Monthly Archives: May 2016

OK, then, What To Do? (Part Two)

So that’s a start:  replace fiction with substance in your discourse and decision-making.  I’ll be back soon with more steps to take.

(source: OK, then, What To Do? (Part One) | Inkandescence)

Well, then, the next step.  You need to begin those first steps as you continue this “next” step–one that should already, and regardless of the situation, be your normal practice.

What do I mean?  OK, with Part One in mind, read the following two Scriptures:

And he told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor regarded man; and there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Vindicate me against my adversary.’

For a while he refused; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will vindicate her, or she will wear me out by her continual coming.’”

And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.  And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?  I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

(source: Luke 18:1-8 RSVCE)

and

Therefore King Darius signed the document and interdict.

When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem; and he got down upon his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.

(source: Daniel 6:9-10 RSVCE)

So, given steps one and two:  “Sober Up” and “Think your way in from the edges,” the next several steps all concern the word “Pray.”

3. Pray systematically.

I have a long habit of praying spontaneously, which is typical for my formation in low-church evangelical Protestantism.  In times of heavy opposition, however, such prayer often falls into a rut, a perpetual “Why, God?” or begging for mercy or self-accusation for sins real or imagined.  And each of these responses does have a place in spiritual life, and may for a brief season predominate.  But it was an evangelical pastor who first suggested to me the systematic and prayerful reading of the Psalms as a cure for a “dry spell” in my spiritual life during grad school; and he was right.  I return to that advice regularly, and it is simply the case that the Psalms are the most authentic and full-orbed expression of the experience of the obedient and faithful soul you can ask for.  They have God for their Author, and as such they put in the mouths of those who read them prayerfully the sanctified expression of all that God has called them to suffer, embrace, survive, and thrive on with joy.

I will extol thee, O Lord, for thou hast drawn me up,
and hast not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to thee for help,
and thou hast healed me.
O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from Sheol,
restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
By thy favor, O Lord,
thou hadst established me as a strong mountain;
thou didst hide thy face,
I was dismayed.

To thee, O Lord, I cried;
and to the Lord I made supplication:
“What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the Pit?
Will the dust praise thee?
Will it tell of thy faithfulness?
Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me!
O Lord, be thou my helper!”

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing;
thou hast loosed my sackcloth
and girded me with gladness,
that my soul may praise thee and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to thee for ever.

(source: Psalm 30 RSVCE – Thanksgiving for Recovery from Grave – Bible Gateway)

And it is no accident that the systematic praying of the Psalms has been, throughout the entire life of the Church, and extending back into the days when the synagogues attached to the Temple worship were the chief expression of God’s work in calling the People of God together, a central and continual form of prayer.  In every Mass, and in the liturgical worship of most Christians who have an orderly method of prayer, and in the hymns and songs of all Christians who have not abandoned their heritage, we find the Psalms read and prayed and sung.

Most notably, the Liturgy of the Hours provides everyone with a way to join the whole Church in prayer through these divinely given words at any time.  Not Catholic?  Well, join in anyway!  You don’t need to say anything you don’t believe, but if you are in any way affiliated to those who have responded to the knowledge of the One God who spoke to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who gave instructions in tender love to Moses in thunder and thundering prophecy to Elijah in stillness, who made a herdsman his messenger and sent a ranking bureaucrat on a fool’s errand, who walked among us in the Person of the Son of God and the perfect humanity of the Son of Man, who chose Apostles (radicals and collaborators, educated like John or rough-hewn like Peter, enthusiasts like Andrew or stalwarts like Paul) and founded His Church in them–if you are a Christian or any kind of believer in the God that Christians find revealed perfectly in Jesus Christ, these words are for you.

Praying systematically, using prescribed words and the Psalms (and additional Scriptures and sound meditations), will properly orient you in life’s situations.  There will be moments when you know just who the Psalmist is speaking about in the imprecatory Psalms, but need help with the rejoicing; there will be moments when the Psalms of struggle and anxiety seem distant, but you feel the need to add your own praises to those that overflow from David and the Hebrew liturgists.

That is the fitting and correct response to these prayers:  to see them embodied by and fitting into the concrete situation around you, as indeed they do.

