Monthly Archives: February 2015

Harder To Believe Than Not To

they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false

(source: 2 Thessalonians 2:9-17 RSVCE – The coming of the lawless one by the – Bible Gateway)

People struggle with the sense that truth is already lost to them, that there’s no way to get to the bottom, that the traces are gone.  Some struggle with the sense that inside them, in their own fault or something God has done to them, lies a final alienation from truth.

These are things that happen to us in these days.

Continue reading »

Rubricating the Word

I really don’t think there’s anything I can add to this:

The last words from the mouths of the martyrs were “Jesus Christ.” We often read stories about early martyrs of the Church. We produce movies depicting their stories and lives, but nothing can capture it like the scene of men dying for their faith in their Savior and Redeemer. Sometimes we think of martyrs as being above human, as legendary figures who lived extraordinary lives, but these men were ordinary. They were men who lived normal lives, poor men who traveled to Libya to feed their families. Yet at the critical moment, they did not deny their Savior or run away from him. Pushed on their knees to be killed, they stood taller than their murderers. They stood tall for the whole world to watch what Christianity is all about.

(source: Martyred Copts Witnessed Their Faith, and Courage)

Perhaps I will only point out that these martyrs also stood taller than we do, which is why I cannot imagine what I could add to their witness:

The United States has even been reluctant to call this crime what it is. While many world leaders condemned this as a murder of Christians, the White House spoke of murdered Egyptians. Whether out of policy or simple ignorance, the White House has dishonored those men by refusing to acknowledge their sacrifice and their faith. The administration needs to be aware and develop a policy that places this not as an isolated incident but as part of an eradication campaign against Christianity in its birthplace.

(source: Martyred Copts Witnessed Their Faith, and Courage) Continue reading »

The Autonomy of the Consenting, and other destructive dreams

The slide comes from the Interwebs, and is delightful in its reflexivity.  Radical misunderstanding of the nature of the human person, the ontology of property, and the meaning of “rights,” however, has consequences that are by no means so clever and amusing.  Autonomy is by no means a first-order good (though moral freedom, rightly understood, is something like one).  Setting it up as a first-order good, a “fundamental human right,” is sure to destabilize both understanding and law:

But when does a person actually possess this autonomy to which he is said to have a right? We are constantly influenced by the people around us and the circumstances in which we find ourselves. I may feel emotionally down on a dreary day in November when the daylight hours are diminishing, yet I am likely to feel cheerful on a freezing day three months later when the days are lengthening, the sun is shining, and the snow is diffusing its light everywhere. My mood on each of these days will inevitably affect the decisions I make. If I am wise, I will postpone making important decisions until I am feeling better. But what if my capacity to access this wisdom is hindered by my dark mood, which for me often leads to a loss of appetite? What if it takes only a good meal to improve my emotional state, thus leading me to decide differently than I might have an hour earlier? When does my autonomy kick in?

(source: The Courts and the Impossibility of Autonomy | David T. Koyzis | First Things)

Obvious and less obvious evidence that we are beginning to come to grips with this misconception of autonomy (I took a potshot at it recently) weaves its way through a great many important conversations about the problem of pornography, a problem intimately tied to almost every other social problem in our culture:

For many, this is a light thing…. Continue reading »

Assertions and Distinctions

From a state political figure whose views I often quite appreciate (and whose courage in more than one currently unpopular cause is exemplary), this story about a consortium attempting to raise funds to kill babies in Oklahoma City:

That’s what they think the women of Oklahoma need: More abortionists.

Personally, I can think of a whole slate of things the women of Oklahoma need more than they need another abortionist. I know a lot of Oklahoma women who’ve had abortions. Wish they hadn’t, but they did. Not one of them — not one — had any problem obtaining an abortion because of a lack of abortionists.

However, Trust Women, a group that may or may not open clinics around the country, has targeted Oklahoma for a fund-raising drive to open another abortion clinic.

(source: Group Raises Funds to Open Abortion Clinic in Oklahoma.)

There are a number of recent events that may well cause concern among those who measure “progress” by the ease with which those who make a living killing babies can reach their “target market” without competition from those who would like to ensure that mothers and children are protected from exploitation and slaughter:  arrests, laws requiring such “health care providers” to at least take minimal steps to care for health, and always and everywhere prayer, the mightiest weapon in the arsenal of those who love life and its Creator.

