Thursday, June 21, 2012


Soros will learn that money doesn't always succeed in buying victory.

And so it goes

We said this would happen.  They said it wouldn't.  And here we are.  Fortnight for Freedom got here just in time.

‘Get in line’ or ‘resign’ Admiral tells military chaplain |

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Journey Home

This is my last post for the Patheos Atheist Portal

I could see where they were coming from, but I stayed put. I was ready to admit that there were parts of Christianity and Catholicism that seemed like a pretty good match for the bits of my moral system that I was most sure of, while meanwhile my own philosophy was pretty kludged together and not particularly satisfactory. But I couldn’t pick consistency over my construction project as long as I didn’t believe it was true.

While I kept working, I tried to keep my eyes open for ways I could test which world I was in, but a lot of the evidence for Christianity was only compelling to me if I at least presupposed Deism.

 Meanwhile, on the other side, I kept running into moral philosophers who seemed really helpful, until I discovered that their study of virtue ethics has led them to take a tumble into the Tiber. (I’m looking at you, MacIntyre!).

Then, the night before Palm Sunday (I have excellent liturgical timing), I was up at my alma mater for an alumni debate. I had another round of translating a lot of principles out of Catholic in order to use them in my speech, which prompted the now traditional heckling from my friends. After the debate, I buttonholed a Christian friend for another argument. During the discussion, he prodded me on where I thought moral law came from in my metaphysics. I talked about morality as though it were some kind of Platonic form, remote from the plane that humans existed on. He wanted to know where the connection was.

I could hypothesize how a Forms-material world link would work in the case of mathematics (a little long and off topic for this post, but pretty much the canonical idea of recognizing Two-ness as the quality that’s shared by two chairs and two houses, etc. Once you get the natural numbers, the rest of mathematics is in your grasp). But I didn’t have an analogue for how humans got bootstrap up to get even a partial understanding of objective moral law.

I’ve heard some explanations that try to bake morality into the natural world by reaching for evolutionary psychology. They argue that moral dispositions are evolutionarily triumphant over selfishness, or they talk about group selection, or something else. Usually, these proposed solutions radically misunderstand a) evolution b) moral philosophy or c) both. I didn’t think the answer was there. My friend pressed me to stop beating up on other people’s explanations and offer one of my own.

“I don’t know,” I said. ”I’ve got bupkis.”

“Your best guess.”

“I haven’t got one.”

“You must have some idea.”

“I don’t know. I’ve got nothing. I guess Morality just loves me or something.”

“Ok, ok, yes, I heard what I just said. Give me a second and let me decide if I believe it.”

It turns out I did.

I believed that the Moral Law wasn’t just a Platonic truth, abstract and distant. It turns out I actually believed it was some kind of Person, as well as Truth. And there was one religion that seemed like the most promising way to reach back to that living Truth. I asked my friend what he suggest we do now, and we prayed the night office of the Liturgy of the Hours together (I’ve kept up with that since). Then I suggested hugs and playing Mumford and Sons really, really loudly.

After I changed my mind, I decided to take a little time to make sure I really believed what I thought I believed, before telling my friends, family, and, now, all of you. That left me with the question of what to do about my atheism blog. My solution was to just not write anything I disagreed with. Enough of my friends had accused me of writing in a crypto-Catholic style that I figured no one would notice if I were actually crypto-Catholic for a month and a half (i.e. everything from “Upon this ROC…” on) . That means you already have a bit of a preview of what has and hasn’t changed. I’m still confused about the Church’s teachings on homosexuality, I still need to do a lot of work to accept gifts graciously, and I still love steam engines.

Starting tomorrow, this blog is moving to the the Patheos Catholic channel (the url and RSS will remain unchanged). Meanwhile, I’m in RCIA classes at a DC parish, so you can look forward to more Parsing Catholicism tags (and after the discussion of universalism we had last week, I think it will be prudent to add a “Possibly Heretical” category).

