The Inner Struggle

I Am The Truth …

Our precipitous decline as a culture and as a society is directly derived from our departure from Truth. The death of truth is the direct consequence of the worship of self and the near universal adoption of the modernist heresy of moral relativism.

O my Jesus, true light, drive away the clouds of ignorance which come from my evil nature, and give me the grace to seek the truth with a sincere heart and to love it; for You, the Incarnate Word, are the Truth.

Be the only light on my path, the only Master to guide my steps. I need You, eternal Truth, to liberate me from the slavery of my frailty and wretchedness, and from the passions which often blind my conscience and hinder me from complete adherence to the good and the true which You teach me.

Your truth teaches me that You are He who is, and that I am one who is not; that You alone have worth, and that I have no value; that You are All, and I am nothing, and if there is any good in me, it is a wholly gratuitous gift from You.”  (St. Elizabeth of the Trinity 1880 – 1906) ,

I just finished watching the following YouTube video featuring Ravi Zacharias and Dennis Prager with Jeff Foxworthy, on: The Death of Truth, The Decline of Culture Q&A.  I feel compelled to share since every fiber of my being cries out that these men have something important to share with us all. It is about an hour long and is absolutely worth every second of that time …

Cheers

Joe

The truths Jesus taught are so important and essential that, to know them or not, to believe them or not, is a matter of life or of death. His doctrine is not optional, it is essential.

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The Inner Struggle

A Crisis of Manhood …

The only thing for which you will not be envied, is the lowest place; therefore, the lowest place place  is the only one where there is no vanity and affliction of spirit.” (Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, also known as Saint Therese of Lisieux, 1873 – 1897).

One of the great stumbling blocks to receiving God’s mercy is to live in the past. I am coming to believe that is what Jesus means when he states, in the Gospel of St. Luke, “No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

We focus too much on our dark side, our ugliness, our past sins, and not enough on GOD who is the Light of Light. We need to have confidence in the consuming furnace of GOD’s Love and GOD’s mercy for us.

As I remarked in a previous post, I have finally understood that it is impossible for a proud man to give himself humility … it is impossible for an impoverished man to give himself wealth … it is impossible for a sick man to give himself health.

Therefore, to be humble, genuinely humble, I have to apply myself first of all to humility of heart and continue to deepen the sincere recognition of my nothingness, my weakness.

I can take full credit for all my sins and wrongdoing, evil is a natural part of mankind for all time. But anything good is GOD’s doing, a gratuitous gift. I cannot take credit for doing what GOD wants me to do and instructs me to do and expects me to do.. That is just following the Manufacturer’s Instructions.

An important part of that recognition is a sincere acceptance of responsibility for my thoughts, words, and deeds. Isn’t it funny how accepting responsibility shows up as the foundation of every attempt to know oneself.

I must acknowledge and accept my faults and my failings without trying to assign any other case or cause for them than my own miserable failings. There are no reasonable excuses for bad talk, or bad behaviour, or bad thinking. My bad is just that … my bad.

I cannot slough off responsibility for myself and my conduct by blaming others, or the situation I find myself in, or the actions or faults of others now or in the past. I am responsible and I am to blame for that evil which I do, or think, or say.

Regarding responsibility as a part of humility, we are not immune here in “Nice” Canada to the popular western phenomena manifested as part of the religion of narcissism.

Here in polite Canada, a country of “tolerance” and “non-judgement”, we have witnessed one of the greatest injustices, even tragedies, of the 20th century, namely the development of the cult of “repression” amongst Psychologists, Psychiatrists.

And the cult continues to this day, alive and well, even amongst those who have become practitioners known as “mental health” counselors, sometimes known as a Registered Clinical Counselors.

The cult of “repressed emotions” arose in concert with the development of psychoanalysis, which grew out of the theories of Sigmund Freud.

A more current phenomenon related to important aspects of Freud’s “repressed emotions” theory has been the “modern”  Western teaching of contempt for men in our popular culture, known as Misandry.

A very lucid analysis of the impact of this “feminist” religious dogma can be had in “Spreading Misandry” (2001) and “Legalizing Misandry” (2006) by Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young.

They have since come out with a third book which unfortunately I have not read, maybe I will get to it this year … just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

It is also interesting, and amusing,  that Paul Nathanson doesn’t get a mention in most search engines. It is affirming for one, like myself, who believes in a “feminist left bias” in our culture, and our media, to find again that anti male, anti conservative, bias in action in the “Wikipedia” search engine which I mentioned in another previous post. Katherine K. Young must have broken through the filters because she is a female PhD.

Anyway, the widespread  acceptance of Misandry in Canadian society is one of the defining factors in the breakdown of the family in this country and, I suspect, other major western nations as well.

Another factor identified in the breakdown of the family is the decline in marriage. One cause of this decline is the truth that women tend to marry up and men tend to marry down.

This is not a value judgement but rather simply an acknowledgement that women tend to marry men who make more money and/or have a higher education than they do and men tend to marry women who make less money and have less education than they do.

So one of the unintended consequences of the great leveling of the employment playing field in the name of gender equality, the big push to equalize how men and women are treated is that fewer women and men than ever before in history are finding suitable mates, and along with this trend we see a general devaluation of men and the scapegoating of men as the reason for every women’s failure to achieve self actualization.

Men are being relegated to the back rows as “punishment” for all the imagined sins of their forefathers, the “Dead White Males” of the repressive Patriarchy and are being effectively removed from the central role once culturally accepted in our society.

We see this especially in church, just look at who shows up in the pews. Where are the “Alter Boys”? Where are the male lectors, the male cantors? it is widespread and serious. Unless the Church, including all  bishops, priests and lay men begin to take notice and make the evangelization of Catholic men a priority, the Catholic Church in the West will continue to decay, as more and more men abandon the Church.

We are seeing an acceleration of decline, the slippery slope is getting steeper. As the scandal of homosexual religious swells at the heart of the failure of the clerical bureaucracy, the exodus of Catholic men from the faith is likely to continue and to grow, as men become increasingly casual about Catholicism, or any other denomination, as just another domain of politically correct male deviance, a domain of evil, a domain of Anti-Christ.”

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, before he stepped down, called for a “Year of Faith” that seeks to awaken humanity at a critical moment in history: “In vast areas of the earth the faith risks being extinguished, like a flame without fuel,” the then Pope Benedict warned, “We are facing a profound crisis of faith, a loss of a religious sense which represents one of the greatest challenges for the Church today … The renewal of faith must, then, be a priority for the entire Church in our time.”

We need much more than a “Year of Faith”. Having stepped down, it seems that he recognized the impossibility of human intervention and turned the arresting of the decline over to Mary Immaculate and Divine Intervention at the behest of the prayers of the remaining faithful … the Remnant. Pray, and keep on praying … do not stop praying …

“1AND he spoke also a parable to them, that we ought always to pray, and not to faint, 2Saying: There was a judge in a certain city, who feared not God, nor regarded man. 3And there was a certain widow in that city, and she came to him, saying: Avenge me of my adversary. 4And he would not for a long time. But afterwards he said within himself: Although I fear not God, nor regard man, 5Yet because this widow is troublesome to me, I will avenge her, lest continually coming she weary me. 6And the Lord said: Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7And will not God revenge his elect who cry to him day and night: and will he have patience in their regard? 8I say to you, that he will quickly revenge them. But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth? (Luke 18: 1-8)

Cheers

Joe

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The Inner Struggle

Peace To Men of “Good Will” … Humility & Good Will

The Beatitudes”, from the album “Biscantorat – The Sound Of The Spirit From Glenstal Abbey” – The Monks of Glenstal Abbey – (2009)

Peace to “Men (and Women) of Good will”. What is this “Good Will” which is the prerequisite to attaining peace? Some translations have it as “Men of Good Will”, others have it as “men with whom He (GOD) is pleased”. It all comes down to the same thing in the end … what is pleasing to GOD is Good Will, so what are we going on about here?

At Bethlehem the angels announced two things: glory to GOD and peace to men; the one corresponds to the other. No one glorifies GOD as much as that little Babe lying on the straw. He alone, being the eternal Word, can give GOD the perfect, infinite praise that is worthy of Him.