An army marches on its stomach, but the Church marches on her knees:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written, “For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(source: Romans 8:31-39 RSVCE – God’s Love in Christ Jesus – What – Bible Gateway)

And mindful of that triumph, and grateful for all those who for any reason and from any perspective join in the good will of the Creator toward all living humans, I look forward to tomorrow.

While we’re here, though, let me slightly disagree with Hamilton on a different matter, in a different post.  Though I understand her sentiments, and agree that we don’t need to “get all in a lather” about this other matter, I wish she had expressed her thoughts slightly more carefully. Continue reading »

Good ECT statement on Marriage

The statement is sound throughout, but this paragraph seems especially well-reasoned:

For centuries, parents of adopted children have been acknowledged as legal parents. And we warmly commend the generous practice of adoption. But this was understood as a humane exception to the more fundamental rule of natural descent. Today, however, the most basic principles of family life are being reconstructed around exceptions. Because the male-female difference must be erased to make way for same-sex marriage, the procreative potential of the male-female union must be set aside as well. A child’s parents are whomever legal documents designate as Parent 1 or Parent 2—or, as California documents now allow, Parent 3 or Parent 4. Thus, children are exposed to the risk of coming into the world as strangers, in which the biological ties that form the natural family are arbitrarily broken. The law no longer recognizes the primordial, complementary natural roles of mother and father. The natural family as the fundamental context defining where we have come from and who we are is set aside. The family becomes a creation of the state, and where the family is a creation of the state, children become, in important legal respects, the property of the state.

(source: The Two Shall Become One Flesh: Reclaiming Marriage by Evangelicals and Catholics Together | Articles | First Things)

Now is a Very Acceptable Time

A little reading fit for the day, from T. S. Eliot:

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And I pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

(source: “Ash Wednesday” | On Being) Continue reading »

Well served, sir!

Might be a good idea to brush up a bit on Christianity there.

(source: ‘I don’t think [that word] means what you think it means’ – The Washington Post)

I don’t always agree with him, but when Volokh is good, he’s very good.

…we can understand ourselves like this:

…precisely insofar as we live like this:

Few specific elements of social teaching are more basic:

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

(source: Matthew 5-7 RSVCE – The Beatitudes – Seeing the crowds, he – Bible Gateway)

What you’re wrong ABOUT matters, too….

Everybody wants to know what Scott Walker and Sarah Palin think about evolution, but almost nobody is asking what Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama think about homeopathy, acupuncture, aromatherapy, and the like.

(source: Stuff and Nonsense, Gammon and Trotters! | Hang Together)

Not to re-enact Pascal’s Wager, but the more I think about this well-made point, the more I think someone should point out that–whatever their errors, and the consequences of those errors, are–people who think like this or even like this simply do not rise to the levels of repellent, foolish, monstrous lunacy we regularly find among people who think like this or this or this or this.

Among the pagans, attitudes like this were matter-of-fact for millennia:

Hilarion to Alis his sister, heartiest greetings, and to my dear Berous and Apollonarion. Know that we are still even now in Alexandria. Do not worry if when all the others return I remain in Alexandria. I beg and beseech of you to take care of the little child, and as soon as we receive wages I will send them to you. If-good luck to you!-you bear offspring, if it is a male, let it live; if it is a female, expose it. You told Aphrodisias, ‘Do not forget me.’ How can I forget you? I beg you therefore not to worry. The 29th year of Caesar, Pauni 23.

(source: WLGR)

While at least some Christians, and all authoritative Christian teaching, have long maintained the contrary.

Faced with a choice of mountains to climb (make no mistake you are faced with such a choice), you really must not fail to understand the religious and philosophical and historical dimensions of your choice of companions, methods, and reference points:

Father McClorey [who wrote the opposing view in the magazine] may think it better to abandon the garden to the weeds, naively confident that geniuses will make their appearances regardless of heredity and environment. But no student of genetics, no one who has even superficially observed the achievements of scientific horticulture and animal breeding, can consider seriously that the road to human perfection can ever be attained by abandoning scientific control and reverting to a childish reliance upon the blind forces of uncontrolled procreative instincts.

(source: Pelosi Getting Award Named for Woman Who Called Children ‘Human Weeds’ | CNS News)

Calling a pagan disregard for humanity “science” cannot make it so; and calling one’s religious commitment to a materialist definition of “human perfection” by “scientific control” secular does not make it rational.

And those whose religious commitment is to a self-disclosing Creator of an intelligible universe, of all people, ought to be capable of understanding what God hath wrought.