Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

Models … and Socratic Dialogue …

St. Mathew and the Angel

St. Mathew and the Angel

Failed and failing models have been with us for most of history. In the Catholic world, today is the Feast of St. Mathew. Little is known about St. Matthew, except that he was the son of Alpheus, and he was likely born in Galilee.

He worked as a Roman tax collector, a profession which was a hated during the time of Christ. According to the Gospel, Matthew was working at a collection booth in Capernaum when Christ came to him and asked, “Follow me.” With this simple call, Matthew became a disciple of Christ.

From Matthew we know of the many doings of Christ and the message Christ spread of salvation for all people who come to God through Him. The Gospel account of Matthew tells the same story as that found in the other three Gospels, so scholars are certain of its authenticity. His book is the first of the four Gospels in the New Testament, Mathew, Mark, Like, and John

Many years following the death of Christ, around 41 to 50 AD, Matthew wrote his gospel account. He wrote the book in Aramaic in the hope that his account would convince his fellow Jews that Jesus was the Messiah and that His kingdom had been fulfilled in a spiritual way.

Destruction of Jewish Temple, AD 70 by Roman Legions.

Destruction of Jewish Temple, AD 70 by Roman Legions.

It was an important message at a time when almost everyone was still expecting the return of a militant messiah brandishing a sword, and restoring dominance to the Kingdom of Israel. That was the “Model” generally accepted by the majority of Jews in Palestine at that time.

The foundational failure of that archetypal Model was worked out in agony and suffering when Roman Legions destroyed Jerusalem in 70 ADSome reports put the death toll of the conquest of Jerusalem at over 600,000 from both the actions of the Roman conquerors and the fratricidal combat between various disagreeing factions amongst the Jewish defenders.

Even when facing death the factions of believers of conflicting sub-models couldn’t let their models go. So folks really get attached to their model being right and will not accept anything else even on pain of death. Not testing our models can be, and often is, deadly. So, how to test our models?

Father Hunwicke presents a nice little Socratic Dialogue on his site today.

Now Catholics have a model regarding Jesus Christ being the only Child of the Virgin Mary. One of the interesting things about Models (previous post here) is that the elements of a Model or a “Worldview” can be identified and considered in a logical and rational manner, devoid of subjective emotionalism and moral relativism. Design and construction of a worldview can be analyzed without having a physical creation present to hammer on.

We can employ and enjoy “Gedankenexperiments” which rely on generally accepted rules of conduct and logic to maintain the focus on truth, the subject of the discussion, and give direction of the discussion. The name of this particular experiment is “Socratic Dialogue”, named after Socrates, of course, one of the early practitioners of such logical discussion.

Perhaps the biggest flag regarding the validity or failure of any model is the willingness or unwillingness of the developers and adherents of the model to engage in these sorts of discussions. Father Hunwicke’s short piece perfectly illustrates the fruitless pursuit of discussing most “soft” models with the developers and adherents of same.

The statement “all right minded people know this to be true” no more imparts truth, than the man in a dark room yelling that “there is no sun” blots out the sun. Still it shines … and here is the dialogue … with pretty typical results …

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Haereticus: The Gospels make it quite clear that Jesus had brothers.
Catholicus: They don’t. “Adelphoi” can mean kinsmen. It doesn’t have to mean uterine (that is, born-of-the-same-womb) brothers.
Haereticus: So you say. But that’s the obvious meaning if anyone talks about “Jesus’ brothers” in any language, isn’t it?
Catholicus: Not at all. Mark’s and Matthew’s Gospels, in their accounts of the Crucifixion, both talk about “Mary the mother of James and Joses [or Joseph]”. If this Mary had been the same as Christ’s own mother, it would have been very odd for them not to refer to her as the Mother of Jesus. The “obvious” and natural inference is that the “Mother of James and Joses” was a different Mary from “Mary the Mother of Jesus”.
Haereticus: So what?
Catholicus: Well, in Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55, the places where those “brothers of Jesus” are mentioned, the full text reads: ” Jesus the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses [or Joseph] and Judas and Simon”. We’ve just seen that this James and this Joses are apparently the sons of some Mary who was not the same as Mary the Mother of Jesus. And they’re the first two on the list here. The list is thus clearly not itemizing individuals who were uterine brothers of Jesus.
Haereticus: Well, I still think it’s obvious that …
Catholicus: If it’s so “obvious”, you’ve got some explaining to do. Throughout the second century the Gospels were increasingly regarded as ‘canonical’ and authoritative. If it is so “obvious” that James and the rest of those listed in the Gospels were uterine brothers of Jesus, then the tradition that Jesus was Mary’s only child must have arisen well before those Gospels came to be regarded as authorities. Otherwise, when somebody started saying “she never had any more children”, somebody who had read the Gospels would have said “Aha, you’re wrong: here’s a list of his brothers”. So, if you’re right about it being so “obvious”, you’re going to have to admit that Mary’s perpetual virginity is so early a tradition as to predate the acquisition of authority by our Four Gospels; which modern scholarship dates to the beginning of the second century at the latest. I’ve got you either way.
Haereticus: That’s all gobbledygook. It’s obvious …
Catholicus: That’s the problem with you Prods and you Liberals. You’re impervious to evidence and to reason.
Haereticus: Of course we are. “Reason is the Devil’s Whore”. Martin Luther said so. It’s obvious.