And no one more than Jesus, our Savior, brings peace to men; making reparation for sin, He reconciles man the creature with GOD his Creator, and establishes a new covenant between them: the Creator becomes Father and the creature becomes His child.

So how do we understand this in our daily reality? It seems to me obvious that those who obey GOD’s law enjoy peace; observing the divine law they also glorify GOD. The glory of GOD corresponds perfectly to the peace of men and that peace comes only through Jesus, from His grace.

It also seems obvious that we seek in vain for that peace from any other source, from the transient things and creatures of this world which is passing away before our very eyes. If we are lacking in peace in our daily life then it seems inevitable that we are somehow not corresponding with GOD’s will.

We can dress it up in all kinds of ways and look at it from all kinds of angles and blame any number of others but in the end we are only fooling ourselves and the peace we seek remains absent.

Aphorisms

Peace, Rule of Law, and Good Government, are conditions of the desirable life, the desirable society, and we often observe in the world around us that absent any of those three we have nothing but misery, death and destruction.

Our media are full of the bad results of the absence of Peace, Rule of Law, and Good Government, think about “If it bleeds it leads” and other such aphorisms. Remember Aphorisms?

An aphorism is a concise, terse, laconic, and/or memorable expression of a general truth or principle. They are often handed down by tradition from generation to generation.

In many ways, “Peace” and “Good Will” are ideas or concepts, like “Quality”, which are easy to identify when they are right before us but difficult to describe and define, absent the thing in question. References to “Peace” and “Good Will” have become figures of speech like “Sorry”.

Most the time we end up with a mess of generalities while using the modifier “like” rather more than we are comfortable with … “Like, man … you know …”. “Peace” and “Good Will” seem rather to be more a desirable but mythical place than a process involving personal effort and humility on the part of the “person of Good will”.

Snow”, by Kobudo, from the album “Ototabi”  (2013).

It seems to me, observing life around me, and as reported in the media worldwide, that absent humility there is precious little Good Will on the part of anyone alive today. The absence of humility appears to be pretty much a genetic predisposition inherent in every human animal from birth. As in families, there are said to be predispositions to cancer, or to heart disease, or to blond hair, or to alcoholism, or even (heaven forbid) to intelligence or lack of same, so the whole human “family” has a predisposition to Pride, which is of course the opposite of humility.

Saint Thomas Becket, 1117-1170Anyone who actively attempts to cultivate humility is subjected to humiliation all the more, played as a sucker, or a target of ridicule, treated as a scapegoat, and we see this played out throughout history …  for example, which of the two protagonists in the following story was a “man of good will” and which was not?  Dec. 29th is the feast of Saint Thomas Becket, son of Gilbert Becket, was born in Southwark, England, in 1117.

When a youth he was attached to the household of Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, who sent him to Paris and Bologna to study law and he was ordained a deacon. His support of Henry II’s claim to England’s throne led to his appointment as royal chancellor.

He became Archdeacon of Canterbury, then Lord High Chancellor of England; and in 1160, when Archbishop Theobald died, the king insisted on the consecration of St. Thomas in his stead. St. Thomas refused, warning the king that from that hour their friendship would be broken. In the end he yielded, and was consecrated.

The conflict at once broke out; He was the king’s great friend until 1162, when, as the archbishop of Canterbury, he said he changed from being “a patron of play-actors and a follower of hounds, to being a shepherd of souls.” St. Thomas resisted the royal customs, which violated the liberties of the Church and the laws of the realm.

This British Library painting from circa 1200 is the earliest known portrayal of Thomas Becket’s murder in Canterbury Cathedral. (Public Domain)

He and the king clashed over many issues, notably the jurisdiction of ecclesiastical courts. After six years of contention, partly spent in. exile, St. Thomas, with full foresight of martyrdom before him, returned as a good shepherd to his Church.

On the 29th of December, 1170, just as vespers were beginning, four knights broke into the cathedral, crying: “Where is the archbishop? where is the traitor?” The monks fled, and St. Thomas might easily have escaped.

But he advanced, saying: “Here I am—no traitor, but archbishop. What seek you?” “Your life,” they cried. “Gladly do I give it,” was the reply; and bowing his head, the invincible martyr was hacked and hewn till his soul went to God.

Six months later Henry II, submitted to be publicly scourged at the Saint’s shrine, and restored to the Church her full rights. Saint Thomas Becket was also known as Saint Thomas of Canterbury and also Thomas of London.

Frederick William Faber, circa 1860

Fr. Frederick William Faber, circa 1860

“Learn from St. Thomas,” says Father Faber, “to fight the good fight even to the shedding of blood, or, to what men find harder, the shedding of their good name by pouring it out to waste on the earth.”

Dec. 30th, Sunday, is the Feast of the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I hope you are able to find many opportunities in this holy season of Christmas to give “glory to the newborn King,” as the old carol says. Today, we take a closer look at family in our lives.

God honors, upholds and rejoices in the community of family. The relationships between father and child, mother and child, or husband and wife each reflect God’s perfect love—both for us and among the Divine Persons of the Holy Trinity.

Jesus, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, nonetheless grew up within a close-knit, human family.  In today’s Gospel (30th), where Jesus gets left behind in Jerusalem after Passover, there is a surprisingly intimate look at Jesus’ family dynamics.

Mary and Joseph demonstrate a strong, spousal partnership in their search for 12-year old Jesus who has, unbeknownst to his human parents, stayed behind in the temple.

Jesus, once found and gently questioned by His mother, Mary, “…went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.”

Can you think of a time in your own family of anxiety, then resolution, forgiveness and the restoration of family peace?

Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val, (1865 – 1930)

Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val, (1865 – 1930)

It appears to me that any conflict at any level has it’s root cause in the absence of humility on the part of the players in whichever drama is being considered in any venue. I have remarked before that: “It seems a hallmark of Truth that it always believes and expects the best of others and acts accordingly. It also seems a hallmark of untruth that it always believes and expects the worst of others and acts accordingly.”

My guess is that it all depends on what your starting assumptions are, one’s own motivations and default responses to events, as to how you believe others will act. This morning I prayed a litany of humility, a pius Catholic custom, and afterwards thought how the petitions of the litany encompass the entire gamut of all the underlying provocations of human conflict, in families and outside the family circle in the wider world.

All human conflict and rancor seem rooted in either fear of something or desire for something, the conflict arising from disappointed desires or realized fears.

For non Catholics, it may help to understand that a litany is a form of prayer with a repeated responsive petition, used in public liturgical services of the Catholic Church, and in private devotions of Her adherents. This then is the Litany of Humility (with emphasis on the desires and fears) :

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, Make my heart like yours.
From self-will, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being loved, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being extolled, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being honored, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being praised, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being preferred to others, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being approved, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire to be understood, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire to be visited, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being despised, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being calumniated, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being ridiculed, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being suspected, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being wronged, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being abandoned, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being refused, deliver me, O Lord.
That others may be loved more than I,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I go unnoticed,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
At being unknown and poor, Lord, I want to rejoice.
At being deprived of the natural perfections of body and mind,Lord, I want to rejoice.
When people do not think of me, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they assign to me the meanest tasks, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they do not even deign to make use of me, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they never ask my opinion, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they leave me at the lowest place, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they never compliment me, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they blame me in season and out of season, Lord, I want to rejoice.
Blessed are those who suffer persecution for justice’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Attributed by many writers to: Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val, (1865 – 1930)

Cheers

Joe

The rather obvious point of this post is to imply that we should be striving for humility … how’s that working out so far, Joe? What kind of progress are we making on our quest for peace?

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The Inner Struggle

The Feast of The Holy Innocents … December 28th

The Feast of The Holy Innocents celebrates the memory of the children King Herod ordered to be killed in his attempt to kill the infant Christ.

I am not the only observer of the horrifying modern parallels of this historic occurrence.  Ireland recently joined the queue of those nations who have decided that it is perfectly OK to murder our inconvenient children. How much longer before they start murdering their inconvenient elders as well.

Another articulate voice raised in defense of the helpless innocent is Fr. Hunwicke over at his “Mutual Enrichment” blog site. In “Holocausts and Holy Innocents” he makes a poignant remark on what was once significant difference between Ireland and Britain, and the soon to be disappearance of that significant difference.

