fear all beasts and birds,
As death and a shock of evil words
Blast a man’s hair with white.

And the cry of the palms and the purple moons,
Or the cry of the frost and foam,
Swept ever around an inmost place,
And the din of distant race on race
Cried and replied round Rome.

I think only a few commentators are talking about today’s events in these terms. But there is no civilization for America and her western (and eastern) allies to clash against, only chaos, and one or two billion hungry and angry people. With this mind, Alfred’s question in the ballad resonates with me:

“When our last bow is broken, Queen,
And our last javelin cast,
Under some sad, green evening sky,
Holding a ruined cross on high,
Under warm westland grass to lie,
Shall we come home at last?”

Of course, here I can only think of the 9/11 Cross:

https://i2.wp.com/www.theblaze.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/World-Trade-Center-Cross.jpg

And the answer, from St. Mary (well… Chesterton) in part reads:

“The men of the East may spell the stars,
And times and triumphs mark,
But the men signed of the cross of Christ
Go gaily in the dark.

“The men of the East may search the scrolls
For sure fates and fame,
But the men that drink the blood of God
Go singing to their shame.

“The wise men know what wicked things
Are written on the sky,
They trim sad lamps, they touch sad strings,
Hearing the heavy purple wings,
Where the forgotten seraph kings
Still plot how God shall die.

“The wise men know all evil things
Under the twisted trees,
Where the perverse in pleasure pine
And men are weary of green wine
And sick of crimson seas.

“But you and all the kind of Christ
Are ignorant and brave,
And you have wars you hardly win
And souls you hardly save.

“I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.

“Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?”

Note: All quotes from The Ballad of the White Horse are copied from Project Gutenberg. Also, there is an analyst, a little nutty in a Libertarian sort of way, who proclaims half the world ‘Chaostan’ and since I read a number of his ‘Uncle Eric’ economy books, and this came up, I am sure it influenced my thinking.  Also, more importantly are Mark Styen America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It and David Goldman’s How Civilizations Die: (And Why Islam Is Dying Too)

 

Prayer

I was reading an article: The Collapse of the Liberal Church and was struck by something at the end. First, however, I was struck by the very nature of the piece. It is not very popular to discuss the death of churches that have abandoned preaching Christ and Him crucified. This article specifically notes the lack of prayer in the church.

In the past few years, Mr. Ewart (A retired pastor) has spent time hanging out with evangelicals – people who actually talk about loving Jesus. He admires their personal, emotional connection to God. Lately, he has even started praying. Perhaps he could pray for the church in which he spent his life to stop its self-immolation. But it’s probably too late.

This is a pastor of the Canadian Anglican church, and lately (retired now) he has begun to pray. Liberal churches like this are dead, and any churches that are now emulating this are terminally ill. the only thing that can heal the sick churches and resurrect the dead ones is the power of Christ in the Gospel, and of course, prayer.

This led me to think of the excellent post by my friend medievalotaku on the topic of prayer. While I do think here and there in the article he confounds together Justification (passive faith that saves) and Sanctification (Active faith in love for Christ) a bit,  it is certainly true that without prayer, the Christian is willfully cutting himself off from God, which is highly dangerous and to be repented. However, medievalotaku discusses the topic thoroughly and you definitely should read his advice on prayer.

Remember that the unassisted human will or intellect will fall without God’s aid.  So, all serious falls may be attributed to people trusting too much in themselves or being too proud to beg.  (The Latin verb for to pray, orare, also means beg.)  Remember Martin Luther’s last words: “We are beggars.  This is true.”  And especially in our reliance on God, nothing is more true.  Nor should we despair of gaining the object of our prayers, especially if we pray “(1) for [ourselves]; (2) things necessary for salvation; (3) piously; and (4) with perseverance.”  (From St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica Second Part of the Second Part, Question 83, Article 15)  Did not Christ say: “And of which of you that is a father shall his son ask a loaf, and he give him a stone? or a fish, and he for a fish give him a serpent?  Or if he shall ask an egg, will he give him a scorpion?  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:11-13)

It is a thoughtful and excellent exposition, to it is worth reading the whole thing. (all those links are for the same page 🙂 seriously go read it 🙂 )

Hypocrite

A very common accusation made against Christians is that they are such horrible hypocrites, why cannot they just be honest and allow everyone to peacefully life in their own ideas of morality. Of course, who is a hypocrite actually depends on how you define the word. I am afraid most people who make this accusation are not even attempting to use it as anything other than an insult. These people we will ignore, why defend yourself against the charge of being a poopy-head?

However there are people who legitimately believe that Christian, and anyone who believes in an objective morality, are hypocrites, and who say it, not as an insult to distract but as a legitimate objection. After all, a hypocrite is a liar and a cheat, if only they were honest. For all these people there are two actual definitions of the word that are useful. (This is from Merriam- Webster online, from mostly memory.) 1. A person who pretends to be virtuous or religious and is really not, and 2. A person who acts in contradiction to his stated beliefs.

