Facebook is such a. . .place. Some wonderful stuff happens, and some dreadful stuff. But what is at once delightful and utterly maddening are the peeks one gets into the minds of others, and the stunning lack of thought and insight that often may be found there.
The Facebook status of a woman about my age, who also happens to be a church-going Catholic, also like me:
Just because someone has a different opinion than yours doesn’t mean they’re ignorant or stupid. Moral issues are a matter of personal choice, and we are all entitled to our beliefs. Respect mine, and I will respect yours. Just sayin’.
This status then proceeds to be “liked” by 20 other people (a rather high number for the circles we keep on FB), including 2 other “faithful” Catholics.
Many of you, especially anyone out Plonk mining, will say that the surface nonsense posited by the status above is either harmless, or a fine summation of what passes for critical thought in regard to social interaction and the origins of moral strictures. And if you’re one of the 225 million lemmings with the cortical capacity of an artichoke here in the US, I guess that at least represents a form of consistency. And if it came from the postings of a callow, 17 year-old idealist, I at least could then be patient. To quote Churchill: “To be 17 and a conservative is to have no heart. To be 37 and a liberal is to have no brain.”
But dammit all, the woman who posted this (who’s past 37) and the two other deadheads (also past 37) who endorse this are Catholics, and they know better. But, much to my rage -as I teach a class on Christian Morality- they wimp out and go for the flabby, internally inconsistent and flat-out wrong, default-current-vogue belief that morality is entirely relative.
Look at what she said: “Morality is a matter of personal choice.” That is utter bullshit that won’t stand 45 seconds of real scrutiny. Don’t think so? Try stealing her stereo. She’ll then claim that I can’t do that.
“But I can. My personal morals state that all property is public property. What is yours is mine, so I can use it anytime I want. You just said that morality is a personal choice. OK. I choose to believe all property is public. AND you have to respect that. You said so yourself.”
At which point, she’ll make an appeal to higher authority, if for no other reason than our “moralties” are in conflict. (And we aren’t really talking about moralities, but incredible vague and effectively meaningless ethical structures) Which is fine. I can then point out that morality is not personal, but stems from something higher than just me and you, as you are now making an appeal outside of us for what is right and wrong. What that thing is leads to further debate, true enough, though it is undeniable that her position is utterly untenable and meaningless. So, for God’s sake, can we please get away from such flabby, useless pablum? That statement is pathetic, and all the more so in that it came from a Catholic woman, college educated, who for-the-love-of-Christ OUGHT TO KNOW BETTER!!
On When a Liberal Media Bias Might be a Good Thing for the Church and Prove the Existence of God, to Boot. April 30, 2012Posted by Administrator in Apologetics, atheism, Catholicism, Cultural Pessimism, Idiots, Liberal Hypocrisy, Liberal self-loathing.
Perhaps you’ve heard about this story. I’ll freely confess, when I first saw it, I thought; “Damned liberal media. Taking it to the Church again.” And then I thought, “You’d not hear about this in terms of such high outrage if it had been a simple public figure. Heck, for most people, you would not hear about it at all. Stop picking on the Church, for heaven’s sake.” You simply cannot help yourself with that holier-than-thou mentality when it comes to priests.
And I also thought, “That priest is an idiot, and an incompetent one at that, if for no other reason than he didn’t actually proof his PowerPoint before his meeting.” I hold no brief for saying a man is condemned for porn, gay or otherwise. Just as I hold no brief for a man to be condemned for drunkenness, gambling or serial infidelity. We all have our shortcomings, yes even the priests. ALL of these things are bad, evil acts. They do not then translate the person into an evil person.
Love the sinner, hate the sin, you know.
But then I thought a bit more on that. That priest showed that material at a public meeting. For First Communicants. Second graders!! He deserves to be taken out to the shed for that.
And not just that. But also for being a priest.
I’ve often concurred with Mark Shea’s tongue-in-cheek assertion that if we allowed educators to marry, then abuse would not happen. Waitaminnit. . . And his point still holds. But I’ve used that as a larger cudgel, to object to the media using a double-standard with us. They hit educators on pedophilia, but they REALLY nail the Church on it.
And this time it hit me.
The media really should hit us harder. They really should.
