Monday, September 12, 2022

Perfect world disorder (sans paywall)


You can now read my recent Postliberal Order essay “Perfect World Disorder” without a subscription.

88 comments:

  1. The very ideals of manhood and femininity are mocked, and replaced by the fantasy that one’s “gender” is whichever one among dozens of possibilities one imagines it to be. 

    Consequently, the Philosopher says: ‘Imagination, not sense, is the master of falsity'. (Quaestiones Disputatae de Veritate, I, 11)

    That's what's happening today in Western society. Childish creatures with an overactive imagination are those holding the reins. And that includes Mr. Darwin's disciples and their stupid theory of "bacteria becoming Mozart". Governments seem to not longer care about truth and order. A reckoning is in order. REASON trumps imagination. And the scholastic knows and appreciates the difference between them both.

    My bet is that this struggle is not going to end well.

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    1. Imagination and fantasy usually, at some level, in part, reflect one's deepest desires. Maybe those desires are expressed symbolically or as a story, but there is something being communicated.

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    2. @ Infinite_Growth:

      Imagination and fantasy usually, at some level, in part, reflect one's deepest desires.

      We humans use our imagination to create an alternative world inside our souls. There's no problem with that as long as we admit we're being playful and that the world outside the soul has its own rules that can not be bent at will. Once those lines are blurred, things start to get messy. Which is what has been happening in our (crumbling) society for a while. Children are holding the reins and passing legislation, and they are unruly, capricious and never get satisfied. A severe spanking is in order.

      "Liberals" for example imagine that sex is not for reproduction. Ok. Fine. That can happen when a limited amount of the population follows that belief. When a great amount of people follow it, populations start to shrink. And if 100% of the population follows it, then the species goes (obviously) extinct. "Natural Selection" is what they call it. So Mother Nature allows for non-reproductive sex up to a point (small pockets of the population). It's a deleterious trait, so it has to be kept in check. In the end, sex IS obviously meant for reproduction (at the species level). Imagination will never trump reality. But it will leave casualties along the way.

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    3. I don't think gender dysphoria is as crazy or as incoherent as a concept as natural law theorists believe. In fact, the "gender" part of the name is a clue to what's going on.

      Gender is not a biological concept, but a grammatical one. In Indo-European and Semitic languages (and a few others), all nouns have a gender: male or female, or occasionally male, female, and neuter. How nouns get assigned gender is mysterious, although it is generally speaking correlated with the shape of the noun's declension/ending.

      Now, when you study personality types in fiction, you learn that certain types are more "naturally" written as male characters, or vice versa. So it can be said that personality types are gendered just like nouns. But because characters in fiction are never neuter (and even neuter characters take on a preferred gender), it follows that personality types only come in male or female, just like Genesis says: "male and female created He them." (Genesis 1:27)

      What I think is happening with people with gender dysphoria is that as they're developing their personality type, they realize that their type is a different gender than their biological sex. There's nothing that says God is obligated to assign you a personality type that aligns with your gender, because God doesn't practice physiognomy. So this seems like a logical explanation that explains all the data.

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    4. Gender is not a biological concept, but a grammatical one. In Indo-European and Semitic languages (and a few others), all nouns have a gender: male or female, or occasionally male, female, and neuter...But because characters in fiction are never neuter (and even neuter characters take on a preferred gender), it follows that personality types only come in male or female,

      Unless there is something essential that language is bound by, there is no particular reason grammar could not have 10 or 20 grammatical genders, and there would be no reason why the grammatical genders are correlated to the biological sexes at all. It is because there IS something essential that language is tied to - at least in terms of animals and humans - in correlating grammatical gender to the sexes that explains why there are only "masculine" and "feminine" and "neither of those" in grammar. Grammar has other characteristics, such as singular and plural, that DON'T correlate (at all) to the sex of the object. Grammatical "gender" also could be not tied in at all with biological sex, if it weren't for some underpinning reality that grammatical gender is tied to that IS connected to biological sex, at least in part, for animals and humans.

      What I think is happening with people with gender dysphoria is that as they're developing their personality type, they realize that their type is a different gender than their biological sex. There's nothing that says God is obligated to assign you a personality type that aligns with your gender, because God doesn't practice physiognomy.

      You can't have it both ways. If "personality types" can only be male or female, it is because there is something that constrains personality types to that utterly binary range of options. Nobody can plausibly propose WHAT is the principle that constrains us to that range of options, other than biological sex. Hence there is no plausible alternative proposal for what gender you ARE, other than: (a) you are the gender that is given by your biological sex, or (b) your gender is a damaged and dysfunctional approach to the gender that is given by your biological sex.

      Thee is nothing that says God is obliged to make sure every person is born healthy and hale in all respects: Providence (manifestly) allows that many individuals are born with deformities that impede their full elaboration as wholly complete, healthy human adults. This says nothing at all about the criteria that determine WHAT IS a wholly complete, healthy human adult. A boy born without a leg isn't a new species whose normal, healthy "type" is characterized as being one-legged, he is a human whose normal, healthy type is two-legged, but he has a birth defect. It's not God who is constrained to create only human beings, it's that because human nature entails that individuals be biologically male or female (or be damaged in their individual expression of human nature), when God produces humans then they are either formed to be men or women (or damaged in their expression of human nature).

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    5. Nobody can plausibly propose WHAT is the principle that constrains us to that range of options, other than biological sex.

      Read Carl Jung. Personality type is built up from archetypes in fiction, not biology. Therefore it is possible for one's personality type to develop a gender independently of one's biological sex. Gender is metaphysical and biological sex is a reflection of the underlying metaphysics. Personality gender and biological gender stem from the same metaphysical source (God) but develop concurrently.

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    6. Read Carl Jung. Personality type is built up from archetypes in fiction, not biology.

      I have. He's wrong.

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    7. @Anonymous Hmm... interesting. So what do you think personality is built from?

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  2. Thanks a lot for the free access version Professor Feser! :)

    If you think it's worth your effort, would you consider doing a post on the nature of torture and the nature of the death penalty , what makes the death penalty permissible as opposed to torture etc, in one of your previous posts you tentatively suggested a way of treating Torture along the lines of a perverted faculty argument but very briefly. I was wondering if you may have thought about it more. It could make for a great post since there is a lot of interest but at the same time confusion about the topic.

    There are a very few substantive natural law treatments of the topic, contrasting torture against the death penalty. Only one in fact by David Decosimo.

    Anyways Cheers!

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  3. WCB

    "“The devil,” of course, is that evil intelligence who seeks to ape God, and to disrupt the created order by turning it against the end for which it was made."

    Are you suggesting there is a Satan and Devils who disrupt the "natural order of things" to achieve evil ends?

    If so why would God not banish Satan and devils? An old atheist question of course, but valid.

    WCB

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    1. Why doesn't He banish all evil people? He did that once: it was called the Flood and only Noah, his wife, his sons, and his daughters-in-law were spared.

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    2. In reference to Satan, I am reminded of what Fr Merrin in William Peter Blatty's novel " The Exorcist" said to Fr Karras,
      "But yet even from this, from evil, will come good In some way. In some way we may never see, never understand. Perhaps evil is the crucible of good. And perhaps even Satan, Satan in spite of himself, somehow serves to work. out the will of God."