This post isn’t the final word on my conversion. I’m sure there’s a lot more explaining and arguing to do, so be a little charitable in your read of this post and try to give me a little time to expand my ideas over the next few weeks. (Based on my in-person arguments to date, it seems like most of my atheist friends disagree two or three steps back from my deciding Morality is actually God. They usually diverge back around the bit where I assert morality, like math, is objective and independent of humans. As one of my friends said, “Well, I guess if I were a weird quasi-Platonist virtue ethicist, this would probably convince me”).

And how am I doing? Well, I’m baking now (cracking eggs is pretty much the least gnostic thing I can do, since it’s so, so disgusting to touch, and putting effort into food as more than the ransom my body demands for continued function is the second least gnostic). I’ve been using the Liturgy of the Hours and St. Patrick’s Breastplate for most of my prayer attempts. and, over all, I feel a bit like Valentine in this speech from Arcadia.

It makes me so happy… A door like this has cracked open five or six times since we got up on our hind legs. It’s the best possible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Word or Few from Fr. Longenecker

The Smoke of Satan

There are many problems in the Catholic Church that might be thought to be the ‘smoke of Satan’ entering the church, but for my money one thing, above all others, has been the successful work of Satan, which has undermined the church, emasculated her ministry, sabotaged the aims of the Holy Spirit and captured a multitude of souls.

It is the modernist re-interpretation of the Catholic faith. The reductionist results of modern Biblical scholarship and the infiltration of a modernist, rationalistic and materialistic mindset meant that the supernatural was assumed to be impossible, and therefore the Bible stories (and also any supernatural elements of the faith) had to be ‘de-mythologized.’ Everything supernatural within the Biblical account and within the lives of the saints and within the teaching of the church were assumed to be impossible and had to be ‘re-interpreted’ so they would make sense to modern, scientifically minded people.

So the feeding of the five thousand wasn’t a miracle. Instead the ‘real miracle’ was that everyone shared their lunch. Everything had to be questioned and ‘re-interpreted’ in such a way that it could be accepted and understood by modern people. So when we call Jesus Christ “God Incarnate” what we really mean was that he was so fully human, and that as he reached his potential as a man that he shows us what divinity looks like. When we speak of the Blessed Virgin we mean she was ‘a very good and holy Jewish young woman.’ When we speak of the ‘Real Presence’ we mean that we see the ‘Christ that is within each one of us.”

I hate this crap.

It’s the smoke of Satan, and it’s virtually triumphant within the mainstream Protestant churches, and sadly, the modern Catholic Church in the USA is riddled through with the same noxious heresy. The reason it is so obnoxious and disgusting is because priests and clergy of all sorts still use all the traditional language of the liturgy, the Scriptures and the creeds, but they have changed the meaning of it altogether. They never actually stand up and say that they have changed the meaning, and that they no longer believe the faith once delivered to the saints. They don’t discuss the fact that they have not only changed the meaning, but robbed it of meaning altogether. Instead they still stand up week by week and recite the creed as if they think it is true, but what they mean by ‘true’ is totally different from what their people mean.

So Father Flannel stands up on Easter Day and says, “Alleluia! Today we rejoice in the glorious resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.” His people think he really believes that Jesus’ dead body came back to life by the power of God and that he went on to live forever. In fact what Father Flannel really means is that “in some way the beautiful teachings of Jesus were remembered and continued by his followers long after his tragic death.” The people don’t know why Father Flannel’s Catholic life is so lightweight and limp and they don’t know why his style is so lacking in substance, and they go on in their muddled way thinking that he really does believe the Catholic faith when, in fact, he doesn’t at all.

Consequently, Fr Flannel doesn’t really have much of a message at all. He doesn’t believe any of the gospel except as some sort of beautiful story which inspires people to be nicer to each other. All that is left of his priesthood, therefore, is to be a nice guy to entertain people with inspirational thoughts and get everyone to be nicer to one another and try to save the planet.