Then it dawns on you why there aren’t any. Rather as, just after the cattle trucks had rumbled off to the East, it must have been strange … and then disconcerting and very frightening … to wander round a German town and miss the Jewish faces. Ugly, isn’t it, that the role performed in Nazi Germany by Gestapo or SS is performed in Britain by members of Caring Professions whom we each of us have to visit, especially as we get older, for our aches and infirmities.

Sounds a lot like Canada to me.

Joe

 

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Christmas Holiday 2018 …

Wishing and praying for a Very Merry Christmas for all my friends and acquaintances (and apparently a 100 or so followers and a few dozen other daily search engine hits).

Really small potatoes on the scale of things on the web, where The Donald gets thousands of hits with a poorly thought out ten word tweet, sigh, everyone is a one hit wonder these days.

I do hope that your Christmas has so far been as peaceful and blessed as ours has been here among the western frozen chosen … the happy (Any Small Town, Flyover Country ) Bagginses of the Plains.

Currently listening to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRXrqURyRy0 which is 3 hours of easy listening Christmas themed musical compilation. I also que up my Netflix fireplace video.

These are the best kind of fireplace really, which I can display on my 60″ flat screen monstrosity in the “living” room giving me all the esthetic benefits, sight and sound, of a cheerful fireplace scene with none of the downsides attendant in cutting wood, and smoke, and cleaning up the incessant ash piles, and the inevitable buildup in the chimney.

After the steady grind of a less than stellar year with many deaths, illnesses, and sufferings amongst folks we know and also some we don’t know but rather know of,  we here ended up having one of the best Christmases I can remember.

Our latest “Annus Horribilus”  ended with an excellent Christmas season both in the business and in the family. We celebrated Christmas Day with a gathering of family and feasted on a turkey and trimmings very nearly as large as the one in the Rockwell painting at the side. Our youngest family member is now coming up to 24 years old so we were spared the happy chaos of youngsters rowdily enjoying their holiday festivities.

Except for a short visit with other relates in our nation’s capital via Facetime, things were mercifully quiet and restrained here. We enjoyed much quiet commentary on the quality of the meal, the perfect turkey, the nice music and how mild the weather has been this year and how enjoyable everything was. Ironically, my vision of Christmas was for many years something along the lines of the song by The Chieftains – “St. Stephen’s Day Murders” featuring Elvis Costello.

These days my Christmas is more along the lines of this offering by Yo-Yo Ma, and Alison Krauss performing “The Wexford Carol”,   or, this song, written and sung by Jackson Browne, “On The Side of the Rebel Jesus”. If we seriously lived the revolutionary teachings of Jesus Christ, it would be a different world … I love this take on the Holy Season … living in a thoroughly pagan society, and heartsick at the suffering that flourishes everywhere in our nominally christian, capitalist countries. The numbers of homeless and hungry, victimized and disenfranchised powerless little people in both Canada and the US should be a source of shame to every person but instead … well, “I’m all right Jack.

Today is our fourth consecutive day off courtesy of Christmas falling in the middle of the week and a very welcome break it is having been limited to two days off at a stretch for most of the previous 8 years. It is overcast and snowing ever so lightly now and not too cold, a nice mild -15 degrees Celsius, which around these parts is almost shorts and sandals weather.

INGSOC logo from 1984

INGSOC logo from 1984

You probably know that I read a lot of blogs. There’s a lot of good, provocative, and perceptive writing going on in the blogosphere now. I wish I had the time to read everything.

Of course, blogs, like all things resulting from human activity, are subject to Sturgeon’s law, that of being 90% crap, and many who try to blog either become bored and quit, or have little to say which would be of interest to anyone other than their immediate circle of friends (a sort of “Facebook” post writ large).

But with so many people trying, even among the residual 10% of non-crap there are now thousands of people writing good content. And some of that good content I have alluded to in previous posts, most recently on the unlikelihood of any sort of cultural reform going forward in our society, and the stark reality of the passing of Christendom.

These days, most of what passes for entertainment falls into the twin categories of Dystopian fiction, or thinly disguised, and often not so thinly disguised, pornography.

Observed at arms length, we as a society, revel in blood, oppression, violence and sex of various colors and species in all our imaginary distractions.

And most dystopian fiction of the last 70 years or so centres around the eventuation of a godless totalitarian state enforcing draconian social control measures to limit and control the proles, the “citizens” and fashioning those organic resources into a more or less compliant state asset for the realization of inhuman objectives to “protect us for our own good”.

I am in mind of “That Hideous Strength”“1984” or “Soylent Green” or “Logan’s Run”,  or “The Omega Man”, or the more recent remake “I Am Legend” with Will Smith in the lead role, and others really too numerous to list here. it seems to be a frequently recurring theme in literature, film and most recently in online MMOGs.

I have referenced Wikipedia links for information on the above stories and movies with a very precise objective in mind. They often have good information but in using the Wiki one must always keep in mind their obvious, and very thorough Atheistic bias in going to great lengths to  Bulverize any reference to the divine in their information items.

The Wiki is perhaps one of the most obvious poster children for the “Material Naturalist” world view. I wrote at length about that world view and it’s goals and ambitions here and here. Those posts might provide an interesting backgrounder to why we are now living in a real life dystopean drama.

All the heroes in these modern religious myths are always Lone Wolf protagonists who rise up and take action against the monolithic state apparatus, by use of violence and subversion, and the mass audience for this product are the very people who are currently the “oppressed proles” in our current “dystopean” society.

One of my recent posts details why there will never be a real life uprising along the lines of all the admittedly entertaining fictional alternate realities with which our current crop of “bread and circus” addicts distract themselves.

The primary plank of the Material Naturalist world view is that there is no God, that everything in the universe is purely and simply the result of random biochemical processes and survival of the fittest, according to the so-called “Theory of Evolution” courtesy of the Universal Church of Charles Darwin.

There is no God, we are all an accident of evolution, there is no point to anything except return on investment, no moral values, no virtues, no good or evil outside the context of profit and power. Everything which we perceive is the result of random chance working on the basic inorganic constituents of the observable universe, and when we die that’s it, that’s all she wrote.

There is no soul, nothing spiritual, no intrinsic value in any human life beyond the market value of our chemical constituents and/or the possible net positive value we can add to the economy by our efforts during our lifetime, said lifetime to be optimized in relation to our productivity.

And beyond this world, relating to the unimaginably complex and numerous possibilities of “randomness”, there is the assumed but undiscovered possibility of endless numbers of more or less evolved “aliens” also living the same pointless random existence.

And the possibility of  “intelligent life” (i.e. creatures who could appreciate Bach)  is unquestioned … BUT, “real science” would say otherwise. I “borrowed” the next few paragraphs from a David Warren post from 2014 titled “Stardust”.

“For if life truly “evolves” by happenstance, as the Darwinoids do vainly preach, something approaching to human smarts would have appeared here and there many millions of years before us, wherever conditions were favourable. Indeed, given the speed at which humans suddenly “evolved” here, we could ourselves have appeared on Earth, millions of years before we actually did.

David Warren

David Warren

We are extremely recent, in geological terms; have been here less than a second, if the history of the planet were scaled down to one day. We’ve come a fair technological distance ourselves, since the last Earth ice age, a mere twelve thousand years ago, and the pace appears to be accelerating. Imagine what we could do given, oh, another million years, or hundred million. I daresay we’d finally figure how to get out and about.

The Italian physicist, Enrico Fermi, did this thought experiment before 1950. He realized that we did not need expensive, incredibly sophisticated tools, to detect extraterrestrial life. If it was there, it would already have got here.

He reasoned that, even if it could not defeat lightspeed, a sufficiently advanced material culture could send self-reproducing probes to colonize its home galaxy in a blink of exogeological time, then leapfrog galaxy to galaxy in all directions. It would transmit messages that could not be missed.

Any mathematical extrapolation of the number of planets in the universe that could, possibly, “evolve” life, is defeated by Fermi’s Paradox. The more possibilities there are, the less likely it has ever happened.

But of course, physics advances, and we now have a second indefatigable argument against ET. It developed from the “anthropic principle” in cosmology, which holds, tautologically enough, that the structure or “design” of the universe must be compatible with the existence of the conscious sapient creatures who observe it from within. (We would be they.)