      St Thomas wrote an entire book about evil " De Malo."
      Available in English as "On Evil." 560 pg. Notes and Introduction by Fr Brian Davies, O.P. Well worth reading.

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    3. @Infinite Growth:

      "Why doesn't He banish all evil people?"

      It never occurs village atheists to ask the question "Are we the baddies?" They always presume that evil is always done by someone other than themselves; the proper Christian response ought to be: "be careful what you wish for, you might just get it".

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    4. @ grodrigues:

      They always presume that evil is always done by someone other than themselves

      The village atheist has the seal of approval of totally amoral, Dawkins-level-of-dumb "evolution". That's why he knows that he is justified in despising the theist and his "archaic", "absurd" moral system. Because descent with modification is the most solid rock upon which to build objective morality. That's what certain finches whispered to Darwin's ear while he was having his acid trip. Or so the story goes.

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    5. @WCB. The question you seem to be asking is why God would not anihilate Satan. If that is correct, the question is non sense. If Demons are by nature immortal, spiritual beings as the Catholic Tradition teaches, then you are asking why doesn't God make necessarily immortal beings that are also potentially mortal. It is like asking why God does not make a square circle. A square circle is not a thing and impossible in the absolute sense. In the same way, a being who is immortal by nature and also potentially mortal is nonsense.

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    6. The question you seem to be asking is why God would not anihilate Satan. If that is correct, the question is non sense. If Demons are by nature immortal, spiritual beings as the Catholic Tradition teaches, then you are asking why doesn't God make necessarily immortal beings that are also potentially mortal.

      I don't quite think that works. Although angels are "immortal" in the specific sense that they are not a union of form and matter and thus not capable of undergoing death as the result of the separation of form and matter, they are not necessary beings like God is. They can "not be", both in the sense that God had to freely will them into existence in order for them to exist (and He might not have willed it), and also in the sense that God could freely choose to NOT CONTINUE to will their existence, in which case they would cease to be. Annihilation is not the same as death, just as creation is not the same as birth.

      Angels are contingent beings, a nature with existence added thereto. God can choose to will a being - including an angel - to cease to exist altogether, and if He did that being would not merely die, but it would annihilated with no remaining parts to it.

      It's just that God has chosen to will that moral beings (i.e. with immortal spirits, who are able to choose Him or reject him) will continue forever, either in heaven or in hell, and given that freely willed divine act, angels will not cease to exist.

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    7. @Tony

      I just saw this comment or I would have responded sooner. There is some misunderstanding about the point that I am making. I did not make the assertion that their existence is necessary. That is true only of God. What I am referring to is what St. Augustine and St. Thomas would refer to as "natural necessity". St. Thomas held that properties are inextricably linked to natures. It is for this reason that you cannot have a triangle that has four sides. In the same way, you cannot have an angel that is not immortal. Given what they are (their essence), they must be immortal. To be an angel is to have this property. If you don't have this property, you are not an angel. Again, this is called natural necessity. Said differently, given that God wills something to be, it has certain properties by nature of what it is. It was only nominalism that denied this.

      Now, reading more of your post, you deny the point that I am making and in doing so you are out of company with those who affirm the existence of natural necessity. It was the nominalist, voluntarist emphasis on the will of God as "all powerful" that eliminated natural necessity because nominalism did not hold that things have natures (in the realist sense) to anchor such necessity. Another way of stating the realist position is to say that God wills an angel to be immortal precisely by willing it to be an angel. This does not in any way undermine God's preservation of the being of angels. In one act of the Divine Will, He both wills them to be angels and eternally wills for their unending existence. To say that God could choose for the angel to not exist is to say that He could contradict His own will which is absurd. Again, by willing them to be angels, He wills them to be immortal.

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  4. WCB

    That is a hypothesis. A rationalization. Nowhere in the Bible are we told good will come of the evil we do. It is a big fat maybe. And the answer is, maybe not. It does not answer the question, why tolerate the Devils and Satan? A God that tolerates these. Because good comes about from their evils seems to indicate God cannot create a world where evil is not necessary for good. A most peculiar theology when we strip the fancy rhetoric from this idea and state it bluntly. What metaphysical necessity commands evil to create good? What such principle limits God. That forces God to create evils, or allow moral evil to create good?

    If you were a perfectly good, merciful, compassionate, all powerful God would you do things this way?

    WCB

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    1. Isn't this the same as seeing a chess grandmaster make a move you don't understand, saying "if I were a perfectly good chess player, I wouldn't have made that move" and then concluding the grandmaster must not be very good at chess?

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    2. Romans 8:28 and Genesis 50:20 would beg to differ.

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    3. " [...] would you do things this way?"

      God's action, where he desires it, cannot be distinguished from action that is simply random, and so it cannot be understood by finite human minds. So your finite mind abhors that babies burn, yet at the same time pridefully celebrates such incidents as if they prove that God is less than you. You think in this contradictory way because you have accepted the false logic proffered through Satan, which prevents you from the understanding offered to you from God's grace.

      In short, you cannot think correctly, just as a firefighter who thinks that gasoline is a fire retardant and fights fires with it can only make things worse.

      Your reading of Aquinas is without understanding because you only pridefully look to burn what you find, using your main tool, a fire accelerant, blind to what you do.

      Blind, blind, blind.

      The logic that God offers you is available with the free will choice to submit it and your pride to God's will for them - but how easy it is by comparison to say horrible things happen therefore I am better than God and take pride in this deluded superiority to those who understand that God's actions are above our understanding.

      Don't be such a fool.

      It has been revealed to us that our tears, both ours at fellow suffering, and those of burned babies, will be dried, and something better will replace them, for us who choose to submit, and for the innocent, in the fullness of God's action.

      You do not understand what you are talking about, and to see it is funny, although it would not be funny if we could not hope and pray for you.

      :-)

      Tom Cohoe

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    4. @ Tom Cohoe:

      It has been revealed to us that our tears, both ours at fellow suffering, and those of burned babies, will be dried, and something better will replace them

      WCB is a darwinian faithful who does not understand that "suffering" is equally illusory as the belief in "gods". At some point it could have had some benefit to our ancestors, but it ended up being something vestigial, like the appendix or the tonsils. And yet the darwinian faithful can not get rid of his suffering. It's kinda curious. And kinda funny. As if human existence and suffering were inseparable. If only "Natural Selection" had done a better job, then the darwinian faithful would be now enjoying paradise on Earth... Damn those "blind" selective forces... What mechanistic bitches...

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  5. WCB

    I have actuallr read "De Malo". Book 3 is about the devil, that is Satan. Aquinas tells us that Satan can and does tempt mankind to sin. Though Aquinas is rather self contradictory about, God, Satan and free will. But yes, Satan and devils exist and cause sin by tempting mankind.

    Now back to the question, why does God tolerate their precense on Earth? Aquinas does not even attempt to answer that question.

    WCB

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  6. There are innumerable theodicy books. I like The Reality of God and the Problem of Evil by Fr Brian Davies and the The Problem of Evil by Peter Van Inwagen. A very recent book is The Image of God and. the Problem of Evil by Eleonore
    Stump. Dr Feser has blogged about evil a number of times here.

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    1. WCB

      Davies: God is not a moral agent.