In fact, that is specifically what the next step calls you to do:

4. Pray with reference to your real situation.

Remember “Sober Up”?  One reason you need to do that, and to think substantively rather than in terms of conventional clichés and popular delusions, is that your prayers will only be effective in orienting you within the real world.  If you paste a cliché world view into the Psalms, you will turn the Psalms into so many bad Hallmark cards in your hearing, and the result will not be sufficient to anchor and direct your thoughts in a real world where balloons-and-unicorns are not adequate representations.

Note what Daniel does in the passage above.  He specifically took action by praying “When [he] knew that the document had been signed.”  Your prayers are not restricted to the scope of your personal wishes, or to how you feel about things.  Your prayers, your systematic and intentional actions to dispose yourself appropriately toward God, orient yourself in His world, and join your will to His insofar as He has enabled you do do so, are not effective only in changing your feelings–though they do that.  Your prayers are not effective only with regard to what might be–though they are that.  Your prayers have everything to do with how God and His People interact with His Creation and all that happens in that world, whatever the motives of the actors.

Consider that God’s express motivations for the whole of Creation are such that He is willing for all of it to be useless except insofar as the People of God are gathered and turned into a whole family of Friends of God:

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

(source: Romans 8 RSVCE)

What does that mean?  It means that the material and social conditions you experience, the ones that cause rejoicing or suffering, that cause anxiety from which you must pray to be delivered or elation that will need to be tempered with suffering, are not the determining elements of your situation.  Those conditions are real, and important, because they are the forms in which the substances of Creation achieve the purpose for which the Creator is always acting, the voluntary friendship of each of His rational creatures with God and other people.  When you and other people align yourselves with that purpose, however imperfectly, you concretely intend what God intends, and that means that you and your material and social conditions will be adjusted to each other in whatever way serves God’s continuing purpose of shaping a People of God of whom each can be said to be “after God’s own heart,” fit to one day “speak to God face to face,” to be “the disciple whom Jesus loved” in as many unique ways as there are servants of God.

That, and nothing less, is the meaning of the events of the day.  It’s not about your individual salvation apart from the world.  It’s not about your congregation’s salvation out of the world.  It’s not about the world being saved, or being remade in the model of your favorite social vision or ideological diktat.  It’s about the whole world serving as the crucible for the People of God to become what they can only become by a difficult and voluntary process of being transformed into the image of His Son, not apart but together, not within themselves alone but as members of the Church militant (struggling in the world), suffering (in purgation until ready to behold God face to face), and in glory (beholding the Beatific vision and pulling us all together toward the Resurrection).

Understand:  as Creator, God has judged it worthwhile that you and all His creatures should exist; as Redeemer, God has judged you and all His creatures worth saving.  Worth dying for.  God would be nothing but the Most Perfect Sado-Masochist, though, if all of His suffering and yours were not of the very essence of that redemption of creatures like us.  In venturing us out as rational beings, capable by our voluntary decisions of shaping ourselves as fit or unfit for the friendship He intends for us, and in sacrificing Himself so that there can be no reasonable doubt of His willingness to rescue and befriend us, no matter what our pride or shame, God has already perfectly enacted the whole of history as His act of saving “whosoever will.”  Your part is not to succeed in anything except with the obedience of faith, listening to His mother’s simple yet comprehensive instructions to His brothers and sisters.  Doing so, however, will involve you in action–and the linchpin and key of that action is prayer itself.

Find this hard to do?  Me too.  But it’s important, even so.

5. Pray in ways that require you to alter your situation.

No, I don’t mean that you should pray for change in our nation’s commitment to the slaughter of innocent unborn children by walking into an abortionist’s office praying loudly (though I will support your doing so, if you are confident that is the best way to use your talents for God–though I don’t think it probably is).  That sort of “prayer activism” has a place, but that is not what I’m talking about.

No, I’m talking about praying in public gatherings of various kinds–the kinds that require you to go to Mass (daily masses, even) or to Eucharistic Adoration, but also the kinds that require you to bring some food or clean your house.  The kinds that mean people have to put objects in place, explain changed plans to kids and grandparents, and justify the time and trouble you take to pray.