Over the last few decades we have come to understand that life on earth absolutely depends on such an extraordinary number of extremely fine conditions, operating together at levels of coincidence that so stretch the odds, that the chance of finding another inhabited planet — even within something so large as our universe in space and time — is inconsiderably remote.

Jesus Christ, AD 30

Jesus Christ, AD 30

Or to put this another way, it appears dead obvious that the purpose of the universe was to make us possible. It would follow that our lives must be in some strange way — beyond any passing subjective enthusiasm — worth living. For Someone went to a lot of trouble to put us here.”

The Real Hero of OUR dystopean drama already rose up more than two millennia ago. The Rebel Jesus spread revolutionary teachings against the values, powers and things of the material world, the things that mattered a great deal to the authorities of His day. And they murdered Him, though there was “no crime in Him”, as Pilot declared. And the Light shone in the darkness and the darkness knew Him not.

Of all the works done by God in time and outside of Himself, the redemptive Incarnation of the Word is the greatest. Always we must be remembering that the vast universe which the materialists are so impressed with as “all there is” was formed in an instant in a “nothing” that GOD Himself had to create by withdrawing some tiny portion of his timeless Presence.

A Presence without beginning and without end drew back a portion of Himself and within that new “nothing” He created time and the material universe and all that developed in it after the Big Bang.

The Incarnation of the Word is the greatest work because it has for an end not a mere creature, however sublime and unrepeatable by man that may be, but GOD Himself, the eternal Word who, in time, assumed a human nature and a material human body in this  material universe.

*****

Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D

Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D

It is the greatest work because it is the supreme manifestation of the merciful love of GOD, and the work which above all others glorifies Him; and it glorifies Him precisely in reference to charity, that is love, which is His very essence. It is also the greatest of His works because of the immense good it brings to all mankind. The salvation, sanctification, and eternal happiness of the whole human race depends wholly upon the Incarnation of the Word, upon Jesus, the Incarnate Word.   (Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. from the book “Divine Intimacy” Meditations on the interior life for every day of the liturgical year.pp 80).

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God the Father “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, (before time existed) that we should be holy and unspotted. … Who hath predestined us unto the adoption of children through Jesus Christ unto Himself. … In whom we have redemption … the remission of sins according to the riches of His grace. … GOD hath quickened us together in Christ … and hath raised us up together, and hath made us sit together in the heavenly places, through Christ Jesus.” ( letter of Paul to the Ephesians 1, 4.5.7 – 2.5.6)

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Unlike the important things of this world GOD’s greatest work takes place in obscurity and silence, and under the most humble and most human conditions. Mary and Joseph are forced by civil authority to leave their humble home and to undertake a long journey. They travel on foot like the rest of the poor, in spite of Mary’s advanced pregnancy. They do not object and they make no complaint, but obey with promptness and simplicity. They are commanded by a pagan emperor, and they go, trusting in GOD’s Providence; GOD knows, GOD will provide; “To them that love GOD all things work together unto good.” (Rom 8, 28).

It is GOD’s will that His greatest work be accomplished here, in a wretched stable, in utter poverty, and Mary and Joseph embrace His will. They are humble and therefore docile to the will of GOD with complete humility. And GOD, as is His custom, made use of what was humble and despicable in the eyes of the world to accomplish the greatest of His works: the Incarnation of the Word.

And the winds do howl, and the waters roughen, and Christ, the Incarnate Word, has come and is always coming. It is something to think about, for no matter how you look at it — whether you are a traditional Christian (there can be no other kind), or  a perfectly conventional, orthodox material Narcissist — the message of Christmas is not, never was, and by its meaning never will be, “all about us.”  It is all about everything that is not us, as the Lord said to St. Catherine of Sienna, “I am GOD, You are not”, and that GOD loves us all with an absolute everlasting LOVE … He loved us from before time was and will love us so for all of eternity. So Trust Him … and come home, to the Father who loves you no matter what.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night…

Cheers

Joe

This Too Shall PassAlways remember, “be charitable in your judgements, never take yourself too seriously” and of course, the ever relevant “Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.”

Sometimes when I post, I look at my sig and wish that I’d follow my own damned advice.

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The Inner Struggle

Humility … “The World” can’t be reformed or repaired or fixed.

I have been aware of and thinking about the gate for over fifty years now, more or less constantly as I go about my daily routines, the gate beyond which I can not see or understand.

All around me life goes on, banal and dramatic, indifferent and caring, hateful and loving as circumstances and moods take us.

It, daily life, appears to be self centered for the most part, although that perception might just be the lens through which I see the society around me, my self centeredness projected onto the screen of existence. More grist for the penitential mill, my ongoing failure to “Love one another” as God has loved me. Sigh, to paraphrase Dore, “Just keep Trying…”.

And all life around me seems to work hard at ignoring the gate, acting and reacting as though the gate in fact does not exist at all, that the here and now is all there is, that pleasure, gratification, license and indulgence are the only objectives, the only goals, absent anything but the material “here & now”.

But it seems (to me) the gate is THE most obvious artifact in the entire universe, the single most obvious event which no one escapes no matter what their beliefs, no matter their state in life, it all winds down to dust.

As Roy Batty says: “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. … All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”  Indeed … time to die … soon … we are all replicants, running out the clock, done in the blink of an eye.

So what does matter?  Unless one is living in Paris these days, the majority, the masses, seem more or less content with their modern comforts, pleasures, social media, belonging to the “What, me worry?” clique of “low-information” consumers, and in general quite happy with their daily existence.  Am I the only living human being currently reflecting upon the end of human life? I would bet not, and some of those who are reflecting even write about it in their version of this blog.

First Things & Last Things. A woman lights a candle on the grave of her relative before praying at a cemetery during the observance of All Souls Day in Dhaka, Bangladesh November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

One good example can be found at The American Sun  in which Mr. Greenhorn convincingly rejects the currently popular fantasy (held by some conservative pundits) that we can role back the clock to a time before separation of Church and State became the de facto modus operandi. Many of the ideas in the remainder of this post I found in the link at American Sun. Mr. Greenhorn has an articulate and refreshingly new view of reality and the plausibility of rolling back the clock to a better time.

The goal of this roll-back being to thereby refocus concerns on First Things, refocus concerns on the end of human life, because man’s temporal end is subordinate to his eternal end, and the obvious corollary that therefore temporal power must be subordinated to spiritual power.

This roll-back exercise might, from my point of view, reasonably involve a return to something resembling the political and economic world of the 1400’s, the mechanics of this would involve a kind of cross between Dr. Who and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

There are some modern examples of what this might look like, for example Iran and what used to be Iraq, but I see this model as a non-starter for the majority of folks on the planet, at least amongst those of a Western persuasion.

In the meantime … what of the discontented, those who are noticeably unhappy with the moral and economic status quo? Yes, what about us? Well, it seems that in reality there is no “us”. Some of “us” choose to dither, complain, wail and gnash their teeth, but never reach any conclusion.

“We” remain chronically dissatisfied and unhappy with whatever is fashionably top of the pond, the latest PC curdled and agglomerating deviance and corruption, and spend our leisure time articulating our discontent and pointing out what is wrong with the current status quo, a kind of negative virtue signalling to re-enforce our imagined moral superiority.

Others mourn the loss of a humanity in the general, that probably never existed in the particular, and along with that Unicorn they mourn the loss of “everything” that made up “human civilization”, holding a perpetual wake for a “Prince on The White Horse” who never really existed.

They have forgotten that funeral services are not for the benefit of the dead, That person(s) and their immortal soul are forever beyond our praise or condemnation. Rather a funeral service is for the living, who should know that before long they will follow the honored dead into a cold dark grave, and from that fact take motivation towards preparing for eternity. Railing against those who deny an afterlife, deny eternity, is an utter waste of the most precious gift we have been given – time.

Carlos Schwabe, Elysian Fields, 1903

Carlos Schwabe, Elysian Fields, 1903

Still others descend into a mordant fantasy referred to by Mr. Greenhorn, above, that somehow by dint of huge spiritual and physical effort we can role back the clock to an Elysian time in the past when everything was “better, before the (insert enemy of choice here) took over and destroyed everything that matters“.

This last group are at least active in their never ending efforts to motivate the rest of us to “get off our collective butts and do something about it” … “something” being whatever their particular prescription of the day happens to be. Many of these fall into the category which we once upon a time, in the military, lovingly referred to as “Active Stupid”.