      A supposedly omnipotent God who has the anility to act to eliminate great and horrendous moral evils and fails to do so acts as a moral agent. Just not a good one.

      Davies: God owes us no moral obligations.

      The Bible claims God is merciful, compassionate, just and God is love.
      But to be merciful and compassionate is to take on moral obligations.

      If this is sophisticated theology, sophisticated theology is an abject rational failure.

      Davie's works are full of such irrational claims and rank sophistries. Special pleading.

      WCB

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    2. @ WCB:

      The Bible claims God is merciful, compassionate, just and God is love.

      The problem is that you can not know what the writer had in mind when he wrote such words. Of course you claim that your (2022 AD, evolutionarily tainted) definition of those words is the "correct one", as if it could bind all humans throughout all human history.

      On another thread I asked you to defend your position and you declined the invitation. Because you knew you had nothing to offer, of course. Just your atheistic apologist tricks.

      The meaning of words changes, WCB. And your hermeneutics is, well, inexistent. Equally broken as your materialistic metaphysics.

      A moral relativist asking for perfect "goodness" and getting all huffed up because "breaking promises is bad" is a joke. A sad one.

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    3. @WCB. You are here again maligning God's justice and power without understanding either. In terms of power, it is non sense to ask why God did not make contingently good beings who are also necessarily good. Again, this is like asking why God did not make a square circle. The wills of angels and humans are contingently good. They are naturally ordered toward goodness, but they are not set upon goodness with necessity. If they were, they would be God (which is another contradiction). That is, they would be uncreated created beings. You have baked absurdities into your account of God's power, human and angelic freedom, and God's justice. However, those absurdities do not touch upon thinkers like St. Thomas, but rather stem from your own imagination and misunderstandings.

      Regarding justice, you have not even taken the trouble to define the term, but are just slapping the title "unjust" on particular examples without allowing yourself to be nailed down to a definition. This allows you to maneuver manipulatively around your elastic terms and accusations against the justice and power of God.

      Instead, you might actually try to understand the Thomistic account of justice as giving to another what is due and then enter into a more substantial dialogue here based on positions that accurately represent formidable thinkers like St. Thomas. If you are only interested in knocking over strawmen, you are not going to be taken seriously here or anywhere else where substantive discourse takes place.

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    4. WCB

      @UncommonDescent

      Luke 6
      36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
      37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

      Isaiah 1
      16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

      Etc, etc. This idea that the Bible is not clear on concepts like merciful, compassionate et al is wrong. We have many verses such as above that tell us what these things entail. God supposedly is merciful, compassionate and commands we be merciful andd compassionate and gives examples of what that means. See for example Matthew 25:36 -46. And the penatly for failure to be so.

      This sophistry from apologists is special pleading and is most certainly not biblical. The idea that mercy and compassion witg God is some sort of transcendent attribute mere humans can have no understanding of is bunk. It simply demonstrates a failure to read the Bible carefully with understanding, not through apologist's
      Goggles.

      Intellectual honesty is a duty.

      WCB

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    5. @ WCB:

      What yo do not understand is that the Thomist has no problems with the interpretation of Biblical verses (or other ancient texts). The Thomist can develop a solid hermeneutics and feel highly confident.

      The materialist? Well, the materialist is forced to be a nominalist (or a conceptualist at best). And nominalism/ conceptualism have no referents in the external world. Words change their meanings according to societal whims or "selective pressures" (your side's favorite cop-out). So it's impossible for materialists to offer an explanation of how we can understand texts whose writers died thousands of years ago. The meaning of words is lost for your side because matter is indeterminate and meaningless. (That's why "Natural Selection" can select nothing at all, because it does not understand anything and the concept makes absolutely no sense).

      Intellectual honesty is a duty.

      According to the evolutionary paradigm, not at all. And it can even be counterproductive.

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    6. @UncommonDescent

      Wasn't Shakespeare a nominalist? "What's in a name? That which we call a rose, / By any other name would smell as sweet."

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    7. @ Infinite_Growth:

      Quite the opposite. As I understand him, he was saying that the important part is the essence and that the name is accidental.

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    8. @WCB.

      I see that you are an advocate of reading the bible carefully. I am so glad to hear this. Regarding that point, have you taken the trouble to learn the biblical languages? Could you articulate how biblical lexicography works and explain fundamental concepts like semantic range? Have you taken the time to study other cultures of the ancient near east that were proximate to ancient Israel and with whom ancient Israel would have been in dialogue? Have you studied second Temple Judaism to better understand the New Testament? For example have you read Josephus and the Pseudepigrapha to better understand the milieu of Jesus, the Apostles, and the early Church? Are you familiar with how the Septuagint has rendered the Masoretic Text of the Old Testament or the possibility of a Hebrew Vorlage for the Septuagint? Given your self-attestation of your own wisdom reading ancient texts like the bible, surely you are aware of all of these facets of a nuanced reading of Scripture?

      No? Well then stop pretending. I read the bible in Hebrew and Greek and have translated entire New Testament and most of the Pentateuch from both the MT and the LXX and am familiar with the necessity of what I note above for a nuanced reading of Scripture and such a reading has precisely ZERO conflict with Catholic teaching or realist philosophy. So, please stop pretending.

      Regarding nominalism, I have some bad news for you. None of the biblical writers were disicples of Ockham. Medieval nominalism was not even a twinkle in Ockham's mommy and daddy's eyes when the bible was written. So if you are going to profess to the world your sophistication in reading the bible, why don't you stop reading it anachronistically suggesting that the 12 disciples were sitting at the feet of William of Ockham. Until you get this point through your head, your reading of the bible is not sophisticated; it is sophistry.

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    9. The comment above @WCB regarding the biblical interpretation, Hebrew, Greek, and sophistry is from Michael Copas. I had just failed to login to google prior to posting it.

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    10. @WCB

      I see yer continuing to not impress a single person here with yer lolcow philosophically unsophisticated village atheism?

      Maybe Paps will show up on this thread & ye won't be so lonely?

      Cheers.

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  7. Since you appreciated my earlier writings:

    https://brownstone.org/articles/mitigation-is-the-golden-calf/

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  8. Damn, WCB! With just a few pithy phrases, you completely demolished the theodicy of Brian Davies, one of the world's leading Thomistic philosophers!
    Quite an achievement.

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    1. "Quite an achievement."

      But 0 + 0 is still 0!

      Need I speak of the humor in this?

      :-)

      Tom Cohoe

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    2. WCB

      There is an interesting site Academic Influence. That attempts to rank influence academics have in their subject.

      Brian Davies
      Religious studies - 2241
      Philosophy - 2255

      William Lane Craig
      Philosophy - World - 711
      Philosophy - USA - 160

      Alvin Plantinga
      Philosophy - World - 80
      Philosophy - USA -12
      Religious Studies - World - 85
      Religious Studies - USA - 16

      Ed Feser
      Philosophy - World - 711
      Philosophy - USA - 160

      Related to subject at hand is Skeptical Theism. The concept that God is so beyond human comprehension, we cannot truly hope to understand God. The ultimate God Of The Gaps. If indeed this is true we cannotbassume God is good, omnipotent, omniscIENTor even if God exists.

      William Of Ockham: God is so beyond human comprehension we cannot understand anything about God by reason. We can only know about God from revelation, the Bible.

      Choose one.