Pray in a way that makes prayer concretely costly and concretely active for you and for others–that makes “together” not only mystically real, but really visible.

Some friends of mine have done this well.  They have arranged to open their house every Tuesday evening for Vespers, starting with an experiment last Advent; now a mixture of parish friends, extended family, and neighbors–Catholics and non-Catholics all together–assemble each Tuesday with parts of a potluck.  Before we eat, though, we pray Evening Prayer together.  It is a beautiful expression of the Church’s common life, and a building-block to a concrete neighborhood formed by willing sharing in a common faith.

This kind of prayer involves a more specific kind of devotion than others; it is both more costly and more visibly effective, and as such it inclines us all to greater sacrifices.  There are very good reasons that the Church has, from its founding (and with roots in the Jewish practice of the worship of God), insisted that the systematic, consequential, public prayer of the People of God gathered together–out of and yet aware of their mundane situation–is the privileged form in which Christian faith ought to express itself.

So pray!

A Just Retort

I read this to my wife, and she said, with emphasis: “Yup.”

Because this pretty much sums up our experience. Those most dedicated to authentic pastoral care are also those most often slurred by those who want to be patted on the head for their goodness and eased in their consciences as they fit in with the world’s disregard for heaven, hell, and salvation.

But I cannot say fairer than this, so I won’t:

As one of the many cassock-wearing, Communion-on-the-tongue-receiving, Latin-loving, Extraordinary-Form-Mass-saying young priests that have passed through the halls of Theological College, allow me to say plainly to anyone who would agree with the tone and sentiment of this article that you have deliberately and painfully pigeon-holed men who love the Church and cast us to be pompous little monsters simply because we have a different theological/liturgical outlook than you.

You condescend towards us as if we were not thinking, opining, and sincere men.

You gossip about us, ensuring that we are “put in our places” and “taught a thing or two” by your confreres.

You confuse our strong convictions with arrogance and accuse us of being staunch when we are trying more than anything else to be faithful, helpful, and loving.

But let’s be quite honest…you don’t really know us because you never took the time to get to know us. You saw us when we were in the seminary chapel or over breakfast…but that’s about it.

Have you seen us at 2:00 AM in the hospital?

Have you seen us working late into the night on a funeral homily?

Have you seen us giving up our one day off a week to visit with a lonely elderly parishioner?

Have you seen us on our knees at night before the tabernacle weeping because we just buried a child earlier that day?

Have you seen us celebrate four Masses on a weekend, hear hours of confessions, and still show up to Sunday evening Youth Ministry?

Have you seen us wear the same pair of socks two days in a row because we simply ran out of time to do laundry?

Have you seen us muster a smile even when we’re exhausted, or miss Christmas with our families because we’re assigned 300 miles away, or forget to eat dinner because there’s another meeting to go to?

The answer is no. What you see are the cassocks and birettas and fiddleback chasubles and accuse us of being “out of touch.” Well the reality is, you are guilty of the very thing you accuse us of. You ignore our humanity, our struggle, our sincerity, and you fixate on external things to make your judgments.

As difficult as it is at times, I love being a priest with my whole heart. Not because it offers me an exalted status or any privileges, but because it offers me, and the people I serve, the means by which to attain salvation. I love the people I serve to death, and I would do anything within my means to help them. If you look at my cassock and presume otherwise, I can only feel sorry for you.

(source: A Young Priest Sets the Record Straight for the Catholic Left)

Morning Prayer

Rescue us, God, our saviour,
and turn your anger away from us.
Do not be angry for ever
– or will you let your wrath last from one generation to the next?
Surely you will turn round and give us life
– so that your people can rejoice in you?
Show us, Lord, your kindness
and give us your salvation.

I will listen to whatever the Lord God tells me,
for he will speak peace to his people and his chosen ones,
and to those who repent in their hearts.
Truly his salvation is close to those who fear him,
so that glory may dwell in our land.
Kindness and faithfulness have met together,
justice and peace have kissed.
Faithfulness has sprung from the earth,
and justice has looked down from heaven.