I rather expect that the above categories encompass the majority of those who are not entranced with our modern existence. And then there are the remnant … we who don’t fall into any of those broad categories, those generalizations which are so easy to embrace because they never include us. We are left with duty, discipline, courage, and sacrifice.

We are faced with trying to understand our reality, the “parameters of our material existence” within the context of a greater “spiritual existence” running on past the end of life into eternity, and that greater spiritual existence necessarily includes the idea, the perception of GOD as an entity. And, as understanding develops (if it does) we are tasked with searching for answers about “what constitutes right living?”, and “how does one know when one is following the right path?”

One is really asking oneself “How do I know with certainty what is the will of God?”  Understanding the perfection of love, the “Agape”, that is “love of another besides myself” consists in striving towards the perfect conformity of my will with the divine will (the Manufacturer’s Instructions), and, more specifically, doing so within the context of my real day to day life, my “station” in life, rather than some “If Only” fantasy where I am trying to force others to conform to my idea of what is right.

I think the “mission” is sitting right in front of our face and residing in our soul if we are honest with ourselves. It is expressed simply, in a concrete and detailed way, in the duties of my state and the various circumstances of my life. The duties of my statedetermine particularly how I must act on a daily basis so as to be always in conformity with the divine will.

GOD gave us “free will”, and by virtue of that free will we are indeed free to deviate from the manufacturer’s instructions and “Do it our way”. But we are also just as free to learn from our choices and the results of those choices, if we accept responsibility for those results, and perhaps to repent and turn again to the narrow path.

For us, the future(s) cannot be known except in a metaphysical sense, but I believe that no single future is immutable. For “beings outside time” all futures can/could be equally known in the eternal now.

At least that is what I think, unrestrained by the current academic and theological status quo, and feeling no “ownership” of the “models” of reality currently in vogue.

These models seem to be tending more and more towards excluding GOD, the loving creator of all, and replacing it with a sort of “all dogs go to heaven, god my buddy” reality, or even a “no god at all” model. The problem with those views, IMHO, is that the path derived from those views has NO future at all. Any path which does not include GOD and eternity ends in the grave.

So, absent belief in GOD, why should Joe Citizen consent to be subservient to Nature and Natural Law, or to the will of god unless Joe first believes that Natural Law and the will of god is something he should give a Rat’s Derriere about?

Joe Citizen is not likely to give up all his convenience, gratification and “Freedom” without he first comes to believe that there is a higher good which matters more than his physical and mental gratification. The proof of this is the inexorable “democratic” trend towards ever more socialistic bread and circuses and less and less true freedom.

Why would someone who thinks they can overturn a presidential election, choose to give up their smart phones and social lifestyle choices?

There is no sign in our current society that Joe Citizen has any desire to give up, or even slow the convenience and power rendered by the last 50 years of staggering technical advances.

Jordan Peterson remarks about the demise of many “careers” which same technical advances will soon make superfluous and crush what little is left of Joe’s imagined autonomy. For this reason, any attempt to reform Liberal Progressive society is doomed … a colossal “Failure to Launch”.

To even have a chance, first, the popular belief that technical advance is natural and desirable must be overturned. Liberal Progressivism can only be derailed if modern man suddenly becomes content to be relatively weak, and powerless. The “Man in the Street”  must voluntarily reject comfort and power if  Material Naturalism is to be halted. In the modern era, the last 200 years or so, man has never done this.

So the Fantasy players, those “Roll the Clock Back” folks are faced with having to implement their “solutions” by fiat, in the same way and with the same mechanisms as used by the current societal systems of coercion which they are trying to replace. And of course the effect of these laws would be to fill Joe Citizen’s heart with anger and resentment at the state and perhaps even at God Himself, as we see in our current polite society.

Other “Greats” before us have had things to say about these sort of questions:

Marcus Aurelius – was Roman emperor from AD161 to AD180,

Marcus Aurelius reflects on Duty: Our duty is to Begin the morning by saying to thyself, I shall meet with the busy-body, the ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial. All these things happen to them by reason of their ignorance of what is good and evil.

On Virtue: But I who have seen the nature of the good that it is beautiful, and of the bad that it is ugly, and the nature of him who does wrong, that it is akin to me, not only of the same blood or seed, but that it participates in the same intelligence and the same portion of the divinity, I can neither be injured by any of them, for no one can fix on me what is ugly, nor can I be angry with my kinsman, nor hate him,

On Suffering, : For we are made for co-operation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper and lower teeth. To act against one another then is contrary to nature; and it is acting against one another to be vexed and to turn away.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book Two.

We must focus on going forward in duty by virtue regardless of the consequences and violence we might suffer whenever the all too human tendency to refuse co-operation, to insist on doing things our own way, to work against each other and to experience the suffering inherent in human relations whenever the reality of selfishness and self worship impact the smooth exchanges of daily relations.

Reconquista – Moors Surrender Granada, 1492

I’m old enough to remember a time when the Catholic Church was not in a state of decline and disgrace. I was born before the Second Vatican Council, I grew up and served in the old traditional Latin Mass universe, and was blessed by a glimpse of that world where Truth was certain, handed down and defended for 2000 years.

The saddest fact about our current crop of reformers, both political and theological, is that they have many provocative ideas about improving the state, but they have nothing to say as to how to detach the Roman Catholic Church from her attachment to the modernist heretical factions and forces which have so damaged and destroyed her since Vatican II.

It is in the Church where the true natures of God and man reside, and which we must return to if we are to rebuild our smashed civilization and self loving souls. There will be no anti-modernist Reconquista until our forces know they have a home base, a home fortress, that no matter what the cost, will not open its gates to the enemy, that is not commanded by agents of the enemy.

For sixty years, the men in the Vatican have tied the Church’s earthly fortunes to the modernist zeitgeist, the modernist heresy, and gained nothing but misery, scandal, and squalor in return. If the leaders of the Church cannot understand the beauty of conforming themselves to God’s will, there is little hope for anyone outside the Church. As a minimum first baby step, the Roman Curia, the Cardinals and the Bishops, need to make themselves, or be made by others, Catholic again, before any part of the secular state can follow them up that new path.

So the focus has to be not on changing the world, but rather on changing my soul, building Divine Intimacy in that internal secret place where I can work fruitfully towards conforming myself to GOD’s will. When I have sufficiently detached from self-worship, and the things of this world, creatures and stuff as ends in themselves, then perhaps GOD will assign me another mission, but until then I must clean my own stable.

It may feel small and insignificant but it takes uncommon virtue to fulfill all one’s duties without carelessness, negligence, or laziness, to avoid the pitfall of giving everything a “lick and a promise” or just going through the motions in order to “get it done”. It takes uncommon virtue to put the effort into attention, piety, and spiritual fervor, to pay attention to the details, for the whole combination of ordinary duties which make up my daily life.

The details matter. I must not be discouraged by failure, either resulting from outside forces or from my own failure of attention or lack of competence – my mistakes and forgetfulness and so on and so forth. Always acknowledge faults and failures, take ownership of them and begin again with renewed commitment. Refrain from “killing the messenger”.

What else is there to say about “duty”? It seems something of a truism that in our great self-regard we find it easier and more attractive to identify the duties of others than our own, and inversely, there will always be a plenitude of folks more than willing to tell us what our duty may be should we find ourselves momentarily unfocused and apparently idle.

Cheers

Joe

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The Inner Struggle

Humility & Humiliation …

An old ditty goes something like this: “Love & Marriage go together like a horse and carriage”. This is redolent of a ancient age when “Love” was caring and sacrificial, willing the good of the loved one.

Our current usage of “love” mostly implies some sort of justification for fornication and the exploitation of sex objects for self gratification. We accessorize members of the attractive “sex”, whatever their biological alignment, or genetic configuration based on how good they look  with us or “how they make me feel”.

Or we pick a paramour based on the current “Flavour Du Jour” in our social circle, our Facebook group, or as a form of virtue signalling according to whichever politically correct legislation just emerged from the dung heap called “Parliament”,

And we embrace whatever drum the media are currently beating … we need to “fit in”, right? And if our accessory no longer “fits in” then it’s time to trade “it” in for something fresher.