      WCB

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    3. Anon 8:05

      Technically Fr. Brian Davies' solution to the problem of evil is not a Theodicy.

      A Theodicy in the modern sense is an attempted argument by which one tries to morally justify an Omnipotent & Good God's short term inaction in the face of evil.

      Fr Davies argues God is not a moral agent in the first place. So a Classic Theistic God needs a Theodicy like a fish needs a bicycle to ride down the road.

      Cheers mate.

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  9. While I can see very well the depth of the LGBT madness that took hold of the west, are we sure that there is a direct connection with the decline of the family as a building block of society? There are countries like Russia which are very hostile to the rainbow madness and yet they have very high rates of abortion, divorce, single parents.
    I'm not saying it is not one factor, but maybe there are also others at work.

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  10. Vermeule (following the link in your article) makes some salient points about political "pragmatism," but his interpretation of integralism would be disastrous, if ever implemented.

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  11. Denying final cause was essential to denying that we have obligations to a larger social order by nature rather than by consent. It was essential to modern liberalism’s project of making society a matter of choice or contract
    Society by contract is not essentially liberal or modern. We know from history that many of the greatest civil societies (and all families) were founded by contract. Man is a substance in theory, and in each individual case, in a way essentially unlike any society can be. His individual existence is irrevocable, unlike societies apart from the Church. Civils societies don’t have an absolute existence, only a relative one; their ultimate end in the salvation of the individual, who pre-exists them. Making the individual relative to civil society is one of the greater heresies of conservatism.
    That per se, such institutions are not invented by choice, but necessary by nature, is obvious. Nor are those born into them at liberty to refuse piety. It is far from this, however, to assert that particular civil societies cannot be established through contract, or “choice” of various kinds. This was denied by conservatives like de Maistre, who insisted civil society was established by God through his ministers the monarchs. Such writers often ran off to the OT to bring up the case of Israel.
    The OT example proves them wrong. Only that nation could have been a religion/society as one thing. This could never happen again until the Enlightenment and its false philosophies divinised civil society. The political philosophy of St. Thomas reflected the society of modern scholastic writers like Francisco Suarez far better than that of his own time in fact. If we are to have a new political order beyond that of the present liberal disorder, we need to study the example of modern Catholic society first and foremost. This society, hegemonic for 150 years, took into account and countered the very philosophical errors that dominate now.
    The Baroque world is the already existing counter-modernity, and cannot be ignored; the post was right to say that the first motor of change will be the Church – yet the healthiest and most dynamics elements in it are those that evoke Trent and Vatican I without scruple! The art and prayer of most of the Catholic world is the same as that of the early modern period, NOT the Middles Ages. The Church won’t find its feet through romanticism (the movement only helped kill off faith in those affected by it) – nor will civil society.
    Medieval society, while admirable, arose to meet very different challenges, and its memory has now been defaced by romanticism and its ideology (with its iron grip over the hearts so many would-be Christians) to such an extent that it is hard to use it as a template. But Thomistic social texts suffer no such deformation, and go in hand with those of Suarez and his time, not Burke. Romanticism is all about constructing artificial societies based on myths about the past incorporating very modern ideologies. The supremacism of modern choice at its most attractive. Catholics should not buy it.

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    1. Attacking Edmund Burke is the last thing we need. Aren't you aware of his commitment to natural law?

      Order, and Conservatism's respect for tradition ( along the lines of Burke's Conservatism at least) are in desperately short supply. As several scholars have established, Burke's ideals are not unlike (and may even derive from) the teaching of Saint Thomas Aquinas.

      As for Baroque art, your theory is overstated. Where I am, at least, Catholic churches were generally neo-Gothic.

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    2. Jack, I'm afraid the Burke hagiographies just aren't making it. Burke explicitly denied (for example) objective, innate individual human rights, prior to civil society. His whole social system is secularist, with the person and his rights, virtues etc,., all directed towards secular objectives. The argument between conservatives and liberals was one between rival factions of Enlightenment secularism and light years from Thomism

      More than one billion Catholics live in countries where the dominant artistic church form is Baroque, as is the style of public devotion, processions, images etc. As for doctrine, modern Catholicism stands or falls on the codifications laid down by Trent and Vatican I. Vatican II will never be rationalised until it too is understood along the lines of the previous two ecumencical councils in a particular way. Why does that scorch the liberals? Because those councils are the "Baroque" Church that conservative/liberal "modernity" triumphed over in about 1700 (in the secular order) and has hated ever since.

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    3. You're too harsh on conservatism (in which there are many different tendencies). How can it be associated with liberal secularism? Edmund Burke ably defended the importance of religion in society. Perhaps you should read The Political Reason of Edmund Burke (Francis Cavanan SJ), or Edmund Burke and the Natural Law (Stanlis).

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    4. Jack, Conservatism’s attitude towards religion defines it because the divinisation of civil society and relativisation of Christianity encompasses all its variations. Rather than get tied down with the less Christian types (Burke’s dubious and latitudinarian notions are of course, outshone by outright denial and, outrageously, REDEFINITION of dogma after dogma in authors like Scruton and Dostoevsky), we can cut to the chase and look at what Russell Kirk had to say.

      The great ideological divider between conservatism and the Christian worldview is original sin. For conservatism, civil society becomes religious society or Church (this has NOTHING to do with unity, or collaboration, of Church and State). The most “religious” conservatives are usually the worst ones because they describe civil society as “immortal” and personal in the proper sense – but the Church is the ONLY society to which such terms apply.

      Original sin is incompatible with a belief in God speaking through civil society. The divinisation of civil society by “religious” conservatives is their greatest departure from the religious worldview. Kirk saw a history of divine action through civil society in terms that divinised it. His talk of a “collective mind” does not even apply to the Church; this is just nineteenth century bogus philosophy: “How are we to know God’s mind and will? Through the prejudices and traditions which millenniums of human experience with divine means and judgements has implanted in the mind of the species”; “History is the gradual revelation of a supreme design… God makes history through the collective mind” (The Conservative mind).

      From a religious point of view this is astonishing. How can the “prejudices and traditions” of millennia, which are a mixture of falsehood and truth, be called God’s mind? These high sounding phrases only restate the blurring of nature and the divine of Classical thought.

      Those works you mention do not save Burke, or conservatism, from the charge of being naturalistic, evolutionist Enlightenment ideology, in its pure, counter-revolutionary form. The re-writers of history cannot change the fact that the Church never supported the principal thinkers of the Counter-Revolution; no more than it supported Italian Fascism, whatever the “services” it rendered the Vatican.

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    5. Cervantes
      If religious conservatism subscribes to such twaddle, it's worse off than I thought.

      Delete
    6. @ Papalinton,

      "twaddle"

      How do you measure how badly off religious conservatism is when your own revealed beliefs are the twaddle of arrogance grounded in self as your ultimate authority?

      What is especially funny is that you spend so much effort on this particular site, read by relatively few, when a person of your grand knowledge of things should be on a correspondingly much grander stage speaking to grand audiences ... but who has ever heard of Papalinton?

      Heh.

      It must be quite galling to you that you are held down by some force that you cannot understand even though it is known to you as twaddle.

      Here is a helpful suggestion for you. Bill yourself as a comedian and your audiences will become larger.