The poor faithful have swallowed this stuff for two or three generations now, and they don’t even know what poison they’re swallowing because the lies are all dressed up in the same traditional language the church has always used. It’s like someone has put battery acid into a milk bottle and given it to a baby, and never imagined that there was anything wrong with doing so–indeed thought it was the best thing for baby.

The faithful don’t know why their church has become like a cross between a Joan Baez concert and a political activism meeting. They don’t understand why they never hear the need for confession or repentance or hear about old fashioned terms like ‘the precious blood’ or ‘ the body, blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord and Savior” The fact of the matter is Father Flannel doesn’t really think that sort of thing is ‘helpful’.

This is why evangelization of the American Catholics in the pew is probably the most difficult task of all. They don’t know what they don’t know. For three generations now they have been given watered down milk and been told it was wine. They actually think that Catholic lite is what it’s all about, and are astounded to think that there are some of us who think that they have actually been fed a version of Christianity that is scarcely Christianity at all.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gay Brits Come to U.S. for Sex Selection

Gay Brits Come to U.S. for Sex Selection

Well aren't we just the lucky duckies.  Less than one month after our gutless wonder elected officials in Washington D.C. refused to ban abortion based on sex selection, we are now seeing what will no doubt become the new popular reason to visit our country.  Wow.  It will redefine and give a whole new sub-meaning to our tourist industry.

Gay, straight, single female or single male - ya'll come and get it.  We are here to serve up whatever you want.

I am so DAMN mad.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Reflection from Holy Father

Pope Reflects on the Power of Prayer

The Holy Father reminded the faithful May 9 to trust God like Peter did and thanks everyone for their prayers for him as the Successor of Peter.

Pope Benedict XVI says he has been sustained during his seven years as Pontiff by the prayers of people around the world.

“From the first moment of my election as the Successor of St. Peter, I have always felt supported by the prayers of you all, by the prayer of the Church, especially by your prayers at moments of greatest difficulty, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he told pilgrims in St. Peter's Square during his May 9 general audience.

“Unanimous and constant prayer is a precious instrument in overcoming all of the trials that may arise in the path of life, because it is our being deeply united with God that allows us to also be deeply united to others,” the Pope said before thanking everyone again.

Pope Benedict’s prepared remarks for the day focused on the prayer life of the early Church, continuing a series of teachings he has been giving. This morning, along with approximately 10,000 pilgrims, he examined the episode in the life of his predecessor, St. Peter, who was released from imprisonment by an angel on the eve of his trial in Jerusalem.

“The strength of the unceasing prayer of the Church rises to God, and the Lord hears and carries out an unthinkable and unhoped-for deliverance, sending his angel,” he said.

The liberation of Peter has overtones of both the Jewish exodus from slavery in Egypt and the resurrection of Christ, the Pope noted. It also highlights “a pressing invitation” to follow Christ, since “only by coming out of yourself in order to start walking with the Lord and doing his will will you experience true freedom.”

Pope Benedict also noted that even though Peter was in “such a critical and dangerous situation,” the Acts of the Apostles informs us that he was asleep and had to be woken by the angel.

“This attitude may seem odd, but it denotes trust and confidence: He trusts in God; he knows he is surrounded by the solidarity and support of his followers and abandons himself totally into the hands of Lord,” the Pope said. “This is how our prayer must be: assiduous, united with others, an expression of complete trust in God, who knows us in our most intimate selves and looks after us.”

Pope Benedict concluded by saying that the story of the liberation of Peter “tells us that the Church, each of us, goes through the night of trial, but it is the unceasing vigilance of prayer that sustains us.”
For this reason, he taught, every believer should cultivate a “constant and trusting” prayer in the Lord, who “frees us from our chains and guides us. ... He gives us serenity of heart to face the difficulties of life, even rejection, opposition and persecution.”