Most people who argue against Christianity in this vein mean definition number two, however it is not impossible for someone to believe that every single Christian who has ever lived was just pretending. But, since someone who believes that no one actually believes Christianity (despite the thousands and perhaps even millions who have died rather than stop ‘pretending’) cannot be convinced it is useless to try.

However, the last point, that Christians act in contradiction to their beliefs is true. This accusation is thrown around as if a grand discovery by atheists, but most pastor and priests, most theologians through history, the Church fathers, and St. Paul all could have told him this was the case.  The accusation ‘you don’t practice what you preach!’ is an uninformed outside view of Christianity. Of course we do not practice what we preach. That we cannot practice what we preach is the central message of what we call the ‘Law’ which convicts us of our sins and points out our need for a savior. That every week Christians are beset by temptations, and commit sins, even horrible and vile sins, is no surprise to Christians.

We preach that God requires perfection, not some Olympic judge’s idea of perfection, but real perfection: perfection in thought, word, and deed. So, we expect every single Christian to be a hypocrite in the second definition. That is why we need salvation from Jesus Christ who was perfection for us.

And so, to those who say ‘At least I am not a hypocrite.’ Or ‘At least he’s honest.’ I have one thing to say: ‘At least I am a hypocrite!’ (I am also honest about the fact that I am sinful. But that is not what people mean when they say ‘At least he’s honest.’) At least I have a rule to live by!

This all reminds me of the different way that politicians get treated depending on their party affiliation. If a democrat has a male prostitution ring busted in his basement, or abandons a drunk girl to drown in his car , or has sex with the interns (you know that one), the reaction is entirely different that if a Republican is caught in a sex scandal. The republican gets ostracized by society, the democrat (for occasionally much worse things.) end up being respected members of their caucus. The entire difference is that somehow, being a hypocrite definition #2 has become one of the worst crimes in many people’s minds rather than the natural states of everyone who tries to be better than they are. Ultimately, every human being is sinful, every human being does bad things, and some try to do better and tell others they should try to do better… and they are hypocrites.

Christians preach about what people should do for two reasons: the secondary reason is to guide them in their lives of faith into being better people, the second and most important reason is to remind everyone that they need Jesus Christ, his death and his resurrection to be perfection for them.

This great article is related to the idea of perfection and salvation and titled: Should we stone abortion clinicians?  

Everyone needs reconciliation. Tough guys are victims too. Bullies, gang bangers, drug dealers, prostitutes, murderers – they are hurting and empty inside. They are enslaved to their desires.They need serious healing. We tend to overlook their need for redemption, and only wish swift justice upon them. Such desire for justice is good, but not at the expense of mercy. They too can be saved – look at Mary Magdalene or the good thief on the Cross or Saul or Augustine the playboy or Giles the Satanist or Vladimir the rapist and practitioner of human sacrifice – they all have one thing in common: Conversion. And now their names begin with 2 special letters: St. They became saints. That’s the power of the gospel for sinners – it makes them saints. Why the complaining? Why the qualifications? Don’t be a Donatist. Instead, hear the words of Jesus, “you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

Higgs Boson

This brief article over at NRO discusses why most people are uninterested in the potential discovery of the Higgs Boson (e.g. why everything has mass). (Read it here.)

They found the “God particle.”

That was the headline splashed all over America’s news media. It turns out that the name actually derives from substituting “God particle” for “goddamn particle,” the original name some scientists had given the elusive particle. But the media adopted the former nomenclature.

Why?

Because otherwise the bulk of humanity would not pay attention.

It obliquely strikes a sore nerve for science, especially science done without any belief in God, science done by hard-bitten atheists for hard-bitten atheists.

The discovery of the Higgs boson brings us no closer to understanding why there is a universe, not to mention whether life has meaning.

That, I think is the problem. Physics (in the Aristotelian sense) today has lost its metaphysics, and the scientists try to make up the metaphysics as they go. Frequently they are horribly bad at it too… They also seem to not be aware of how amateurish their attempts are since they suffer from impressive feelings of self-worth and educatedness… but in a lot of ways a scientist attempting philosophy today is much like a philosopher attempting science. That this is the case is a terrible shame. Science needs philosophy in order to provide a reason to do science, and philosophy needs science to winnow theories down to those plausible in the world we live in (rather than hypothetical worlds in their heads.)

But people are taught to expect everyone to be scientific or philosophical, to be artistic or mathematics. The one is supposedly the antithesis of the other. This division is poison for every discipline. When you observe how a violinist practices, read about how artists like van Eyck painted, and look at the tedious research of a Noble Laureate in Chemistry, the focus the discipline and the occasional flashes of pure genius are the same. Even the mindset is the same. Science and art and philosophy have so much in common, and they support each other. Obviously not everyone can do all arts, philosophies, and sciences well, true genius in each one of these is almost a monomania. However, I think artists should at least dabble in science and mathematics, and absolutely know philosophy (another discussion for another time, but I think art is visible philosophy), scientists should learn philosophy and music or art, and philosophers… well I guess it would be a start if any existed. Real philosophy is almost extinct, rather what we mostly have is the study of philosophy, not philosophy itself.