      :-)

      Tom Cohoe

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    7. It's a funny gaggle around here but I enjoy it all the same. I even have my imitators, as one can observe. Alternatively, the Baroque fellow is original without a doubt.

      Delete
    8. @ Papalinton:

      Among all the purposeless bags of chemicals in this purposeless Universe, you're not just the most sensible, intelligent and handsome, but also the most moral! An epiphenomenal high five!

      Delete
    9. @ UncommonDescent,

      "Among all the purposeless bags of chemicals in this purposeless Universe, you're not just the most sensible, intelligent and handsome, but also the most moral! An epiphenomenal high five!"

      Stop it! I think I'm going to bust a gut!

      Tom Cohoe

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    10. Not sure why people romanticize early modern times and medieval times. Was there ever a saint from those two periods who wrote in his/her journal "Hmm... people nowadays are just, upstanding, and kind to each other"?

      "Do not say, 'Why were the old days better than these?' For it is not wise to ask such questions." (Eccl. 7:20)

      People were never good.

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    11. @Infinite_Growth

      "(Eccl. 7:20)"

      It's Eccl. 7:10

      Tom Cohoe

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  12. I honestly don't understand how integralism as an idea can be seriously entertained. The strong form of integralism i.e Preventing or taking action against other faiths for propagating their creed just seems unjust from the get go atleast in today's world especially when you consider that missionaries in other countries are actively in conflict with similar impulses from other faiths.

    I also don't understand ideas like "Christian Nationalism" , the idea of it just seems incoherent on many levels first of all what does Christianity mean, is it Protestantinism or Catholicism, which denomination gets to make that claim on the national level. There seems to be Founding Fathers who were "Deists" not Christian.

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  13. One might object that it's Christianity in the "Mere Christianity" sense but I think one ought to be very skeptical of those notions. I think that Catholic alliance with Protestants has to be very specific and limited to the shared doctrinal positions. The alliance with regards to shared positions maybe useful at the academic level in order to defend some shared positions, at the public level it may help to convince people of those shared positions since two factions who otherwise disagree with each other atleast agree on those positions but that's as far as it goes, at the missionary level in terms of actual conversions it's hard to form any proper alliance which also doesn't give the impression that "it doesn't matter what denomination you are as long as you are Christian", from a strictly Catholic perspective anyone outside the catholic faith including protestants are objectively speaking in a mortally grave situation, one might say in less of a grave situation as compared to other faiths but still mortally grave. (Once you are in the realm of mortal graveness, the gravities don't matter as much). So it doesn't make sense to have any strong national movement with Christianity in general as a theme. Either it will distort doctrine or fizzle into something like "Catholic Nationalism" or "Protestant Nationalism" with the parent movement being nothing more then an Unholy Alliances (Not the best foundation for a lasting and successful movement)

    One might then object by saying that the nation was founded on distinctively Christian values except for the fact that it wasn't, A Jew might object and say the values are Jewish, the values are often referred to as "Judaeo" - Christian after all, For Christians, Christianity is the fulfillment of Judaism but for practicing Jews, Christianity is not some kind of fulfilment but merely some aberration. So jews could claim those values without really having to relate it to Christianity. Out of recognition of the jewish heritage we generally say Judaeo-Christian but then it seems to me we have effectively left behind "Christian" Nationalism for a Judaeo Christian one , if you factor in that some founding fathers were Deist, it complicates thing further. The values aren't distinctively Christian, they are just normative interpretations of the Natural Law.

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  14. Overall I think it's best not to add a relegious spin to nationalistic or patriotic movements, the more accessible it is, the better, even atheists, agnostics etc can have a strong love for their nation and be willing to die for it, they can also uphold and believe in it's values without having to make any references to specific religious contexts although ultimately it does have a theistic foundation but not in a way that invokes any specific relegion except maybe a general kind of affirmation of an unchanging, unconditioned reality.

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    1. Norm, I believe that a stable civil society needs to have a fairly strong correlation in the belief of its people as to what is the end of the state and what is the end of religion. If the two ends are not strongly correlated, then eventually one will end up attacking the other as antithetical to its purpose.

      And to a Christian, since our true and FINAL end is to reside in union with God in heaven (which we will only achieve in the next life), the "end" or telos of civil society can only EVER be expressed as a qualified end, an "end to the extent of this life", not as a final and unqualified end. And while the civil society should not be directly ruled by the Church, its activity needs to be informed by the higher, more ultimate end that is man's true and final end, for the civil society's ends must be formed so as to cooperate toward the ultimate end of man, or there must be conflict between them. And conflict between them implies a NOT-stable condition.

      While I have not yet read an integralist's vision of a sound state that I would affirm without reservation, I think that one of its underlying principles (as stated above) is pretty much irrefutable as a part of Catholic social teaching. What some integralists seem to forget is that subsidiarity, too, is a principle that is essential to Catholic social teaching.

      As a matter of historical datum: while it is nice-sounding to uphold the theoretical "right" of (formerly Catholic) heretics to spout off on their beliefs in a Catholic state, it is typical to the point of near-universality that when they HAVE done so, they do it in ways that violate the rights of others, i.e. they violate the virtues associated with truthfulness. Just as one example (a trite one but easy to check), locate Protestants who cite the issue of "Catholics worship Mary" and try to find one who checks his confreres and says "wait, guys, this is an old but false canard, Catholics don't really worship Mary, and here's why..." You will find any number of Protestant sources that repeat the canard, and will have trouble finding Protestants who admit that the claim is just wrong. Nearly all modern Prots who repeat this false claim do so because they heard it from some prior source, but the FIRST Prots who asserted it did not have that excuse, they asserted it without of justification for it, their inventing this was, simply, contrary to the virtues of truth (e.g., checking your facts, not fomenting false rumors, etc.) Not all errors of the first Protestants were as obviously wrong, but there is a common theme that they DIDN'T check their "facts" carefully, and they usually DID mis-represent what Catholic teaching says. The Catholic integralist is essentially correct that even where states uphold the basic right to free speech, there are (speech) violations of others rights that CAN be constrained by law, and spouting false things CAN be a violation of others' rights.

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    2. Hey Tony

      I affirm that man's ultimate end which is God has to be co-related with societies ends, but I think it's prudent to pursue this end only in a way that invokes a generic sort of theism on a governmental level. I also don't see anyway in which this generic sort of theism can be enforced in the sense that people should be penalized if they don't affirm it. I think the only plausible or effective way for a state to affirm theism is only if at the grass roots level a religious upbringing is pursued such that the majority of the people are religious and traditional which in turn forces the politicians to pay due regard to that reality. The Politicians's paying due regard to that reality is the most that one can possibly achieve with respect to the state's recognition of the ultimate end

      I also am skeptical of any claims to the effect of constraining speech on the account of its violating the truth. I personally think that ideas or beliefs calling for outright violence constitutes violations of free speech not so much because it is a violation of the truth but because it leads to the physical violation of people.

      A catholic state is a Catholic State because the majority of the people accept, beleive and want it to be so. The state might take certain measures to promote that view but it musn't take away other people's rights to promote their view. It can obviously critique any other world view in its governmental promotion of its own view but only critique not prevent.

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    3. but I think it's prudent to pursue this end only in a way that invokes a generic sort of theism on a governmental level.