And, Humility and Humiliation go together as well, for how is one to learn true humility without humiliation? Many souls desire to be humble, but few desire humiliation. Many souls pray to be made humble “place in me a humble and contrite heart” … but very few want to be humiliated.

Humility is truth. So, we should admit to ourselves that we possess nothing of ourselves except sin,  and so it is just and righteous that we receive humiliation and scorn. If we believed this truth we would accept it as truly just that all would humiliate us and treat us without consideration and despise us.

What honor and consideration does one deserve who has offended his Creator? Even a single venial sin is more deplorable and worthy of more contempt than the most miserable earthly condition, the poorest and lowest station in life.

And so we travel along through life on our merry way, loving ourselves infinitely,  believing sincerely that we are practically perfect in every way, that we are good, that we deserve to be treated well, even better than most others.

The result of such insulation from reality is that in our cosmic self love we interpret every correction, contradiction, every humiliation and comment detracting from our self perceived perfection as a personal attack deserving of the most fervent counterattack, the source of our discomfort must be put down, terminated, hopefully never to rise to sully our self regard again.

And in that self-referential state of faith in our own perfection we destroy totally any and every possibility of growth. We are already perfect. We choose to bask in our own perfection and reject God’s gentle reproof coming to us in the guise of other’s unhappiness with our actions.

We choose to go down the perfect wide path to eternal damnation because we cannot accept correction in any form. And lest, in our self absorption we forget, we need to understand that morality goes beyond the bedroom, to embrace every moment of our social and public lives. Lest we forget … Lest we forget.

There is no possibility of improvement in a soul that rejects all correction and humiliation. But God brings good out of even this evil.

The place where these “perfect” souls interact with others, the interface of personal relations, provide the perfect opportunity for others, more aware of and sensitive to God’s call, to accept humiliation and to practice genuine humility.

It is a true treasure to be offered the opportunity to practice genuine charity and humility, all the  while compensating in the normal train of events for the casual incompetence and even  malice of others, to practice keeping others safe and comfortable in spite of their own ignorance, incompetence, ingratitude, and slovenly self worship.

And to do all this in spite of receiving scorn and denigration and belittlement for rendering this selfless service in such a routine way that it is taken totally for granted by the recipients, their natural due flowing from their exalted state of perfection,.

Presumably, after enough practice, one can even reach a state of charitable love of the other and not resent the recurring instances of chaos needing to be forever and again repaired, fixed up, cleaned up, provided for, anticipated and planned for future rescue efforts.

To charitably accept the utter obliviousness of the perpetrators of the mess and chaos when their utter lack of caring about anything except their self image spreads the chaos far and wide like some apocalyptic tsunami of trouble.

And mostly even malice is absent in this unaware ignorance. Lacking culpability in the obliviousness of daily life, can one even really identify this as sinful?

This “trouble” ranges from all the trivial rotting garbage of uncaring slights and messes left behind for others to deal with at the lowest levels of the ladder of perfection, to the rampant murder of innocents and corruption of the masses for the utility of the elite which we witness every day at the highest levels of this evil of self worship, this pride in self.

If one is unaware of the consequences and misery resulting from one’s actions, if one sincerely “doesn’t mean it”, then is remorse, penitence and correction even possible? If we are “sinless” through lack of culpability then are the narcissists actually right in their belief?

Endless opportunities for humiliation and the practice of humility, true humility. “Bear your humiliation patiently, for man is tried in this crucible as gold in the fire” (Sir 2, 4-5)

Cheers

Joe

Eeyore has a poor opinion of most of the other animals in the Forest, describing them as having “No brain at all, some of them”, “only grey fluff that’s blown into their heads by mistake” (from chapter 1 of The House at Pooh Corner).

Eeyore’s favorite food is thistles. He lives in the southeast corner of the Hundred Acre Wood, in an area labeled “Eeyore’s Gloomy Place: Rather Boggy and Sad” on the map in the book.

He has a stick house therein called The House at Pooh Corner. Pooh and Piglet built it for him after accidentally mistaking the original house that Eeyore built for a pile of sticks.

 

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

World Views & Models That Work (part II) …

Mary Poplin

Further on the topic of world views and reality. Once again I am quoting from Mary Poplin, from her book “Is Reality Secular?” She does such a good job I am not going to muck about with a work of art …

so I just decided to stop with my own opinion and just strongly recommend that you go to Amazon.com and pick up the book, just 10 bucks for the Kindle version and worth every penny. Please read it and pass on the information, the “model”, to those you care about.

This is from Mary Poplin’s, “Is Reality Secular?: Testing the Assumptions of Four Global Worldviews” (Veritas Books) (on p. 76). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.

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Old-earth special creation.

Old-earth creation proponents look at the seven-day story more in terms of geological epochs or as a narrative framework for interpreting the origins account as did many of the early church fathers.55

They accept the traditional dating of the universe and earth but do not accept evolution as an adequate explanation for the origins of life.56  Some point out that the fossil record does basically follow the same order as listed in the “generations of days of creation” in Genesis, while others will disregard the apparent chronology.

These scholars use scientific evidence to argue for the existence of God and believe that scientific ideas are evident in the Bible but that not all these biblical passages are to be interpreted literally. Old-earth creationist and Orthodox Jewish physicist Gerald Schroeder is a physicist, earth scientist and theologian whose science degrees are from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

His early scientific work centered primarily on the control of radioactivity. He is a popular and prolific writer on the “confluence of modern science and ancient biblical commentary.”57 He was influential in the conversion of famous philosopher Antony Flew.58

Hugh Ross

The most prominent old-earth creationist, astrophysicist Hugh Ross, has pulled together scholars across the scientific disciplines to develop the Reasons to Believe Institute.59 RTB has a large number of scholars working to articulate the latest discoveries to a well-educated audience who may or may not be scientists.

Their mission is to equip Christians “by demonstrating that sound reason and scientific research—including the very latest discoveries—consistently support, rather than erode, confidence in the truth of the Bible and faith in the personal, transcendent God revealed in both Scripture and nature.”60

Ross was the youngest person (at seventeen) to serve as director of observations for Vancouver’s branch of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. He is a prolific writer articulating a biblical creation model that is testable, falsifiable and predictive.61

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God or Material Origins

John Lennox

John Lennox asks the ultimate question that theistic evolutionists, intelligent-design theorists and old- and young-earth creation theorists ask: given whatever the materials, processes and laws one believes caused the universe to exist, where did or do the basic building blocks of the material world come from, and, in particular, where did information (coded in DNA) come from?

Lennox asks, “How much more likely, then, is the existence of an intelligent creator behind human DNA, the colossal biological database that contains no fewer than 3.5 billion ‘letters’—the longest word yet discovered?”65 DNA’s storage density alone has been found to be six powers of ten denser than flash-drive technology.66

Anthony Flew

Once an apologist for atheism, Antony Flew advised us to follow the evidence where it leads. In science, as in all human endeavors, scientists cannot afford to hold on to a priori ideological commitments (secular or religious) that may become blinders for themselves or others. In all these theories, none is any more dependent on faith than any other.

Most important, none of these five perspectives on origins and agency inhibits scientific inquiry or discovery. Quite the opposite, they all encourage it. Proponents of nontheistic evolution, theistic evolution, intelligent design, old-earth creation and young-earth creation all use the same scientific methods when they conduct actual studies.

John Polkinghorne

These highly politicized metaphysical battles over five distinct scientific theories about the origin and agency of life on earth cannot be solved on one side or the other using the scientific method alone. Cambridge physicist, theologian and former chancellor John Polkinghorne, an esteemed scholar of both science and religion, reminds us that metaphysical claims need to be defended with metaphysical arguments.67

Evolutionary biologist Michael Ruse admits the naturalist’s Darwinian evolutionary bias has political intent: Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality.

biologist Michael Ruse

I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today. . . . Evolution therefore came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity.68

Oxford philosopher Richard Swinburne describes the theist logic: We find that the view that there is a God explains everything we observe, not just some narrow range of data.

philosopher Richard Swinburne

It explains the fact that there is a universe at all, that scientific laws operate within it, that it contains conscious animals and humans with very complex, intricately organized bodies, that we have abundant opportunities for developing ourselves and the world, as well as the more particular data that humans report miracles and have religious experiences.