Let me repeat that: The media is correct in hitting the Catholic Church harder on pedophilia than hitting other organizations. And here’s why:
We are the keepers of the guttering flame of Truth. We are the heirs to those Irish monks on the west coast of Britain who kept the flame of Antiquity’s wisdom while Europe was convulsed with pagan lawlessness. In short, WE KNOW BETTER. And the press knows this instinctively, so they beat us like a gong every time we veer from the path.
Are they delighting in our errors? Of course. Are they drooling, microcephalic hypocrites? Of course. BUT THEY ARE CORRECT.
But here’s the really wonderful thing: WHY does the press react as it does? We keep hearing the message that Christianity is outdated, passe, meaningless. We ought to pay it no mind.
But if it is really that meaningless, then the peccadilloes of erring priests such as the unfortunate mentioned above should be no cause for concern. “Pay that fool no mind, modern thinker. He’s going the way of the dodo.” If it’s that meaningless, why does the Dawkins/Harris/Dennett/Myers Kraken react so violently to our little turns? Why the vociferous, violent chortles of glee at yet another wayward priest? If we’re marginalized, why bother? If we’re meaningless, why does Dan Savage waste so much energy on us?
Deep down at the core, they know there is something to us. We have the truth, they know it, and they hate us for it. But in that moment comes proof of the Moral Argument.
If we’re protecting an outdated morality, then why the outrage when we violate it? We ought to be welcomed by the Saturnalians as finally agreeing with them. But they know; they grasp the Absolute. They help prove that Moral Realities exist, and from that rather easily comes the idea that a Creator of those Realities must therefore also exist.
The Fullness of the Dawkobot Kool-Aid March 14, 2008Posted by Administrator in Apologetics, atheism, Cultural Pessimism, philosophy.
(WordPress is being idiotic, so there are no links available for this post. I will either post actual URLs you can copy and paste, or you’ll have to Google particular names.
Not that you need to, you’ve seen them before)
I have actually mixed the Kool-Aid, took a good look at it, poured myself a glass, held it to my lips and taken a taste.
I cannot drink it. The lack of nutritional value, combined with the overwhelmingly bitter odor of almonds prevents me from swallowing the Dawkobot Kool-Aid.
I’ve watched Richard Dawkins lecture (http://www.glumbert.com/media/calltoarms). I’ve watched him debate with a liberal theologian from the Anglican Church (http://www.glumbert.com/media/dawkinsbishop). I’ve read some of his latest screed as presented at a speech in Wisconsin. (http://www.madison.com/tct/news/276768)
Without question, the man is a brilliant biologist like his fellow Kool-Aid imbibers PZ Myers and Larry Moran. He is also a witty, incisive speaker. There is much to be admired about the man in terms of scientific intellect. Much the same may be said about his fellow thinkers Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris. They are all bright men in their correct fashion.
But as philosophers, they are all frightfully and dangerously amateur and misled, and as proponents of public policy, they are as ominous in their idealism as the worst Torquemada or Hitler.
As for the realm of philosophy, I cite Dawkins from his most recent article listed above:
Dawkins joked that he’s not absolutely positive there is no God. “Only in the sense that I’m not absolutely positive there is no large china teapot in orbit in the solar system.”
No one can actually disprove the existence of a celestial teapot, he said, “which means we all technically have to be agnostic about the teapot. But in practice we are all ‘ateapotists,’ ” he said to laughter.
He is, in his snarky upper-class British twit fashion, poking fun at religion by reciting a variant on the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The short version of this long-useless argumend against the existence of God is that we an imagine any sort of nonsense -unicorns in our backyard, flying spaghetti monsters, teapots in orbit- and to simply imagine them, while perhaps difficult to disprove, is insufficient to prove that they DO exist. Since the likelihood is so minimal as to be non-existent, we are safe in assuming that they in fact do NOT exist.
The debunking of this argument however, is really quite simple. In each case of the unicorn, or the spaghetti monster, or the orbiting teapot, the creator of the myth in question is dealing with constructs already very familiar to the human psyche. Each is made up of ideas that we as humans have already experienced.
But in the case of the Creator, of an all-powerful, all-good, perfect being in God, we are talking about a construct that is alien to our experience. There is nothing in our experience that is all-powerful; certainly nothing that is all-good, and perfection doesn’t even exist in nature (ask the high-speed photographers if they can capture the perfect “King’s Coronet” that is possible at the instant after a drop of milk falls into a perfectly still bowl of milk. It is possible, but it has never been captured on film.). Despite this lack of experience, our collective souls yearn for it, and on some level therefore must have experienced it. When else but before the fall?