      And you think this...why?

      I respect that your feelings and intuitions are not necessarily easy to ground in readily stated principles, and this doesn't make them wrong. But others have equally strong feelings and intuitions in other directions, so it is necessary to at least attempt to get at principles that should (or could) be held in common.

      I think the only plausible or effective way for a state to affirm theism is only if at the grass roots level a religious upbringing is pursued such that the majority of the people are religious and traditional which in turn forces the politicians to pay due regard to that reality.

      Most liberals expressly deny that a wide grass-roots Christianity is a valid basis for the state to "pay due regard to that reality" and make laws even slightly favorable to Christianity. (I don't deny it.) You will end up having to enunciate some principle that they might agree with that would justify your conclusion, to get them to even listen - even if your slight favoring doesn't amount to outright persecution of non-Christians.

      I also am skeptical of any claims to the effect of constraining speech on the account of its violating the truth.

      I was not suggesting constraining speech on account of its violating truth; rather, the potential for legal constraints when speech violates the VIRTUES associated with truth. For example, yelling "fire" in a crowded theater (when there is no fire), can get you locked up in prison: but it's not because the assertion "fire" was wrong, it's because the yelling will cause injuries and damage, without due cause. Fraud can land you in prison. So can telling secrets that are TRUE but are not yours to divulge, (e.g. national security secrets, or commercial secrets you signed a contract to keep secret). Likewise, "fighting words" are potentially actionable, whether true or not.

      The examples I gave regarded people (formerly-Catholic heretics) taking advantage of simple or uneducated folks in making claims like "the Catholic Church teaches X" when it isn't true. It's not, solely, that the assertion wasn't true, it was also that they were using the assertion in an unjust manner to hoodwink people who were unable to backcheck the claims in an easily available source, that made such actions unjust in a way that could be (sometimes, in certain cases) potentially actionable for civil authorities. This made them unjust acts, not merely erroneous claims.

      It can obviously critique any other world view in its governmental promotion of its own view but only critique not prevent.

      I think you will find, if you examine this carefully, that a government spending one single dime to "promote" the preferred religious view, will be taken (by those of other religions) as taxing them to pay for a "false religion",, and almost as odious to them as outright persecution of them on account of their beliefs. Taxation for X is accounted oppression by those who are opposed to X on religious grounds. At the minimum, those taxes cause them to be less able to pursue the public promotion of their own views.

      There is NO SUCH THING as a truly neutral government, the idea of it being a secular liberal fiction, and secular states has been trying to force Christians and other religions to support the religion of secular humanism. (It is effectively a religion because it holds a totalizing view of the human being and his happiness (it is not possible to be agnostic about its ultimate claims regarding humans), and its tenets are not susceptible of scientific proof or disproof, i.e. they are held by faith). Since there is no possibility of a neutral government, we should accept that governments WILL promote various religious views, and understand the implications.

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    4. Hi Tony

      You make lots of sound and interesting points.

      It's a lot to parse through.

      If I am not wrong though, I think our disagreement lies with regards to the feasibility of a relatively neutral Government.

      I think such a government is somewhat possible.

      We could get into the intricacies of that.

      But before that I am interested in your views on states or countries with very substantial non catholic majorities.

      Like for example, what if a country with buddhist majority decided to take certain steps to promote and preserve their faith and culture by banning catholic missionaries from preaching and bringing people to the faith.

      That wouldn't be right yes, What if the relevant authorities were to cite a catholic integralist country where other faiths were banned from preaching as justification ( a hypothetical ofcourse).

      It seems to me that the only defence one might have to offer is that the Catholicism is the truth.

      Now while I live and cherish the truth of Catholicism with all my heart.

      It just seems obvious to me that another person from a different faith or people of different faiths may sincerely and whole heartedly hold their tenants to be true as well.

      It just doesn't seem right for a first Catholic missionary to inform the authorities of a state that they should allow missionaries to convert and at the same time accept that Catholic countries won't allow conversions in their regions
      because Catholicism is the truth.

      While ofcourse it's the Truth, it also requires detailed argumentation and convincing for people to see that Truth. I would say most of the time it isn't even argumentation but just the experience of God's work through some profound life changing event which borders on being a miracle that ultimately causes people to convert, eg being cured, making up with your estranged family etc.

      One might argue that this truth isn't as obvious as other truths and requires a good degree of commitment. It also means that reasonable people might ultimately not come to see that Truth.

      Hence it makes sense for me for states to not be specifically religious especially in regards to matters of preaching and conversion, it should be neutral in that regard. It could still recognise God and affirm theism in general.

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    5. Like for example, what if a country with buddhist majority decided to take certain steps to promote and preserve their faith and culture by banning catholic missionaries from preaching and bringing people to the faith.

      That wouldn't be right yes, What if the relevant authorities were to cite a catholic integralist country where other faiths were banned from preaching as justification ( a hypothetical ofcourse).


      I have no problem with a Buddhist country enacting laws that prevent Catholic missionaries from preaching a different (i.e. Catholic) faith in ways that are unjust. I would argue that this merely means that, at the same time, the laws must allow for Catholic preaching of a new (to the Buddhists) religion in ways that ARE just, i.e. that give due deference to the just requirements of the virtues of truth.

      For example, a new religion, if it is to be allowed to be even considered (by any of the Buddhists) as a possible replacement for Buddhism, must be able to provide bona fides that justify a Buddhist taking seriously "maybe my religion is importantly incomplete regarding religious truth, let's hear more". Because Catholic missionaries have always relied on the possibility of God providing just such testimonies for the bona fides of Catholicism that justly require (to those with openness to the truth) a reconsideration of long-held positions - i.e. miracles, and heroic holiness of life. These two kinds of testimony licitly provide due reason, in ANY wholesomely lawful society without Catholicism, a rational basis to permit at least a discussion and comparison of their traditional religion and Catholicism. And, in actual historical fact, God has not stinted in providing these kinds of witness to His Church as to its divine origin. These principles are quite explicitly laid out in Vatican II's document on religious liberty, Dignitatis Humanae.

      As a result, it is possible to consider, as just, laws that first require Catholic missionaries to first present themselves to the king (or other authority), and to be subject to examination and interrogation by the king's religious experts, before being allowed to preach to others. And in fact Catholic missionaries have sometimes done EXACTLY THAT. What is impossible is that a country would justly have laws that utterly and completely forbid anyone to even entertain a missionary's request to propose to them new religious claims. That sort of law would be opposed to the virtues of truth, which require of men to be open to truth proposed on just grounds (i.e. grounds compatible with the demands of reason). (A comparable principle requires of ALL men that they seek to know God as much as they might be able, and therefore make of it an intellectual and moral failing to live one's life wholly without reference to even considering whether there is a higher good to which we have some relation. Which is also stated in DH.)

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    6. Hi Tony

      What you say makes a lot of sense but I have trouble considering scenarios like for example, what if preachers of other faiths present their teachings before catholic authorities so that they may convert the people of that area, they would definitely be rejected all the time.

      If an authority of another place with a different faith ultimately is unconvinced and rejects the catholic missionaries proposal, it seems that he would be within his rights to prevent the conversions and preaching of missionaries to the people.