In so far as scientific causes and laws explain some of these things (and in part they do), these very causes and laws need explaining, and God’s action explains them. The very same criteria which scientists use to reach their own theories lead us to move beyond those theories to a creator God who sustains everything in existence.69

This above is excerpted from Mary Poplin’s, “Is Reality Secular?: Testing the Assumptions of Four Global Worldviews”(Veritas Books) (pp. 76-79). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.

That’s all for now folks. My point in retelling all this is to point the finger at the inconvenient truth that any world view that doesn’t include GOD inevitably results in a murderous totalitarian self centered society however it is manifested. These last two posts have been an appeal to authority supporting my own world view, but unlike the secularists, I am in no way appealing to my own self image and my own intellectual authority, my vanity and narcissism.

Today’s modern culture in the west  denigrates and belittles any one who disagrees with the prevailing view regardless of their proven integrity and intelligence and regardless of the empirical proofs offered. Today’s “brights” care nothing for truth, but rather seek license and avoid responsibility, and this worship of self and love of self always and everywhere results in the death of the innocent and the helpless.

Cheers

Joe

 

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

World Views & Models that Work …

 

Ballad Of A Thin Man”, Bob Dylan, from the album “Highway 61 Revisited”, (1965)

Cancer as a Metabolic Disease, Thomas N. Seyfried, 2012

So, slogging along between bouts of accounting, and IT frustration, I am recreating in the evening by reading my copy of “Cancer as a Metabolic Disease …”. It is slow going and were I not so interested in the “model” I might not be reading this book, it is definitely not a page turner.

On the other hand It also works way better than sleeping pills, so you win some you lose some. It is heavy going but understandable with a couple of years of university biology and chemistry under my belt and a wife who studied organic chem to whom I direct questions on occasion.

It is both discouraging in its recounting of the past 50 years and very encouraging of my fasting Keto lifestyle. I have posted snippets here and there when I found stuff clearly relevant to fasting and Keto, but for starters, a revisit to the Forward (by Dr. Peter Pedersen, Professor of Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD):

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Peter Pedersen, PhD

Cancer persists as a major disease of mortality and is afflicting more people today than ever before. Few families remain untouched by this insidious and vicious disease. In fact, cancer is predicted to overtake heart disease as the prime cause of death in industrialized societies during this century (21st). …

The Nobel laureate, Otto Warburg, was the first to provide evidence during the early part of the last century for the involvement of disturbed respiration with compensatory fermentation (glycolosis) as a common property of cancer, thus perceived to be related to its uncontrolled growth and progression. Few subjects have been as controversial in the cancer field as Otto Warburg and his theory of cancer. … “

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And now we are reading Chapter Four “Energetics of Normal Cells and Cancer Cells”, and we find the following:

“METABOLIC HOMEOSTASIS: Homeostasis is the tendency of biological systems to maintain relatively stable conditions in their internal environment” and “This is especially important for humans that follow a feast/fast schedule of nutrient supply. Metabolic homeostasis within cells is dependent … on the energy supply to the membrane pumps. Hormones such as Insulin and Glucagon can regulate global system energy homeostasis in order to maintain steady energy balance within the cells of each organ.”

That is just the simple introduction to the chapter explaining how the above “Energetics” process takes place, at the microscopic level, in every cell and organ of our body, every second of every day of our lives. And if even a bit of it goes wrong then we die … in this case by Cancer … but there are many other killers opportunistically waiting for us, “the self”, to deviate from the “Manufacturers Instructions” and set off into the empty blank part of the map where lie “Dragons”.

And the complexity about which I am reading intuitively leads me to reject the hypothesis that reality is all just accidental random chemical processes. In my primitive ignorance I simply can’t accept the Material Naturalist or Secular Humanist view reducing everything to chemical accidents. The machinery is far too precise and complex to be an accident of evolution. I find myself coming up against the idea of irreducible complexity.

It seems that “Darwin’s theory of evolution is the great white elephant of contemporary thought. It is large, almost completely useless, and the object of superstitious awe.”  Dr. David Berlinski, Philosophy. Darwinism is just another mutation, a religion by any other name. Even Darwin didn’t believe what modern materialists and humanists believe.

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Further on topic the following is a direct quote from Mary Poplin, from her book “Is Reality Secular?” She does such a good job I am not going to muck about with a work of art …

” …  More recently, evolutionists point to genetic similarities between species to bolster Darwinian views of evolution. It has been widely reported that the human genome and that of the chimpanzee share about 95-98 percent similar DNA. This is used by material naturalists to bolster their arguments against the exceptionality of human beings in nature.

But why would we not expect God to use the same material for many different things? We use metal for children’s toys, skyscrapers, mechanical limbs and bombs. Rather, the more obvious question is how much then can the physical genome actually explain? While there are some obvious physical similarities between apes and humans, there are vast differences in our behaviors, histories and abilities.

This argument seems only to suggest that DNA studies may not be sufficient to describe the radical differences between the species. Why if there are such similarities at a molecular level are there so many differences in nature? No chimpanzee, ape or similar animal has ever set up complex societies, built houses, produced works of art and music, developed an oral or written language, or studied itself.

Where do these tremendous differences come from? Perhaps, as salmon scientist Ernie Brannon suggests, there is something more to the biblical explanation that God breathed his spirit into man and made him in his image than is thus far evident in the gene pool.

Intelligent design. On sabbatical in 1993, Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson began reading about the theory of evolution. From his position as a lawyer, he reasoned that the theory lacked evidence. He later wrote asking some troubling questions about Darwin’s theory.

From this beginning, Johnson attracted other scientists with similar concerns. These now form a group of scientists and philosophers who collectively refer to themselves as intelligent design theorists and scientists.

Biochemist Michael Behe, famous for the study of the bacterial flagellum, argues that certain biological systems would have to have been assembled in one fell swoop in order to function. His argument on “irreducible complexity” dovetails with the argument of philosopher William Dembski’s notion of “specified complexity,” revealing the impossibility of particular complex systems to have emerged in the manner described in neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory.

Stephen Meyer’s work suggests that the complexity of the DNA genetic code is evidence alone of a designing intelligence. Other ID advocates include both religious and agnostic scholars Antony Flew, Michael Denton, Jonathan Wells, Caroline Crocker, Richard Steinberger, Robert Marks, Jeff Schwartz, Guillermo Gonzalez, Jay Richards, David Berlinski and Phillip Johnson.

ID proponents scientifically analyze systems in astronomy, biology, physics and chemistry to determine whether the observed structures are most likely products of unguided natural selection, intelligent design or some combination. Like other scientists, they advance their propositions by inference to the best possible explanation and conduct experiments that arise from these hypotheses.

They have discovered new planets and worked on the finely tuned nature of the universe and earth, the initial conditions necessary to support life, the origin of irreducibly complex life including DNA transcription, the origin of major body plans in the Cambrian explosion, biological disparity and species diversity, and the processes of mutation, such as those involved in bacterial drug resistance.

EXPELLED

Intelligent design advocates hold prestigious degrees and have considerable scientific accomplishments but are often marginalized and sometimes even excluded from the scientific establishment in elite universities and other institutions. For example, in August 2013 a university president announced that the theory of intelligent design could not be taught in science classrooms.

Thus proponents who remain in universities work largely under the radar and keep their skepticism of Darwinian evolution and their metaphysical commitments hidden. Ben Stein’s popular film Expelled, though hotly criticized (by all the usual suspects), revealed a reality that ID proponents face often from the same people who paradoxically accuse the early Roman Catholic Church of persecuting Galileo for his doubts. (the coverage of and reaction to the movie “Expelled” are defacto proof of what Mary Poplin is writing about in her book. The Wiki article is a perfect example of media bias pretending to be impartial when reporting sources that disagree with their beliefs).

In an attempt to discount the academic rigor of intelligent-design theorists and their work, material naturalists often label its advocates creationists. The term creationist has suffered so much derision in the media that it makes it easy to dismiss ID out of hand without engaging the advocates’ scientific research and theory.

Unlike young-earth creationism, ID draws its metaphysics not from arguments about the age of the earth or man but from empirical scientific data revealing the design components that would be unlikely to have formed as a result of a slow process of evolution. Intelligent design advocates define themselves as a community of scientists, philosophers and other scholars seeking to understand the “prodigious evidence of design in nature.”