Dawkins himself in his talk with the Bishop of Oxford (which is, by the way, an almost absurdly polite and deferential conversation. Both antagonists hold to their native positions, but are unfailingly polite and understanding of the other) admits that there must be some form of “other”, similar to what Einstein hinted at, but he refuses to admit this is God, or that religion in any way leads to this “other.” I have suggested elsewhere that Dawkins was having second thoughts about his atheism. I wish I’d had access to his talk with Oxford at the time. I still believe I am correct, but as CS Lewis was too stubborn to admit to Catholicism due to his traumatic upbringing in Ulster, so too Dawkins out of stubborn habit will never admit to the existence of what even his ossified conscience is hinting at.
Regardless, Cambridge, Morris and Toronto biologists need to stick to what they know, and keep the hell out of philosophy. They have shown themselves to be abundantly unqualified.
As for acting as framers of public policy, the Dawkobots take their orders from Richard Dawkins, and those orders are disturbingly Orwellian.
There is no such thing as a Catholic child, there are only children of Catholic parents, Dawkins said. “I think it is a form of child abuse to speak of a 4-year-old child as a Catholic child or a Protestant child or a Muslim child. There is no such thing as a Protestant child. There is no such thing as a Muslim child.
Meaning, of course, that such horrible practices as forming the faith of one’s child ought to be outlawed. He has signed a petition at one point that advocated exactly this, but later repudiated it for fear of a backlash amongst the more rational of his sycophants (an oxymoron, I know. . .but let it lie for now).
Mark Shea has characterized Dawkins as evil, not just stupid. I have to disagree. Dawkins is stupid- dangerously so- in terms of philosophy and public policy.
But no man is inherently evil. He may believe in evil practices, but that does not make him the devil.
Though come to think of it, this sort of logic gives Hitler a pass as well.
The Final Word on the (supposed) Heterodoxy of Harry Potter September 13, 2007Posted by Administrator in Apologetics, Blogging, Education, Smart People.
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I had considered at one point sounding off on this. Michael O’Brien -a writer whose fiction, most notably Father Elijah I’ve greatly admired- has written at length, for many years, about the evils purportedly found within the Harry Potter novels. Frankly, I always felt that he was straining at a gnat, or better yet, a ghost. Contemplated writing a rebuttal in my usual half-assed fashion. There is a problem, however.
I’ve never actually read the series.
It has captivated my children, and I have heard my oldest son read portions aloud to his younger siblings; and I confess that the storyline as presented in his readings and the movies is intriguing.
But when I tried to read Sorcerer’s Stone at the height of the initial frenzy all these years ago, I simply couldn’t find my way past JK Rowling’s prose. It bored the hell out of me. Her plotting was fine, her characterizations adequate. But her sentence structure, paragraphing and overall pacing bored. Me. Stupid.
Which may say more about my shortcomings as a bibliophile than it does about her’s as an author.
All that said, I have been long a supporter of the phenomenon, and I applaud her work.
Fortunately, the proper apologia for Potter -and response to the naysayers like O’Brien- has been given by the inimitable Mark Shea, once again. (He claims -I think rightly- that O’Brien painted himself into a corner years ago and simply refuses to step back over the line and rejoin the party. Too bad for him).
Go read Mark’s work, and the link, right away.
More apologetic niftiness June 1, 2007Posted by Administrator in Apologetics.
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The hubris of the scientific skeptic is that he imagines his particular field of interest is the source and summit of wisdom when, in comparison to the matters discussed by Scripture, it is a small hobby–legitimate in its way and certainly important in its proper sphere–but ultimately not the Final Question. God is pleased with science well done as he is pleased with all human things well done. God enlightens the scientific intellect as he enlightens many other forms of intellectual pursuit. But the notion that if God does not answer our trivia questions about the composition of the earth’s mantle or the age of the universe to our satisfaction, then he is failing some test–that’s just silly.
I’m telling you, the man is gold. Over and over I have said to these materialist reductionists that their’s is a decidedly arid cosmology, where truth is found only in what we can directly sense and then test scientifically.