      Instead of all the complications might it not be better if the state was relatively neutral and just affirmed a generic sort of theism thereby leaving the battle for the dominating faith to the most well organised group who spreads their tradition and culture and values and faith on to their offsprings in the most effective way such that they are first able to have an inner kind of unity which in turn allows them to expand or convince others to join their faith, it seems like everyone has a fair chance in this situation.

      Being well organised and firm on a social level doesnt require the force of the state , just effective social practices and attitudes.

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    7. Like for example as you travel more to the east of the world in Asia, and even some parts of Europe, you'll find that Catholics are very hostile towards Protestants even more then they are to people of other faiths, not in the violent sense but in the firm kind of unwavering some sense.

      In many of these areas, the people have a very strong devotion to Mother Mary, so strong that whenever any Protestant comes trotting along to try and convert them, they immediately shut the door on them, not even giving them a chance to speak cause they don't want to hear a thing against Mother Mary, now attitudes like this aren't enforced by the state or church rather they have a very social basis or foundation enforced by the community.

      And they are effective at preserving the existence of those traditions and values even though harsh.

      Catholics in some of these areas are particularly harsher towards Protestants because the catholics tend to be small communities and the existence of all these ever breeding protestant sects breaks or acts against the Christian Unity which ought to be present and Christianity is Catholicism, period. I think notions like this can be strongly enforced at the cultural and social level by parents, families, communities, churches such that even if it is permitted that people of other faiths propagate their faith, the catholic will never for a moment consider leaving even if you are intellectually not able to defend the faith as well as some one else or even if you aren't really intellectually inclined as a person, you will never leave the faith.

      The average poor farmer who is a devout catholic and devoted to Mary, the Saints etc may not get all the intellectual nitty gritties but he will never ever abandon the faith because that's how he was brought up and cultured, in such away that no matter what befalls you be it doubt or misfortune, you never ever abandon the faith. And that's what he teaches his Children. That's the way it should be. If someone from another faith is able to convert you, it's your fault, not really the fault of the person trying to convert.

      So if you cultivate strong values, the faith will get preserved and eventually even grow.

      After observing the Eastern situation one does get the feeling that in the USA catholics and protestants share too much of a friendly bond. They seem to have adopted some sort of political idealism, that all they need to do is get like-minded people and they will be able to effect political change in such a way that all their demands are met. But I think that this idealism is misplaced, it seems like a certain section of the public may always be in favour of unjust practices like abortion and the like, the most that one can do is to mitigate by reducing the limit to a 14 week ban etc but it seems like barring some sensible thinkers, lots of integralists try to use situations like this to justify their position and not compromise, chasing after some idealistic Catholic state that just isn't feasible. They don't realise their refusal to compromise is what is leading to even greater negative effects.

      I think it's time some of these protestant catholic *political* alliances are broken by emphasising the differences and Catholicism at the family level strengthened. Social Justice shouldn't take precedence over the religious realities.

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  15. It is refreshing to read from one (Norm) who has posted some of the most sensible commentary I have read at this site. It is difficult for me to reconcile the thoughtful and commonsensical contributions he has made here along with the fact that he is also a Christian. He seems to have a deep insight and personal understanding that the community is so much more than the kind of tribal, monocular-focussed, in-group nonsense that many on this site attempt to pedal as 'truth', their particular brand of religious belief, something we all know in our hearts is simply little more than a fallacious crock of wishful thinking. Even a cursory look at humanity around the globe should be sufficient to cause a pause for thought.

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    1. @ Papalinton:

      It is refreshing to read from one (Norm) who has posted some of the most sensible commentary I have read at this site.

      You always say the same when you read comments that (somehow) agree with your illusory worldview. And I bet that the "Anonymous" that tends to appear after your posts and say "yeah, Papalinton, you're right, you're the most sensible, handsome and intelligent poster here. High five" is also you. That's lame.

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    2. Hey Papalinton, you're right. You are the most sensible, handsome and intelligent poster on here. High five to you!

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    3. Hi Papalinton
      I sincerely thank you for your kind words on my commentary. Although at the same time I do take objection with some of your characterisations especially with regards to the site.This site is actually one of my favourite places on the internet, Professor Feser's work and overall approach and commentary, to me atleast, exemplifies some of the most sophisticated philosophical treatments that one can find and has helped me more then I can ever thank him for. I have also been able to learn a lot from commentators like Tony who have been kind enough to dialogue with me.

      As for what you describe as "the kind of tribal, monocular-focussed, in-group nonsense that many on this site attempt to pedal as 'truth', their particular brand of religious belief"

      I can't pinpoint what you mean by it exactly so it would be helpful if you specify.

      I think that I would share and hold to be true most of the fundamental beliefs that most of the people over here have, for example I am pro-life and I am pro-tradional marriage in the sense that I think that abortion shouldn't be legally allowed (although at the same time I don't think women should be punished in any way, shape or form, they should be helped, it should be the abortionist who is punished) and I also think that traditional marriage is what the government should recognise because it's important for kids to have both a mom and dad.
      I wouldn't call these religious beliefs, they are normative moral beliefs based on embryology and sociology. And since I hold them to be true obviously I would seek to convince others as well. But obviously through the democratic process, if the majority of the people happen to disagree with me and vote accordingly, I will respect that outcome and perhaps adopt a more grass roots approach to change that out come through the democratic approach. I also respect those people who I disagree with.

      If this falls under your description though, then I'm sorry to disappoint you.

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    4. As a Catholic I want to be able to share what I think is true with others and hopefully convince others to become Catholic

      At the same time, I want others like Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Atheists to have the freedom to share and convince other people of their creeds or beliefs.

      So my commentary is motivated primarily by my respect for the freedom to share and convince other people especially in matters of religious significance and I think that the hardcore Catholic integralists want to reserve that privilege only for catholics which I don't think it's right.

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    5. @ Papalinton,

      "It is difficult for me to reconcile the thoughtful and commonsensical contributions he has made here along with the fact that he is also a Christian"

      My you are a deluded puppy.

      Tom Cohoe

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    6. @Norm

      To quote Aquinas:

      “We must love them both, those whose opinions we share and those whose opinions we reject, for both have labored in the search for truth, and both have helped us in finding it.”

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    7. Ah speak of the Devil...Paps I dinna' see ye there. Now WCB has company. What a treat fer him.

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    8. To: Norm, September 19, 2022 at 7:08 AM
      You say, "Professor Feser's work and overall approach and commentary, to me atleast, exemplifies some of the most sophisticated philosophical treatments that one can find ..." I'm happy for you to have found something that makes some sense of meaning for you. But such a discovery is limited in application because it can only be defined within the context for which you were searching. In other words, it is largely sensible but only within a Catholic perspective, and is believed within a very limited audience. By far, the operant context at orders of magnitude so much greater, is that which is outside the Catholic framework. Catholic thought, catholic philosophy (Thomism), to be sure, is part of the mix but it is waning, particularly in the West over the past 100 years. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is the ever-increasing and robust challenge and demand for Catholicism to prove its bona fides as the central social platform on which the West should be consolidated going forward. I am more that sure that that challenge has already been lost. It's in the numbers of numerous surveys throughout the past decades that Catholicism, as a creditable (let alone credible) framework around which today's diverse and multi-cultural
      communities can coalesce, bind and organise, has reached its use-by date.