(source: Universalis: Morning Prayer (Lauds))

OK, then, What To Do? (Part One)

Not a few of us are frustrated, these days, with the way our politics have been distorted by a spirit of lawlessness and violence, a willing embrace of tyranny and mob rule (which are one and the same), a lashing out in bigotry that threatens what is left of our culture’s denatured sense of decency.

I’ve had a lot to say about that, actually, and could say a lot more:

We are not wrong to recognize our frustration–literally, the lack of efficacy or support for our intentions, their failure to achieve fruition, and our sense that the indifference of some, the excuse-making of others, the fecklessness of many, and our own lack of resolve are all part of the problem.

It is very important to take the measure of the situation.  I think we all need a much heavier dose of sobriety than we are usually given, in popular culture or even at church:  [see “The Problem of Nihilism in Public Discourse” Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and “The Banality of Nihilism” for more.]

But at some point, some good person always asks the right question:  what, then, are we to do?  The question is perennial, and gets asked from many angles.  There are plenty of resources to suggest a direction for tackling this question.

Still, This “what to do” question is harder to answer that than to be dismayed at the difficulty of answering.  It takes time to dig down into the faith, into the hope we really do have, to find its subtler connections to our everyday situation–the options between martyrdom proper and practical-atheist complacency that we navigate creatively together in pursuit of our holy calling.

Herewith, then, a few steps.

1. Sober up

“Realism” should not make you ignore the big picture–the really big picture, the one with God in it and your responsibilities to your family and your neighbors in it, the one where your prayers matter but cannot be unmoored from your concrete obligations, the one that is true even if the statistics and the promises and the conjectures of the chatterers and the pitchers and the candidates, Hucksters and Trumperies and all, prove as false as their all-too-human (and often corrupt and criminal) opposition claims.  You are not choosing between options presented you on TV, unless you have succumbed to the mistaken notion that TV is a window on reality, forgetting that TV news exists to sell your attention span to advertisers.  That’s right, folks.  The mass media buy and sell your attention spans as surely as markets for the securitization of debt buy and sell the poor.

So stop believing them.  Stop judging things in their terms.  Find out who makes the real decisions, and focus your attention and advocacy on their reasoning and actions.

Do not believe that you know something about reality when you know what “wins the game” in horse-race handicapping of campaigns, or in hypothetical vote counting and prediction, or in staging the confrontations and feeding the “narratives” that make for good attention-span sales and bolster the self-importance and saleability of those with the media muscle to make or break celebrity brands.  What you know is how to manipulate the delusions of others.  If you need to do that, then do it knowing that is what you are doing; do it effectively and ruthlessly, all the while *also* being sure that you are honest with yourself and about yourself.  This is light years away from what happens when most people enter politics, or from what we naively assume in typical news-driven political conversation.

Quit thinking in cliches, even if you have to spout a slogan here and there to rally the troops.

2. Think your way in from the edges

We don’t want, and shouldn’t want, to live in fantasies of “what might be” or to spend too much time on our pipe dreams.  (Much as I love pipe dreams and Modest Proposals, and wish I had time to flesh them out more.)

But we also cannot make realistic judgments if we do not understand the parameters of the situation.  For this reason, reframing the question is a basic move in political debate, and the frame of various mass media (and social media) conversations ends up seeming more important than any of the actual decisions or the relevant data.  Not a few problems are much simpler than anyone involved has any interest in allowing them to be, sadly (e.g., bathrooms).  And some problems are constantly reframed as a debate over “solutions” when in fact nobody involved seems to have any serious idea what is to be done (e.g., entitlement reform).

Reframing isn’t bad, any more than any other rhetorical gesture is; the problem with this, as with any move from “slippery slope” to “appeal to authority,” has to do with the substantive question at hand and the effects of the gesture on our habits of thought.  When you can show us that beyond a certain threshold there is nothing that will prevent a predictable bad result, you are quite right to make a “slippery slope” argument–and that does not protect you in the least from being wrong about any particular one.  Rhetorical gestures are not magically “true” or “false”; they are honest/dishonest and apt/inapt, and always entirely contingent upon our knowledge of reality.