The Discovery Institute serves as the primary gathering place and think tank for intelligent-design advocates. They believe that the operations of the universe and the intricacies of living things are best explained by an intelligent, purposive design and reject theoretical propositions that solely material phenomena acting according to unguided processes brought the universe and nature into being.

toppling the religion of evolution …

Since 2001, over seven hundred scientists have signed Discovery’s Statement of Dissent from Darwinism, which reads, “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”

The reason that ID refers to an intelligent designer rather than God is that some members of its community of scholars are agnostics, Muslims or Buddhists in addition to Jews and Christians. Even atheists like Nagel support their work as a viable theory. Nevertheless, one of the criticisms is that most intelligent-design theorists, in fact, do believe in God or at least that God is probable.

Philosopher of science and self-described “ex-Christian” Michael Ruse quips that their use of the words “intelligent designer” rather than God is “a terminological inexactitude.” Mathematician and philosopher David Berlinski, who calls himself a secular Jew, says of intelligent design theory, “I do not know whether any of this (intelligent design) is true. (but) I am certain that the scientific community does not know that it is false.

Mary Poplin, “Is Reality Secular?: Testing the Assumptions of Four Global Worldviews” (Veritas Books) (pp. 73-76). InterVarsity Press.

The point of this is that believing and using the wrong models is dangerous. Dangerous behaviour based on faulty models kills people. We find that in every field from Engineering, to Aerodynamics, to Social Sciences, bad models invariably get people killed either by engineering system failures, or biochemical system failures.

The Material Naturalists, and Secular Humanists pushing these failed models are not the ones dying, and they don’t care as long as their models are not questioned.  Meanwhile, the ones doing the dying are us, the little guys in the street, the victims of guidelines and regulations and policies based on “an unproven theory” for the ego gratification and fat remuneration of policy makers and department heads and ministers? Yes Minister!

More to follow in the next post.

Cheers

Joe

 

 

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Cancer Models, Complexity … and Beauty

“An Taiseirl (The Resurrection)”, Noirin Ni Riain and The Monks Of Glenstal Abbey, from the album “Vox de Nube”, (1996)

In a series of previous posts, I remarked on the effective use of models and the nature of models and the difference between hard models and soft models and the real world results deriving from the different types of models.

For the interested, that series is here, and here, and here, and here. So if models are of interest read the whole series, or not, your call, your mileage may vary. This post is about a couple of models which occupy opposite ends of reality, from the macro to the micro.

As previously noted and discussed “reality” was once a popular topic, and over the centuries, even the millennia, humanity has developed a rich, varied and often contradictory plethora of “Philosophical Traditions”, a detailed taxonomy of thought, trying to make sense of our experienced reality.

But what it all boils down to in the end is only four basic macro “Models”. Those models are worldviews at their most basic level. The Four Models, the four major global worldviews are Material Naturalism, Secular Humanism, Pantheism and Monotheism, represented by Judeo-Christianity. I happen to believe and act according to the Judeo-Christian world view, or model.

Is Metaphysics useful?

Today’s thought is about the naturalist and humanist view that everything in “reality” including “self” is “simply” biochemical or physical process, random chance, and evolution, along the lines of the old saw about a bunch of monkeys randomly typing away and “randomly” producing “The Bible”, or a “Palestrina Mass”. Is “complexity” a clue to the nature of reality, or is reality personal, just another pot of muddy soup simmering on the stove top of self interest?

And opposite this simple metaphysic for simpletons I try to contrast the extraordinary complexity of cell respiration in the context of developing cancer. What I am attempting here is to show that the extraordinary complexity of cell respiration alone is ample evidence for something beyond and above the simplistic views of the materialists and the humanists without ever venturing into the massively complex inter-relation of all the universal constants and environmental and physical variables which must be precisely what they are for cells, (ie. us) to even exist.

I am everything

I find myself unable to accept a simplistic answer that all this beauty is just “biochemical processes, random chance, and evolution”.  Now, these days my model is not very popular, in fact those who adhere to the Judeo-Christian model tend to be regarded as “superstitious primitives”.

The majority of folks these days, the new”enlightened”, when they think about it at all, hold to the models of Material Naturalism and/or Secular Humanism or a kind of non-thinking spouting of bits and pieces from both depending on the circumstances of the moment and whoever they are trying to belittle and Bulverise amongst those neolithics who do not agree with the prevalent popular version of “reality”.

Of course, it’s a given that anyone who doesn’t agree with the “nice” “polite” social club we call “modern” enlightened society, anyone who doesn’t agree with The Progressive Faction, is an idiot. As I have posted before, I believe that the rise of Bulverism in any group is a sure sign of the decay, the rot, within said group.

Oh! You just say that because you are a man!

I have referenced Bulverism in a couple of previous posts but Bulverism is indeed THE sure sign of a weak and immoral argument and a failed entity, whichever and wherever they are found. Progressives, Communists, Nazis, Liberals, Democrats, Clerical Socialists, Liberation Theologians, all cut from the same cloth, dyed black or red or denim, whatever, and all serving the same master, shoveling coal for Satan.

I suspect that most of those who practice Bulverism are not even aware that that is what they are doing, since Bulverism is the stock in trade of the entire “philosophy of emotion” crowd and they have no idea that there is any other method of “discussing” ideas.  The method of Bulverism is to “assume that your opponent is wrong, and explain his error”.

So too the Liberal wing of the Catholic Church, and virtually every other left leaning group and individual, political or economic or social, on the planet  … their opponents are “obviously” wrong and “out of touch with the times”. The Bulverist assumes a speaker’s argument is invalid or false, “all right minded people know this to be true”,  and then explains why the speaker came to make that mistake, attacking the speaker or the speaker’s motive.

How do you make a phone?

The term “Bulverism” was coined by C. S. Lewis[1] to poke fun at a very serious error in thinking that, he alleges, recurs often in a variety of religious, political, and philosophical debates. Similar to Antony Flew‘s “Subject/Motive Shift”, Bulverism is a fallacy of irrelevance.

One accuses an argument of being wrong on the basis of the arguer’s identity or motive, but these are strictly speaking irrelevant to the argument’s validity or truth. But it is also a fallacy of circular reasoning, since it assumes, rather than argues, that one’s opponent is wrong.

So back to my subject of interest, the macro model known as Material Naturalism, and the beliefs arising from it, which inform the understanding of the micro model known as cell theory. In this post I am comparing what seem to be conclusions derived from the macro model Material Naturalism and applied to the micro model of cell theory.

How do you make a Pork Chop?

Material Naturalism is the “idea or belief that only natural (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world.” Adherents of naturalism (i.e., naturalists) assert that natural laws are the rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural universe, that the changing universe at every stage is a product of these laws.

In this view, it comes down to the belief that a cell phone and a porkchop have their origins in exactly the same random processes, and to further confuse these believers both items come shrink wrapped in clear plastic, so it must be true, right?

Remember when science was science, and “scientific” carried credibility? For example, cell theory In biology, is the historic scientific theory, now universally accepted, that living organisms are made up of cells, that they are the basic structural/organizational unit of all organisms, and that all cells come from pre-existing cells.

Cells are the basic unit of structure in all organisms and also the basic unit of reproduction. With continual improvements made to microscopes over time, magnification technology advanced enough to discover cells in the 17th century. This discovery is largely attributed to Robert Hooke, and began the scientific study of cells, also known as cell biology.

So somewhere in the 19th or 20th century we entered the age of Scientific Material Naturalism.  Everything which we think of as “reality”  is simply a process and everything that takes place, is thought about, or felt in our emotions, is nothing more than a biochemical reaction, evolving randomly towards chaos. What is left of “Beauty”, “Quality”, “Love” in a reality which is no longer real but rather just some random accident? You can’t touch them, or measure them, so they can’t be real, right?

Curiously, “Does it spark joy?” proves again to be a useful tool.

So, that’s part one … more to follow as I try to make clear this simple emotional muddle that dangerously contaminates our thinking about virtually everything we encounter on a daily basis.

Cheers

Joe

How do you make a million dollars?

In the age of Material Naturalism, does the question “What is Science?” even mean anything anymore? When Facebook opinions carry more weight than Nobel Prizes and “Scientific American” has more cred than “Science” we seem very close to “Burn The Witch!

 

 

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