      We, as a community, must be mindful that Catholicism plays a bit part in today's world. That is not to say it has no role in contemporary society. But those that wish to live by the Catholic dictate are free to do so and are welcomed to do so, as least to me. Proselytising, however is not a good look nor appreciated in the public square as it makes for discomforting relationships with the wider neighbourhood.

      You say you are pro-life and pro-traditional marriage. To suggest that they are normative moral beliefs based on embryology and sociology, is factually wrong. The scientific, sociological, anthropological, physiological, psychological and psychiatric research has clearly shown us that the male-female differentiation is fundamentally and significantly more nuanced than the somewhat risibly simplistic binary definition that seems to inform your notion of what constitutes a boy and what a girl. But I am heartened by your comment: "But obviously through the democratic process, if the majority of the people happen to disagree with me and vote accordingly, I will respect that outcome and perhaps adopt a more grass roots approach to change that out come through the democratic approach."
      I say the jury is already out on these, and the community has collectively spoken, throughout the Western world least.

      No. You don't disappoint me. We have more in common than you think. But to me religiosity is an unnecessary burden to being a good, moral, ethical, decent and informed member of the community.

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    9. @ Papalinton:

      Don't forget to iron your priest robes. The Church of Darwin deserves the best.

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    10. @ Papalinton,

      "Proselytizing, however is not a good look nor appreciated in the public square as it makes for discomforting relationships with the wider neighbourhood"

      Unless, of course, it is you doing the proselytizing, which are doing. That makes your statement hilarious.

      "It's in the numbers of numerous surveys throughout the past decades that Catholicism, as a creditable (let alone credible) framework around which today's diverse and multi-cultural
      communities can coalesce, bind and organise, has reached its use-by date."

      "Surveys", huh? That's how you find Truth is it? And when the results of the surveys change, what happens to Truth? Sounds like you don't believe in it … except when you, grounded in self as you are, speak.

      What buffoonery!

      Thanks for the laughs.

      :-)

      PS - I pray for your conversion to a state that allows you to use your mind for real and healing thought. You undoubtedly have the talent should you will yourself to use it properly instead of divisively.

      :-)

      Tom Cohoe

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  16. Just to remove any confusion, in my comment above, the first paragraph is a citation from the post.

    In general, the so-called integralists from the United States are quite inconsistent. They have distracted Americans from Catholic social teaching by engaging in debates (which they relish for some obscure reason) about "persecuting" or tolerating non-Catholics etc). Quite irrelevant. Why do they worry about that, yet lap up conservative philosophy on many points that are opposed to Catholic teaching? Once again, witness the obsession of this ideology for appearances, not substance. What will be earth shattering is for Catholics in the U.S. to merely stop supporting ideologies that issue from the Enlightenment, not demand the return of the Inquisition.

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    1. Nobody expects the American inquisition!

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    2. @ Walter Van den Acker:

      The Woke Inquisition has been very active during the last decades. Silencing everyone who dared to challenge them. Even leftists are getting fed up.

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    3. Walter, we have been well-prepared by three hundred years of conservative ascendancy since the triumph in the early eighteenth century of the society that would be defended by Burke and de Maistre. It's just ludicrous to see some of its defenders discussing the Inquisition, which existed to prevent the rise of just such societies.

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    4. Walter, we have been well-prepared by three hundred years of conservative ascendancy since the triumph in the early eighteenth century of the society that would be defended by Burke and de Maistre.

      Cervantes, could you, out of courtesy to present company (especially our host Dr. Feser), stop referring such bilge as the above as being accredited to "conservatives" simply, and use a more correct term, such as (to pick one among various options) "Burkean conservatives", or some other hyphenated-conservative slice that does not cover the entire gamut of conservatism? (And, critically, does not get at the essence of conservatism.) Because your tendentious comments about "conservatives" always focuses attention on bad ideas from CERTAIN BRANCHES of conservatives, but are not shared by other branches of conservatives and are not generic to conservatism as such. Conservatism includes some who reject exactly the errors you so deride. Henceforth, ongoing failure to qualify your comments in an appropriate way amounts to either straw man fallacies or simply boorish argumentation meant to score points rather than to elucidate truth.

      In point of fact, no version of Burkean or Maistrean theory has held primary social or political control in the West for 300 years, and in reality the degeneracies present in the western society that we have exist far more due to forces opposed to Burkean theory than forces closely allied with his philosophy. (And no, I am no Burkean - the above is not meant to defend his ideas.) Even granting the (arguable) thesis that Burke was a right-liberal while others were left-liberals, the left-liberals have been the ones with vastly more effective power than the right-liberals, in the West considered generally. It is ONLY by lumping Burke in with all liberals that one can consider anything even related to his theory to have triumphed over a 300 year period, but to then go on and attribute this to "conservatives" is to simply push the term "conservative" beyond any meaningful sense whatsoever, and then your comment becomes mere noise.

      You can use this to start learning appropriate distinctions: http://whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2017/04/is_this_conservatism.html

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  17. I am fed up with any kind of inquisition, and my hope is that one day every kind of inquisition will disappear.

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  18. Another interesting piece which again forces us to confront, if we are willing and honest, the critical matter of "the anthropological question" as it relates to social and interpersonal moral claims.

    Progressives wish to avoid the question of the grounding of categorical obligations and duties: pretending that categories which they have abolished can still somehow produce claims structures. Whereas conservatives seem too terrified to face these critical questions at all: "What happens when we take the anti-teleological pronouncements of the organisms of the political left at face value as a potential predicate for dealing with them? How do we frame the "moral encounter" which results when we confront an organism which denies the existence of natural kinds, and therefore of kind-based shared aims and interests? What IS the appetite-manifesting-thing that confronts us in order to emit various sorts of noises which are apparently meant to impel us to adopt certain behaviors it desires? And finally, without a teleological framework, can anyone even speak of confronting a coherent being?

    We say the thing is a desiring-thing or that it expresses a will. But so what? From what ground does this will arise? Has it a unified cause? What is it about about "its" , or better "this" will - assuming that such a will is even subject to rational analysis - is supposed to compel respect or forbearance or even self-sacrificial consideration?

    In the final reduction, what we are left with, when viewing the progressive other through its own interpretive lens, is Feser's famous "congeries of appetites"

    That is a fact which most progressives explicitly or implicitly must acknowledge given their basic premisses, but one which they hope you will not notice.

    On the other hand, it is one which most conservatives are too terrified to even confront.

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  19. And yet you can't see how you played tax collector for them and their Event 201.

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  20. Walter, I can only agree. It's worth noting that the Inquisition, once it got settled down after the excesses of the wars of religion, was far milder than civil jurisdictions in either Catholic or Protestant countries. Its work in the Iberian world and Italy was principally concerned with moral faults. Even here, it was far more rational than other jurisdictions. There was the very unusual (for Spain) witch craze in Navarra in the late sixteenth century: 400 accused. The Inquisition found all cases apart from two groundless, and for those couple only prescribed penances and instruction.

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  21. Mild or not, I don't want any inquisition and that's one of the reasons I am glad I don't live in the USA.

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  22. Just read the statement on pro life political prudence signed by many Prominent Pro Life scholars. It's a very well written, accessible and logically sound statement. I am very grateful for the witnesses of all those scholars with regards to this profound issue. May God bless them.

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