So in keeping with “Sober up,” we need to be ready to engage in proper reframing of our own.  When someone comes at you with a false choice, or assumes that X is inevitable unless you do Y that seems unacceptable, then you need to stop and analyze the total set of knowns, unknowns, and possibilities more carefully.  Has X really been decided, or can you reasonably advocate for Z (even if Z is unlikely) when you find Y unacceptable?  If so, you ought to do so.

And that means that you must become accustomed to doing something that is not acceptable in formal logic and academic debate, but essential in public discourse:  you must regularly, even habitually, reject the premise of arguments presented to you.

When people try to logic you into a corner, you must always suspect a false choice, interrogate them to understand the nature of the enthymeme, and search for an alternative that enables you to reject the (usually suppressed, because often implausible if stated) premise.

Therefore, a dialogue:

Jimmy:  We have to unite around Trump, because otherwise Hillary will get to pick the next Supreme Court Justices!
Jerry:  Do you think Trump can really beat Hillary?
Jimmy:  Well, not if we don’t unite around him!
Jerry:  Why don’t we reject him and pick someone else?
Jimmy:  But a convention fight would only weaken the GOP!
Jerry:  But wouldn’t Trump weaken the GOP?
Jimmy:  But Trump is our best chance for beating Hillary!
Jerry:  But will Trump actually be any better than Hillary?
Jimmy:  But he’ll have to rely on the GOP to win!
Jerry:  Why don’t we reject him and pick someone else?
Jimmy:  But whatever we do that weakens Trump helps Hillary!
Jerry:  How so?
Jimmy:  Well, you have to vote, don’t you?
Jerry:  Uh, no….
Jimmy:  But if you don’t vote, your vote gets wasted!
Jerry:  And if I vote for someone I think is bad for the country, my vote gets perverted, right?
Jimmy:  But not voting for Trump is the same as voting for Hillary!
Jerry:  Oh, really, how’s that work out mathematically?
Jimmy:  Well, if 100 people vote, and each side would have 50/50, and you take away two votes from one side, that make it 51/49 percent against that side!
Jerry:  Hmmm.  I’m not saying I would think it made sense substantively or morally even if those numbers were right, but…how are you getting your 100 people voting?  I mean, it’s not like we select exactly 100 voters per district or something…right?
Jimmy:  But however many people live in that place, that’s the total, and whoever doesn’t vote for one side is helping the other.
Jerry:  What if most of the people, or even a sizeable plurality of the people, don’t vote?
Jimmy:  Well, then we just count the ones who are voting.
Jerry:  But if we only count after the vote, and only count the ones who voted, then how does your “take away” work?
Jimmy:  No, see, you start with the polls of likely voters, then you move from there to what actually happened, and your decision not to vote changed that “likely voter” poll outcome to be what really happened.  Your not-voting is like a vote for Hillary!
Jerry:  I’m pretty sure you just conflated fiction with reality, there.  Who’s buying the next round?

There is nothing “unrealistic” about insisting that we make the actual decision in front of us without conflating it with mass-media driven narratives about the meaning of polls and the relationship between various blips of reportage and the real decision-making.  Those stories are always going to inflate the importance of whatever aggrandizes the national news media and their corporate overlords, and will do so in a manner that promotes the celebrity brands (and not necessarily the principles or the interests) of those politicians and others who abet them in that highly profitable trade in human attention spans.

So that’s a start:  replace fiction with substance in your discourse and decision-making.  I’ll be back soon with more steps to take.

Brilliantly spoken, and true

Modernity, as we have seen, can tolerate religion as long as it is safely sequestered in the privacy of one’s conscience or practiced behind closed doors. What challenges modernity is a religion that shows up. A secularized culture wants us to believe that processions and pilgrimages are somehow inappropriate, sectarian, trouble-making. I think we should make a little trouble….

[Pilgrimages] are embodied ways of centering our lives on Jesus Christ, all profoundly non-dualist means of walking the path of holiness.

(source: How to Center Yourself on Christ | Word On Fire)

Is there an Angelic Doctor in the house?

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This is a classic example of the overdetermined logic (constantly re-inscribing a basic metaphysical error that haunts the ideology of modern philosophy) that gives us the “univocity of being” problem as well.