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The Sins of The Fathers …

The last couple of posts have been rather unpleasant, drawing attention as they do to some realities behind the curtain constructed around the northern Magus and his descendants.  The Sins of the Father or Sins of the Fathers derives from Biblical references (primarily in the books Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Numbers) to the sins (or iniquities) of one generation passing to another. The idea has been conveyed paraphrastically into popular culture.

While there are many references throughout recorded history to evil and misfortune passing down from generation to generation we in our times seem to be enjoying a singularly refreshing view where history has been re-written and now there is nothing but the great goods of “Progress”. All things of this world are plentiful and desirable and worship of self overwhelms all sensibilities.

We are rather like those adventurers of the late great 60’s, those adventurous souls of whom Timothy Leary was a leading light, an American psychologist and writer known for advocating the exploration of the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs.

Of course, it is an undeniable fact that both the drug high, and the ideological high, always and everywhere wears off, leaving disaster, misery and death in its wake.

Because of our cultural aversion to reality we no longer study history. History mitigates against the corruption of ideology and so cannot be tolerated in the halls of ideological fantasy where our polite society derives its social policies of death.

History is no longer studied nor has it been a popular subject for several generations now. We strive to forget the past, even the recent past, and steadfastly present an ideological fantasy as our reality for consumption and belief by “all right thinking people”.

But one of the best consolidations  of real history, of the corruption of man is found in the Christian Bible. Perhaps that is why the Christian Bible is so unpopular these days, when “all right thinking people” just know that “we are practically perfect in every way”. No need to look anywhere else than in the nearest mirror to find the idol we worship.

I know it is extremely unpopular in our enlightened times but lets just dip into one chapter of the book of Kings for a gloss of how history repeats itself in our current Canadian society: …The surest way to lose an audience these days is to “go Biblical” on them, right? But I really don’t care much about the masses, I am writing for the remnant, so …

2 Kings 21 Manasseh Succeeds Hezekiah  is a nice little story about an historical family, a dynasty if you will, a dynasty whose practices took their people in an unhappy direction.  And Mathew 7: 15-20 … about fruits, and do we see clearly or do we pretend that everything is just A – OK?

A Tree and Its Fruit

 15Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18“A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20So then, you will know them by their fruits.

And what of the fruits of our current leadership cadre, our current collection of apparatchiks lead by the brilliant and fearless Justin? What of their fruits … poverty, sickness, misery, murder, all burnt offerings on the alter of their self worship.

They, these lockstep followers of the progressive creed, the worshipers of the idol of self, bring to our society what David Warren calls “that delicious spirit of malice; an overwhelmingly destructive attitude of mind; and deriving from that, a terrible, a purposeful blindness.”

They can no longer see what is right before their eyes. They makes no concession to realities. They are opportunistic political propagandists, for very dark causes. These apparatchiks; fifth columnists; enemies of civilization, enemies of every decent value, of every pure good, poisoning from within and killing the flower of civilization with the agent orange of their progressive, me first, creed.

But still, we have Mathew 5: 43-48

Love your Enemies

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

The Road to Emmaus is everyone’s road –

On the Road to Emmaus

13Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven milesa from Jerusalem. 14They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16but they were kept from recognizing him.

… the troublesome secret is to see that Christ walking right alongside you … “めんどくさい (mendokusai)”

Cheers

Joe

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