The postulate here is “if humans are free [or, even more typically, if God is an active Creator], then covering causal laws cannot describe events seamlessly.”

When covering causal laws do seem to apply, at whatever level of precision we are able to muster, across what we perceive to be free and responsible events of choosing (or special Providences), then we are forced to either propound another hypothesis or conclude that freedom (or the activity of the Creator) is an illusion, a shorthand for our lack of knowledge. While our being forced to this point does demonstrate a lack in our faith, that is, a point in which modern ideology has blinded us to reality, it does not actually demonstrate what many are led to despair in thinking it demonstrates, that is, that the faith itself was in default.

Statue_of_Hume_with_traffic_cone_hat

When we moderns with defective metaphysics attempt to find another hypothesis to test, staving off despair for another day, we typically do so by stumbling into the error expressed in that last comment: we keep the idea that “if humans are free, then covering causal laws cannot describe events seamlessly” and suggest that what covering causal laws describe is “non-real,” that is, merely a product of useful perceptions. This is good brain candy at a certain phase of intellectual development–but like a lollipop from the dentist, it cannot be mistaken for the desired result without serious harm.

If the world in which we are creatures of the Creator has to be radically subjectivized in order for our creaturely being to have moral significance, then at what point in that perceptual field does moral significance attach? What is the moral significance of the Creator’s instruction concerning the conduct of some creatures within and among others, the rest of Creation? This approach, with the active connivance of many a Modernist, many a liberal, many a libertine, many an authoritarian personality, many a Romantic, many a self-aggrandizing charismatic visionary, leaves the faithful reft of concrete attachment points within the perceptual field for the moral significance of their decisions and the natural and divine law.

It is the serious obligation of Christian teachers to inculcate better metaphysics than this, so as to defend the faithful against the Satanic assault on their faith and hope that uses this metaphysical error as cover. (Sadly, few seem to be well-trained enough to do this job, even among the well-meaning and basically orthodox; even the better sort of homilies are rife with the cheap paradoxy of threadbare modern discourse–dualizing gestures–and rarely manage to make the integrality of the faith a top concern.)

Saint_Thomas_Aquinas,_Protector_of_the_University_of_Cusco

So what is the solution? As is so often the case when you witness a regress or a pendulum-swing in the history of an idea, it is important to recognize that ideology (the tacit stock of “possibilities for thinking” we inherit from our formators and absorb from our milieu) often circumscribes both a proposition and its opposition. That is, both are agreeing on the error while disagreeing on a related system of assertions, many of which may be true or false independent of the organization proposed by any party to the dispute.

In this case, it is that first assertion that we must question in order to find a way forward. Let us examine that again: “if humans are free [or, even more typically, if God is an active Creator], then covering causal laws cannot describe events seamlessly.” Is that true? Is it necessarily true, or thoroughly evident, or well-attested by strong authority?

Well, uh, no. Why precisely should it be thought that an active Creator does not have a much larger and more complex set of “laws” that govern the relations of divine, angelic, and human persons to the heavens and earth, that is, to the whole Universe of which the cosmos–the terrestrial sphere and the “known universe” as described fairly well by what we know of matter/energy and space/time–is a significant subset. If the cosmos is a subset of the total Reality, then we might well expect that the “known universe” is less not only in scope but in complexity (and much less in apparent complexity, as basic information theory tells us that our most comprehensive descriptions must always be considerable reductions from the complexity of actual events).

There is, then, no warrant–there is an appalling lack of warrant, in fact–for the notion that (a) more thorough and accurate descriptions of physical phenomena call into question the reality of human freedom (or of the Creator’s activity) or (b) the only way to escape such question is to assert the “non-real[ity]” or ideality of either the observable cosmos or human freedom (and the Creator’s activity). This can only follow from an ideological assertion, without warrant, that reality is necessarily far less complex than even our own understanding of basic information theory predicts.

And, when examined, the “science” that leads to such claims almost always turns out to be seriously popularized–the claims have a “scienceyness” that we should be increasingly capable of distinguishing from “science” in either of its positive and useful senses.